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Studysync.net

New Rules for a New Game
For a lover of literature, the twenty-first century represents a dream-come-true. Today, through websites such as Gutenberg.org, Bartleby.com, poets.org, Google Books, and countless others, millions of books, stories, and poems are accessible and absolutely free to anyone—24 hours a day, 7 days per week. With devices such as the Kindle and Nook, the latest literary works can be delivered silently and effortlessly in digital format, usually at a cost comparable to the price of a movie ticket. Of course, publications made from paper and cloth are still plentiful, with approximately 290,000 new titles and editions debuting in 2009 in the United States.1 Despite the unprecedented accessibility and low cost of books, students are reading literature less and turning to electronic media more.2 On average, students consume over ten hours of electronic media per day while they read books for only a few minutes.3 A student experiences multi-tasking as a daily fact-of-life, as attention flits from doing homework to texting friends, watching television, listening to music, and checking updates on social networking sites.4 Most students do not hate reading, but reading barely registers on the list of priorities.5 Unsurprisingly, a recent survey of reading found one in three adolescents claimed they would read more if they could read a book on a digital device.6 While most teachers would agree that “Ten minutes a day devoted affectionately to good books…will in thirty years make all the difference between a cultivated and an uncultivated man [sic], between a man mentally rich and a man mentally poor,” students overwhelmingly prefer to pursue other endeavors.7 Most adolescents are not eager to engage in activities that are solitary, intellectually-taxing, and silent, though solo, taxing, and silent have characterized literary study at the secondary level for decades.8 Because many adolescents today avoid reading, their experiences with books and the bundle of skills associated with learning through books—construing the definitions of unfamiliar words in context, creating pictures in the mind, making inferences, and predicting outcomes—may not be fully developed. Over one hundred years ago, William James noted the importance of attention in shaping experience.
Millions of items of the outward order are present to my senses which never properly enter into my experience. Why? Because they have no interest for me. My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind—without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos.9 Estimates are that adolescents receive more than 3,000 externally-generated messages (texts, emails, ads, commercials, etc…) per day.10 During her first month using an iPhone, a high school student in Sacramento, California (U.S.A.) sent or received over 300,000 texts in thirty days, an average of 10,000 texts a day, or more than seven messages per minute.11 Checking Facebook, chatting with friends, downloading videos from the Internet, shopping online, and simply trying to “keep up” with the flood of communiqués requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Researchers who chart trends in media use (including books) have documented that student interactions with electronic media have increased every year since 1999.12 The most dramatic increases in student use of media are with computers (230% increase) and video games (180% increase), two areas that are expected to continue to lead the growth over the next decade, especially as handheld devices become smaller, smarter, and ever more powerful.13 Print is the only medium that has registered a decrease.
Time-Use studies provide additional insight into how adolescents are choosing to spend their leisure time outside of school.14 Of a student’s 6 hours and forty minutes of leisure time per day on a weekend, only a little over 5 minutes is spent reading. Students spend thirty times (30x) more time watching TV; twelve times (12x) more time playing around on the computer—than reading.
Adolescent use of leisure time on weekends and holidays, 2009 Activity
Time spent in minutes
Percentage of time
Total leisure time= 400 minutes (6 hours, 40 minutes) The term psychic energy has been suggested as a way of measuring directed attention.15 Say that a typical adolescent has the equivalent of 10 psychic energy chips, which represent the day’s possible expenditures of attention (which does not include sleep, eating, and maintenance functions). The average adolescent spends most of his/her chips (4+2+1.5) watching TV, socializing, and using the computer for fun. The remaining few chips are spent on recreation or “other activities.” That leaves zero chips for activities that are at least somewhat related to the development of the intellect—reading and relaxing/thinking. It is also useful to keep in mind that these are averages. Obviously, some students read more than 5 minutes per day; conversely, some students fail to log even 5 minutes.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers in the 21st century is convincing students to spend their psychic energy on activities that are worthy of their time.16 Learning and the brain
Neuroscientists confirm that the activities a person chooses to pursue have an effect not only on the development of identity and the self, but also on the physical structure of the brain.17 The brain is involved in an ongoing process of evolution, a kind of “survival of the fittest” battle at the cellular level.18 Although the plasticity of the brain is well established, contemporary researchers have begun to pinpoint changes in the brain through sophisticated imaging techniques.19 Activities that stimulate the intellect build related connections in the brain and make success possible for increasingly challenging tasks. If the intellect is not stimulated, then the parts of the brain associated with rational thought weaken.
