Free Online Educational Material to Help Parents, Teachers during the Recession

WOCTO (, an independent book publisher understands how the economy affects teachers in the classroom, parents at home trying to make ends meet, and kids looking for exciting ways to learn. To that end, they have produced a complementary set of grade-level lesson plans in core subjects, glossaries, flash games and activities for kids, available online for free. All educational enrichment materials tie directly to the four illustrated picture books and a children's CD in its current inventory.

"March is Small Press and Independent Publisher's Month and we wanted to let the public know what one publisher was doing to help parents and teachers provide fresh educational materials to kids," said Lin Jakary, publisher of the recently released collection. "We hired an educational consultant versed in the four core competencies to advise us on content and age-appropriate materials. Teachers and parents can go online to easily determine which of our books--pre-school, picture books, or early readers--are most appropriate for their child."

For example, I Lost My Sock is the story of a young boy trying to solve the mystery of his lost sock (with an online sock game aimed at observational and memory development). The Jakry Kids: Curiosity Shop captures the themes of family, friendship and cooperation (with an online maze game that speeds up and is good for memory, sense of direction and hand-eye coordination). If You See the Moon, set in New Mexico, features best friends Nimbu and Cirra, who dream up a plan to help the moon get home (with an online game good for logic development, memory and hand/eye coordination). Finally, Night Symphony, a whimsical bedtime story for toddlers and young children, features a sleepy child turning distracting sounds into a symphony. Valia Ovseyko, an acclaimed painter from Odessa, Ukraine, illustrates the book.

"Kids don't even realize they're learning," said Tina Clark, elementary school teacher for Garden City Schools in Garden City, Michigan. "It's a win-win situation. They are engrossed in the stories and I have a new source of information for my lesson plans in language arts, math, science, and social studies."

Another source of education for students is WOCTO's environmental or "green" focus. Books are printed in the US utilizing soy-based inks. In addition, WOCTO books have been tested for lead, and comply with the recent Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA 2008). (Their Certificate of Compliance is online.) "We tell teachers and parents that we are also a sustainable publisher, hoping they will share the concept with kids," Jakary explains. "For example, kids are curious to learn what is meant by an environmental footprint and what that might mean to their future."

Web site:

13-Year-Old CEO Gives Away Brand New Books in the Name of Literacy

Adele Taylor, an eighth grade student at Williamstown Middle School who loves to write poetry, dance, rock climb and you guessed it... READ, has taken her passion and created a non-profit organization that would make you wonder... should I be doing more?

Adele's Literacy Library was founded on the simple idea... read and be empowered. From the creative bookmarks to the catchy phrases on her website, Adele is on her way to empowering the world with readers one book at a time. "If I can't read than I dance!" beamed Taylor. Adele has been dancing since she was three years of age and currently attends Dance by Debra DiNote. Adele dances over eight hours a week and currently is studying tap, Pointe, modern, lyrical, ballet, jazz and musical theatre.

Attending Williamstown High School next year as a freshmen, Adele also holds the title Miss Heartland's Outstanding Teen 2009 for the State of New Jersey. This title allowed Adele to compete for Miss America's Outstanding Teen for the State of New Jersey. "Being a part of the Miss America organization has always been a dream of mine. As a local title holder, having a crown allows me to promote literacy to all ages on a much broader scale. I love being involved in my community and I want people to know that knowledge is power and through reading you gain that knowledge," stated Taylor.

Founded by Adele in December 2008, Adele's Literacy Library has already successfully given away hundreds of brand new books and bookmarks to schools, libraries and various organizations. Her goal is to give away millions of books to youth, elderly and disadvantaged regardless of where they live. Adele also wants to offer scholarships to high school graduates who want to pursue their educational dreams. Taylor currently hosts "Storytelling with Adele" where she attends schools and reads to classrooms. She is also in the progress of finalizing the details of a fundraiser with her school to promote literacy. Her plan is to offer this program to schools nationwide.

While visiting the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey where her company donated over fifty brand new books and twenty-five bookmarks, she was given a tour of the facility. "Going to the Ronald McDonald House was such a humble experience", said Taylor, "When I first arrived, it was very difficult to see kids of all ages physically challenged with many medical obstacles. It was amazing to see the Ronald McDonald House's staff and its volunteers truly make the Ronald house a home."

