WBEZ | reading http://www.wbez.org/tags/reading Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: Keeping kids in school in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-keeping-kids-school-india-110625 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ga-pratham.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>According to UNICEF, in India, more than 70 percent of children drop out before finishing school. <a href="http://www.prathamusa.org">Pratham USA</a>, co-founded by Yogi Patel, is dedicated to youth education, literacy and vocational training in India and it reports that over half of India&rsquo;s children in the 5th grade can&rsquo;t read at a 2nd grade level. We&#39;ll talk with Raj Rajaram, president of Pratham USA, about the work they&#39;re doing to try to improve education and opportunity for children in India.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Pratham USA Chicago Walk-a-thon:</strong></p><p><strong>Walk or Run For Literacy</strong></p><p><strong>Sunday, August 17, 2014, 9:00 AM</strong></p><p><strong>Harms Wood Forest Preserve (Grove 3), Morton Grove, IL</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160137303&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-keeping-kids-school-india-110625 Morning Shift: How to get boys on board with reading for fun http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-15/morning-shift-how-get-boys-board-reading-fun-110186 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/books Flickr sleepyneko.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We delve into why boys are reading less and discuss some solutions for getting them more enthusiastic about books. Also, the co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration join us and a we hear a tribute to jazz vocalist Mose Allison.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-to-get-boys-on-board-with-readin/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-to-get-boys-on-board-with-readin.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-to-get-boys-on-board-with-readin" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: How to get boys on board with reading for fun" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 15 May 2014 07:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-15/morning-shift-how-get-boys-board-reading-fun-110186 Morning Shift: Media myths and misperceptions surround Chicago violence http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-26/morning-shift-media-myths-and-misperceptions-surround <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/PhilCLogo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has been called the nation&#39;s &quot;murder capital&quot; - but the title isn&#39;t really accurate. WBEZ&rsquo;s Natalie Moore and Dr. Rosalind Blasingame-Buford of BUILD, Inc. break down the myths and the national perceptions of violence in Chicago.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-48/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-48.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-48" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Media myths and misperceptions surround Chicago violence" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-26/morning-shift-media-myths-and-misperceptions-surround Morning Shift: Get your summer book bag ready http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-21/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready-107794 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Reading Books Train-Flickr-mootown.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Literary critic Donna Seaman is always excited to share new book ideas. Summer is officially upon us on Friday so she discusses some titles that you can take on road trips or to the beach. What are you excited to read this summer?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Get your summer book bag ready" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 08:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-21/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready-107794 Teacher brings library close to home for her Little Village neighbors http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/teacher-brings-library-close-home-her-little-village-neighbors-106825 <p><p>The enclosed porch behind Rachel Perveiler&rsquo;s Little Village apartment is crammed with shelves stuffed with books and games. It&rsquo;s also filled with children from her neighborhood.</p><p>Perveiler&rsquo;s porch is the meeting place for &ldquo;La Biblioteca del Personas,&rdquo; or the People&rsquo;s Library. Meeting here has become a weekly ritual for Perveiler and the children in her neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay boys, are you turning in books?&rdquo; Perveiler asked brothers Joaquin and Jose Camacho.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to still keep this one, but I&rsquo;m returning this one back.