In fact, reading helps build the “information highways” over which the brain processes inputs. Using MRI scans to assess the brains of struggling readers, neuroscientists have found that many struggling readers possess “lower structural quality” in certain areas of the brain. In one study, researchers administered a program of 100 hours of intensive “reading therapy” to struggling readers.20 Subsequent MRI scans revealed that the physical structure of the brain changed in every reader who received the reading therapy. The part of the brain associated with reading had grown thicker. To reiterate, as struggling readers began to read more often and to read more effectively, their brains changed shape to mirror the change in stimulus. The brains of struggling readers became more like the brains of expert readers. However, just because an activity has beneficial effects does not mean that students will love it.21 Attitude towards a subject is a critical factor in determining the level of student participation, and talent blooms only after concerted effort.22 Some recent research indicates that true mastery in a field is only attainable after 10,000 hours or more of practice.23 A student who dislikes reading is unlikely to pursue reading as a leisure time activity and, as a result, is more likely to do poorly on assignments that are predicated upon the comprehension of texts (which includes all academic subjects, even math). Without a sufficient investment of time and energy, the act of reading becomes increasingly arduous for the struggling reader. Neuroscientist Michael Posner writes, “While acquiring expertise is easier for some than others the importance of effort in its acquisition is a basic principle. Networks are strengthened through exercise, but maintaining interest that produces sustained attention is key to making exercises successful.”24 In the twentieth century, a teacher of English might have been able to assign 50 pages from Twain’s Huck Finn for homework, but assigning 50 pages of text without providing additional support to students today seems like a recipe for disaster.25 Twain’s extensive use of dialect and slang make comprehension challenging, even for expert readers. Students who obsess about grades might search on the Internet for information on Huck or try to find a few film clips on YouTube, but many would not bother with opening the book.26 Decoding and understanding a text requires work and the payoff, be it entertainment or knowledge, is far from guaranteed. When a student receives a message on a cell phone, the machine plays a song and the screen flickers. When a student signs into a video game, the machine responds with images, sound, and instantaneous feedback. When a student opens a traditional, cloth-bound book, he/she encounters pages of lines and squiggles (letters and words) that demand immediate attention and the exertion of cognitive processes. Thus, making reading an enjoyable experience is essential to developing competent readers. StudySync’s advanced technology presents the intellectual richness of literature and the aesthetic, lived-through experience of books in a multimedia package that invites students to enjoy reading, writing, thinking, and creating.27 Distinguishing features of StudySync include the following: • Attractive entry points • Lessons created with the adolescent brain in mind• Visual and auditory supports • Engaging simulations that model critical thinking and textual analysis• Readily accessible, diverse texts, including classic and contemporary works; fiction and non-fiction • Curriculum that clearly aligns with Common Core and NCTE standards, but also reaches well Attractive entry points
Students who are not successful readers are well aware of the extent to which academic success is built upon reading.28 Many struggling readers find it difficult to understand words in ways that generate pictures in the mind, so they may refuse to read at all, especially if the purpose of reading is to satisfy a teacher request.29 For these students, the entry point to reading seems elusive, and they may become quickly disenchanted and “check-out” mentally, even before reading begins.30 In contrast, when students log on to Facebook, they are greeted by messages left by friends and acquaintances—“Do you remember me? Did you see what I wrote? What are you doing right now?” When a student reads and responds on Facebook, words are instantly published and become part of an ongoing, online dialogue, open to an audience of the world or a small circle of friends. The entry point into Facebook is effortless and the content may be less than intellectual, but students cannot get enough of it.31 A Facebook-addicted teen, interviewed about his use of the site, said, “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified, anyway.”32 StudySync uses an attractive entry point, like Facebook, but eases students into activities that involve reading, writing, and thinking rather than conversations about “favorites.” To introduce each text, StudySync offers a brief preview of the selection, much like a “coming attraction” for a new movie, and provides images and sounds with the text. Entry to reading is painless and enjoyable. The idea is to immerse students in a text before they even realize that they have started reading. Lessons created with the adolescent brain in mind
Parts of the brain associated with motor skills and sensory integration develop relatively early in adolescence, while areas of the brain associated with planning and decision making continue to develop well into the twenties.33 For adolescents who might not have fully realized organizational skills (some 50-year-olds also may fit this category), StudySync’s built-in tracking software helps chart student progress while automatically keeping up with assignments and due dates. The program is designed to involve students in anxiety-free, achievable, step-by-step tasks that build toward complexity over time. Images lead to reading, reading merges into writing, and writing promulgates more thinking and deeper reading. Adolescents’ natural predilection for “novel objects or social stimuli” is assumed. 34 The stimulus and format change often, and assignments are channeled through social media. StudySync’s “Blast,” in essence, a continually-updated social network, highlights breaking news and hot-button issues that are suitable for discussion, writing, and extended projects. Students receive text updates on new articles as well as the latest, greatest peer comments as they are posted.
