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What You Need To Know Today: Staying Cool, Saving Water, Teaching Students With Dyslexia

The sun sets behind the silhouette of a person drinking from a water bottle.
People view the sun set as a child drinks from a water bottle in June last year. We're about to see very high temperatures again.
(Frederic J. Brown
Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Wednesday, August 31.

Today in How to LA: Navigating the heatwave, a bill making it easier to permit street vendors heads to the Governor's desk, how teachers are being trained to help students with dyslexia. 

How are you doing, my friend? Are you staying cool? Drinking enough ice water? I am sure many of you are already feeling it but several spots in Southern California are expected to hit record-setting highs over the next several days. Death Valley, for one, could peak at 126 degrees on Saturday, which would make it the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth in the month of September.

It is HOT, my friends, but we are here to help you navigate this. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the opening of nine cooling centers in L.A. More will be open throughout the county, as well as swimming pools and other cool places, like libraries and rec centers. My colleague Caitlin Hernández has some additional smart tips for you — from how to endure the heat outdoors to caring for pets. Caitlin’s article also notes the signs to look for if you think you might be suffering from heat illness.

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Hot days like this make it hard to stay on track with another important goal: saving water. But my colleague, Climate Emergency Reporter Erin Stone, says we HAVE to do even more to cut back on our water use, or else we could face steeper, mandated restrictions this fall.

Again, don’t worry, we got you. Today, Erin joins Brian De Los Santos, host of the How to LA podcast, to talk about water conservation. They head to Leimert Park to meet Lynetta McElroy, who is something of a sustainability expert for her block. Through their conversation, we learn a few things we could all do to change our consumption habits and waste fewer resources. She even tips us off to the rebates out there to get more water efficient appliances. Listen to the podcast here and read more about Lynetta’s process for recycling gray water here.

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As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below - just keep reading.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

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  • Another water ban is being imposed, but this time it’s because of a leaky pipe. Starting Sept. 6, outdoor water restrictions will go into effect in more than a half dozen cities, including Pasadena, Downey and Long Beach, so the Metropolitan Water District can start repairs. Here’s what to expect
  • The state legislature passed a bill that would ease the process for street vendors to get permitted. It now heads to Gov. Newsom's desk.
  • A process known as carbon capture is being touted as something that could help California reach its climate goals, but environmental activists are calling on state lawmakers to reject a billthat would expand the use of carbon capture
  • My colleague Mariana Dale explains the appeal of Arizona State University for college-bound Angelenos and what the Netflix show Never Have I Ever can tell us about it.
  • For the first time on record, cigarette use is lower than marijuana use. In the past decade the usage of cigarettes has trended downward while the opposite can be said about marijuana. Alcohol, on the other hand, has remained the most popular substance of choice. 
  • For those of us who still have student loan debt, we now have to watch out for scammers. NPR gives us some tips on how to stay protected from those who are promising to eliminate remaining debt. 
  • Hispanic Heritage Month doesn’t start until mid-September but Marvel fans have already expressed their displeasure at how their favorite superhero characters are representing the month.

Wait! One More Thing...Step Into The Classroom To See How Teachers Are Supporting Students With Dyslexia

An illustration of a teacher, outlined in blue, standing in front of a blackboard teaching a child, outlined in orange. The board is filled with phonemes.
(Dan Carino

For the latest article in LAist’s series on dyslexia and education in California, my colleague Julia Barajas digs into the different ways educators are being trained to support students in the state.

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Julia explains that, sometimes, the special cultural needs of Black, brown and immigrant children are not thought of when it comes to language development. Structured literacy is a first step in the solution. It’s an approach to teaching oral and written language that emphasizes phonics, and it’s been backed by advocates for dyslexic students.

For one, says Dr. Julie Washington, a professor at University of California, Irvine, schools have largely not respected the dialects of Black children. It’s a problem she recognized in the fall of 1990. Dr. Washington also brings up the point that English language learners are in fact emergent bilinguals.

"One of the things that we have done in this country with a lot of populations, including African American kids who speak dialect, and bilingual kids who speak Spanish, for example, is to try to eliminate the use of those home and community language systems," she said. "Every child has to learn general American English, in order to read and write. But the way we do it is really important. I don't believe eliminating people's dialects or eliminating people's language is the way to do it."

Read more about this in Julia’s story.

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