Learn about strategies and edtech tools that can help students to reflect on what they did over the summer and then design introductory projects that connect their experiences to the school-year curriculum.
There are many teaching methods that can help struggling readers, including children with dyslexia. Learn about the Orton–Gillingham approach and 10 other other methods to supplement your main classroom instruction.
Explore the differences among English learners, as well as dual-language, bilingual, and language-immersion programs, to help you decide what makes the most sense for your student population.
If you are planning to purchase a literacy program for instruction, get as much information as you can about a program's benefits and effectiveness. This article provides basic comparative information about a range of commercially available literacy programs.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching aimed at meeting the needs of every student in a classroom. It can be helpful for all kids, including kids with learning and attention issues. But UDL takes careful planning by teachers. Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know. Developing lesson plans this way helps all kids, but it may be especially helpful for kids with learning and attention issues.
Learn some best practices in helping children with language processing issues learn to read in this Q&A with expert Nanci Bell, director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes. Find out what works with children who have weaknesses in concept imagery or symbol imagery.
Reading Rockets helps parents and teachers address the aftermath of natural disasters with children through reading and books.
Research shows that students need at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction each day to become strong readers, and that this instruction must be systematic, explicit, scaffolded, and differentiated across the classroom.
These 27 identified evidence-based teaching practices have been shown through scientific research to be effective when implemented correctly with students with ASD.
A veteran reading teacher shares takeaways from her 'Teachers as Readers' learning group. What teachers need: enough time to teach language arts, well-stocked classroom libraries, student input, and meaningful professional development.
Teaching experience supports a multi-sensory instruction approach in the early grades to improve phonemic awareness, phonics, and reading comprehension skills. Multi-sensory instruction combines listening, speaking, reading, and a tactile or kinesthetic activity.
Children's picture books about autism can be a valuable resource for teachers in inclusive classrooms attempting to teach awareness, empathy, and acceptance among students. This article provides instructional tips for educators and offers suggestions for using children's picture books about autism to encourage positive, inclusive instruction.
A veteran teacher describes how she used visualization, Google images, video, and Skype to build background knowledge and enrich her students' classroom read aloud of a fiction book about ospreys in the UK.
Today’s Independent Reading (IR) programs differ significantly from SSR and DEAR. Effective IR programs require active teacher engagement, time, a broad range of leveled texts, talk around texts, and differentiated instruction. The benefits are well worth it: increased student achievement, motivation, and a love of reading.
This article explains how to create and use a daybook in the literacy classroom. Readers learn what a daybook is, how the daybook in one fourth and fifth grade classroom is structured, and how students in this classroom use that daybook during reading instruction to engage, record important information, and discuss a text.
For years, the field of reading education has been engaged in thinking about best practices. Explicit instruction in vocabulary, rereading and using digital textbooks to motivate children's reading are among some of these updated best practices. Those in the reading community are urged to consider best practices, and how we may promote their uses, with high fidelity in classroom instruction.
Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know the four "anchors" of the Common Core writing standards and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in all of these areas.
Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know what the four main areas of the Common Core reading standards mean and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in these areas.
From activating prior knowledge to exploring language to capturing character, discover ten ways to integrate poetry into your language, reading, and writing lessons.
Your child may be at a school where they are using an approach called "flipped classroom" or "flipped lesson." If so, keep reading to find out more about the concept, and three ways that you can support flipped learning at home.
Children's author and historian Marc Aronson discusses the importance of reading nonfiction in developing critical thinking skills.
The Lead for Literacy initiative is a series of one-page memos for policymakers and early literacy leaders on how to improve young children's literacy, birth to age 9. Using evidence from research, these briefs are designed to help leaders avoid common mistakes and present solutions and strategies for scalability and impact.
In plain language, find out what the Common Core Standards are, how student progress will be measured, their impact on English language learners, and how to stay informed.
This practice guide provides four recommendations for improving elementary students' writing. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared toward teachers, literacy coaches, and other educators who want to improve the writing of their elementary students.
Writing in journals can be a powerful strategy for students to respond to literature, gain writing fluency, dialogue in writing with another student or the teacher, or write in the content areas. While journaling is a form of writing in its own right, students can also freely generate ideas for other types of writing as they journal.Teachers can use literature that takes the form of a journal by reading excerpts and discussing them with students.