The StudySync platform is an immersive experience. As students are eased into a text, they are surrounded on all sides by multisensory supports. The videos used in StudySync (such as SyncTV) are created in increments of five to eight minutes, which fit with the optimal attention spans of most students, according to neuroscientists.35 Visual and auditory supports
With a power and complexity that would surpass the newest, fastest supercomputer, “visual intelligence” takes up almost half of the brain’s cortex.36 The region of the brain associated with vision intertwines with areas of the brain associated with the limbic system, so an emotional response often accompanies the viewing of an image. Most students prefer visual to auditory or tactile stimuli and learn more when visual stimuli are used in instruction.37 A good rule of thumb for a teacher is “the more visuals…the better.”38 An exhaustive report on teaching reading in the United Kingdom found that multisensory stimuli were keys to student success. “The best teaching…was at a brisk pace, fired children’s interest, often by engaging them in multi-sensory activities, drew upon a mix of stimulating resources, and made sure that they received praise for effort and achievement.”39 Research on students with a variety of learning disabilities supports the use of images and other sensory aids in helping students to understand letters and words.40 Perhaps it is unsurprising that visual and auditory instructional strategies have proven effective in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) as well.41 As Teele has noted, “Good literacy instruction for English Language Learners looks very much like good literacy instruction for students in general.”42 About the importance of sensory inputs in learning, film producer/director George Lucas commented, “Today we work with the written or spoken word as the primary form of communication. But we also need to understand the importance of graphics, music, and cinema, which are just as powerful and in some ways more deeply intertwined with young people’s culture.”43 Additional support for the use of visual stimuli to enhance reading comprehension may be found in any of the 119 chapters of the Handbook On Teaching Literacy Through The Communicative And Visual Arts Volumes I And II published by the International Reading Association.44 Engaging simulations that model critical thinking and textual analysis
Recent analyses of classroom discussions have found that students are engaging in few in-depth conversations about reading during the school day.45 Indeed, the liveliest discussions in the best classrooms were found to be superficial and fleeting—lasting, on average, less than a minute.46 Students today may not know how to participate in a good discussion because they have seldom participated in one. Simulations have become popular in many fields, though they have yet to gain much of a following in the K-12 classroom. Soldiers preparing for the exigencies of battle in a foreign land participate in “war games” in locations in their own country that possess land features and weather similar to where they will be sent.47 Doctors trying out new surgical procedures practice on cadavers, experimental dummies, and virtual patients.48 Physicists experimenting with particle acceleration try out several possible scenarios through computer simulation before actualizing the experiment in the real world.49 Simulations may be particularly effective for struggling readers because they encourage learning through observation and reflection in low-risk environments. Students can observe and try out strategies without worrying about peer approval or “being wrong.” One of the delights of StudySync is that reading selections are accompanied by videos of smart, sometimes rakish college students discussing the nuances of theme, technique, and meaning. These simulations, called SyncTV, show in fine detail the give-and-take, stop-and-start, evidence-based deep reading that are the hallmarks of a good discussion. Readily accessible, diverse selection of texts, including classic and contemporary works; fiction
and non-fiction

One of the difficulties of teaching English is keeping up with the reading. While 290,000 new books and editions are published every year, thousands of other electronic publications are coming online every day—websites, blogs, wikis, archives. Of course, there are also the latest newspapers, magazines, and professional journals to consider, as well.
