The Dyslexic Edge Academy launched this week with 11 first graders at Drew Elementary in Green Valley. The goal is to help those students who struggle with reading by focusing on their strengths.
“People with dyslexia tend to gravitate to and be very good in STEM fields; science, technology, engineering and math,” Krista Gauthier, executive director of Merrifield-based Sliding Doors, tells ARLnow.”What we want to do is not only make sure that kids receive the evidence-based instruction that they need, but also play on their strengths. To us, confidence is as important as reading.”
The students meet with instructors after school in a group setting twice a week for 90 minutes. Half of the session is spent with one-on-one tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham approach, which breaks down reading and spelling using multisensory skills like sounds and hand motions. The other half of the session is spent on STEM-related projects.
“The STEM activities include everything from kitchen chemistry to rocketry to robotics to coding,” says Gauthier.
That could mean making slime, building model rockets, or operating an underwater robot, she says. It’s hoped that field trips to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the Smithsonian could be part of the curriculum in the future as well.
While the program is starting with 11 students, the expectation is that it will have 20 students by early next year. The pilot program will run until at least May 2023.
About 20% of the population has some form of dyslexia, according to statistics from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Yet, many school systems haven’t adapted to help these students and private tutoring can be prohibitively expensive, explains Symone Walker, co-chair of the Arlington Branch NAACP Education Committee.
She believes this is a big reason why there’s such an opportunity gap at some Arlington schools, including Drew Elementary.
“We really wanted to target a population that has been disproportionately impacted by the achievement gap,” says Walker. “We’re very familiar with how Drew has been historically passed over, looked over in the community, and we wanted to give back where we saw the greatest need.”
Both Walker and Gauthier say that the opportunity and achievement gaps that exist in county schools have a lot to do with reading scores and how schools are teaching literacy.
The Dyslexic Edge Academy will use the multisensory Orton-Gillingham approach to teach reading, as opposed to the balanced literacy approach that’s currently being taught in Arlington public schools.
“When we talk about multisensory, we’re talking about big motions,” says Gauthier. “We actually use something called ‘skywriting,’ which is as the child is actually forming the letter in the air… they’re actually saying the letter, repeating the letter, attaching the sound to the letter.”
What’s more, by bringing cool STEM-related projects into the learning, it helps students gain confidence.
“They really begin to associate something they struggle with, with something they love,” says Gauthier. “It really actually plays into them wanting to read as well.”
As Walker points out, a lot of NASA employees have some form of dyslexia. In fact, that includes more than half of NASA employees, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
“We want to produce more Arlingtonians who work for NASA,” she said.
Six controversial Dr. Seuss titles will remain in circulation at Arlington Public Library, though they will not be replaced.
On Monday, Arlington Public Library made a statement similar to that of many libraries across the country, detailing how they are dealing with mid-20th century Dr. Seuss titles that depict “harmful stereotypes.” The library revealed that existing titles will stay on shelves.
This comes after Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which controls the rights to the works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, decided that it will cease publication and licensing of six titles because they portray people “in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
The decision was announced on “Read Across America Day,” which is also the author’s 117th birthday.
Arlington Public Library officials say they will keep these titles in their collection and in circulation “until they are no longer usable.” At that point, due to Dr. Seuss’ Enterprises’ decision to cease publication, they will not be replaced.
The titles are: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
Five of the titles were published between 1937 and 1955, while “The Cat’s Quizzer” was published in 1976.
According to the library’s online catalogue, each title has between five and eight English-language copies currently in circulation in the library system, plus several Spanish-language editions.
However, all of the English-language titles are currently checked out with a wait list upwards of 39 people.
The library system, in the release, does advise that if these books are being shared with young readers to “consider taking the opportunity to have a conversation about the themes, characterization and the time period a book was published. Then, balance these stories with other diverse titles.”
The decision to cease publication by Dr. Seuss Enterprises has also led to rumors that the author’s books were being banned. Late last month, nearby Loudoun County had to deny such rumors that the county’s public schools were banning his books.
Full statement from Arlington Public Library is below.
Libraries across the country, Arlington Public Library among them, are having conversations about how to balance the core library value of intellectual freedom with the harmful stereotypes depicted in many of what are regarded as children’s classics.
Last week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it will cease publication and sales of six titles because they portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
Existing copies of these titles in the Arlington Public Library collection will remain in circulation until they are no longer usable. As they are now out of print, these titles will not be replaced when they leave the collection.
In light of this news, it’s worth taking a look at the books of our childhood with a critical eye. We no longer live in the world Seuss lived in when he created these works. If you want to share classics and older titles with young readers, consider taking the opportunity to have a conversation about the themes, characterization and the time period a book was published. Then balance these stories with other diverse titles.
Diversity in publishing, especially in youth literature, has been a topic of conversation and concern in the industry for a number of years. Arlington Public Library intentionally curates its collections to ensure diversity of themes, characters and authors, and systematically reviews the collection for gaps. We invite you to discover new titles and authors through our booklists, catalog and collections.
Photo (top) via Flickr/ayoub.reem
Over 8,000 books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records will be on sale this Saturday (Sept. 26) at the annual Rosslyn Reads Book Festival.
