Mainers take on the Read to ME Challenge

After First Lady Ann LePage launched the Read to ME Challenge with second graders at Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta on February 1, it didn’t take long for others across the state to join in the campaign to promote awareness of the importance of reading regularly to and with children.  The Saco School Department hosted Maine children’s author, Chris Van Dusen, who accepted the challenge and read to students at Fairfield Elementary School that same day.  Van Dusen quickly challenged the Saco School Department’s superintendent and Fairfield Elementary School’s principal and their efforts have even reached Maine State Senator Chenette.

A bit further north, Lewiston Public Schools’ superintendent, Bill Webster, posted the challenge encouraging educators, parents, and community members read to children throughout the month. Very quickly, students at Lewiston’s McMahon School stepped up to get busy reading followed by students at Montello Elementary.

Each year the Maine Department of Education (DOE) promotes the challenge as an opportunity to help communities throughout Maine contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME) with a challenge to others to do the same.  Since the kick-off, parents, educators and community members have been stepping up to accept the challenge and issue challenges of their own.  With more than 60 partner organizations helping to support the effort, many minutes of reading have been logged across the state.

Some of the partners in the campaign have included institutions of higher education and community literacy teams.  In northern Maine, a number of staff and administration from the University of Maine at Fort Kent have read to students in three St. John Valley elementary schools – Fort Kent Elementary, Madawaska Elementary, and Dr. Levesque Elementary in Frenchville.  They targeted 1st and 2nd grade classrooms and read Mahalia Mouse Goes to College by John Lithgow to emphasize the importance of literary with the dual purpose of promoting college and post-secondary aspirations.

At the University of Maine at Farmington, Beaver Pride is strong for the challenge.  UMF has partnered with Mallett Elementary School.  UMF students have signed up to read to kindergarten and first grade students.  UMF students can also be Super Beaver Readers by signing up to read to second graders every week for 4 weeks.

Southern Maine Community College President Cantor read to 4th and 5th grade students at Skillin Elementary School in South Portland.

In Houlton, the Rotary Club’s community literacy team has plans to sponsor Read to ME Challenge events every Saturday in February.  They have combined reading with other fun activities at a variety of locations around Houlton.  Additionally, they invited First Lady LePage to read to students at Houlton Elementary School and to speak with their Rotary Club about the importance of reading to children.

Maine Department of Education employees are also taking on the challenge by visiting schools and day care centers to read to children.  During the February vacation week, the Maine DOE will be hosting a “read-in” during which employees can bring their children in listen to stories throughout the day.

For more information about the Read to ME Challenge, contact leeann.larsen@maine.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE and First Lady, Ann LePage kick off February ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Sylvio Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta. Reading to second grade students at the Gilbert School, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience.

“When children are read to on a regular basis it not only helps learn to read on their own, but it also stimulates their imaginations, and helps them discover how to use words when they communicate,” said First Lady, Ann LePage.

Each year the Maine Department of Education (DOE) in collaboration with First Lady Anne LePage launches the challenge as an opportunity to help communities throughout Maine contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME) with a challenge to others to do the same.

ReadToMEChallange_GilbertSchool
First Lady, Ann LePage reads to second graders at the Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta.

“Reading aloud to children is one of the most effective and highly beneficial methods of building a child’s literacy, said Suzan Beaudoin, Deputy Commissioner for the Maine DOE. “The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day, every day adds up to hundreds of hours of language exposure that can set a child up for high literacy achievement in their educational experiences and throughout life,” she added.

Schools and organizations throughout the state have joined the challenge so that they too can encourage their community members to read to children and to be part of the collective voice expressing the vital importance that reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.

See a full list of community partners for the 2018 Read to ME Challenge.

A Facebook Live recording of the event can be found on the Maine DOE’s official Facebook page.

The Read to ME Challenge runs through the month of February leading up Read Across America Day which takes place on March 2.

For further information about the challenge contact Lee Anne Larsen, Early Learning Team Coordinator for the Maine Department of Education at leeann.larsen@maine.gov

 

Annual English Teacher’s Conference at Point Lookout

The Maine Council of English Language Arts and Maine DOE announce the annual spring conference on Friday, March 23. Maria Padian, a three-time winner of both the Maine Literary Award for young people’s literature, and the Maine Library Association’s Lupine Award honor, is the keynote speaker. Padian’s works include Out of Nowhere, a story which follows soccer captain Tom Bouchard as he develops an understanding of the Somali refugee students who join his team in the fictional but recognizable town of Enniston, Maine. 

The conference will feature three opportunities for attendees to choose from a variety of timely topics for professional learning. Effective use of data, developing pre-assessments, enhancing writing skills through authentic tasks, and teaching through dialogue are just a few of the choices available.

Space is limited so early registration is recommended. Visit the Maine Council of English Language Arts 2018 Conference website to learn more and view the full conference agenda. Online registration is available and encouraged.

Read to ME Challenge Set to Kick-off February 1st

Year 3 of the Read to ME Challenge is scheduled to begin on February 1, 2018.  First Lady Ann LePage will launch the campaign by reading to children at a local school.  She will follow up her reading by issuing a challenge to participate in the 2018 campaign.  This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same.  The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2, 2017.