The number of books on the list of “essential reading” seems endless.50 Literary critic Harold Bloom’s recommendations, presented in the appendices of The Western Canon, numbers over 800 volumes.51 At the rate of reading one book per week, it would take 16 years of intense reading for an English teacher to get to the bottom of Dr. Bloom’s list. Unfortunately, it is impossible for an English teacher to read everything. Some teachers might not have read many nineteenth century British novels; some might not enjoy modern poetry. Yet, both the Common Core and NCTE standards advocate that students read print and non-print literature of diverse genre and variable complexity, including classic and contemporary works. The goal is to “broaden perspectives” (Common Core) with a “wide range of texts and self-reflection” (NCTE).
Many of the authors cited in the Common Core standards are included in the StudySync library. For example, a lesson in StudySync involving the first chapter of The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn prompts students to analyze specific details in the text to demonstrate the ways that Mark Twain conveys Huck’s character. The works of Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, George Orwell, Arthur Miller, Charlotte Brontë, Anton Chekhov, Abraham Lincoln, and others are featured in the StudySync digital library. Curriculum that clearly aligns with Common Core and NCTE standards, but also reaches well
beyond them

Although the Common Core Standards have yet to become the official national curriculum, efforts are already underway to build national high school board examinations based upon Common Core expected outcomes. 52 Undeniably, Common Core standards in English have remarkable similarities to NCTE/IRA standards.53 NCTE Standards 1 and 2 and Common Core Reading Standards 7 and 10, for example, promote an expansive reading base—digital texts, eBooks, magazines, online news, videos, blogs, web shows, online advertising, podcasts, and videocasts. Both standards emphasize using informational texts in a range of subjects to address complex problems in logical, systematic ways. The NCTE standard notes, “It is not enough to read a variety of works [but] students also need to discover the connections among them” (Standard 1). Similarly, Common Core Reading Standard 9 requires that students compare the themes of two or more texts. The “Blast” section of StudySync, which highlights controversial, breaking developments from around the world, helps address Common Core and NCTE standards related to contemporary texts and research. The “Blast” is composed of several interactive components designed to help students gather more information and construct informed opinions. A precis provides relevant background information and a hyperlink called “Research Links” offers instant access to Wikipedia, Business Insider Online, and other websites. Sometimes, the “Blast” asks students to take a poll, fill-out a questionnaire, or share an opinion. Responses get updated immediately and segue into online conversations, more dialogue, and deeper research. “Blasts” relate to “student’s interests…role in society and the workplace” (NCTE Standard 1) and require the synthesis of myriad sources of information (NCTE Standard 8). The Common Core Reading Standards 4, 5, and 6 require students to consider word choice in literary works as well as in their own writing, revising, and discussion. Both sets of standards advocate for a staircase approach to reading, with students building towards more difficult texts and more complex writing assignments over time. Vocabulary naturally grows in complexity in concert with the increasing difficulty level of readings. NCTE Standard 9, for example, suggests that students study dialects, patterns, and word choice in such a way that prepares them for progressively more challenging texts. Both sets of standards emphasize language growth through listening and discussion as well as reading. Common Core Writing Standards 1, 2, and 3 emphasize argumentation, logical arguments, evidence-gathering, and documentation. Narrative and Expository Writing assignments are expected but Research and Argumentation modes of writing (Common Core Standards 7, 8, and 9; NCTE Standard 7) are emphasized. Students must conduct research through evaluation, interpretation, and synthesis and to present results in essays, posters, speeches, and multimedia presentations. Common Core Writing Standards 4, 5, and 6 address the Production and Distribution of Writing, which holds similarities to NCTE Standards 4 and 5, which focus on students’ ability to adjust the use of spoke, written, and visual language to communicate effectively to different audiences for a variety of purposes. Implicit throughout both Common Core and NCTE standards is the archetype of teacher as intellectual leader, eager to discover new ways of utilizing emerging technologies to help students address difficulties and maximize learning. Conclusion
In 1900, relatively few adolescents graduated from high school, the school year was brief, and a teacher was any kind soul willing to take a high-stress job for a low wage.54 Despite recent vituperative criticism, the progress of public education over the past hundred years has been remarkable. Increasingly, the expectation is for high school students to enroll in and graduate from college.55 Such a goal assumes that the “bottom 75%” of students, those who traditionally have chosen not to go to college, must make unprecedented progress over the next few years. After all, many of these students are struggling readers who may lack the academic skills necessary for post-secondary study. Similarly, the brightest students, whom experts characterize as perennially underperforming, have ample room for growth, especially in the areas of application, creativity, and innovation.56 The National Assessment of Educational Progress, which has administered criterion-referenced tests in literacy since 1971, reports that only one to two-percent (1-2%) of American adolescents are able to read and write at the highest, “advanced” level every year.57 Instruction-as-usual seems unlikely to engender the kind of radical transformation that is needed. The truth is that talent abounds among adolescents, but the school curriculum, as it currently exists, does not have much leeway for the development of talent. Indeed, “Many talented people end up in low-paying, dead-end jobs because their areas of strength were never developed.”58 Thus, while most adolescents are capable of reading and writing at an advanced level, very few actually do.