&rdquo; Joaquin said.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay, go ahead, put it back,&rdquo; Perveiler said.</p><p>As the children looked through the shelves, pulling out books, Perveiler asked 9-year old Jaylene Rios what she thought of her most recent selection.</p><p>&ldquo;Did you like Charlotte&rsquo;s Web, or no?&rdquo; Perveiler asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh yeah. I&rsquo;m barely right there,&rdquo; Jaylene said, as she pointed to a place toward the beginning of the book.</p><p>&ldquo;The first chapter? Okay, so you liked it?&rdquo; Perveiler asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah,&rdquo; Jaylene said.</p><p>Since the library began two years ago, the teacher said she&rsquo;s watched the kids develop what she hopes will become a life-long reading habit, and she&rsquo;s seen their reading skills improve.</p><p>She points to Jaylene, who started with Frog and Toad are Friends and has now moved on to Charlotte&rsquo;s Web.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen their interests grow,&rdquo; Perveiler said. Rather than just coming over because I&rsquo;m here and I&rsquo;m a new person, they come over actually to check out books, and they want to get a new book or they want to get a book that they know their friend just read.&rdquo;</p><p>The library began when the 23-year-old moved to Little Village back in 2011 to be close to her first job as a special education teacher at nearby Finkl Academy.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Porch%20Library%202%20-%20Rachel%20and%20Joaquin%281%29.JPG" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="Joaquin Camacho talks with Rachel Perveiler as she checks in books. Perveiler uses a spiral notebook to keep track of what books are currently checked out. (WBEZ/Rebecca Kruth)" />Perveiler was moving into her apartment when some of the neighbor kids saw her carrying boxes.</p><p>&ldquo;They offered to help carry the boxes in. When they found out they were children&rsquo;s books, they were curious to see why [I had] all these children&rsquo;s books,&rdquo; Perveiler said.</p><p>The books were for her classroom, but since it was still summer, the kids asked if they could borrow them. They sat on her porch, read the books and returned them the same afternoon.</p><p>Word about the books soon spread in the neighborhood, and the children began coming to Perveiler&rsquo;s regularly. As the library evolved, the group members decided they needed to have some rules and expectations for members. They even developed a pledge, which greets visitors as they enter the library.</p><p>Joaquin Camacho, 9,&nbsp; read the hand-lettered poster out loud.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;As a member of the library, I pledge to be a role model. I promise to [show] respect and responsibility,&rdquo; Joaquin said. &ldquo;I promise these in the name of leadership, because the world needs leaders.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Before they can use the library, kids must also complete a special task. Each new member makes a bookmark to take home. After a week, they have to bring it back to Perveiler in good shape to prove they&rsquo;re responsible. If it&rsquo;s ruined, they have to do it again before they can check out a book.</p><p>Today, the library has around 500 books, mostly donations from friends and family. But, as Joaquin said, not all of the books come from outside sources.</p><p>&ldquo;My brother, Jose, and I are going to make a comic book, The Adventures of Big Fist and Lightning Man,&rdquo; Joaquin said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to put it in the library with the other comics.&rdquo;</p><p>The library doesn&rsquo;t just have books for children: Leslie Luna, 9, said her father uses the library to improve his English.</p><p>&ldquo;He talks Spanish, and so he&rsquo;s practicing his English,&rdquo; Leslie said. &ldquo;When he was in Mexico he almost dropped out of school, because he needed to work for his family, so he didn&rsquo;t get to do a lot of education in his life.&rdquo;</p><p>Leslie said she chooses books for the two of them to read together. &ldquo;I like to help him, a lot,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>When Perveiler isn&rsquo;t available at the makeshift library, her boyfriend, Michael Aumiller, helps fill in. He said he&rsquo;s also the unofficial homework helper.</p><p>&ldquo;They have limited access to internet and that sort of thing, so they like to borrow my encyclopedias. I&rsquo;ll flag things down that are important,&rdquo; Aumiller said.</p><p>Aumiller said in neighborhoods facing challenges like Little Village, it&rsquo;s important to have an involved</p><p>network of neighbors.</p><p>&ldquo;Since the library started, I&rsquo;ve noticed we just have a greater sense of connection to the community,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I just think that is something that is very important to the overall health of Drake Avenue.