Kids Media Matters

Guangzhou: Visiting A Chinese Zoo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
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Hong Kong: Victoria Peak And A Beach Day In China

Friday, October 28, 2011
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Hong Kong: Skipping School

Monday, August 8, 2011
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Hong Kong Day One: Dim Sum For Breakfast

Monday, August 8, 2011
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Boston Is A City Of Readers

By Kids Media Matters   |   Tuesday, June 21, 2011
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Theresa Lynn is the executive director of ReadBoston, a nonprofit children’s literacy program.

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Theresa Lynn is the executive director of ReadBoston, a nonprofit children’s literacy program founded by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. In this role, she has led many new literacy efforts to address reading development, including the creation of the Early Words program, which seeks to substantially increase verbal interaction between parents and infants and toddlers. She has also overseen the development of the Environmental Literacy Project, a multifaceted program which seeks to increase literacy skills using environmental themes. This program has been extremely successful, especially with boys and reluctant readers.

What impact do the ReadBoston book distributions have on young children? 
The research on the “summer slide” is very clear. Children who have access to books in the summer can avoid the academic slide that many children from families with low-income experience. As few as six books can make a difference. Free book programs are important to young children because the “summer slide” effect is cumulative. So after a few summers without access to books and educational engagement programs over the summer years, an at-risk student might be as much as a full academic year behind his fellow classmates. By reaching them early, we are working with WGBH to stem this problem before it starts.

Tell us about the many programs that ReadBoston sponsors for young children, and how Boston families can access them.
The centerpiece of ReadBoston’s summer activities is our popular and ubiquitous Storymobile program, which will visit 80 Boston locations each week for seven weeks. At each stop, children receive a free, new book and participate in an engaging storytelling session. The times and dates are listed on our website, and all public locations are open to everyone.
 
New this year, we are adding two evening locations, one outside the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester and one at the Pond in Jamaica Plain. We also have an exciting week of special Storymobile events planned for the week of August 15, including sessions at Fenway Park and the Boston Harbor Islands, so please check out our website, and visit our Fan Page on Face Book.
 
Much of our focus at ReadBoston is on strengthening the capacity and skills of people that interact with children, including parents, but also childcare staff, teachers, after-school staff and para-professionals. Strong literacy practices include creating a print-rich environment, reading-aloud, lots of engaging verbal interaction, extending the book themes through drama, singing, and art and, of course, access to lots of great books!

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WGBH’s Resident Talking Dog Martha Helps Increase Children’s Vocabulary

By Kids Media Matters   |   Tuesday, June 21, 2011
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Three independent studies report that the highly rated WGBH and PBS KIDS series Martha Speaks is an effective tool across platforms (broadcast and mobile devices) in increasing young children’s vocabulary. The studies noted increases comparable to traditional classroom vocabulary instruction (such as reading out loud) for kids who viewed multiple episodes of the show, as well as gains of up to 31 percent in the vocabulary tested among low-income children who played with the Martha Speaks Dog Party iPhone app.

“We’re thrilled with the impressive impact the project is having on increasing young children’s vocabulary,” says Carol Greenwald, WGBH senior executive producer. “Vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension and a key predictor of reading success. By the time children enter kindergarten, however, a great chasm in vocabulary knowledge exists between disadvantaged kids and their peers—and the former never catch up. Across multiple platforms, Martha Speaks has been able to enhance kids’ knowledge of words through the context of a talking dog and great stories.”

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Every time children watch TV or surf the Web, they are learning something. But what are they learning? Grown-ups need to shepherd children through the maze of images that may shape their minds, for better or worse.



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