Secret to Success: Long-term Memory

At this point in the pandemic, we can see that “educators are looking at a long game, perhaps three or more years during which schools must do their core work better.” As the Los Angeles Times points out “[i]f we simply return to pre-pandemic methods, that won’t happen — because before the pandemic, we weren’t really following the science.

What does the science tell us? “Shift to include much greater emphasis on the knowledge of facts…’The very processes that teachers care about most,’ like critical thinking and problem solving, ‘are intimately intertwined with factual knowledge that is stored in long-term memory,’ writes Daniel Willingham, a cognitive scientist at the University of Virginia.”

Long-term memory is built from repetition and chunking of information. Moreover, students can use their long-term memory to create connections between mastered concepts and novel material. Without a robust long-term memory, students can struggle to fully grasp new topics taught in accelerated programs, which many schools are using this year to catch students up.

With a strong phonics-based reading program and an emphasis on chunking and automation in math, Gideon provides a stout curriculum that develops students’ solid long-term memory. Additionally, we pride ourselves on the systems and support for center directors to individualize the program for each student.

Find the LA Times article here.

With So Many Options, How Do Schools Choose?

School is back in session. Parents and students are muddling through the ups and downs from school closures due to outbreaks to kids getting to see their friends and schoolmates in person. Schools and districts prepared as best they could “to do something different for the 2021-22 school year to make up for those losses.”

The Hechinger Report came out with a quick review of options along with their pros and cons. “No catch-up strategy can possibly benefit all students. But studies do point toward which strategies are most effective, how they can best be implemented.”

What is at the top of the list? Tutoring! Not just any tutoring though, “Research points to intensive daily tutoring as one of the most effective ways to help academically struggling children catch up.” While acceleration, remediation, longer days, and smaller class sizes are all being used and studied, high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring has shown time and again to be a successful approach for most all students.

“Education researchers have a particular kind of tutoring in mind, what they call “high-dosage” tutoring. Studies show it has produced big achievement gains for students when the tutoring occurs every day or almost every day. The tutors are specially trained and coached and adhere to a detailed curriculum with clear steps on how to work with one or two students at a time.”

“A 2020 review of 100 tutoring programs found that intensive tutoring is particularly helpful at improving students’ reading skills during the early elementary years, and most effective in math for slightly older children. One 2021 study found tutoring led to strong math gains for even high school students, enabling those who started two years behind grade level to catch up.”

Gideon can provide you the systems to train staff to provide quality tutoring, the curriculum to fill holes and gaps, and the support to make you the best center director for your community.

Give Students a Do-over

Give Students a Do-over

The pandemic hit us all hard. Students are no exception. Virginia’s largest school system is grappling with the consequences of virtual learning. A Washington Post article reported that “[s]tudent achievement is seriously off track in [English and math] from what would have been expected based on past performance. According to the analysis, 35 percent of all Fairfax students are underperforming in math, and 39 percent are underperforming in English.”

Unfortunately, as an expert said in the article, “[t]he damage done to schoolchildren with scarce resources is likely to be irreparable. The best thing the nation can do would be to offer everyone a ‘do-over’.”

If you are passionate about helping children who are struggling in school, our learning center can help! We meet students where they are at. Center owners individualize the Gideon math and reading programs to match students’ pace and needs. By focusing on foundational skills and building to grade level and beyond, we offer students the ‘do-over’ to master concepts missed over the past year and a half.

View our most recent webinar to learn more about Gideon and how you can help children who are struggling in school bounce back from COVID.

It’s Time to Improve Math Skills in Your Community

In a recent Op-Ed, Barry Garelick, veteran math teacher and author of articles found in The Atlantic, Education Next, and more, explains the importance of  “repetitive practice [that] lies at the heart of mastery of almost every discipline, and mathematics is no exception.”

Garelick goes on to explain that “iterative practice is key to attaining procedural fluency and conceptual understanding. Understanding, critical thinking, and problem-solving come when students can draw on a strong foundation of relevant domain content, which is built through the “rote memorization” of procedure.”

At a time when so many students are in need of catching up and solidifying their foundations in math and reading, “students need to be given explicit instruction on solving various types of problems, via worked examples and initial practice problems.” If you are looking for ways to help boost your child’s math skills and reading comprehension, our learning center can help. Contact our team to learn more or continue reading here.

U.S. Reading Performance Declining – What Can You Do?

The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) released new data on American students’ reading achievement. The startling information shows declining performance in reading fluency and comprehension since 2017. Of course, the COVID pandemic has only made it worse. This is not only a present issue; other studies show how this lack of reading performance can affect the education and career choices students make in late high school and early adulthood. You can read more about EdWeek’s reporting on it here.

Solutions? ” ‘[A] large body of research has established that foundational skills are the main drivers of oral reading fluency, which in turn is necessary for reading comprehension,’ said Sheida White, an NCES researcher and the author of the study.”

If you are looking for ways to help improve your child’s reading fluency and reading comprehension, our learning programs can help get your child’s education back on track. Our curriculum guides students to reading mastery and success through a strong phonics program that includes daily story reading with comprehension questions.