&rdquo;</p><p>As for Perveiler, she hopes that sense of community spreads to the kids, along with improved literacy skills.</p><p>&ldquo;I would like to see their interest in reading and their interest in each other socially, as friendships in their community, continue to grow,&rdquo; Perveiler said. &ldquo;If the space remains on the back porch always, that is perfectly fine with me.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Rebecca Kruth is a WBEZ Arts and Culture Desk intern. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/rjkruth" target="_blank">@rjkruth</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 03:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/teacher-brings-library-close-home-her-little-village-neighbors-106825 Teachers engage teens with realistic fiction, 'street literature' http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/teachers-engage-teens-realistic-fiction-street-literature-99695 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/teen_reading_flickr_holtsman_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Front and Center visited classrooms around Chicagoland to hear what gets teens excited about reading.</p><p>Amy Correa teaches sixth and seventh grade at Agassiz Elementary School in Chicago. She thinks the classics are important, but is worried that the new <a href="http://www.corestandards.org/" target="_blank">Common Core</a> standards emphasize this type of literature too much. She says her students gobble up realistic fiction novels, and they can learn how to model behavior by reading stories about teens in tough situations. Listen to Correa&#39;s classroom and hear more about how she gets kids excited about reading:</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1339608200-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Amy%20Correa%20WEB.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Mike Henry is a literacy coach and teacher at Reavis High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois. His approach to getting high school students excited about reading relies on student choice in reading materials. He says giving students options of realistic fiction gets them more engaged in reading. Listen to Henry&#39;s classroom and hear more about how he gets reluctant readers to build up their reading stamina:</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1339608220-3" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Mike%20Henry%20WEB.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 15 Jun 2012 08:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/teachers-engage-teens-realistic-fiction-street-literature-99695 A high school confronts its reading struggles head on http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/high-school-confronts-its-reading-struggles-head-99710 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_2081.JPG" title="A freshman is flanked by vocabulary words at Fenger Academy High School in Chicago. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div><p>Fenger High School is in a rough area on Chicago&#39;s South Side. Poverty and safety are some of the school&#39;s major concerns. Reading is another.<p>&quot;Well, I&#39;m not a good reader at all,&quot; says junior Mia Weathington.<p>More than halfway through high school, Mia still struggles. Today, she tackles a newspaper article.<p>&quot;Are rich people &ndash; I don&#39;t know that word&hellip;oh&hellip; unethical,&quot; Mia stumbles over the words and admits she doesn&#39;t know what unethical means. She also doesn&#39;t know what ethics are.<p>&quot;It&#39;s like sometimes I just don&#39;t get the words. And even if I know the word, it just doesn&#39;t click with me sometimes. So I wasn&#39;t a good reader up in grammar school. I really don&#39;t pass spelling tests,&quot; she adds.<p>Mia has a big smile. Her teachers say she&#39;s a sweetheart and a teacher&#39;s dream. But she says her grammar school teachers didn&#39;t notice she couldn&#39;t read well.<p>They would ask her: &quot;Do you want to read this paragraph?&quot; She says she would reply, &quot;No.&quot;<p>&quot;They don&#39;t ask why &ndash; they just go on to the next person. I always said no, &quot; Mia continues. &quot;I was above the standards in reading and math and science. Don&#39;t know how, but I was. Most times, you ain&#39;t gotta read to know the answers to the question. I read the question, match the words up in the passage &ndash; there go your answer.&quot;<p>Kids enter Fenger High school at a fifth or sixth grade reading level. So, this year, principal Elizabeth Dozier is trying out a radical plan: a school-wide focus on reading.<p>&quot;Reading is a fundamental right,&quot; Dozier says, &quot;I mean, you can&#39;t really function in society if you cannot read.