New instructional approaches that focus on higher levels of student engagement, personalized instruction, and real-life, real-time experiences are essential if higher academic goals are to be realized. StudySync is just the kind of “robust and relevant to the real world” tool that will help students make the transition to “success in college and careers.” 59 1 Bowker Corporation. “Bowker Reports Traditional U.S. Book Production Flat in 2009,” accessed December 14, 2010, http://www.bowker.com/index.php/press-releases/616-bowker-reports-traditional-us-book-production-flat-in-2009.
2 Lawrence Baines. A Teacher’s Guide to Multisensory Learning (Alexandria, VA: ASCD): 1-12; National Endowment for the Arts. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2004.
3 Mary Allard. “How High School Students Use Time: A Visual Essay,” Monthly Labor Review, November, 2008: 51-61. “American Time Use Survey 2009.” Accessed December 14, 2010, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.toc.htm.
4 Researchers found that students utilize multiple media simultaneously (multitask) approximately 29% of the time.
See Victoria Rideout, Ulla Foehr, and Donald Roberts, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds (Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). 5 According to data from PIRLS and PISA, American students think reading is “okay” in fourth grade, but they like it less in 8th grade, and least in 12th grade. See Justin Baer, Stéphane Baldi, and Kaylin Ayott. The Reading Literacy of U.S. Fourth-Grade Students in an International Context: Results From the 2001 and 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). (Washington D.C. National Center for Education Statistics, 2007); PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do – Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science (Volume I), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264091450-en.
6 Harrison Group. Scholastic 2010 Kids & Family Reading Report: Turning the Page in the Digital Age. Accessed December 14, 2010, www.scholastic.com/readingreport.
7 Charles Eliot. The Happy Life. (New York: The Independent, 1895): 20.
8 For a historical view of teaching literature, see Arthur Applebee. Tradition and Reform in the Teaching of English. (Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1974). For a discussion of negative views of adolescents concerning solitary and silent activities, see Mihaly Ciskszentmihalyi. Flow, (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991) and Irena Stepanikova, Norman Nie, and Xiaobin He, “Time On the Internet at Home, Loneliness, and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Panel Time-Diary Data,” Computers in Human Behavior 26 (2010): 329-338.
9 William James. Principles of Psychology, (New York: Henry Holt, 1890): 402.
10 William Taylor. “Permission Marketing,” Fast Company, December 18, 2007, http://www.fastcompany.com/ 11 KCRA.com. “Teen Tops More than 300,000 Text in Month.” www.kera.com/print/19369840/detail.html; Amanda Lenhart, Rich Ling, Scott Campbell, and Kristen Purcell. Teens And Mobile Phones: Text Messaging Explodes As Teens Embrace It As The Centerpiece Of Their Communication Strategies With Friends. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 2010, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones.aspx.
12 Victoria Rideout, Ulla Foehr, and Donald Roberts, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. 13 The Nielsen Company. “Television, Internet and Mobile Usage in the US,” Three Screen Report Volume 8 (1st quarter, 2010), http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/3_screens_4q08_final.pdf.
14 Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Table 11: Time spent in leisure and sport activities for the civilian population by selected characteristics, 2009, annual averages.” Accessed February 14, 2011, http://data.bls.gov/cti-bin/print.pl/news.release/atus.t11.htm.
