Brown University

Researchers from Brown University have found that even low levels of lead in children’s blood can lower future test scores. It’s one of the first studies to isolate lead as a cause, and not just a factor, in student achievement.

RIPR file photo

By 2025, 75 percent of Rhode Island's third graders will be "proficient or better" in reading, according to the goal announced Wednesday by Gov. Gina Raimondo. In setting the target, Raimondo cited evidence that suggests third grade reading is a strong indicator of future success in school.

"Today, I'm drawing a line in the sand and setting a clear goal for Rhode Island: By 2025, when the kids who were born this year reach third grade, three out of four will be reading at grade level," Raimondo said in a prepared statement.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

Rhode Island is joining a national effort to increase reading proficiency in elementary school. New state and national test scores show major achievement gaps.

According to the new PARCC standardized test, and another known as the Nation’s Report card, low-income fourth graders are about half as likely to be reading at grade level as their peers.

The new initiative, spearheaded by the education advocacy non-profit RI Kids Count and the United Way of Rhode Island, hopes to close that gap, by the third grade.

In keeping with what has become an annual tradition, here are our 10 favorite books of 2013. In no particular  order, of course.

Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd: A wonderful book for the writer on your Christmas list. This inspiring and instructive work is about the partnership of a great narrative writer (Kidder) and his editor (Todd).

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist plans to jump out of a plane on Saturday alongside a charter school teacher who answered her call to get students to read more books this summer.

The stunt is part of challenge Gist issued at the end of the last school year. She promised to go skydiving with any teacher whose students finished all of their summer reading goals.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Books

Jan 15, 2013

Imagine the excitement when you get an electronically breathless Twitter message from a dear friend announcing that she just posted a link on Facebook to a stunningly engaging novel she just listened to wirelessly on her electronic tablet.  Does this make you feel warm and fuzzy all over, and just desperate to curl up all nice and cozy with your Kindle?  Or, as we hear in Eileen Landay's encore essay, does this all-too-common scenario lead you to wonder where we're headed as a literate society?