&quot;<p>Dozier&#39;s plans include sending every 9th grader to a daily, double period reading class. It&#39;s not an English class. There is no <em>Romeo and Juliet</em> read here. This is just a straight-up reading class.<p>Teacher Thomas Goodwin&#39;s room is set up like a first grade reading class might be.<br /><br />Four students circle Goodwin around a small table. All their books are open to the same page.<p>While relaying a story about holiday spending, Goodwin asks students for the phonetic spelling of calculate.<br /><br />The students sound out each syllable. Cal-cu-late.<br /><br />Their textbooks deal with subjects targeted to teenagers but are written at a lower reading level, with pictures and large font.<br /><br />Around the rest of the classroom, little &quot;centers&quot; are set up where students are reading silently or working on vocabulary or spelling on computers.<br /><br />Marquis Green clicks on the words the computer tells him to find. He says the practice has helped him memorize the words.<br /><br />&quot;Because they keep doing it over and over until they think you got it right or something. I notice a difference,&quot; he says.<br /><br />Mia thinks Fenger&#39;s efforts with the junior class are helping her, too. She boasts that she now reads at her grade level.<br /><br />Assigning 9th graders to 90 minutes of reading &ndash; and cutting English lit to do it &ndash; is&nbsp; controversial at a time when new standards are pushing schools to ramp up the difficulty of texts they give students. Dozier says it&#39;s common sense. She says it doesn&#39;t make sense to put children in English classes just because that&#39;s the curriculum most schools offer.<br /><br />&quot;It makes sense to teach the child <em>how</em> to read. So they can actually then &ndash; when they go into an English class or a social studies class or science or math or whatever it is &ndash; they can access what they&#39;re reading,&quot; Dozier says.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMAG0304.jpg" style="float: left; height: 187px; width: 300px;" title="Social studies teacher Dustin Voss helps a student read a question on a class test. Voss says he realized quickly he had to figure out how to teach reading as well as social studies. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div><p>She wants all staff to teach reading.<br /><br />Economics teacher Dustin Voss is well on his way. Voss describes himself as a government and economics teacher <em>and</em> a reading teacher. Today, he kicks off&nbsp; his junior-level class with vocabulary. His room is wallpapered with words, handwritten in magic marker, each with a definition and example sentence: entice, precarious, glutton, phobia.<br /><br />Adolescent literacy experts would like more social studies teachers and science and math teachers to teach reading. There&#39;s a push to get all subject-area teachers in high schools to teach the literacy skills needed for their discipline.<br /><br />But most high schools are ill-equipped to handle reading issues &ndash; especially those as severe as<br />Fenger&#39;s. High school teachers aren&#39;t trained in teaching reading. Materials can be hard to find. Few high schools have literacy experts on staff. Fenger has one. The former French teacher is getting a master&#39;s in reading, prompted by the need she saw.<br /><br />Many students have struggled with reading for years. That can affect their view of themselves as students, it can impact their self-esteem.<br /><br />Take Mia, for instance. She blames herself for her reading struggles. She says it&#39;s always been her problem.<br /><br />&quot;If I didn&#39;t understand, then I think I should have asked. But I didn&#39;t,&quot; she admits, &quot;The teachers don&#39;t know what to tell you if you don&#39;t ask. They can&#39;t read your mind. You got a room full of 30 kids. You can&#39;t get to everybody, so I don&#39;t blame them.&quot;<br /><br />Andres Henriquez of the Carnegie Corporation in New York says high school reading problems is a nation-wide issue. He adds that people aren&#39;t as aware of the problem as they should be.<br /><br />Henriquez worked on a 2009 report that called for high schools to pay much more attention to reading. It said schools in poor urban areas are not the only ones with struggling readers.<br /><br />&quot;We have seen, unfortunately, that not enough high schools are actually doing anything about their poor readers,&quot; Henriquez says.<br /><br />He says that&#39;s begun to change over the past several years. Fenger is just one example.<br /><br />The school has folders full of student test scores that show its efforts are improving students&#39; reading-sometimes by years. Dozier believes that as kids understand more, they&#39;ll be more likely to stick with school, and dropout numbers will go down.<br /><br />But the intensive efforts haven&#39;t come soon enough for Mia. She had such a low score on her ACT, she&#39;s worried she might not get into a good college. She says she&#39;ll take the test again, and hopefully the school&#39;s efforts will help inch her upward.