In addition to the unique gifts and interests that autistic students bring to the classroom as people, their responses can serve as an early warning system for pedagogical problems that are happening in the classroom as a whole.
It's called lots of different things: Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), and Million Minutes to name a few. Regardless of the different names, the intent is the same — to develop fluent readers by providing time during the school day for students to select a book and read quietly. Nearly every classroom provides some time during the instructional day for this independent silent reading. Despite its widespread use in classrooms, silent reading hasn't enjoyed much support in the research literature.
This study of first and second graders looked at teacher-led read-alouds as a way to introduce science concepts. Results suggest that multiple exposures to a related concept across different stories gave students more time to build a mental representation of important ideas. This evidence suggests that moving beyond a single text as a source for building students' understanding is an important instructional approach.
What do parents need to know about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? How will they affect teaching and assessing mathematics and English language arts? What are the benefits and what can parents do to prepare for the CCSS?
Drawing on research-based principles of vocabulary instruction and multimedia learning, this article presents 10 strategies that use free digital tools and Internet resources to engage students in vocabulary learning. The strategies are designed to support the teaching of words and word learning strategies, promote students' strategic use of on-demand web-based vocabulary tools, and increase students' volume of reading and incidental word learning.
Expository text can be challenging to young readers because of the unfamiliar concepts and vocabulary it presents. Discover ways to help your students analyze expository text structures and pull apart the text to uncover the main idea and supporting details.
Explore the five recommended practices for teaching literacy in English to English language learners: (1) Screen and monitor progress, (2) Provide reading interventions, (3) Teach vocabulary, (4) Develop academic English, and (5) Schedule peer learning.
All parents want their children to receive the best education possible. One way to help your child succeed is to know if the school is using effective teaching and intervention practices. But how can schools and parents know if a practice is effective? One method is to see if there is any research or "evidence" to prove that the practice works. This handout explains the meaning of "evidence-based practices" and why they are important. It also lists resources where parents can learn more.
Music stories are compositions of a narrative or descriptive sort. Students can listen for the story in the music, and this type of music can be integrated with literature, literacy, social studies, science, mathematics, and the other arts.
Students often have difficulty understanding abstract map symbols. Learn how to introduce map skills with literature that contextualizes mapping in a narrative, can be related to where in the world each student lives, and engages students by actively "doing geography."
Learn about evidence-based practices that encourage first graders' engagement with texts. The authors review reading as a transactional process, revisit the benefits of reading aloud to students, discuss three literacy strategies implemented in one first-grade classroom, and share examples of student work.
Find out how it benefits all students to read challenging texts. Rather than avoiding any use of more difficult texts, teachers can use instructional support to help students gain access to a more challenging reading experience. Learn how to make shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading more powerful and effective in your classrooms.
Learn how to teach children to write informational text through the use of focused read-alouds that include discussions of information book genre elements, features, and organizational structure. See examples of book compositions by second-grade authors that demonstrate how read-alouds can support young writers' genre knowledge development.
The text feature walk guides students in the reading of text features in order to access prior knowledge, make connections, and set a purpose for reading expository text. Results from a pilot study illustrate the benefits of using the strategy, and practical suggestions for implementation are offered.
Teaching vocabulary is complex. What words are important for a child to know and in what context? In this excerpt from Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction, the authors consider what principles might be used for selecting which words to explicitly teach.
This article explains how to teach students to identify the compare-contrast text structure, and to use this structure to support their comprehension. It also shows how to use compare-contrast texts to activate and extend students' background knowledge and expand and enrich their vocabulary.
Originally designed with seventh grade students, Reciprocal Teaching is a research-based strategy that teaches students to work in small groups to coordinate the use of four comprehension strategies: prediction, clarification, summarization, and student-generated questions. This article illustrates how to implement Reciprocal Teaching for the Primary Grades (RTPG). Modifications include: additional strategies, cue cards with pictures and scripts, group work interspersed with whole class follow-up, and an independent written component for individual student accountability.
Back-to-School Night is a great opportunity for families to learn more about their child's school and teacher. Here are some signs to look for that indicate your child is in a place where good reading instruction can take place.
You can and should use what you already know to be effective, research-based reading instruction to English language learners (ELLs). However, ELLs will need additional support in learning how to read, and the strategies here will help you to provide assistance in your everyday teaching, particularly for newcomers (students who have recently arrived in the U.S.).