The festival is an annual fundraiser for Turning the Page, a non-profit that aids underserved students in the community. Carpe Librum, a non-profit used bookstore, will be partnering with Rosslyn BID this year to contribute to the fundraiser.
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, attendees can buy “gently used” items at a price range of $2 to $6 in Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street).
Several procedures will be in place to promote social-distancing:
- Attendees must pre-register for a one-hour time slot to shop and provide confirmation of registering upon arrival
- Review Rosslyn BID’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols before registering
- Those who do not pre-register must sign a waiver before entering
- A maximum of 50 people will be allowed inside the plaza to shop at a time
- Masks will be required for all attendees
- Hand-sanitizer stations will be available at the entrance
- Attendees will be required to follow a one-way flow of foot traffic
Photo via Rosslyn BID/Facebook
Arlington Public Library has opened its new pop-up library in the Ballston Quarter mall.
The library partnered with the Ballston Business Improvement District to create the mini lending library, which opened earlier this month on the mall’s first floor, above the Quarter Market food hall. Located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, the mall is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Fridays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., until Friday, August 2.
The Ballston pop-up features a reading nook called “Alterspace” where users can control lighting, sound effects and color. The technology behind it was developed by Harvard University’s metaLAB and is being shared outside Massachusetts for the first time.
Ballston Quarter’s website says the Alterspace reading nook is “the ideal environment for meditating, reading, collaborating, playing, or whatever activity brings you here!” The space also includes a mobile charging station for phones and tablets.
This is the library system’s second pop-up, following a successful experimental pop-up in Crystal City.
“Although the Ballston Quarter Pop-up Library is only a short walk from Central Library, we are encountering so many people who aren’t aware of the library and its resources,” said library spokesman Henrik Sundqvist.
“Meeting our community where they are — in the mall during their lunch breaks, after school, or during their evening commute — gives us an opportunity to connect new users with library materials, services, and resources, which they may not know are available to them,” he said.
At least one librarian will be on-site in the space during operating hours to help patrons with check outs and new library cards.
The summer reading program challenges children, teens and adults to read for 25 days between June 1 and Sept. 1. Readers can keep track of their progress either on a printed calendar, a library app, or online.
Once they’ve read for 25 days, readers can come into the library and show staff how much they’ve read. They’ll receive a prize and an entry into a grand prize that varies based on their age group.
According to the library website:
Adults, teens and kids in kindergarten and above who complete [the Summer Reading Challenge] will each receive a voucher for two tickets to see the Washington Nationals play at Nationals Stadium.
Seating is in the scoreboard pavilion, upper gallery or right field terrace.
The grand prize for adults is a chance to enjoy a Washington Nationals game from a private suite.
A press release noted that books, newspapers, magazines and audiobooks all qualify.
Several events are planned along with the Summer Reading Challenge, including a visit from Nationals pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The event description notes that there will be opportunities to take photos and get memorabilia signed.
For each person that completes the Summer Reading Challenge, the press release also notes that the Friends of the Arlington Public Library will donate $1 to provide books for the Arlington County Child Advocacy Center.
Arlington Public Library is struggling to keep up with demand for “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s exposé on President Donald Trump’s White House.
With a three-week checkout policy for books, it could take weeks — even months — for patrons to get their hands on a copy.
The #1 Amazon bestseller has 458 holds on 28 copies across the library system as of this afternoon. Nearly 150 people are on the waitlist for 15 audiobook copies and 252 are on the waitlist for 25 eBooks.
But some relief could be on the way. The library has ordered 61 new copies of the book, according to the library catalog website.
By comparison, demand for the #1 New York Times bestseller in fiction, “The Woman in the Window,” is lower. There are 215 holds on 35 copies. The book by A.J. Finn follows the story of heavy drinker who witnesses a crime near her Harlem townhouse.
Wolff’s book — which generated lines at local bookstores upon its Jan. 5 release — has drawn sharp rebuke from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other Trump administration officials.
“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said at a recent press conference.
Patrick Henry Elementary School principal Annie Turner kissed a pig Tuesday to mark the end of a successful Read-A-Thon at the school.
Turner had promised the students at the school at 701 S. Highland Street that if 300 or more of them turned in reading logs and had read for 500 minutes or more, she would kiss the pig at their final assembly before Thanksgiving.
And the students far exceeded that goal. Patrick Henry parent Christine Brittle, who coordinated the Read-A-Thon, said 360 students turned in reading logs and they exceeded their goal of 500 minutes reading each.
The school’s PTA sponsors the annual Read-A-Thon, which kicked off just over a month ago. Students are challenged to read at least 500 minutes, about 40 minutes a day, and earn prizes for fundraising.
The students read for 263,211 minutes altogether, the equivalent of about 4,388 hours or 182 days.
“I set a really ambitious goal, because we had a really awesome prize and I thought you all could do it,” Brittle told the students.
And so Turner puckered up with Roscoe, a pig that lives in nearby Penrose, to whoops and cheers from the more-than 400 students who assembled in the school’s gymnasium.