"I will be attending the Book Expo of America in a couple of months. It's my first trade show where I am representing my company!" exclaimed Adele. "This four day event is filled with opportunities for my business to flourish. I am so excited about this event and hope to make some long term business relationships. I 'm also hoping that my favorite authors are there too!"

Taylor is no stranger to the world of teen entrepreneurship. She has two friends that have their own business where Taylor was the Director of Operations for one of them. "Helping my friends with their business is one of those lessons that you will never forget and always cherish!" I hope that I can take what I have learned from them and apply it to my business and be just as successful," smiled Taylor.

Adele's Literacy Library supports itself by hosting book drives, fundraisers, and receiving donations. Website:

Canada Post Community Literacy Awards Seeking Entries

Nominations for the Canada Post Community Literacy Awards are now open. These awards highlight the achievements of Canadians making a special effort or important contribution to improving Canada's literacy landscape. The Awards recognize adult learners and educators in either Individual Achievement or Educator categories.

The necessity of solid literacy skills reveal their true importance when you think about how many times a day we need to understand written language. Although literacy is often taken for granted, among Canadian adults aged 16 to 65, approximately nine million, or 42%, obtained a score below the level considered as a minimum for coping with the demands of modern life and work.(i) "There remains an enormous amount of work to be done to ensure all Canadians have adequate literacy skills," says Robert Waite, senior vice-president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Canada Post. "But every year we are encouraged by the incredible success stories we're told through the Award nominations. These Awards truly honour the front-line heroes-students and mentors-of Canada's literacy community."

Canadians are encouraged to submit nominations by visiting Canada Post's Literacy Awards web site at to download a nomination form and view full program details.

Nominations must be received in Ottawa by May 31, 2009. The names of the finalists will be announced in late July and the winners will be notified in August. Winners will be recognized at ceremonies in their communities and awarded a prize of $300 (Individual) or $500 (Educator).

Washtenaw Literacy Programs Help Low-Literate Adults Get and Keep Jobs

Washtenaw Literacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating adult illiteracy, is responding to the current economic crisis by offering special workshops and Employment Packets chock full of practical tools. Workshops are geared to adults with limited literacy skills who are struggling to find or retain employment. Workshop participants discuss workplace scenarios created by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth based upon feedback from Michigan employers and the National Work Readiness Council.

The interactive workshop format provides opportunities to learn from Situation Judgment stories. Participants learn how to best resolve problems in the workplace, a skill valued by employers. Written at a 4th to 6th grade reading level, the stories can effectively be used by a broad range of participants.

Employment Packets contain a variety of useful tools including: tips and statistics specifically for women; job search instructions; sample applications; resume and cover letter assistance; sample interview questions and interview conduct guidance; and ideas on managing an effective work-life balance once employed.

Amy Goodman, Executive Director of Washtenaw Literacy, describes the effort this way: "With Michigan's unemployment rate the highest in the nation, helping low-literate adults develop the skills they need to be successful is a major priority for Washtenaw Literacy. Beyond these practical support services that we are offering, we are working to engage the corporate community in our fight."


Phonics is Not Enough to Improve Reading Skills of Young Readers

Reading programs focused on changing daily teaching practices do more to improve children's reading skills than programs focused on textbooks and technology, according to a comprehensive research review by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Center for Research and Reform in Education. Simply using books with a stronger emphasis on phonics was not enough to improve reading.

Lead researcher Robert Slavin, director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education, and his colleagues looked at 62 previously released experimental studies evaluating the effectiveness of beginning reading programs used in kindergarten and first grade. The researchers' review covered the effectiveness of textbooks, technology and professional development when used on their own as well as the effectiveness of combining textbooks with professional development. They found that the most successful programs focused on changing daily teaching practices, such as the use of cooperative learning methods in which children work together in groups. Programs that combined a focus on phonics and innovative teaching practices worked best.

