Friday, March 22, 2013

The Reading Connection Volunteers Focus on STEM

The Reading Connection promotes critical literacy in important populations in Arlington and Alexandria.  TRC coordinates volunteers who read aloud to children at shelters and community centers, donations that provide children with free, new books to keep, and  provides workshops for parents and family support workers.

On Tuesday, at a regular volunteer training program, TRC's excellent educators introduced STEM and STEM literacy strategies to nearly 30 volunteers.  TRC's Stephanie Berman led a discussion that resulted in a fascinating list of STEM phobias (pictured right).  Many ideas listed closely resemble phobias expressed by  elementary teachers and parents.

Then TRC's Eileen Hanning introduced definitions of STEM components that closely resembled those on the NSEN STEM definition page, and shared examples of very comfortable STEM connections and strategies for volunteers to consider in their planning.  Then, while exploring the many, many STEM-focused story books, the volunteers got to try many of the suggested activities.

Regular visitors will remember that a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute demonstrated that much of what has been perceived as a U.S. deficiency in international comparisons in Math and Science (TIMMS and PISA exams) is largely an result of socio-economic factors and access to books in early childhood.

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