When the back-to-school bell starts ringing, parents often hear and read school-related terms that are unfamiliar to them. Below are three terms and descriptions related to reading instruction that may help give you a better understanding of what's happening in your child's classroom and what it all means for your young learner.
This article offers some ideas on how to introduce poetry to ELLs and integrate it with reading instruction, as well as some ideas for reading poetry aloud in a way that will encourage oral language development.
Word study is an approach to spelling instruction that moves away from a focus on memorization. The approach reflects what researchers have discovered about the alphabetic, pattern, and meaning layers of English orthography. This article describes nine tips for implementing a word study program in your classroom.
This Bright Ideas article recommends five specific and measurable actions teachers can implement to assist ELL learning in the upcoming year. The resource section has links to helpful articles and websites for further support.
This article describes the theory and procedures (purpose, format, teacher prompting, and assessment procedures) for small-group writing instruction. Guided writing lessons are intensive, small-group activities that help create instructional support and interaction between teacher and students during writing.
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) describes ten dimensions of teaching that are linked to student achievement and social development. Each dimension falls into one of three board categories: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support.
Teachers do their best to improve students' fluency, but sometimes the information they have to work with is incomplete and, therefore, leads them down the wrong path. For example, silent reading or 'Round Robin' reading seem like good ways to improve fluency. But, in fact, increasing fluency requires more practice, more support, and more guided oral reading than either of these strategies can deliver.
As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and make content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.
What is differentiated instruction and how can it help your child? This article helps parents understand and support differentiation in the classroom.
Literacy centers offer meaningful learning experiences where students work independently or collaboratively to meet literacy goals.
How can school leaders support school-wide reading initiatives? Here are keys to leading the way in the areas of reading curriculum, instruction, assessment, and motivation.
Using Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) or practices to encourage engagement, educators can advance the breadth and depth of students' reading by explicitly and systematically nourishing students' motivations as readers.
Writing is a complex operation requiring knowledge of text structure, syntax, vocabulary, and topic, and sensitivity to audience needs; so it is not surprising that many teens find writing challenging. This article identifies the qualities of strong writing instruction, and offers advice to teachers for incorporating writing instruction into their practice, using tools like notebooks and journals, and sharing strategies that reinforce the importance of pre-writing and revision.
Teach your students to avoid the avoidance of writing. Learn how to lead them down the path of enthusiasm and self-confidence about writing through research-proven strategies.
Different book leveling systems each have unique ways of describing the age- and grade-level appropriateness of books. This chart provides equivalency information across six leveling systems: Basal level/PALS, Guided Reading, DRA, Rigby PM, Reading Recovery, and Lexile.
Help students engage in reading and writing by asking them to write captioning for audio-less video clips. This article contains step-by-step instructions for using the technique as well as links to digital media and suggested teaching ideas.
The use of metacognitive strategies helps students to "think about their thinking" before, during, and after they read.
In this article, a seasoned ELL teacher synthesizes her own classroom experience and the findings of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth to make recommendations for effective literacy instruction of ELL students.
Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. For Spanish-speaking ELLs, cognates are an obvious bridge to the English language.
How does the mind work — and how does it learn? Teachers' instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct. Such gut knowledge often serves us well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on?
Use picture books to teach young writers how to organize plot logically. This article includes examples of basic plot structures, along with picture books that use those structures.
Reading instruction changes the brain. New before- and after- images that show what happens to children's brains after they get systematic, research-based reading instruction show that the right teaching methods can actually normalize brain function and thereby improve a child's reading skills.
Helping struggling readers in the general classroom is a challenge, but The Access Center offers a solution. By using Response-to-Instruction’s tiered approach and Universal Design’s equal access philosophy, you can bridge the gap so that you are truly leaving no child behind.
Response to Instruction (RTI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are two great ideas for making sure the curriculum reaches all students. Learn about how you can implement these ideas as part of your regular routine in the general education classroom.
This article provides an overview of the federal No Child Left Behind law and includes information to help parents use provisions of NCLB to ensure that their child has access to appropriate instruction.
Research shows that effective school leaders focus on improving classroom instruction, not just managerial tasks. A natural way for school leaders to take on the role of instructional leader is to serve as a "chief" coach for teachers by designing and supporting strong classroom level instructional coaching. Here's how to selecting a coaching approach that meets the particular needs of a school and how to implement and sustain the effort.