"With national assessments showing reading proficiency in fourth grade under 18 percent for minority students, educators are struggling to boost beginning reading skills or risk continuing a trend of low achievement in later years," Slavin said. "In the current political climate of accountability, school leaders need to ensure they are using programs that work. That's where reviews such as this come in."

Their most surprising finding relates to the debate as to whether adding phonics to traditional reading instruction is the way to cure reading problems, an approach strongly emphasized in the Bush Administration's Reading First program. While Slavin and his colleagues noted the importance of phonics in beginning reading instruction, they also concluded that simply adding phonics is not enough to bring about widespread improvement in children's reading.

"Phonics instruction is necessary but insufficient," Slavin said. "What matters is changing how teachers teach, how they group students, how they motivate children, and how they assess children. Programs that consistently make a difference are ones that engage children in active lessons in which they interact with other children, constantly practice their new skills with the teacher and their classmates, and receive fast-paced, exciting lessons."

The full report is available on the Best Evidence Encyclopedia website at OffersTeaching Jobs Free for Schools and Job Seekers is the first and only high ranking national educational recruiting website that allows full access to their database of pre-screened teachers and administrators. also gives schools the ability to post unlimited teaching jobs. This free cutting edge technology automatically matches job seekers to open positions, searches teacher profiles and documentation, and maintains a record of those who have been contacted. The website is easy to use and available 24/7.

Jack Kronsor, Human Resources Director of Recruitment for Douglass County School District, the third largest district in Colorado serving more than 54,000 students, states "TeacherJobs utilizes technology and their years of recruiting experience to bring together schools, school districts and teacher candidates for their mutual benefit."

Teachers and administrators looking to relocate now have direct access to their targeted areas of interest. Hard to find teachers such as Math, Science, Foreign Language and Special Education will now have a national list of openings to find that "right fit."

Other positions available for online job search assistance include Superintendents, Assistant/Deputy Superintendents, Principals, Teacher Personnel as well as Business/ Finance/Purchasing. K-12 schools listing their open positions include public, charter, private and Catholic at the elementary, middle, junior and senior high levels.

Bill Hall, founder of states "We want to level the playing field. Frequently, charter schools and inner city schools cannot afford access to sophisticated national recruiting databases. With this free online service now offered by, all schools can compete and job seekers will be exposed to schools they may not have considered."

Given the current economic climate and dwindling school budgets, is sure to become a site for sore eyes. These features save schools time searching for qualified candidates and significantly reduce the cost of advertising, travel, and job fairs.

Hall further adds "Some states are paying tens of thousands of dollars for similar online recruitment services. Hopefully this free recruiting assistance can redirect funds toward our future, namely our students."


Teachers Union Launches Charter School Website

The Alliance of Charter School Employees, an affiliate of AFT Pennsylvania, launched a new website to support charter school teachers and staff in the Philadelphia area.

The website,, offers teaching tools, lesson plans and news about efforts by charter school teachers and staff to improve their schools by gaining professional rights on the job. ACTS, which stands for Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, is a national support network of charter school employees, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

"Too often charter school teachers are trying the best they can with insufficient resources to support quality teaching and learning," said AFTPA president Ted Kirsch. "We hope that charter school teachers and staff will find resources on our website to help them make the original charter school mission of innovation in education a reality."

Through the website, developed in partnership with the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers, the Alliance will offer professional development, tools for teachers, best practices in instruction and other online resources.

AFT supports the founding vision of charter schools as laboratories of excellence and innovation in public education. AFT believes that charter school teachers need the same support public school teachers need to help their schools achieve this vision.

"When teachers are supported in maintaining high professional standards and are treated as equal partners with the administration and board, students and schools benefit," Kirsch said. "We hope the tools and information we are offering will support teachers and help them improve academic achievement for their students."

The Alliance of Charter School Employees, with headquarters in Center City, is working with employees at local charter schools to achieve a voice at work.

Helping English Language Learners in the Classroom

Merit Software has just released a new report "ESL Reading: Strategies for Classroom Teaching." The report addresses the challenges facing teachers when working with students from non-English-speaking homes.

The key problem is that English language learners, who are taught the basics of reading in the early grades, are faltering as they progress in school.

