In 1951, legendary radio host Edward R. Murrow launched a series asking listeners to share their most fundamental beliefs about humanity and the world around them.
Dozens of leading cultural, political and literary figures of the 1950s contributed their thoughts to the program, and listeners across the nation tuned in. Although Murrow stated many were skeptical that any meaningful ideas could be articulated in only five minutes on the radio (a concern bowled over by the advent of sound bites and social media), luminaries like Albert Einstein, Helen Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt shared their most personal philosophies and beliefs on the air.
Today, the This I Believe project lives on as an opportunity for students to share their values and opinions while honing their writing skills.
As part of our summer English curriculum, elementary and middle school students will compose and refine essays about their strongest convictions — whether that’s the value of team sports, the importance of equality or the superiority of chocolate ice cream. At the end of their courses, students will submit their pieces to the This I Believe website. Through this project, students will build their persuasive writing skills and develop their unique writing voices.
At iLearn Academy, we believe strong writing skills are important not just for school and work, but for students' personal expression and exploration. We're proud to participate in This I Believe alongside our students.
You can browse personal essays from students across the country on the official This I Believe website. To learn more about iLearn Academy's course offerings, view our curriculum.
Individualized instruction significantly boosts students’ grades, but the effect on their confidence -- and eventually, their identities -- is even more important.
Children develop identities by noticing how they are similar or different from those around them. When a student struggles in school but sees his peers excelling, he often comes to the conclusion: “I’m not smart.” This feeling may stick with him throughout his life and affect his confidence, performance and willingness to try new tasks.
Alternatively, when a student works hard to master a new concept or overcome a learning challenge, that victory remains with him and shapes his identity. He starts to see himself as someone who is resourceful, hardworking and capable: “I am smart.”
It’s no surprise that the right instructor can make a huge difference not only on a student’s grades, but on his or her life.
While many tutoring centers hire college students looking to supplement their incomes, iLearn Academy’s instructors are certified teachers or experts in their given fields. These instructors have extensive experience identifying a student’s needs and delivering tailored instruction.
Think back to your favorite teacher from elementary school. Now imagine getting to sit with him or her for an hour or two every week for small-group or individualized instruction. The combination of outstanding teachers and one-on-one attention can completely transform a student’s attitude toward school and learning.
Each summer, we see young people eager to return to school. They’re excited to walk into the classroom with the confidence to overcome new challenges.
Thank you for giving your child the gift of confidence this summer. We look forward to more victories - large and small - this school year.
Are there classes not currently in our curriculum that would benefit your child? Take our 15-second survey and let us know how we can serve you better.
My sincere gratitude,
Youngah Anderson, Director
Many students look forward to sun-filled summers free from books and homework, but this extended break from learning sets many students back.
The average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year, according to a report by the RAND Corporation. The negative effects of summer learning loss show up as early as first grade in some students, and it takes up to two months after school starts for students' brain development to get back on track.
Summer learning loss can have long-term implications, as well. By the end of sixth grade, students who experience summer learning loss are, on average, two years behind their peers.
This learning and achievement gap is daunting. The good news, however, is that summer learning loss is easy to avoid.
While summer provides a break from learning in a traditional school environment, it offers countless opportunities for students to grow academically outside the classroom. From pursuing their particular interests to exploring brand new subjects, summer gives students time to build knowledge in fun, stimulating ways.
Looking for strategies to combat learning loss while keeping your child's summer fun? Here are five easy ways to weave some learning into those carefree summer days:
1. Add the Library to Your Weekly Routine
Reading is the best way for students to keep their brains sharp during summer break. Reading promotes brain development, teaches vocabulary and comprehension, builds empathy and opens students' minds to worlds outside their own.
Visit the library each week so your student can pick out a new book. If she's a reluctant reader, try creating a simple incentive program to get her started: When she finishes five books, she gets a small prize. If she can finish 20, she earns an ice cream date with the whole family. Sometimes, her own library card is all the incentive a student needs!
2. Learn from Household Projects
Learning doesn't have to involve writing assignments and problem sets. Much of learning is simply developing the ability to think critically and solve problems. What better practice than to complete a project as a family?
This could be as simple as baking a cake, assembling a bicycle or building a birdhouse. Walk through the directions together, and let your student guess what step comes next -- or write out all the steps beforehand and let him guess the correct order.
This list of 15 kid-friendly household projects can get you started.