</p></p> Fri, 01 Jun 2012 09:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/high-school-confronts-its-reading-struggles-head-99710 In this first grade, knitting and stories are the focus, not phonics http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/first-grade-knitting-and-stories-are-focus-not-phonics-99638 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMAG0347.jpg" style="height: 337px; width: 600px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Apollonia Bingham-Bianco, at work on her first-grade knitting project: the hat. (Linda Lutton/Front and Center)" /></div><p>In a sunny classroom, first graders at the Chicago Waldorf School are not picking up books.&nbsp; Instead, in every student&rsquo;s hands are two wooden knitting needles.</p><p>Seven-year-old Henry Gordon is carefully wrapping the yarn around one needle, then pulling his stitch through with the other hand.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really hard when you start your hat&mdash;it&rsquo;s like, complicated,&rdquo; says Henry. &ldquo;And then, pretty soon we all got better at knitting and we started finishing our hats and going on to our scarves and then doing our sleeping bag.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Most schools in the United States begin teaching students to read from the time they enter kindergarten. It&rsquo;s not hard to find 4-year-olds learning the letters of the alphabet and even reading easy words in preschool. But the Chicago Waldorf School wants to work full-time on developing kids&rsquo; imagination&mdash;through knitting, stories, and play&mdash;before turning to phonics.</div><p>Teachers say knitting teaches skills children need to be good readers.&nbsp;The process of knitting is like threading a story. Kids are learning focus and concentration. They&rsquo;re gaining fine-motor skills, needed for writing. They&rsquo;re seeing patterns. They&rsquo;re moving from left to right, the same way you read. They&rsquo;re gaining confidence.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_2130.JPG" style="width: 180px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Puppets crocheted by third graders at the Chicago Waldorf School.(Linda Lutton/Front and Center) " />&ldquo;I think I&rsquo;m really good at it,&rdquo; says 7-year-old Julia Scott. &ldquo;I can go really fast. And I can do it without looking.&rdquo; As she knits, she tells herself a little story to narrate the complicated movements of her fingers, the yarn, and the needles:&nbsp; &ldquo;In the front door, around the back, peek out the window&mdash;out jumps Jack!&rdquo;</p><p>Teacher Claude Driscoll says the goal of the little rhyme is to create a picture in kids&rsquo; minds of what is happening as they form each stitch.&nbsp; And, she says, creating a mental picture is a skill used all the time in reading.</p><p><strong>No Books</strong></p><p>To help kids create &ldquo;inner pictures,&rdquo; Waldorf takes a radical approach: there are no books in the first grade. There are not even picture books, because teachers want students to come up with their own ideas of what things look like.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">In schools nearby, first graders are reading 100-page chapter books already. At this private school where tuition is upwards of $15,000, parents and teachers are content to let the school focus on cultivating students&rsquo; sense of story.</div><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re reading &lsquo;cat&rsquo; and &lsquo;bat&rsquo; and &lsquo;sat&rsquo;&mdash;all those three-lettered words,&rdquo; says Julia.</p><p>Maybe kids read books on their own?</p><p>&ldquo;No. We don&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Julia says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not professional yet&mdash;we&rsquo;re just learning,&rdquo; she explains.</p><p>But while there are no books in the first grade, there are lots and lots of stories.</p><p>One recent day, Waldorf first graders helped their teacher re-tell a story. There were no props, no illustrations. Students took turns telling the story, about an old la<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_2144.JPG" style="float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; height: 135px; width: 180px;" title="Gil Ron and Eve Thiry play scissors, paper, rock as part of their morning work at the Chicago Waldorf School. The school believes movement—including singing and dance—help children learn vocabulary and the rhythm of language. (Linda Lutton/Front and Center)" />dy and some bothersome goblins. Afterward, students drew a picture of the story. In clumsy capital letters, they copied a sentence about the story their teacher had written on the chalkboard.