Teachers need help teaching higher-order thinking skills and comprehension. Students need help mastering strategies that will help them understand ideas and nuances of English texts.

The report features Book Punch, a tool that can be used in the classroom to go beyond basic instruction. Book Punch provides interactive, step-by-step writing prompts about books commonly read in schools today.

Book Punch draws on each student's prior knowledge. Students with a wide range of English language abilities can participate in class.

Book Punch scaffolds the thinking and writing processes for students. Titles covered include modern classics such as "Stone Fox," "Maniac Magee" and "The Outsiders."

Using Book Punch students learn to write clear and concise responses -- making personal text connections along the way.

Teachers have also reported that because Book Punch writing activities engage ESL students for long periods of time, they have more free time to give feedback to individual students.

Book Punch was developed based on gold standard, randomized control group research. The evidence shows that Merit improves student achievement for reading comprehension and writing when used to supplement classroom instruction.

The full report is available at the following url:

National Teach Your Kids to Share Day to Take Place April 24

In today's turbulent economic environment, there's a renewed interest among parents to not only teach their children the basics of saving and spending money, but also about the responsibility of sharing and giving back. Thousands of families nationwide have the opportunity to take a first step in this lifelong lesson during the first-ever Teach Your Kids to Share Day.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a faith-based, not-for-profit financial services organization, is introducing Teach Your Kids to Share Day, which will take place at more than 50 sites across the country on the evening of April 24, 2009. The events are open to all adults (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) and children ages 6–10.

In conjunction with Financial Literacy Month, Thrivent Financial established Teach Your Kids to Share Day to bring families together for interactive and fun workshops to learn about sharing, saving and spending using a values-based approach to money management. This national event is unique as it highlights stewardship and teaching kids about how they can also share their time, skills and money with others.

Held simultaneously at children's museums and other kid-friendly locations across the country, Teach Your Kids to Share Day events will:

  • Explore ways kids can share, save and spend.

  • Discuss the importance of being responsible with money.

  • Give parents practical tips they can use to teach their kids about money.

  • Foster stewardship awareness and behaviors among parents and their kids.

"Instilling sensible money habits in our children is an important life lesson," said Laura Dierke, Teach Your Kids to Share Day program manager for Thrivent Financial. "These events will be lively and interactive and at the same time provide a base for the financial education to continue at home. Thrivent Financial is committed to helping both adults and children learn our how personal values serve as an important foundation for how we use the resources we have."

Parents reflect on values

Through Thrivent Financial's Parents, Kids and Money Matters workshop, adults will gain a better understanding of why it's important to teach kids about financial principles, reflect on the values they want their children to learn and use the concept of stewardship to teach children how to take care of the resources entrusted to them.

Interactive workshops for children
In addition to receiving their very own Money Matters Piggy Bank as a learning tool about sharing, saving and spending, children will participate in a series of interactive activities designed to teach various concepts.

To register: More than 50 child-friendly sites across the United States will be hosting a Teach Your Kids to Share Day event on the evening of April 24, 2009. To find an event happening in their area, individuals can visit or call 800-236-3736. A $10 per family registration fee includes dinner, activities and educational materials.

Bayer Awards $200,000 to National Science Teachers Association

Bayer Corporation's Bayer USA Foundation has awarded the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) a $200,000 grant to create the Bayer-NSTA Fellows program and to expand the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy.

This latest Bayer USA Foundation grant supports Bayer Corporation's ongoing commitment to improve science education and science literacy through the company-wide Making Science Make Sense(R) program.

Each year for three years, the grant supports 10 early-career middle and high school science teachers with an array of professional development resources and tools. Bayer-NSTA Fellows receive a comprehensive NSTA membership package, online mentoring with trained instructors who teach in the same discipline and the opportunity to participate in a variety of Web-based professional development activities, including Web seminars. They also will receive financial support to attend NSTA's 2009 National Conference on Science Education.

The NSTA New Science Teacher Academy is a year-long professional development program to help reduce the high-attrition rate among science teachers who are new to the profession.