15 Ciskszentmihalyi, Flow, 30.
16 In Nicomachean Ethics, book II:VI, Aristotle writes, “Both fear and confidence and appetite and anger and pity and in general pleasure and pain may be felt both too much and too little, and in both cases not well; but to feel them at the right times, with reference to the right objects, towards the right people, with the right motive, and in the right way, is what is both intermediate and best, and this is characteristic of virtue.” http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.mb.txt 17 Of the many recent books on the plasticity of the brain, the following volumes are particularly pertinent for teachers: Richard Restak. Think Smart, (New York: Penguin, 2009); John Medina. Brain Rules, (Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2008); Torkel Klingberg. The Overflowing Brain, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). 18 Gerald Edelman. Neural Darwinism, (New York: Basic Books, 1989).
19 Plasticity was well established by the 1980s. See Marian Diamond. Enriching Heredity (New York: Free Press, 1988). In experiments, certain drugs (in this case, Aricept) have been used to augment perception and intelligence. See Ariel Rokem and Michael Silver. “Cholingergic Enhancement Augments Magnitude and Specificity of Visual Perceptual Learning in Healthy Humans,” Current Biology 20, October 12, 2010: 1723-1728. Ritalin has also shown to have positive effects on intelligence and perception in individuals who do not have ADHD. See Klingberg, Overflowing Brain, 157-162.
20 Timothy Keller and Marcel Just. “Altering Cortical Connectivity: Remediation-Induced Changesin the White Matter of Poor Readers,” Neuron 64, December 10, 2009: 624–631. 21 Exercise is beneficial, too, but adolescents are far more obese today that they were twenty years ago. See Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “U.S. Obesity Trends,” http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html.
22 Anders Ericsson, Ralf Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer. “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance,” Psychological Review 100(3), 1993: 363-406.
23 Among the books that mention the 10,000-hour rule are the following: David Shenk. The Genius in All of Us, (New York: Doubleday, 2010); Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008); Daniel Coyle. The Talent Code, (New York: Bantam, 2009).
24 Michael Posner. “Bridging Cognitive And Neural Aspects Of Classroom Learning,” 2009 Physics Education Research Conference, Aip Conference Proceedings 1179, 2009: 39-42.
25 Alfie Kohn, The Homework Myth, (New York: De Capo Press, 2006).
26 See E. Polloway, M. Epstein, and R. Foley. “A Comparison Of The Homework Problems Of Students With Learning Disabilities And Non-Handicapped Students,” Learning Disabilities: Research and Practice, 7, 1992: 203-209. Data from the Programme for International Student Assessment indicates no correlation between homework and achievement in most OECD countries. See Program of International Student Assessment, http://www.pisa.oecd.
org/. According to David Baker and Gerald Letendre, “The relationship between national patterns of homework and national achievement suggest that…more homework may actually undermine national achievement.” National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005), 130.
27 From Louise Rosenblatt: “The student needs to be given the opportunity and the courage to approach literature personally, to let it mean something to him directly.” Literature as Exploration, (New York: Appleton-Century, 1938): 81. See also Edmund Farrell, Living the English Profession, (Spring, TX: Absey, 2010): 111-115. 28 John Guthrie and Marcia Davis. “Motivating Struggling Readers In Middle School Through An Engagement Model Of Classroom Practice,” Reading & Writing Quarterly, 19: 59-85, 2003.
29 James Britton. The Development of Writing Abilities. (Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1975).
30 High School Survey of Student Engagement. Voices of Students on Engagement, (Bloomington, IN: Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, 2005). See also Craig Gerald. Identifying Potential Dropouts: Key Lessons for Building an Early Warning Data System, (A white paper prepared for Staying the Course: High Standards and Improved Graduation Rates, a joint project of Achieve and Jobs for the Future, funded by the Carnegie Corp. of New York, 2006): 5-6.
31 Mark Zuckerberg. “500 Million Stories,” accessed on December 14, 2010, http://blog.facebook.com/blog.
32 Matt Richtel. “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction,” New York Times, November 21, 2010, A1.
33 Society for Neuroscience. “The Adolescent Brain,” Brain Briefings, (January 2007): 1-3. 34 L. P. Spear. “The Adolescent Brain And Age-Related Behavioral Manifestations,” Neuroscience and Biobehaviorial 36 Richard Restak. The New Brain. (New York: Rodale, 2003), 63-89; Donald Hoffman. Visual Intelligence, (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998); L. Bonner and A. Burton, “Getting to Know You: How We Learn New Faces.” Visual Cognition 10(5), 2003: 527-536.