If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information: Read to ME Challenge Partner 2018Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements in a variety of languages, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge are available on the Read to ME Challenge webpage.

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities.  The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement.  Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

Schools and organizations are invited to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same.  The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.   Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.

Thanks for your consideration of this opportunity, and don’t hesitate to contact leeann.larsen@maine.gov (624-6628) with any questions.

2018 Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy Assessment Administration Training

Statewide workshop training will be provided on the administration of the 2018 Mathematics & ELA/Literacy assessments.

When/Where:
Tuesday 2/6/18 in Portland
Wednesday 2/7/18 in Augusta
Thursday 2/8/18 in Bangor
Friday 2/9/18 in Caribou

Description of Training Sessions: There will be two separate training sessions each day, see details below.

Morning training sessions will focus on the Grades 3-8 Mathematics & ELA/Literacy (eMPowerME) online assessment.

  1. Who should attend: The morning sessions are intended for Maine District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) and one other designated participant (such as Technology Coordinators or School Test Coordinators) with a limit of TWO (2) registrants total per district. There will be subsequent webinar trainings for Test Administrators.
  2. Morning eMPowerME Session: This training will be about the eMPowerME online platform in preparation for the spring 2018 MEA Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy test administration to include: eMPowerME Portal test administration system overview and demonstrations; student test delivery system (eMPowerME Kiosk); technology requirements and specifications; online student tutorial (via Kiosk only this year); Portal & Kiosk updates for 2018; paper-based sample items; accessibility and accommodations.

Afternoon training sessions will focus on the High School Mathematics & ELA/Literacy (SAT) paper assessment.

  1. Who should attend: The afternoon training sessions are intended for Maine District Assessment Coordinators (DACs), high school SAT Test Center Supervisors and/or SAT SSD with a limit of THREE (3) registrants total per district.
  2. Afternoon SAT description: This training session will provide a detailed overview of the SAT administration as educators prepare for the April 10, 2018 administration of SAT School Day in Maine. Enhancements regarding College Board updates for 2017-18 include: students not required to supply a photo ID; discontinued use of SAT admission tickets; and changes to the student questionnaire (SDQ) process. In addition to reviewing key dates and deadlines, this session will provide a general overview of the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) process.

Registrations open Monday January 8, 2018 on the DOE Assessment Website or DOE Professional Development Calendar. Questions can be addressed to:

Nancy Godfrey 624-6775 or nancy.godfrey@maine.gov

New State expectations for SAT essays set to help improve student writing

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will start using a “cut score” that includes State expectations for the essay portion of the SAT for the first time. A cut score is the minimum score required for performance at each State expectation level. The essay cut scores are expected to help educators further enhance student writing.

The essay cut score was researched and determined as a collaborative effort among the Maine DOE, Maine educators, technical support from assessment experts, the Delaware Department of Education and approval by Maine’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

While essay scores have previously been reported to the State, no expectation has been provided for satisfactory performance until now. Starting in 2018, the SAT essay score will have a designation of “Meets Expectations” or “Does Not Meet Expectations.” There are no changes to the State expectations for student performance in the SAT mathematics and reading score metrics.

In order to meet expectations for the essay cut score, students must score at least 3 out of 8 points on each of the three sub scores, and they must achieve an overall essay score of at least 13. Schools and districts will be provided with data that includes the percentage of students that meet the SAT expectation.

In addition to providing school officials with a measurement of the over-all student achievement level in writing, the new essay cut scores will also provide educators with an opportunity to seek improvement in teaching students analytical writing techniques.

While the goal may be a challenge for some Maine students, the Maine DOE is eager to assist educators in helping students achieve these expectations through professional development opportunities. A set of workshops took place in the fall of 2017 and materials are available on the Maine DOE Website. For questions or to discuss future professional development opportunities contact Morgan Dunton, English Language Arts Specialist at morgan.dunton@maine.gov or (207) 624-6625.

The SAT essay cut scores will also be one of the factors that contribute to performance in the federal Every Students Succeeds Act Accountability System. For more information about ESSA contact Chelsea Fortin-Trimble, ESEA Federal Programs & Title I Director at Chelsey.A.Fortin@maine.gov or (207)-624-6815.

For more information about Maine Education Assessments including the SATs contact Andrew Hudacs, Director of Assessment at Andrew.Hudacs@maine.gov or (207) 624-6636.

Join us for the 2018 Read to ME Campaign

Following two years of strong statewide participation, the Maine Department of Education’s Literacy for ME  initiative will once again be promoting the Read to ME Challenge.  This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same.  Over 100 Maine schools, community literacy teams and other literacy related organizations partnered in the 2016 and 2017 campaigns and the Maine DOE is hoping that even more organizations will partner in the 2018 campaign scheduled to kick off the first week of February.

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities.  The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement.  Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

We invite your school or organization to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same.  The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.   Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.

If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information: Read to ME Challenge Partner 2018Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge are available on the Read to ME webpage.

Thanks for your consideration of this opportunity, and don’t hesitate to contact leeann.larsen@maine.gov (624-6628) with any questions.