Research shows that nearly 50 percent of early-career teachers leave their jobs in the first five years. Intended for science educators entering their second or third year of teaching, the Academy aims to reverse this trend by promoting quality science teaching, enhancing teacher confidence and classroom excellence and improving teacher-content knowledge.

With its emphasis on encouraging and supporting middle and secondary school science educators in their first few years of teaching, the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy aligns with two of President Barack Obama's key education policy initiatives to make math and science education a national priority and retain teachers.

This spring, Bayer and NSTA will issue a call for entries to the 2009-2010 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Science teachers located throughout the country who will be entering their second or third year of teaching and whose schedule is a minimum of 51 percent middle or high school science, can apply to the become an NSTA Fellow. For more information about the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy, to learn how to apply to become a fellow and 2009-2010 deadline information please visit

Call for Entries: 2009 Outstanding Educator in Financial Literacy Awards

Nominations are now being invited for the 2009 Outstanding Educator in Financial Literacy Award.

Sponsored by the not-for-profit Investor Education Fund, developers of the website, the Outstanding Educator in Financial Literacy Award acknowledges the achievements of Canadian high school teachers who are committed to promoting financial literacy in the classroom and the community.

"There are many dedicated educators and guidance counselors that go the extra mile everyday to ensure that students are prepared for their financial future," says Tom Hamza, president of Investor Education Fund. "Reaching out to these educators across the country will allow us to highlight best-in-class teaching so that others can benefit from their inspired examples."

Principals, vice principals, administrators, teachers, parents, and students are invited to nominate deserving candidates whose leadership has made a significant impact in the classroom and on the lives of their students.

Submissions for the 2009 Outstanding Educator in Financial Literacy Award will be evaluated by a panel of financial and industry experts including Globe and Mail columnist and author, Rob Carrick; National Post columnist and author, Jonathan Chevreau; and Toronto Star columnist and lecturer, Ellen Roseman. Criteria include creativity and innovation; classroom presence; and impact on students and the community.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a cash award, a plaque, public recognition, and the opportunity to contribute to new financial literacy programs developed by Investor Education Fund. Awards of Merit will also be recognized.

The final deadline for nominations to the 2009 Outstanding Educator in Financial Literacy Award is April 17, 2009. Early Bird nominees entered by March 31 are eligible to win a gift card for school supplies.

Says Hamza, "The need to increase the financial literacy of our youth is critical. From coast to coast students are struggling to come to terms with the burden of university and college tuition fees, and debt management. Financial literacy training in schools helps youth avoid the pitfalls associated with poor planning and ensures a more secure financial future."

Entry forms and additional information for the 2009 Outstanding Educator in Financial Literacy Award are available at:

In addition to the Outstanding Educator Award, Investor Education Fund partners with other organizations to offer a broad range of financial literacy programs for students and teachers including:

- Teacher training workshops using Taking Stock resources created by OISE at the University of Toronto

- Faculty of Education seminars in partnership with the University of Western Ontario that help teachers in schools and in training to better understand financial literacy teaching

- Sponsorship of the Funny Money assemblies, which are an innovative and award-winning series of high school lectures that use comedy to teach key financial concepts

- School financial competitions for students in Grade 12 and in Grade 9-10

More information about these and other programs is available on the Investor Education Fund website at which also offers a number of online tools available to help investors plan for their future.

Denver Public Library Unveils New Reading Rocket Bookmobile

The Denver Public Library's (DPL) new Reading Rocket bookmobile will hit the road today, making its first stop at Schmitt Elementary in the Ruby Hill neighborhood. It is the first of two new bookmobiles that will serve 28 Denver Public Schools (DPS) and 15 community centers. A second Reading Rocket is scheduled to arrive in April 2009. The Reading Rockets will replace DPL's current bookmobile, which has been in service since 1997.

"Bookmobiles have served as the mobile service units for the Denver Public Library for over 70 years. The addition of the Library's Reading Rockets will enable us to better serve the community, reaching school age children and senior citizens with the valued Library materials they rely on," said Denver City Librarian, Shirley Amore.

Each one of the bio-diesel powered vehicles is handicap-accessible. Both bookmobiles feature two computer stations and can hold up to 3,000 books, CDs and DVDs. Combined they will reach approximately 9,000 students and Denver residents. The bookmobiles will be hard to miss, with colorful, space-themed artwork designed to capture the imagination of children.

