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Insightful books for second and third graders
Your child might think they’re stuck at home right now, but they can actually open portals to many different worlds with the power of reading! Reading is an important pastime for your child to adopt and grow to love as early as possible. Books not only entertain and keep your child company but they also educate and improve traits like creativity, empathy, and comprehension. The characters become their friends, mentors, and role models, passing on life lessons and morals that help your child grow into the best version of themselves. The books listed below are excellent reads for your second or third grader! If your child is showing some hesitation, here are some ways you can encourage and excite them: • read aloud to them every night (and leave off right when things get interesting), • give rewards for how many books they read in a week, • draw scenes from the book with them to bring characters to life, or • plan a fun movie night for when they complete the book version! Now let’s get started. Check out these fun reads below for your second or third grader: The Magic Paintbrush | Laurence Yep Shen has a magic paintbrush that allows her paintings of fish and oysters to come to life. When an emperor hears of her gift, he demands she paint gold for him instead. How can she keep her promise to paint for the betterment of the poor? Boxcar Children | Gertrude Chandler Warner The Aldens are four orphaned children who begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together no matter what. Here’s the twist, while making sure they are not separated, they find their grandfather. Cam Jansen and the Chocolate Fudge Mystery | David A. Adler Super sleuth Cam Jansen and her friend Eric uncover a mystery while selling candy door- to-door. Why is there a full trash can outside a supposedly deserted house? Cam uses her photographic memory to get to the bottom of this enigma! Charlotte’s Web | E.B. White Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spider web tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter. The Hundred Dresses | Eleanor Estes At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time, it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is never going to stand by and say nothing again. Who Was Dr. Seuss? | Janet Pascal Theodor Seuss Geisel loved to doodle from the time he was a kid. He had an offbeat, fun-loving personality. He often threw dinner parties, where guests had to wear outrageous hats! He donned quirky hats when thinking up ideas for books like his classic The Cat in the Hat. This biography, with black-and white illustrations throughout, brings an amazingly gifted author/illustrator to life. - These books are fun and engaging with great life lessons for your child, whether it’s about standing up for others or helping the community. They’re informational (Who doesn’t want to learn all about Dr. Seuss?) and touching (No one tugs at the heartstrings quite like Charlotte does). These books are also part of our JEI Reading & Writing program, which helps children who want to improve their reading comprehension as well as children at advanced levels who just can’t get enough. To make the most of this reading list, sign your child up at your nearest center! We are currently continuing our State Standard-aligned curriculum through JEI Remote Learning, so even at home, your child can continue to learn and grow. Reach out today and start your child on "A Better Life Through Better Education". Happy readings!
JEI Livingston dominates JEI Essay Contest with determination and encouragement
The JEI Learning Center in Livingston, NJ is home to the most JEI Essay Contest winners of 2019. Director Julia Guo explains how she runs her center with dedication, motivation, and encouragement so that students can strive to be their best selves. At our JEI Learning Centers, the greater trend seems to be a focus on math skills, with hundreds more of our students turning out for the Math Olympiad than the Essay Contest every year. You may wonder why a director coming from a science background diverged from this trend to produce the most JEI Essay Contest winners out of all the centers, but that is exactly what this director did. Director Julia Guo of the Livingston Center came to the United States 32 years ago, graduated with a PhD in Biology at New York University, did her postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked as a Senior Scientist at Merck for ten years, and conducted research at a New York hospital for another eight years before opening her JEI center in 2014. With this track record, you may be surprised to hear Julia’s center has the most students enrolled in the JEI Reading & Writing program, yet this is the fifth Essay Contest in a row in which she had not only the most participants but also the most winners. Guo explained in an interview with JEI: “As a research scientist with a PhD, I realized how important writing and presentation skills are in career development, so I decided to focus on improving students’ writing skills as the primary goal of the center. Good reading and writing skills build students’ self-confidence. Writing is essential for every subject students take in middle school, high school, and college. Clear writing is clear thinking, so the better they can express themselves, the better they can share their ideas, opinions, and arguments. Good writing skills leave a lasting impact on children’s self-learning, school performance, and career.” To achieve her goal, Guo conducted an extensive search to hire the best teachers she could find, then collaborated with them to perfect coaching strategies. Guo advises other centers and parents alike to enroll students in both JEI English and JEI Reading & Writing together to build a strong Language Arts foundation with grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and sentence composition. She likened the process to becoming a great chef: while JEI English is all about perfecting the skills and gathering the right ingredients, JEI Reading & Writing is about putting those together to actually cook the meal. She also said that students should read many books, start to study writing as early as the second grade, and practice daily because strong writing skills take years to hone. On average, Guo said she saw students make the most significant growth after they were in both programs for two years, recalling one particular fourth grader who struggled for a year and nine months before it clicked and she started to write beautiful essays. All of her Essay Contest winners were long-term students who had been with her for three to five years. The best thing about the JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ is that all of her students will continue perfecting their writing skills and learning for life, even after graduating from JEI programs. Because it can take some time to produce results, it is natural for students to grow disheartened and want to give up, but Guo has a remedy for that, too: “When students struggle, I always encourage them, saying that it takes a while, and at the end, they will do a great job. I constantly speak with many students one on one to encourage and coach them to stay positive, persistent, and enthusiastic. I know that each student will improve no matter what.” She also emphasized the importance of spending time with the children’s parents, so they understand the process