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The goal is to get kids to hear stories, internalize them&mdash;and polish students&rsquo; understanding of plot, conflict, and character. Essentially, the school is focusing on comprehension before turning to phonics.</div><p>Waldorf also puts a big emphasis on movement and song. With their desks pushed to the sides of the room, the first graders dance and sing every morning. They recite poetry&mdash;including Tennyson the day I visit. It&rsquo;s poetry they&rsquo;ve only heard, never read.</p><p>Waldorf teachers say all this helps develop vocabulary and a sense of rhythm in language.</p><p><strong>Reading Late</strong></p><p>Waldorf teachers say when students finally do sit down to learn the mechanics of reading in second grade, most will pick it up at lightning speed.</p><p>Early childhood education expert Barbara Bowman says there are whole countries that share Waldorf&rsquo;s philosophy of teaching students to read late. In Sweden and Japan, kids learn to read when they&rsquo;re 7 or 8.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no question that if you start a little later you get fewer developmental problems. All the children are pretty much at the same developmental stage by the time you get to 7 or 8, so you don&rsquo;t have to worry about any immaturities as a major problem,&rdquo; Bowman says. &ldquo;But it doesn&rsquo;t seem to make a huge amount of difference at what age you start. They all pretty much reach the level of &lsquo;reading for information&rsquo; at about 9.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though Waldorf parents know their kids won&rsquo;t be picking up books right away, it can be nerve-wracking for some.&nbsp; Brian Chambers has three kids at Waldorf, and his wife teaches in the preschool. Even with that, he did worry at one point.</p><p>&quot;Around eight and a half years old I started getting nervous and anxious,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Like &lsquo;What is this? How could it be that she&rsquo;s not reading at grade level?&rsquo; Over the next six months after that it just took off.&rdquo;</p><p>Chambers says at age 11, his daughter now reads constantly. But he does see issues. His second child has dyslexia. That went undiagnosed about two years longer than it might have in a school that starts kids reading earlier.</p><p>Seventh graders at Waldorf are putting on Dante&rsquo;s Inferno this month. Their teacher, Carol Triggiano, says no one would know these kids were not reading until age 8 or 9.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the fact that these children have not been pressured at a young age to learn how to read has allowed it to unfold in a very natural way,&rdquo; Triggiano said. &ldquo;As a result they&rsquo;ve become kids that really love books.&rdquo;</p><p>Triggiano says all the things her students learned by knitting and singing and hearing stories are still with them, helping them read.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe align="left" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="375" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/43126978" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 31 May 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/first-grade-knitting-and-stories-are-focus-not-phonics-99638 Adults without literacy: 48-year-old man learns to read http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/adults-without-literacy-48-year-old-man-learns-read-99571 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/davidkingpressrepublican_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When I meet David King, he&rsquo;s sitting in a basement classroom still wearing a knit cap and bright orange shirt.&nbsp; They&rsquo;re his uniform with the city utility department, where he works here in Plattsburgh, New York.&nbsp;He looks tough, his face weathered.&nbsp; Tattooed on the knuckles of one hand are four letters. H-A-T-E.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s intimidating until he grins and reaches into a canvas bag.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;This was the first book that I was taught &ndash; Little Bear&rsquo;s Friend,&rdquo; King says.</p><p>King is 48-years-old. He&rsquo;s worked as a farmer, a mechanic, and for the last decade or so as a handyman for the public works department. He says a couple of years ago, his boss urged him try a literacy course, as a way to better his life and improve his performance at work.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I did know my ABCs, but I didn&rsquo;t know what they meant,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s five vowels, the rest are all consonants. I didn&rsquo;t know that. I just thought that they were all ABCs.&quot;</p><p>By some estimates as many as one in eight American adults has extreme difficulty reading and writing.