The Reading Rockets were designed to make reading fun and inspire a love of reading. "The Reading Rocket bookmobiles will reinforce DPS' literacy programs in a modern and creative way," said Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools. "We believe the Reading Rockets will help encourage our students to become avid readers and life-long learners."

Denver has a long history of providing traveling library services to the community. In 1938, DPL introduced its first mobile branch, "The Trailer Library," which was decommissioned in 1950. It was replaced by a full-service bookmobile that featured air-conditioning and heat, a rarity at the time. In 1968, DPL managed a fleet of four bookmobiles that serviced 26 weekly stops and circulated 258,862 books. "El Numero Cinco," a bookmobile with an emphasis on Spanish-language materials, hit the streets in 1969. With the launch of a new state-of-the art bookmobile in 1988, DPL began a partnership with DPS to bring books to schools with limited library resources.

The two new Reading Rocket bookmobiles were generously donated by the Denver-based asset management firm, Janus Capital Group. This donation is part of Janus' on-going efforts to improve local public education and to ensure that more kids have an opportunity to succeed at school and in life.

Visit or register to receive Tweets from Denver Public Library News at, for more information.

Student Essay Contest Celebrates Teacher Appreciation

Breads of the World, local franchisee for Panera Bread in central and southwestern Ohio, is has launched its fourth annual Rising Above student essay contest, which will run from March 1 - March 31. To participate, students must submit an essay about why his or her teacher deserves to be honored with the Panera Rising Above Award, and the winning essays will be announced during National Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs May 3 - May 9, 2009.

To nominate a teacher, participants must submit a 100 to 200-word essay at a local Panera bakery-cafe via email or through the mail. Entry forms are available at all Panera Bread bakery-cafes located throughout Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as online at Teachers must demonstrate leadership in the community, be honest, genuine and present fresh, innovative and creative ideas to their students. Three Grand Prize winners will be announced during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Winning teachers and their schools will be awarded grants, Panera gift cards and a variety of other prizes. The student winner in each category will win a Nintendo DS and the memory game BrainAge.

"Quality teachers today are the heroes of tomorrow," said Jeff Rains, President of Breads of the World. "We encourage all students to stop by a local Panera Bread or send an email about why your teacher deserves to win the Panera Bread Rising Above Award."

Clements International Offers $10,000 in Scholarships for Expat Students

Clements International, a provider of insurance and financial services to American organizations and individuals working outside the United States, has introduced a new annual scholarship program for expatriate students.

Clements International's 2009 Expat Youth Scholarship will award $10,000 to students 12-18 of any nationality who have spent at least two years living outside their home country. The theme, "Life in a Flying House," is inspired by the idea that students who spend their childhoods moving between different countries and cultures acquire unique life experiences.

"Experiencing a different country and culture is exciting for an adult, but for a young person, it can be even more life-changing," said Vice President of Marketing Lloyd Yavener. "As a company devoted to protecting the futures of expatriates and their families, this scholarship demonstrates our commitment to supporting growth and learning among this unique segment of the population."

The scholarship contest offers expat students a chance to share their experiences of living in a foreign country through an essay (500 words or more) and creative media (photographs, illustrations, paintings, or video). The scholarship entry deadline is Friday, May 15, 2009. Three winners will be announced in September 2009 in each of two age categories (12-15 and 16-18) based on the quality of the essay, how the selected media reflects their topic and creativity.

For more information about the scholarship and to submit entries, visit

Beanbag Chairs and Pillows Help Fourth Graders Improve Reading Habits

Some fourth-graders at the Sidney Lanier Center for Arts in Dallas now find it a little more relaxing to enjoy a good book. This after their teacher purchased beanbag chairs and pillows funded largely in part by a donation from Equal Health. The Arlington, Texas-based healthcare company made the generous contribution in December through, a website that lets teachers post proposals for classroom necessities.