The Read-A-Thon also raised more than $22,000 for the school, to be spent on field trips among other things.
“I am so proud of you all for reading so much,” Turner told the students after her encounter with Roscoe. “I hope you continue to read all year and the rest of your lives.”
— Donleigh Honeywell (@APS_HankHenry) November 21, 2017
— Donleigh Honeywell (@APS_HankHenry) November 21, 2017
The Reading Connection, which has offices at 1501 Lee Highway near Rosslyn, will close its doors on Friday, August 11. It will hold its last “Read-Aloud,” where volunteers read to children at shelters and community centers, on Wednesday, August 9.
The nonprofit is dedicated to providing low-income children and their families with opportunities to read and be read to, as well as giving them free books when they might otherwise not have any.
Its volunteers held Read-Alouds at over a dozen locations — mostly apartment complexes — across the D.C. metropolitan area, including at Columbia Grove, New Hope Housing, The Shelton, The Springs, Sullivan House, Virginia Gardens and Woodbury Park in Arlington. Other locations are in Alexandria, Annandale, Bethesda and D.C.
The nonprofit’s director of program operations Stephanie Berman Hopkins announced the closure earlier today in an email to volunteers, which was obtained by ARLnow.com.
“I am so proud of the work we have done together and all of the children we have inspired to love reading,” Berman Hopkins wrote. “The impact our programs have had will continue to live on. Thank you for your dedication to this organization, the Read-Aloud program and the kids and families we serve. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you all. Our programs would not have been as strong as they have been without all of your efforts.”
In the email, Berman Hopkins said The Reading Connection’s board of directors reviewed the organization and determined it is not financially viable. TRC’s annual budget was $600,000, according to its website.
Berman Hopkins and The Reading Connection’s executive director, Catherine Keightley, declined to comment on the review, citing privacy considerations for those involved, but Keightley said finding continued funding would have been too difficult.
“What lots of reports are telling us is that funding is going to become more challenging, I think locally and regionally,” she said in a brief interview. “There may be a shift in funding priorities given some of the actions with the new [presidential] administration.”
Prior to its closing The Reading Connection will hold a book and supply sale from Monday, August 7 until Wednesday, August 9.
The email to The Reading Connection volunteers is below, after the jump.
At Arlington Public Library the library isn’t just for reading and summer reading events are not just for kids.
The library is holding two outdoor movie screenings (Aug. 6 and Aug. 13) as part of its Summer Reading 2015 for Adults event. Movies start roughly at 8:45 p.m. on the field next to Arlington Central Library (1515 N. Quincy Street).
Attendees are encourage to “bring a picnic and blanket and watch a movie under the stars.” Both movie showings are free. In the case of bad weather, the event will be canceled.
The first screening is “Empire Records” on Aug. 6. The movie, rated PG-13, is about a group of record store employees attempting to save the store from selling out, which just like the movie is a very Gen X concern.
“A flashback to a time when there were record stores and people paid to work in them,” the library notes on its event page. “It’s a day in the life of a staff of hip, quirky youngsters who are fighting a store buyout from a big greedy record store chain. Those once existed too.”
The second screening is “The Great Gatsby” on Aug. 13. The 2013 movie version of the classic book by F. Scott Fitzgerald stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, a mysterious rich man pining after an old love. The movie is also rated PG-13.
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) It was the rallying cry on social media for activism after nationwide protest surrounding several police shootings and now it’s Arlington Public Library’s theme for Arlington Reads 2015: the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
The community-wide reading initiative focuses on race, according to a library press release, in two books: “Men We Reaped,” a memoir surrounding the deaths of five young black men close to author Jesmyn Ward, and “Americanah,” a novel about African emigrants struggling with race in Western civilization by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Arlington Reads is the library’s annual attempt to bring the community together around a single topic, to encourage reading and educated discussion. This year’s theme was selected because the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was chosen as the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year in 2014 after police-related shooting deaths in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, Ohio and elsewhere in the country.
The two authors will discuss their books — both published in 2013 to broad critical acclaim — in separate events at Arlington Central Library.
Ward, a professor at Tulane University, will speak at Central Library on Wednesday, April 8, at 7:00 p.m. Adichie — known also for her TED Talk “We Should All Be Feminists” and her speaking part on Beyoncé’s song, Flawless — will speak at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. Admission to the events are free.
Images via Arlington Public Library
Arlington Two-Year-Old Has ‘Read’ 1,000+ Books — A two-year-old Arlington girl has read — or, at least, had her parents read — 1,000 books so far. The girl is the poster child for Arlington Public Library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to help children build language skills by reading what amounts to about one book a day. [Washington Post]
Jose Andres Products Coming to Whole Foods — A new line of Spanish oils, vinegars, olives and “easy-to-make paella kits” from Chef Jose Andres, of Jaleo fame, will be coming to Whole Foods stores around the Washington area next month. [Washington Business Journal]
Road Closures for 9/11 Heroes Race — A number of roads in the Crystal City and Arlington Ridge areas will be closed Saturday morning for the 9/11 Heroes 5K Race. Parking restrictions will also be in place. [Arlington County]