With careful and creative planning, literacy instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. Five ways teachers can provide a literacy education for all learners are offered here.
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” Three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development are described here: picture books, graphic notes, and story kits.
Many struggling and special needs students have a print disability. Teachers can meet these students’ needs by translating the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into practice. Learn about the seven features of "born accessible materials" and how to select these materials for your school and classroom.
Find out how to help your students improve their writing through activities and tools that support the drafting stage. Show your students how to use technology tools to create, revise, and store their drafts in a digital writing portfolio.
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.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities in acquiring background knowledge and vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and making connections between reading and writing.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
Read and discuss poetry with nature imagery with students. Take students on a poetry walk around the school, neighborhood, or community to observe and collect sensory images from direct experience with nature: the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of things outdoors. Students can take a poetry journal with them to write down words as they observe, listen, smell, and touch things outside the classroom.
Research has shown that fluent oral reading learned through performance reading leads not only to engagement in and enjoyment of reading for students, but to reading comprehension. Learn how to integrate performance reading activities into your classroom.
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."
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.
Some students identified with autism can participate successfully in whole-class rich literacy experiences, with the right kind of support. Learn about strategies for designing lessons that are appropriate, engaging, and challenging for every learner in the inclusive classroom.
This study describes a second-grade science curriculum designed to individualize student instruction so that students, regardless of initial science and literacy skills, gain science knowledge and reading skills. The instruction incorporates flexible, homogeneous, literacy skills-based grouping, use of leveled science text, and explicit use of discussion and comprehension strategies.
The law requires that public schools develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each child. The IEP is a written plan for educating a child with a disability. The IEP describes the student's specific special education needs as well as any related services, including assistive technology.
Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Learn more about Assistive Technology and ways your students might benefit from it.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders — that help students with reading.
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.
This Bright Ideas article recommends five specific and measurable actions teachers can implement to assist ELL learning in the upcoming year. All of the strategies have been featured on the Colorín Colorado website, and the Hotlinks section has links to helpful articles and websites for further support.
A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.
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.
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.
Concrete suggestions for teachers who want to communicate well with all of their students, especially English language learners and students with learning disabilities.
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?
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.
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.