3. Visit a Cultural or Historical Site
A visit to a local cultural or historical site presents many opportunities to learn. Together, read any signage providing background about the site, and talk about what it might have been like to live during that time period. What would be different? What would be the same? Talk to your child about why cities, states and nations choose to preserve historical sites, and ask for their opinions.
There is a huge collection of excellent historical fiction for children and teens. Do a quick search to find any books related to the site or area you're visiting, then read the book together before or after your trip. The same goes for age-appropriate movies and TV shows.
4. Take a Hike
Nature is a boundless source for summer learning. Students can study types of plants, animal behavior and ecology simply by spending time outdoors. Take some time to learn about the parks and walking trails in your town. Some parks districts even offer guided hikes for children and families.
Here's a list of fun, educational outdoor activities to spark students' curiosity about nature.
5. Invest in a Tutor
Summer tutoring keeps your child's academic skills sharp and her mind engaged. Even one hour weekly with a tutor sets students up for success during the year. One-on-one and small-group tutoring not only boosts grades, it builds confidence and helps students feel comfortable confronting new academic challenges. In short, tutoring can affect a student's attitude toward learning for the rest of his or her life.
Get the most from your investment by finding a tutoring center with certified teachers, personalized lesson plans and a results-focused approach.
With these simple steps, your student will be ready to start the school year strong.
iLearn Academy offers a three-week, end-of-summer Catch-Up Program to help students get up to speed before the start of the school year. Visit the program page to learn more or enroll.
2. Read Actively: It’s best not to take notes while reading, because that can interrupt the flow of the message. It can also decrease the reader’s comprehension. Sometimes, the main point of a paragraph is not recognized until the entire paragraph is read, so taking notes at the end helps the reader include all of the main elements. Highlight a phrase, or dates, that stand out. A few words are not enough, and entire sentences are too much.
3. Review: When finished reading the ten-page chunk, consider what the section was about. In your own words, write a summary of it. Write down broad connections of the material to things you already knew, or previous readings.
Other tips include reading aloud when something doesn’t seem logical upon the first read. The extra step of speaking the words can sometimes engage thought processes and help clarify the language. Writing notes in your own words encourages additional thought about the reading, which also adds to memory retention. The idea of highlighting and handwriting notes is to include enough material to provide a summary of the entire passage, and the through process of doing that is what increases retention.
For more suggestions on note taking, ask your iLearn Academy instructors today.
Ever wonder if students are missing anything by choosing to read a digital book versus a hard copy version? With the convenience of digital resources at their fingertips, students have access to volumes of literature, almost instantly. In a world where there are so many digital apps that compete for your child’s attention, does quicker access mean more learning and better retention is taking place? According to the research, it’s not. However, there are some clear benefits to using both. Researchers have examined if comprehension is affected by one medium or the other, and you can help your student understand how digital and paper choices affect learning.
Research shows our brains respond differently to onscreen text than words on paper. According to the magazine, The Scientific American: On The Reading Brain in the Digital Age, the benefit of physical print allows the brain to recall text on a certain page as the brain function retains the words in a physical landscape. Similar to walking in a forest, your brain knows how far you have read the book and this spatial awareness leads to better recall on identifying which page you read a particular detail of a passage. Screen reading, on the other hand, “interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds.”
During class, students are exposed to interactive lessons, and homework options are often available digitally. While a majority of students who participated in the study preferred to read digitally and felt their comprehension was better when they read online, comprehension was measurably better when students read in print.
iLearn Academy offers both print and digital resources to help your students excel in both areas. We assess the student’s ability to comprehend and retain information yet try to maximize all the benefits of learning that the digital world has to offer.
We offer three tips to improving your student’s retention when reading digitally:
For more information on the debate on learning in the digital age read more at:
If you would like to learn more about your students learning style, please contact iLearn Academy today at 847-834-0791.
Parents can take part in active and respectful listening - which simply means tuning in to what students have to say and, at times, to what they are feeling. The best response for parents is empathy, not answers, when teens share their new ideas and feelings. Active listening, repeating back what your student said to you, is a healthy and effective way to clarify meaning. By repeating words back to the speaker, you’re showing you heard him or her and that you acknowledge how he or she is feeling.
The ability to stay calm is critical to keep the communication lines open. Resist the urge to question, judge and criticize when you learn something new about your teen’s interests. Encourage your student to learn as much as possible about new interests or fields of study, and suggest finding out things together. That lets your son and daughter know your support is unconditional.
