May 22: Minneapolis school enrolls parents for reading gains

  • Article by: Steve Brandt , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 27, 2013 - 7:58 PM

A bottom-up effort by sixth-grade teachers raised scores at the heavily Latino Andersen School in Minneapolis. Now supporters want to expand.

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jeffportMay. 22, 13 4:45 AM

Hello.... The parents should already have been well engaged & involved in their child's education from the time of birth. No new study or program need to have been started etc... It all starts in the home. What should have been done is mandatory parental involvement. Parents must attend parent teacher conferences Make sure all parents can get involved by giving them the time away from work.

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odinmanMay. 22, 13 6:35 AM

When my daughter attended a K-8 private school, all the kids in each grade were required to set a goal at the beginning of each semister to amass a certain amount of "points". Points were earned by reading grade appropriate books (there was a huge selection) and then pass a short quiz about the book. Each student could set their own goals. I am not sure if there was a minimum of points required. Small prizes were awarded...usually donated coupons from Subway, Pizza Hut..etc for those who reached their goals. This program costs virtually nothing and engages both students and parents. If you start it early enough, the kids get used to having to read books throughout the school year and most come to enjoy it.

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beaglemomMay. 22, 13 7:54 AM

I am confused as to when parents became disengaged and when schools had to teach parents. My immigrant grandmother read to my mother, who in turn read to me and my husband and I read to our daughter...well into elementary when she took over and began reading to her brother. Sadly when you create a climate where you rely on the government for all your basic needs this is what happens next.

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tandabuss1May. 22, 13 8:27 AM

You guys aren't getting it. The parents and teachers are working together--that's the revolutionary thing here. Instead of pointing fingers and blaming, both focus energies on the KID and the KID's needs. Gheesh!

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swmnguyMay. 22, 13 8:57 AM

It is kind of sad that having parents work with teachers to educate their kids, and having parents read to and with their kids is considered "extraordinary." But this isn't a new issue, and it has nothing to do with "Today's society is going down the tubes, dad-gummit!"

When I was a kid over 40 years ago, all of my family showed up for kindergarten able to read. Teachers in the early 1970s in rural Minnesota said that was not possible; we couldn't really read; we had just memorized favorite stories and our parents just thought we could read. I remember this very clearly. I was insulted, hearing this, so I read the teacher's diploma, which she had hanging on the wall. Then I picked up a document from her desk and read that to her. She and the principal were so shocked; somehow, they still didn't believe I could really read and they thought our parents were up to something devious.

All my parents had done was read. They read themselves, they read to us, we had books around all over the place and when we were bored and milling around and starting to get destructive, they handed us a book. They encouraged us to understand that written language was really the same as spoken language, and we might as well learn to read around the same time and with a similar process to the way we learned to talk. Nobody thinks it remarkable when a kid shows up to Kindergarten able to talk.

I did the same thing with my kids, but in the Minneapolis Public Schools in the early 2000's, nobody thought it was that weird. Great, but not weird.

America's mainstream culture has never valued education or reading or "book-larnin'." That's why we face such an educational hurdle, and why we think nothing of spending millions to keep people in prisons for a lifetime, but bridle at spending thousands to education them to keep them out of the prisons.

Good for Andersen school, though.

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wedgegirlMay. 22, 13 9:17 PM

As an Ivy League educated parent I cannot relate to a parent with an eighth grade education except that I believe that parent loves their child. This is a great program to help parents help their children. Enough said.

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