&nbsp;King has lived almost his entire life with crazy amounts of information flashing at him all the time, all of it white noise. He says he clearly had a learning disability. And by the time he was in elementary school in the early 1970s he had already been shunted into special education classes.</p><p>&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t kind of like mingle with the others,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We were the retards.&rdquo;</p><p>The program didn&rsquo;t help his reading or writing. The frustration and the stigma made him hate school.&nbsp; He remembers going to middle school dances, the girls refusing even to talk with him.</p><p>&ldquo;Who wanted to go out with me?&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I tried. If I could read and write&hellip;I could write a movie.&rdquo;</p><p>In high school, David moved to a new town. They put him in mainstream classes and he thought maybe he&rsquo;d make new friends, get a new start. That was the first time he tried to hide his illiteracy.</p><p>&ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t know what to do with me,&rdquo; King laughed. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re sixteen years old? You don&rsquo;t know how to read?&rdquo;</p><p>David started getting into trouble, fighting, drinking, and skipping school.&nbsp; Before long, he dropped out. David was strong, and found that he liked to work. But again and again, words were like a wall.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t fill out an application,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;My mom or my ex-wife would do it. I couldn&rsquo;t fill out an application to save my life.</p><p>The first job where David had to fill out time sheets, he figured out a way to smuggle the forms home so that someone else could write down the information. &nbsp;</p><p>He picked up other tricks, like never, ever going to a restaurant that didn&rsquo;t have pictures on the menus.</p><p>&ldquo;I asked the waitress, I&rsquo;d say, &lsquo;You see this gravy you got on this hamburger right here? You think I can get that on my French fries,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;d say you see these rolls over here? You think I could get an order of these rolls?&rsquo; And that&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;d get by.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>So David learned how to cope, but he says he still found himself in situations most of us take for granted &ndash; like taking his kids out for ice cream &ndash; where basic choices turned into dead ends.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d always have to get strawberry or vanilla,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;d see somebody with a fancy one, you know what I mean.&nbsp; I&rsquo;d say, &lsquo;Hey, what kind is that?&rsquo; They&rsquo;d say, &lsquo;Well, read it, it&rsquo;s up on the board.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>He couldn&rsquo;t get credit cards because he couldn&rsquo;t read the statements. He went through a divorce and struggled to find people he could trust to read the paperwork.&nbsp;Even traveling, getting out on the highway was terrifying.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Holy cow. That is a nightmare,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I went up to Canada and I was going down the wrong street, bud.&nbsp; Cars were coming at me and everything.&rdquo;</p><p>Road signs were gibberish. Maps were meaningless.</p><p>&ldquo;I got on a subway and I didn&rsquo;t even know how to get back to my car,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;Everybody says get on a train that&rsquo;ll take you right to New York City. What am I going to do when I get there?&nbsp; How am I going to get back?&nbsp; I&rsquo;m afraid to.&rdquo;</p><p>David still managed to piece together a full life. Since he couldn&rsquo;t read well enough to borrow money or get a mortgage, he built his own house, from the foundation to the rafters.&nbsp;He raised five kids in that house and he found the good job he has now with the city. But David says he never stopped thinking about what it might be like, trying again to learn to&nbsp;read.&nbsp;</p><p>He says after a lot of different experiments, he and his tutors worked out that the best way for him to work around his learning disability is with games &ndash; flashcards and scrabble and word puzzles.&nbsp;These days, King can read a McDonald&rsquo;s menu &ndash; ordering whatever flavor of milkshake he wants. He can read basic instructions, so that he&rsquo;s taken on new responsibilities at work.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;At least now when my grandkids come around, I can say, &lsquo;Papa wants to read you &lsquo;Cat in the Hat,&rsquo;&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I know it sounds funny, it&rsquo;s a kid&rsquo;s book. But I couldn&rsquo;t read this to my kids.&rdquo;</p><p>King comes twice a week to work with a volunteer literacy tutor.