Suggestions for fostering independent reading include: (a) Give children books that are not too difficult. (b) Help them find books they will enjoy. (c) Encourage them to try many kinds of material. Although independent reading cannot substitute for teaching decoding, it improves reading comprehension and the habit of reading.
Part of teaching reading is motivating the children to practice, practice, practice. Find out how to use children's poetry to encourage kids to read.
Children can learn about family heritage at the same time they are improving their literacy skills. Using family-based writing projects, you can build a connection with parents, and help children see the value in their own heritage and in the diversity around them.
Writing is a new way for young children to tell their stories and express themselves, but they are also learning valuable lessons about print concepts and letter-sound relationships when they put pen to paper.
Guided oral reading is an instructional strategy that can help students improve a variety of reading skills, including fluency. This article explains how to implement it in your classroom.
Students need to think while they are reading. By using modeling, coached practice, and reflection, you can teach your students strategies to help them think while they read and build their comprehension.
Comprehension strategies are conscious plans — sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of text. Comprehension strategy instruction helps students become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension. These seven strategies have research-based evidence for improving text comprehension.
Activities that stimulate phonemic awareness in preschool and elementary school children are one sure way to get a child ready for reading! Here are eight of them from expert Marilyn Jager Adams.
School administrators have a critical leadership role to play in helping students become good readers. This article suggests seven key action steps on how principals and other administrators can create a school framework for success.
Differentiated instruction, also called differentiation, is a process through which teachers enhance learning by matching student characteristics to instruction and assessment. Writing instruction can be differentiated to allow students varying amounts of time to complete assignments, to give students different writing product options, and to teach skills related to the writing process.
Learn the basics of how a digital whiteboard works and potential benefits of using the technology in early literacy instruction. Results of a research study in a first grade classroom reveal that digital whiteboards are effective as an organizational tool for lesson preparation and followup instruction; provide opportunities for scaffolded learning; and stimulate greater student engagement.
Children's knowledge of letter names and shapes is a strong predictor of their success in learning to read. Knowing letter names is strongly related to children's ability to remember the forms of written words and their ability to treat words as sequences of letters.
How can classroom reading instruction help poor readers — indeed, all students — become more like good readers? Research suggests that the answer may lie in providing students with instruction that both teaches them the comprehension strategies that work so well for good readers and helps them to develop the necessary metacognitive awareness of how and when to use these strategies.
Effective comprehension instruction is instruction that helps students to become independent, strategic, and metacognitive readers who are able to develop, control, and use a variety of comprehension strategies to ensure that they understand what they read. To achieve this goal, comprehension instruction must begin as soon as students begin to read and it must: be explicit, intensive, and persistent; help students to become aware of text organization; and motivate students to read widely.
Based on research and effective practice, these strategies help students learn how to coordinate and use a set of key comprehension techniques before, during, and after they read a variety of texts.
The National Association for Elementary School Principals has released a booklet on what principals should know and be able to do. Learn about their recommendations, including a focus on instructional leadership and six steps to raise test scores.
Quality can look different in individual primary grade classrooms. However, there are certain characteristics of effective early reading programs that parents can look for in their children's classrooms. First Lady Laura Bush presents a list of these characteristics in this guide for parents.
This article takes the approach that if we avoid school failure in the first place, there might be less of a reason to consider retention. Specific “strategies” are described, including: intensifying learning, providing professional development to assure skilled teachers, expanding learning options, assessing students in a manner to assist teachers, and intervening in time to arrest poor performance.
"Word study" is an alternative to traditional spelling instruction. It is based on learning word patterns rather than memorizing unconnected words. This article describes the word study approach.
Learning a second language is hard, but it can be made easier when the teacher knows a bit about the similarities between the first and second languages, and can successfully motivate students.
The National Reading Panel identified three predominant elements to support the development of reading comprehension skills: vocabulary instruction, active reading, and teacher preparation to deliver strategy instruction.
Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.
Phonics instruction is a way of teaching reading that stresses the acquisition of letter-sound correspondences and their use in reading and spelling.
There are certain characteristics of groups and individual children that increase their likelihood of struggling with reading. Find out how to use knowledge of these risk factors to help prevent reading problems for these children.
Many teachers will be using supplemental phonics and word-recognition materials to enhance reading instruction for their students. In this article, the authors provide guidelines for determining the accessibility of these phonics and word recognition programs.