Dr. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University is one of the authorities in the field. A couple of years ago, Sadeh sent 77 fourth-graders and sixth-graders home with randomly drawn instructions to either go to bed earlier or stay up later for three nights. Each child was given an actigraph (a wristwatchlike device that’s equivalent to a seismograph for sleep activity), which enabled Sadeh’s team to learn that the first group managed to get 30 minutes more sleep per night. The latter got 31 minutes less sleep.
After the third night’s sleep, a researcher went to the school in the morning to test the children’s neurobiological functioning. The test they used is highly predictive of both achievement-test scores and how teachers will rate a child’s ability to maintain attention in class.
Since 1996, Kyla Wahlstrom and her research team at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) have led the way in the study of later start times for high school students, beginning with their study of the impact of later start times on educational achievement in two different districts.
Scientists have known for decades that the ability to remember newly learned information declines with age, but it was not clear why. A new study may provide part of the answer.
The report, posted online on Sunday by the journal Nature Neuroscience, suggests that structural brain changes occurring naturally over time interfere with sleep quality, which in turn blunts the ability to store memories for the long term.
Improved student performance was just one of the gains found after Tumbleweed Elementary School implemented an expanded learning time model, according to a new case study from the National Center of Time & Learning. The new brief is the second in a series released by the center that looks at schools that have recently added more time to the school day or year and seen early, positive gains.
The Washington Post reports that a growing number of states are drawing a hard line in elementary school, requiring children to pass a reading test in third grade or be held back from fourth grade. Thirteen states last year adopted laws that require schools to identify, intervene and, in many cases, retain students who fail a reading proficiency test by the end of third grade. Lawmakers in several other states and the District of Columbia are debating similar measures. Not every state requires retention; some allow schools to promote struggling readers to fourth grade as long as they are given intensive help.
As access to the creation and consumption of digital media increases, educators must embrace an expanded view of literacy. Teaching the skills of reading and writing is no longer enough. Students need to be able to use images as a currency for exchanging feelings, stories, and opinions with the world at large.
Reading with young children promotes language development and literacy skills. Learn strategies for sharing books based on what type of communicator the child is from a speech-language pathologist. Part 2 of our series focuses on the communicator stage.