and how long it may take. When students start doing well, Guo does not let them grow complacent. They move on to the next level when ready, and this involves higher expectations and more personalized essay feedback. All of this has led to more confident, knowledgeable students as well as grateful parents who tell her that their children participate more in school and love to learn. Guo gets all of her JEI Reading & Writing students involved in the annual JEI Essay Contest, even if they aren’t participating. She incorporates that year’s writing prompts into classes and even hosts workshops and celebratory events which help to boost morale and confidence throughout her center. During the annual awards ceremony, students present on the importance of writing, encouraging other students to want to be more active and engaged in writing and academics. One student’s 4-year-old sibling even said, “I want to do better. I can do that!” Guo added, “Besides the annual JEI Essay Contest, I have encouraged and arranged for students to submit to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. I will continue to devote my effort to encourage students to participate in other writing contests to get national recognition for their writing skills.” She is seeing great success so far! Livingston student and Essay Contest winner, Joyce He, placed Silver for the Scholastic national writing competition. Many other students of Guo have also placed gold, silver, and honorable mention in regional and national levels for this competition. Guo’s strategy and beliefs about encouragement, persistence, and daily practice are in complete alignment with JEI Learning Center’s philosophy for all students. We again congratulate Guo and the students at Livingston for performing well and challenging themselves through the Essay Contest. We extend these congratulations to all the centers and students who put their best foot forward in their journey toward lifelong learning. Want your child to improve as much as Guo’s students have? Look for a JEI Learning Center near you for our State Standards-aligned programs and annual competitions. Your child could be the next JEI Essay Contest winner with the hard work and skills we pass onto all of our students!
Preparing your child for a career of the future
Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution! Due to the rapid technological advances of the 21st century, we are living in an era of quick and abundant changes. One change that comes with this age of social media, robots, and artificial intelligence (AI) development is the extinction of jobs. For example, cashiers, bank tellers, and administrative assistants are projected to become obsolete within the next decade. However, another change is the creation of new jobs! Even just a few years ago, occupations like social media marketers and user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers either did not exist at all or were in low demand. Now, companies are scrambling to build influencer outreach programs while job seekers learn to code at boot camps. You never know what the future holds, so how do you prepare your child for a career that might not exist yet? Embrace New Things The very first thing to do is open your mind to all the possibilities. Embrace trends and new developments, even if they seem strange at first. People who see potential in something novel often succeed because they enter the market before it’s overcrowded. They may also set the rules or become frontrunners. One example is Steve Jobs, who predicted computers will be a staple in every home, leading to Apple’s rise to the top. Another example is YouTube, which has become a billion-dollar company. Those who created content when YouTube first started saw great success and still have millions of loyal subscribers today. However, there is a lot more competition now. More and more kids in the United States and United Kingdom want to grow up to be YouTube stars. Rather than jump on a trend when it's at its peak, try to get ahead of it. The way to do this is to be open to new ideas, and then... Stay Updated In order to embrace new things and get ahead of trends, you must always keep a finger on the pulse. Stay updated by reading the news and talking to others. To get the most comprehensive view of how the future is looking, you should expand your horizons and read publications you may not normally read. Sign up for a variety of newsletters that focus on different industries, like Adweek (marketing) and Wired (technology). Another good resource for parents is Pearson, which does survey-based research into educational trends. The latest report discusses the future of education and vocational training in career-building for students. Learning as much as you can is the best preparation for the future, but not the only way. You should also... Work On Soft Skills Even though jobs may change, the skills that make an employee competent and desirable never do. You may be unsure about signing your kid up for coding classes right now, but you can always work on their soft skills, which transcend any one job. Soft skills include time management, creative thinking, conflict resolution, sense of responsibility, and focus. These ensure that your child will be a good worker. You can help by building up their study habits and routines, removing distractions, giving advice, and encouraging breaks so they can refocus and foster creativity. You can also improve socialization traits, like empathy, sense of humor, and teamwork. Employers want to know your child is a good person to have on their team since they will spend many hours together. You can lead by example: show compassion and communicate clearly. Your child can also get involved in the community through volunteer work and read more books, which boosts the Emotional Quotient (EQ). Excellent soft skills ensure your child will be a good worker in any field or position! On top of that, you can... Build Transferable Skills For an even greater advantage, you should work on your child’s transferable skills, meaning skills that are important no matter where they work! Your child may not be able to specialize quite yet, but they can perfect basic skills like writing, public speaking, and comprehension. For example, you may not believe a career in science requires strong writing skills, but that is not the case. Pre-med students are nowadays required to take writing classes so they can write up good reports. Public speaking is necessary for any leadership position. Comprehension ensures your child can follow directions and learn new things for their current job or a new one. To boost these skills, encourage your child to read more and write daily! They can also sign up for activities that will push them outside of their comfort zone, like going to a theater camp that will improve their speaking skills or signing up for a sport that requires quick and strategic thinking. These skills will prove useful no matter what new jobs the future holds! What lies ahead can be uncertain and ever-changing, but you can still help your child prepare for it to the best of your abilities! Learning about trends and honing basic skills are key so that your child can get into any industry, even if that industry does not exist yet. Preparing your child for the future job market will ensure they have the best future possible! To work on some of the skills mentioned above, take a look at the programs we offer and find a JEI Learning Center near you.