37 R. Dunn, S. Griggs, J. Olson, M. Beasley, and B. Gorman. “A Meta-Analytical Validation of the Dunn and Dunn Model of Learning-Style Preferences.” Journal of Educational Research 99 (1995): 353-362.
38 L. Silverman. Upside-Down Brilliance. (Denver, CO: DeLeon Publishing, 2002): 278.
39 J. Rose. Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading. (Nottingham, England: DfES Publications, 2006): 16.
40 R. Arnheim, Visual Thinking. (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1997); Temple Grandin. Thinking in Pictures. (New York: Vintage, 2006); Kit Tisdale. “Disability Studies Matters,” in Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts Volume II, eds. James Flood, Shirley Brice Heath, and Diane Lapp, (New York: Lawrence Earlbaum, 2008): 169-176.
41 R. Gersten, S. Baker, T. Shanahan, S. Linan-Thompson, P. Collins, and R. Scarcella. Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades. (Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, 2008).
42 William Teale. “Students Learning English and Their Literacy Instruction in Urban Schools,” The Reading Teacher 43 James Daley. “George Lucas: Life on the Screen: Visual Literacy in Education.” Edutopia 1(1), 36-40.
44 Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts Volume II; Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts Volume I, eds. James Flood, Shirley Brice Heath, and Diane Lapp, (New York: Macmillan, 1997).
45 Karen Schoenberger. “Speaking Up: The Why and How of Class Discussion.” Oklahoma English Journal, Spring 2010: 46 Arthur Applebee, Judith Langer, Martin Nystrand, and Adam Gamora. “Discussion-Based Approaches to Developing Understanding,” American Educational Research Journal 40(3), 2003: 685-730.
47 Paul Stanton. “Unit Immersion in Mosul,” Military Review, July/August 2006: 60-70; Anna Murline, “Not War but Close Enough,” U.S. News & World Report 144(9), 2008: 27.
48 James Takayesu, Eric Nadel, Briti Bhatia, and Ron Walls. “Incorporating Simulation into a Residency Curriculum,” CJEM: The Journal of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, 12(4), 2010: 349-353; Victoria Elfrink, Bonnie Kirkpatrick, Jami Nininger, and Carolyn Schubert. “Using Learning Outcomes to Inform Teaching Practices in Human Patient Simulation,” Nursing Education Perspectives 31(2), March/April 2010: 97-100; Medical Modeling and Simulation Database access on December 15, 2010, http://www.medicalmodsim.com/index.html.
49 S. Martins, R. Fonseca, J. Vieira, L. Silva, W. Lu, and W. Mori. “Modeling Laser Wakefield Accelerator Experiments With Ultrafast Particle-In-Cell Simulations In Boosted Frames,” Physics of Plasmas 17(5), May 2010, http://pop.aip.org/resource/1/phpaen/v17/i5/p056705_s1.
50 Clifton Fadiman. The Lifetime Reading Plan. (New York: Harper & Row, 1988); Time. “Time 100 Greatest Novels,” accessed December 15, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1951793,00.html; Modern Library. “Modern Library 100 Best Novels,” accessed December 15, 2010, http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/; David Denby. Great Books, (New York: Touchstone, 1996).
51 Harold Bloom. The Western Canon, (New York: Riverhead, 1995).
52 Common Core State Standards Initiative. “English Language Arts Anchor Standards,” accessed December 15, 2010, 53 National Council of Teachers of English. “Standards for the English Language Arts,” accessed December 15, 2010, 54 See Larry Cuban. How Teachers Taught, (New York: Teachers College Press, 1993) and U.S. National Center for Education Statistics. 1900-1985, 120 Years of Education, A Statistical Portrait, (Washington D.C.: Digest of Education Statistics, 1986). 55 Accessed December 16, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education.
56 Laurence Coleman and Tracy Cross. Being Gifted in School. (Austin, Texas: Prufrock Press, 2005).
57 Bobby Rampey, Gloria Dion, and Patricia Donahue. NAEP 2008 Trends in Academic Progress (NCES 2009–479). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C., 2009.
58 Temple Grandin. “Perspectives on Education from a Person on the Autism Spectrum.” Educational Horizons 84(4) 59 The mission statement of the Common Core is as follows: “The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” See Common Core Standards, http://www.corestandards.org/.

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