30 million. That’s the number of words a child living in poverty lacks compared to those children with a higher economic background. A study done by Kansas psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley concludes that children’s use of language starts early and it should be communicated from an early start. Think about it. Children in poverty hear about 600 words daily while children of the middle class hear about 1,200 – 1,300. While many academic institutions concentrate on technical aspects such as STEM education, there’s a missing piece to the educational puzzle – the basic foundations of reading and literacy.
College Board cites in their own study that “the major difference between reading in grades K-5 and reading in grades 6-12 is the transition from learning to read to reading to learn.” This is why as important as STEM education is, there must be a way to improve language arts in schools – because if you can’t read, you can’t learn. And if we can’t model our world linguistically, we can’t survive.
This is evidenced by the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam administered every two years, average scores for fourth and eighth grade reading remained stagnant or barely improved.
How do we engage and entice children to want to learn to read? We need to make literacy an exciting and engaging experience for students of all abilities and backgrounds.
According to the Center on Education Policy “…motivation is a crucial part of a student’s experience from preschool onward. Motivation can affect how students approach school in general, how they relate to teachers, how much time and effort they devote to their studies, how much support they seek when they’re struggling, how much they attempt to engage or disengage their fellow students from academics, how they perform on assessments (and therefore how the school performs), and so on. Hardly any aspect of the school environment is unaffected.” – Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, Author(s): Alexandra Usher and Nancy Kober, Published: May 22, 2012
LEGO Education has a proven track record in the field of STEM education but is actually transforming all areas of learning. With LEGO Education StoryStarter, elementary students utilize hands-on materials to bring language arts learning to life. StoryStarter aligns with common core standards, ensuring teachers are creating a vibrant learning experience while meeting key learning objectives.
LEGO Education StoryStarter teaches students the basic mechanics of a well-composed story, making it a great tool for analyzing existing stories, writing new stories or discussing specific, current topics.
Students learn how to communicate their stories and are engaged in writing, gaining essential skills that will support their entire academic career and beyond.
With StoryStarter students find the excitement and motivation to tell their stories and become strong communicators. This type of engagement will better equip them to become the leaders and creative problem solvers of tomorrow.
In turn, schools will become places where young people are encouraged to explore their unique talents and interests, where teachers are facilitators of the creative learning process and can focus on providing the right context and tools for learning.
And don’t we owe that to our students?
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