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A Year with Mia: Highlights from Our Blog

January 24, 2019

Get to Know Us Better – What’s on the Blog?

Over the past year, we’ve covered a good deal of territory via our blog, some of which you may have missed. From the silly to the serious, from new books to very old ones, here are some of the highlights from 2018, organized by topic.

On Mia and Mia Learning

We spent a lot of time this year on demystifying Mia and putting her into context. We discussed the origins, mechanismstechnology, and philosophy behind Mia, the literacy experts who inform her coaching and general approach, how she can help teachers, parents, and librarians rather than presenting competition, and even her social justice potential.

Reading Aloud Series

This series of three related posts were among our most well-received, covering why, what, and how  parents should read out loud to their independently reading children. We also had a diverting way for parents to assess their greatest strength in reading aloud.

Just for Fun

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has spent a significant amount of time online that quizzes were some of our most popular blog fodder. Among our followers’ favorites? Finding out which fictional dragon matched their reading style and receiving a book recommendation based on which literary cat best suited their purr-sonalities. We also had a great time interviewing illustrator Alex Rodgers and exploring how books shape identity in a poignant conversation with Rowan Walker, an eloquent bibliophile who happens to be gender non-binary.

Lists for Days

In 2018, our blog also had some mighty engaging lists of books organized on themes, like chocolatey reads, colorful picture books, books about fabric, clothing, and cloth, and more thoughtful compilations, such as our collection of biographies about women artists and our list of graphic memoirs written by women. We’re always gratified when these lists circulate widely and prompt more library check-outs and store purchases of heretofore underappreciated books.

Can’t Get Enough of Mia? 

If you’ve read every bit of our blog and you’re still hungry for more, great! Sign up on our pre-launch page at Indiegogo to learn more about Secret Agent Mia’s Book Club and to make sure you don’t miss a thing when it comes to our upcoming crowdfunding campaign.

Picture of a sculpture of a brain lit many colors at night
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Literacy Experts Deepen Mia’s Knowledge About Reading

April 30, 2018

Literacy Experts Deepen Mia’s Knowledge About Reading

By Darren Cambridge 

From its inception, Mia Learning has been committed to combining the best understanding of how children read and the best ways to support them in their reading.

Our product reflects a rigorous analysis of educational and psychological research findings, as well as numerous interactions with teachers, librarians, researchers, and parents. Mia Learning’s Literacy Experts Taskforce is taking this commitment to the next level.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Mia Learning has brought together experts who represent both the forefront of literacy research and a deep knowledge of practice. The group joins faculty from top research universities with teachers and librarians who help children grow as readers every day. Led by Dr. Peter Afflerbach, Professor of Reading at the University of Maryland, and Dr. Darren Cambridge, Mia Learning’s CEO, they are mapping the territory through which Secret Agent Mia guides young readers.

The Literacy Expert Taskforce is validating Mia’s existing AI domain model and creating the blueprint for its next generation. Mia’s domain model determines that she knows about readers, reading, and books. It guides what she asks kids about their reading, which books she recommends, when she asks them to reflect, and how she coaches them on making increasingly powerful choices.

Literacy Expert Taskforce Members

Peter Afflerbach
Professor of Reading,  Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Maryland
Dr. Afflerbach investigates individual differences in reading development and is a member of the Standing Reading Committee of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the International Reading Association’s Reading Hall of Fame.

Susan Brown
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Language, Literacy, and Special Education, Rowan University
Dr. Brown is an expert on multicultural children’s literature, reader response, and urban education, as well as an award-winning poet and coordinator of the Children of the Sun Literary Club at Bushfire Theatre of Performing Arts.

Nell Duke
Professor in Literacy, Language, and Culture and in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan
A prolific author of award-winning research on early literacy development, especially of children in poverty, Dr. Duke has been named one of the most influential education scholars in the U.S. by Education Week.

Merna Fam
Teacher, Teacher, Kensington Parkwood Elementary
Drawing on her graduate training as a reading specialist, Ms. Fam teaches kindergarten in a diverse school that integrates the arts throughout the curriculum.

Leslie Garcia
Teacher, Cooper Lane Elementary School
Ms. Garcia teaches reading, writing, and social studies in an overwhelmingly low income and minority school where many students are English Language Learners.

Jennifer Graff
Associate Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of Georgia
Winner of the 2009 Dissertation of the Year Award from the International Reading Association for research concerning young girls’ book choices, Dr. Graff is chair of the NCTE Children’s Literature Assembly.

Christopher Hils
Program Director, Tree House Books
Before become a leader in after school programming serving the North Philadelphia community, Hils has taught at and helped found multiple elementary schools with a focus on improving early literacy education.

Kathryn Mitchell Pierce
Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Saint Louis University
Now a faculty member focusing on classroom talk, children’s literature and collaborative assessment, Dr. Pierce spent a decade teaching at the elementary school level and another decade teaching literacy at the middle school level.

Genelle Schuler
Program and Partnership Librarian, Arlington Public Library
Now building partnerships between the Arlington Public Library system and community organizations, Schuler has served young readers for two decades in the Alexandria and Fairfax County public library systems and as an elementary school librarian.

Rachel Vecloth
Lead Teacher, Creative Minds International Public Charter School
A Center for Inspired Teaching Fellow and former lawyer, Vecloth teaches second grade and piloted the Mia Learning platform with her class in Spring 2017.

Spring 2017 Literacy Experts Taskforce 
The current version of Mia was informed by an earlier experts taskforce that was instrumental to our Spring 2017 pilot. It consisted of Ms. Schuler, Emily Utigard (Estes Park Elementary), Sarah Sweetman (Centreville Elementary), and Allison Sauveur (Deer Park Elementary).