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Most Popular Dog Breeds

The Obamas chose a Portuguese water dog as the First Pooch. But what breed is tops in American homes? That would be the Labrador retriever. Here are the nation’s most popular dog breeds. (1) Labrador retrievers 100,736 (2) Yorkshire terriers 41,914 (3) German shepherds 40,909 (4) Golden retrievers 34,485 (5) Beagles 33,722

The New Box-Office Queen

On April 10, Hannah Montana: The Movie registered the biggest opening day for any G-rated movie ever. The sky-high box-office numbers were thanks to fans of megastar MILEY CYRUS. At just 16, Miley’s life is jam-packed. One week before her movie opened, she shared the details of her day with TIME magazine. She started the day by reading the Bible and ended it with her costars on TV’s Access Hollywood. In between, she had a meeting for her next movie, was interviewed four times, performed and changed outfits twice, and visited The Tonight Show’s make-your-own-sundae bar. Then she had to do her homework. How does Miley do it? “There’s a professional side of me,” she told TIME. “But mostly I’m pretty much myself.”

Teacup Pup

A miniature pooch named Tom Thumb is making big news. He is believed to be one of Britain’s smallest dogs. The month-old pup is a Chihuahua-Jack Russell terrier mix. He weighs less than four ounces and measures eight inches long. Just two inches shorter and Tom would have been a record holder for world’s smallest dog.

An Eco Expert

Alec Loorz, 14, wants to put a freeze on global warming. The California ninth grader founded Kids vs. Global Warming in 2007. It’s a nonprofit group that teaches kids about climate change and what they can do to stop it. Alec got motivated after seeing former Vice President Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. Last year, Alec became the youngest presenter for Gore’s Climate Project. He has given more than 70 talks. “Youths are affected more than anyone,” Alec told TFK. “We need to lead the change.” Let It Roll! Fifth grader Lindsay Carnes wondered: What if a skateboard rolled on balls instead of wheels? She told TFK she got the idea from “commercials for a Dyson vacuum cleaner.” Her notion won the Kids’ Science Challenge. She will work with scientists to bring it to life. Elizabeth Birr Moje; Ken Pugh

Does surfing the Internet count as reading?

 Many kids spend hours online. They move from site to site, check e-mails and chat. Are they reading? That question is at the heart of a current debate. Yes! Sometimes we read in short bursts and snippets. That is the way we read when we’re surfing the Web. Studies show that reading on the Web is a sophisticated reading experience because readers must process information in so many different forms: photos, videos, charts and graphs. The information that readers access is unlimited. Links may lead to related information, which might enrich the reading experience. Giving home Internet access to low-income kids has been shown to improve standardized reading test scores. Without Internet access, these kids would not have been reading in their free time. The more people read, the more likely they are to develop stronger skills. If surfing the Web motivates kids to readóeven if it is only for a short period of timeóthen that is a good thing. All reading, whether on- or offline, can be good. It just depends on the type of text and how you use it. Just as there are some offline texts that are better or worse than others, some online texts are good and some are not. Elizabeth Birr Moje is a professor of literacy at the University of Michigan. She studies adolescents’ reading and writing practices. No! Reading is an activity that requires focused attention for an extended period of time. When you read a narrative, you create pictures in your mind to go along with the story. So reading books is a mentally stimulating activity. It’s good for the brain. But a lot of the reading that we do online is not the same sustained, focused reading that we do when we read narratives. If you spend most of your time online, not really exploring texts or staying on topic for an extended period of time, then you’re not getting the full benefit of reading. I don’t want students to be discouraged from exploring the online world. It can add greatly to their education. If you’re studying mummies, you can find pictures and links to more sites to create a more enriched study. But it’s hard to explore the online world if you’re not a good reader. Becoming a good reader takes practice, and reading interesting books is really good practice. Ken Pugh is an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine. He studies the brain and reading

A Super-Sized Crisis

A new study shows that many U.S. 4-year-olds are dangerously overweight. For years, doctors have warned that kids who are too heavy are at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious health problems. This month, researchers announced new findings about U.S. kids’ health. The news is not good: Nearly one of every five 4-year-olds in the nation is seriously overweight, or obese. Dr. Julie Lumeng is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan who studies children’s behavior and weight. “We think a lot about…prevention and focusing on eating healthy and exercising more,” she says. “But all of us are struggling because those interventions are not wildly successful.” In certain ethnic groups, the obesity rate is even higher. About one in every three American Indian 4-year-olds is obese, as are more than one in five black and Hispanic kids of that age. “It is surprising to see differences by racial groups present so early in childhood,” says Sarah Anderson of Ohio State University. She is the study’s lead researcher. Big, Bad Habits Nurse Jessica Burger, health director of a tribal clinic in Michigan, says many American Indian families rely on government-provided pasta, rice and other processed foods. “A household without access to fresh fruits and vegetables really creates a better chance of a person becoming obese,” she says. Getting too little exercise and eating foods high in fat, sugar and salt cause unhealthy weight gain. Burger is starting programs to help kids eat well and exercise from a very early

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