According to the College Board in 2017, the average debt per graduating student with a 4 year degree from a public school was $27,000. Future graduates are likely to have even a larger debt burden as inflation for college tuition continues to outpace core inflation in the U.S. by nearly 4%. The long term consequence? Graduating with a large amount of student debt can reduce your son or daughter's ability to save for retirement throughout their career by an average $325,000*.
Helping your children pay for the cost of college does not have to be a daunting experience. If you get started early and consider the various sources of financial aid then you can help your student start their career debt free.
1. Think Long-Term College Savings. The earlier you start saving, the better off you'll be. One of the best methods is to combine tax benefits and savings by investing in a 529 Plan. There are two types of plans: Prepaid Tuition Plans and College Savings Plans. You can choose any state sponsored plan, however, if you choose an Illinois plan, you receive an added tax break by deducting part of your contribution from state tax. The primary benefits of a 529 plan are earnings will grow tax free when used for college, ability to transfer funds from one family member to another, and ability to choose your investment in attempts to outpace college inflation. Other savings plans include a Coverdell (Educational IRA) with lower annual contribution limits of $2,000, Custodial Accounts with less tax benefits, and Personal Savings. No matter how you save, careful planning for the long haul is the best way to prepare for the cost of college.
2. Free College Money. If you're looking for someone else to pay for college then knowing the options and understanding the filing deadlines in this highly competitive marketplace will be the keys to your success. Available options include: 1. Federal and State Grants, 2. Scholarships, 3. Service and Work Study Awards, and 4. Tuition Waivers and Allowances. The first step is to consider if you qualify for "needs-based" or "non-needs based" aid. Start by visiting FASFA (Free Application for Student Aid) at fasfa.ed.gov to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or what the government thinks you can pay for college. Next, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) to be given to the financial aid center at your prospective college. The main source of free money is the needs-based "Pell Grant" followed by the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG). Next, learn more about Illinois' state grants at www.isbe.net. Scholarships are the next best free source and are usually based on merit or competition. Check with your college and visit sites that do not charge a fee such as fastweb.com, studentaid.ed.gov, fastaid.com, and collegenet.com. There are a lot of scholarship scams on the internet so be careful with the "too good to be true" offers.
3. Alternatives to Loans. Consider alternatives such as deciding which school to attend will keep your costs down. The reality is, unless you are graduating from an Ivy League school, most employers are more interested in your skill sets and less on where you graduated. Consider attending a school close to home to save money on room and board. Also, think about picking a lower cost school and research which classes will transfer to a school of choice then transfer to your ideal school in your senior year. These strategies can save you thousands of dollars. If borrowing is your only option, understand the interest rates and payback options. The best choice for loans is the subsidized needs-based "Perkins" or "Stafford" Loan with lower interest rates than institutional loans.
Learn more about how iLearn Academy can help you save and prepare for college by contacting Mr. Anderson at 847-834-0791. Please be sure and attend our free "Paying for College" workshop at our learning center on March XX, 2018 or call for more information.
*College Board, Trends in Student Aid 2017, read more at: https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/2017-trends-student-aid_0.pdf
Hello iLearn Academy followers,
This is a friendly reminder that ACT Test Preparation Courses for the April ACT Test are set to begin January 20th. If you are interested in attending this program be sure to register for iLearn Academy's free Mock ACT Test so we know where to begin.
To schedule the Mock Exam or inquire for more details regarding our ACT program call 847 834 0791.
-A pitfall for some parents is to dismiss their child's education to the responsibility of the public or private school teacher. In reality, your attitude and involvement towards your child's academics has a major impact on their overall development and grades. Studies show 90% of all children experience some form of anxiety or depression. By building a strong emotional foundation at home, your son or daughter will be more focused and less anxious on preparing for and taking tests. Consider for a moment your own experience as a child--did one or both of your parents take a personal interest in your education? What was their attitude toward your getting an A or D--were you rewarded or reprimanded? If your child knows they have your full support, no matter the result, their level of stress will be manageable. This guide will identify some effective ways to help your student build confidence, stay focused, and reduce anxiety.
The Five Things You Should Know about Reducing Anxiety
iLearn Academy has a lot of dual-language learners. This article shares that as these students gain English proficiency, they often outperform students who only speak English!
Here is a great story about a middle school student that stood up to bullies. Talk to your parents or teachers if you are being bullied. Never suffer silently. Click the picture below to read the article.
Hi iLearn Academy followers,
Here is a great article about what colleges look for from the applicants.