&nbsp; Sometimes progress is agonizingly slow.&nbsp; But he&rsquo;s already made the biggest step. He is a reader. At the end of the session, he walks around the classroom, pointing to words at random, sounding them out, owning them one by one.</p></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/adults-without-literacy-48-year-old-man-learns-read-99571 The Don't-Miss List: A special Richard Pryor event http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/dont-miss-list-special-richard-pryor-event-94907 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-15/4182963569_35cb815190.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p><strong><u>Kelly Kleiman</u></strong></p><p><span class="diffchange"><span><a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,64"><strong><em>Elizabeth Rex</em></strong></a>: The late Canadian novelist/playwright Timothy Findley teased every dramatic possibility out of the fact that Shakespeare's company performed for the mis-described Virgin Queen on the eve of the execution of her long-time lover Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex. The Queen is heartbroken over the beheading notwithstanding having ordered it herself, and she and the actors become locked in a competition over who is the greater performer of the role of man-dressed-as-woman. The gender-bending and feminism of the piece are right up director Barbara Gaines' alley, and Diane D'Aquila, who created the part at the Stratford Festival in Canade, hits every note and nuance in a performance so layered that my companion wondered whether Elizabeth was, in fact, being played by a man. Through January 22 at Chicago Shakespeare.</span></span></p><p><span class="diffchange"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/4182963569_35cb815190.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 250px; height: 250px; " title=""><span>Barbara Robertson is another woman who gives impeccable performances at Chicago Shakespeare, including an unforgettable turn as Kabuki Lady Macbeth, but on Monday night (the 19th) she'll be exercising a different part of her considerable talent, singing cabaret in a performance entitled "<a href="http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/dca_tourism/Cabaret_with_a_View_Presents_Barbara_Robertson.html"><strong>Stages of My Life</strong></a>." It begins at 7:30 onstage at the Pritzker Pavilion, with tickets $25 if you want to sit at stage level and drink, $15 if you're willing to be parched in the choir balcony. It's a one-night stand, so don't put off 'til tomorrow what's only available today.</span></span></p><p><span class="diffchange"><span>A very different sort of one-night stand will play tomorrow (Friday): an industry reading of <strong><em>Unspeakable</em></strong>, a work-in-progress biographical show about Richard Pryor. Co-author James Murray Jackson, Jr. plays Pryor, a role for which he won an Outstanding Actor Award at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival. A number of other New York actors are participating in the reading, along with Chicagoans Wandachristine and Stef Tovar. The reading is free, but attendance is by confirmed reservation only. For reservations write to Unspeakablenyc@<span>mail</span>.com, providing your name, the number in your party and your industry affiliation. </span></span></p><p><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></p><p>I’m running out of non-<em>Nutcracker&nbsp;</em>options here—but please don’t assume that the following shows aren’t worthy. No matter what the season, <a href="http://seechicagodance.com/reviews/#review_539">these artists promise good things</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/Khecari_photo_by_Dan_Merlo.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px; " title="Khecari"></p><p><a href="http://www.khecari.org/events.html">Khecari</a> deconstructs the fairytale (take that, <em>Nutcracker</em>!) in <strong><em>The Clinking</em></strong>, performed by Jonathan Meyer and Julia Rae Antonick—who are real-life as well as onstage partners. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist (and frequent player of inanimate objects) Joe St. Charles, Meyer and Antonick will heighten, not sugarcoat, the anxieties inherent in fairytales. <a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/210471">Thursday and Friday at the Hamlin Park Field House.</a></p><p>And to rouse yourself from any and all sugar-induced slumbers, try <strong><a href="http://www.tsukasataiko.com/">Tsukasa Taiko at JASC</a></strong>, performing its eighth annual show <a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/743">at the MCA Saturday and Sunday</a>. Chicago’s leading Japanese drumming ensemble this year also features a collaboration with AACM jazz musicians Edward Wilkerson and Coco Elysses-Hevia as well as “stylized kimono dance.”&nbsp;</p></div></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/dont-miss-list-special-richard-pryor-event-94907