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The need to address adolescent literacy with a focus on English Language Learners has created a growing realization that instructional practices need to change.

The Carmel Unified School District, located 120 miles south of San Francisco and including the population centers of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Valley, Pebble Beach and Big Sur, enrolls 2,166 students and employs 335 staff members.

Books for Kids of all Ages:

George's Secret Key to the Universe

By Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2007) Curious George's author, H.A. Rey, was an amateur astronomer and friend of Albert Einstein. Now Stephen (this generation's Einstein) and Lucy Hawking have accepted this generation's challenge of explaining the universe to kids. If you haven't been able to fi nish A Brief History of Time, this book, written for children ages 9-12, might help.

The word dyslexia is rooted in the Greek language and means "difficulty with words." Although dyslexia is known as a problem related to reading, it can also interfere with a student's ability to write, spell and pronounce words correctly. It does not signal a lack of intelligence, talent or effort (famous dyslexics include Thomas Edison, Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Winkler). However, it is defined as a specific learning disability by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

New Literacies

The authors hit on a great point in regard to motivating and engaging students ("The New Literacies," October). This has to be a goal of every educator and moving into the 21st Century with technology is a must. My three- and four-year-old children can both access the Internet and log on to PBS to play educational games. They run the mouse like they have been using it for years.

Mark Gruen, principal, Eleva-Strum Central High School and Middle School, Strum, Wis.

State Proficiency Standards Vary

According to the authors of "The Proficiency Illusion," a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), those who care about strengthening U.S. K12 education "should be furious."

If you visit the District of Manatee County in Florida, be ready to hand over your driver's license to have it swiped and checked against a database of sex offenders.

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