Results of Study Conducted in Chicago Public Schools Lead Experts to Prescribe More Individualized Tutoring Nationwide
At iLearn Academy, we know the impact a tutor can have on a student's academics and future opportunities. Study after study confirm the benefits of tutors and we see these benefits every day in iLearn Academy classrooms. Since our inception, iLearn Academy has sought to bring our small class, and progress based personal approach to tutoring to as many students as possible at as low a cost as possible. Though we strive to make our type of tutoring accessible we are often limited by the practicalities of having to keep the doors open all the while compensating our highly qualified teachers. A new education policy proposal may change that for charitable tutoring centers like ours, by making it conceivable to bring iLearn Academy type tutoring sessions into public schools across the nation at no extra cost to school districts.
The Hamilton Project
We were pleased but not surprised to hear about a recent national education policy proposal made by the Hamilton Project (an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institute) which calls for public schools to adopt an approach to teaching that is foundational to how iLearn Academy operates. The new policy calls to dramatically ramp up the use of in-school math tutors in addition to regular classes to help students perform at higher levels with existing school funds. This policy was announced by the Hamilton Project following a two year study in the Chicago Public Schools which showed dramatic increases in math understanding through multiple means of assessment on ninth and tenth grade underperforming students. The proposal brought forth in the Hamilton Project, "Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students: Scaling Up Individualized Tutorials" (Ander, Guryan, and Ludwig) calls for public schools to provide its underperforming students with targeted sessions multiple times per week in a small group setting by a tutor well-versed in secondary mathematics with frequent assessments to monitor growth. This approach has long worked for iLearn Academy students and it has now been proven to work for students in the Chicago Public Schools as well.
The Hamilton Project Results: Improved Grades
The Hamilton Project uses the data gathered from a 2013-14 study they conducted to support to their claims that individualized tutoring for math leads to big results. During the study Chicago Public Schools welcomed Match/SAGA (non-profit tutoring organizations) tutors into 12 high schools for one year. The results were impressive: after one year of being tutored in a two to one student to tutor ratio for 50 minutes a day, ninth and tenth grade CPS students who participated in the tutorials saw an average "increase of 0.58" to their math GPA on a 4 point scale, moved from the "34th percentile to the 42nd percentile" in math standardized tests (Plan/Pre-ACT), and "learned one to two extra years of math, over and above what the typical American high school student learns in one year", (p 11. Ander, Guryan, and Ludwig). These results, however, are nothing new. We've long known that tutoring in a small group setting helps students immensely. You'd be hard pressed to find any studies since the 70s that don't reaffirm that. What's new here is being able to provide personalized tutoring to students with no additional expenses to school districts.
Results Show Benefits of Tutoring Go Beyond Education:
1. Reduced Crime Rates
The Hamilton Project lists in "Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students" many future economic benefits, from individual earnings to reductions in crime for having a tutoring safety-net in place for students at risk of failing out of school. The proposal found that the benefits could be "1.3 to 2.9 times as large as the cost" (Ander, 11). The possible social and monetary benefits are wild especially considering that we can get them through funds already available. Due to the reauthorization of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015 school districts can now allocate Title 1 funding to reputable non-profit tutoring services. Chicago Public Schools was able to pay for all Match/SAGA tutorials for '14/'15 and 15'/16' school years all with government stipends through Title 1. Title 1 paid all totaled $2.9 million to provide these tutoring services for 12 high schools one year and 20 high schools the next year.
2. Lower Educational Costs
The Hamilton Project states that the average cost per student to CPS for a year of tutoring was $3,800. If this system was scaled up nationally they predict costs could be cut down to $2,500/yr about 2/3 of the original cost. There were $14 billion (Ander, 12) of Title 1 funding made available to districts nationwide in 2014, and hundreds of millions of dollars each year to large districts like CPS. These cost for tutoring would be 3-4% of Title 1 funds already allocated to schools.
3. Personalized Student Attention
The Hamilton Project has prescribed for the nation essentially what we prescribe for every student who comes through our doors: devoted, personalized, attention in a very small group setting by a tutor who is highly knowledgeable in math. The Match/SAGA Tutorial Experiment done in Chicago Public School proves once again that regular sessions with a small student to tutor ratio are undeniably helpful for students who are behind. They further provide a way schools can get these services at no extra cost to themselves. This would be a practical way to get tutors into public schools where they can have the most impact. iLearn Academy strongly believes in the power of personalized tutoring. We would love to see services like these and ours reach a wider audience and will be covering the progress of this proposal closely.
To read more about the proposal please follow the links below.
© iLearn Academy 2017