Early Reading is Key to Success in Later Life (Part 1)

30 08 2010

A recent report from the Annie E Casey Foundation highlights the importance of reading, especially in the early years of life.  Though we have known for a while how important early reading is, their findings show highlight the importance for a child to be reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.  Children who are reading at grade level by this time are less likely to drop out of high school, and thus are more likely to be higher wage earners, less likely to be arrested, and less likely to have a child as a teenager.

Why is the 3rd grade so important?

Up to the third grade, education is focused on helping children learn to read.  Activities and instruction are geared toward expanding and sharpening these skills.  However, in the change from third to fourth grade there is a shift in education and instruction.  In the fourth grade typically students are now reading to learn. In order to understand the information being taught in all areas, the student must be able to read at their grade leve.  It is reported that if the student is not proficiently reading at a third grade level by the fourth grade they could miss as much as half of the information being presented. Teachers rely on the students ability to be able to read and comprehend material to teach them about different subjects.  Therefore, lowered reading skills begin to affect all other areas such as social studies, math and science.

Considering how important reading skills are at this age, it may not be surprising to learn that if a student is not reading well, they may also be more likely to have behavioral and social problems.  Because of the importance of reading for comprehension at this time, it is easy to understand how a student may begin to act out in other ways if they are not understanding the material being taught.

Who is affected?

According to the report, many students are not reaching proficiency by the third grade, and this is a big problem.  These students are our future workers- our future thinkers, educators and businessmen and women- and they are often starting out missing the skills they need.  It was found that by the third grade over 50% of students are not reading proficiently.  This is regardless of income, race or location (urban, suburban, rural).  Even more shocking, however, is that when we consider income, over 80% are not reading proficiently at their age group, in all locations (urban, suburban and rural).

Check back later for Part 2, To find out how you, as a parent, can help your child succeed.

Americans Concerned About Their Weight:

25 08 2010

Americans Concerned About Their Weight:.  Check out this article.

A Comparison of traditional and Greek yogurt

23 08 2010

Recently, I was quoted in a Mother Jones article comparing Greek yogurt with the traditional yogurt found on our supermarket shelves for decades.  The article discusses which kind of yogurt is more nutritious and which is better for the environment.  Take a read, venture a taste test, and decide for yourself.

Cheers, Julie

Family Meals

23 08 2010

Finding time for family meals can be difficult, but is very important.  Make this a time to reconnect with family members and find out what is going on with them.  Eating together as a family has been proven to help reduce the chance that your child will get involved with drugs and alcohol.

As the new school year starts, it’s a good time to set some new routines.  Make family meals a part of your daily routine.

Make family meals simple and easy by planning ahead.  Use your crockpot for busy days, serving a fresh salad and fruit for side dishes.

Author:  Linnette Mizer Goard, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Happy Birthday to canned food!

20 08 2010

Almost 200 years ago, a British man patented his idea to store preserved food in tincans.  Nowadays, there are more than 600 sizes and styles of cans being manufactured.  Canned food can be nutritious, convenient, tasty, and cheap.   Check out the recipe below for Texas Caviar, a combination of canned items and fresh.  Perfect for the upcoming tailgating season.  Post your favorite recipe containing canned foods!

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1 cup green pepper, chopped

1 small can jalapeno peppers, chopped

1 T. minced garlic

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained

1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas, drained

1 can (15 oz.) hominy, drained

1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 bottle (8 oz.) low-fat zesty Italian dressing

Mix all ingredients except cilantro in a large bowl.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator about 2 hours.  Toss with cilantro before serving.  Serve with baked tortilla chips or whole wheat pita.

Canned foods are also environmentally-conscious; 82 million tons of steel were recycled last year from cans that never made it to the landfill.

Cheers, Julie

Vampire Power…it costs you money!

10 08 2010

Household appliances and electronic contribute to a significant portion of the expenses seen on monthly electric bills. What consumers many not know is a large part of that expense could be a result of time that appliances or electronics are not even in use.

Energy experts say that 5 to 10 percent of home electricity is used by appliances that are in standby mode. In Ohio, that means approximately $55 to $100 per year could be saved on your electric bill from vampire power.  The money saved could be put into your savings account earning interest!

Clock radios, satellite/cable boxes and digital video recorders, TV, DVD and CRC, computer, printer and monitors, even microwaves and room air conditioners all use up vampire power.

Unplug electronic products that have standby mode when away from home for several days. Use power strips to help eliminate vampire power coming from multiple appliances. Shut down a computers instead of only logging off. These tips will save you money.

Resource: Office of the Ohio Consumers Counsel 2010                                                                                                            

Written by: Cora french-Robinson, CFLE, Extension Educator

The Morning Rush

9 08 2010

It’s that time of year when we are looking out our windows to see the yellow buses transporting precious cargo to local schools.  However excited they are to begin school, there is always the change in schedule which may cause a little stress in the morning.  Time management experts suggest that if we take the first two weeks of the school year and get a routine in place that accomodates everyones needs, the rest of the year will go much smoother.  Here are a few other tips that may make your morning a little less harried:

*Set your clocks ahead, just 5 or 10 minutes may be all you need to keep you on task and on time.  If there are several people waiting for the bathroom, make a schedule and everyone gets 10 or 15 minutes.  Maybe use a timer to stick to the schedule. 

*Lay out clothing for everyone the night before, including socks and shoes.  No more last minute searches for the favorite tennis shoe.  Have a time schedule posted so that children know how much time they have to get ready, and when breakfast will be ready.  A timer might help here also  to keep them moving, if they can see the minutes ticking away, it helps to develop self discipline.

*Have a box or basket near the door for each child to have everything they need to take in the morning.  Books, lunch money, hat, gloves, sports gear, etc.  If items are not available (in the dryer) make a note and stick it to the box so it can be retreived before heading out the door.   Great idea for parents to have their briefcase or purse, keys, lunch, etc in the area so you are ready also.

*Start going to bed earlier.  It may take a few weeks to get your body used to going to bed an hour or so earlier, but you’ll find it easier to get up in the morning

*If you go to bed earlier, it will be easier to get up earlier.  Plan to get up at least 30 minutes before your children so that you can be ready to face the day before they get up

*Make time for breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.  Set the table the night before, set the cereal boxes out so you’ll be ready when they are.  If you must eat on the run, choose nutritious foods, such as fruits, cheese and crackers, whole grain muffins or bagels, or even a sandwich.

*Prepare lunches the night before or along with breakfast.  Make sure to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in the menu.  Place the note beside the door to not forget the lunchbox. 

Make a quick check list of things they are to do before they leave their room (like make the bed, feed the hampster and pick up their clothes) and another one beside the door before they leave the house, of all the things they are to take with them.  Before long you can take the list down because it’s become part of their “habit” and when they have a routine, hopefully, so will you.


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