After reading about a fourth-grade literacy teacher's desire to encourage better reading habits, Equal Health executives wanted to help her achieve that goal. "When we heard about the classroom needs of one of our local teachers we decided it was the perfect opportunity to help students in the community we live in," says Brady Speers, CEO of Equal Health. Chris Novinger, the company's president, went on to say, "Children are our future; they'll be doing our jobs someday and if there is anything this company can do to improve the education of today's youth then we'll make every effort to do it." To read the full proposal from the fourth-grade teacher you can find it online at

Not only has Equal Health contributed to educational efforts this past year, in 2008 the Christian-based company has also given generously to relief efforts in Galveston following hurricane Ike, The March of Dimes' Tarrant County March for Babies, The Boys' and Girls' Club of Denton, Santa's Helpers and other local and national charities.


More Kids are Enjoying Books, Thanks to Family Literacy Day

Half a million children across Canada participated in the TD Summer Reading Club in the summer of 2008, reading almost two million books and taking part in close to 30,000 programs and activities in libraries across the country. These statistics, reported in the Harris-Decima Final Report of Program Statistics for the 2008 TD Summer Reading Club, were released by Library and Archives Canada on the occasion of Family Literacy Day.

Participation in the TD Summer Reading Club program has more than doubled since 2005 making it the most successful summer reading club in the country. According to the Report, increased excitement in reading and sharing books is noted as the most common indicator of this success. Other indicators are increased reading habits, increased membership and more visits to the library. The most common testimonial from parents, teachers and caregivers about the TD Summer Reading Club program is that children are reading more frequently and that their reading skills have improved. Harris-Decima compiled the data from the 2,000 library branches in the 11 participating provinces and territories.

New to the program last summer was the creation of the TD Summer Reading Club Library Awards which recognize excellence in programming and innovation in participating libraries. The deadline to apply for the Summer 2008 Awards is February 15, 2009. The awards will be handed out at a special ceremony next May in Montreal.

A joint initiative between the TD Bank Financial Group, Library and Archives Canada and the Toronto Public Library, the TD Summer Reading Club is an award-winning program that offers children and their families a fun way to enjoy reading during the summer months. Through the participation of libraries across the country, the program offers an innovative approach towards helping to raise literacy levels in Canada.

The program is offered free each summer in participating Canadian public libraries to children of ages 12 and under. The goals of the TD Summer Reading Club are to encourage Canadian children to read for pleasure, to help maintain and improve their children's reading skills during the summer and to encourage them to be lifelong readers and library users. Theme-based reading kits, which include a poster, stickers and an activity booklet, are provided to participants as part of the incentives to encourage reading.

For more information on the Report and about the TD Summer Reading Club, go to

New Grant Program Will Support the Work of Science and Mathematics Teachers in N.C.

A new grant program that will support and encourage the work of science and mathematics teachers in North Carolina has been launched by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the North Carolina State Board of Education.

The Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers will provide $175,000 over a period of five years ($35,000 per year), as well as professional development opportunities, to recipients selected from eligible teachers in the North Carolina K-12 public school system.

The award will recognize teachers who demonstrate solid knowledge of science or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. Recipients will receive professional development and opportunities to collaborate with other master science and mathematics teachers who will serve as mentors. In addition, schools and school districts will benefit by having their teachers become fully developed leaders in their field.

The State Board of Education will provide additional salary support to school districts that will allow award recipients to have a 12-month contract. This innovative program is made possible by a unique public and private partnership and is significant in increasing the pool of prominent teachers in North Carolina's classrooms.

"The Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers are key to opening opportunities for many teachers across the state who are committed to proven, innovative, global instruction in North Carolina classrooms," said State Board of Education Chair Howard Lee. "We look forward to working with these award winning teachers and embrace the potential of advancing effective teaching that aligns with our efforts."

For the past decade, BWF has been instrumental in supporting informal science education programs across North Carolina. In keeping with BWF's emphasis on promoting the career development of individual scientists, BWF is expanding from funding primarily informal science education programs to investing in individual teachers.

The National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, highly recommends strengthening the skills of K-12 science and mathematics teachers. The Washington-based Business-Higher Education Forum estimates that over the next decade, schools in America will need 200,000 or more new teachers in science and mathematics.