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About reading

Not goodbye, but see you later!

It’s impossible for me to believe that I started blogging for Reading Rockets in January, 2007. My girls were 5 and 7 then, and our days were filled with preschool celebrations and I Can Read chapter books. Fast forward 7 years and we’re firmly entrenched in middle school and more dystopian and realistic fiction than I could possibly read.

A new book for your professional reading, at a discount!

Important professional books — you know, the sort you need to have close at hand, come along every once in a while. We've gathered many of those titles in our Research by Topic section. Look for those listed under Foundational Research.

Giving boys a love of reading

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that one blog in my RSS feed is written by Lisa Belkin. Belkin's blog, Parentlode, can be found in the Huffington Post. Many of Belkin's posts speak to me on a personal level, and some circle into my professional life as well.

New reality series: Kindergarten Teacher

Congratulations to Patricia Raina, from Suisun Valley K-8 School in Fairfield, California! Ms. Raina was one of three teachers from across the nation selected as winners of an NBC Education Nation essay contest.

Her idea? A new reality show: Kindergarten Teacher. Ms. Raina's essay is cleverly written in the form of "rounds" Contestants try to move from round to round, although certain things disqualify a contestant immediately.

Revisiting silent reading

Those of us familiar with the 2000 National Reading Panel report remember that the report did not support teachers' use of silent reading in the classroom. The research evidence that it had any effect on reading achievement just wasn't there. Some school districts and teachers greatly reduced or stopped providing time during the instructional day for silent reading. Other teachers continued to provide daily DEAR or SSR time, citing the benefits of such a practice.

How running a reading program is like running a campaign

As I write this blog on Wednesday morning after our historic presidential election, I'm struck by an article I read on msnbc.com. Howard Fineman summarized what he saw as Obama's seven-prong approach to his campaign that served him well.

It was easy for me to see how well these same seven prongs could serve schools and districts well as they consider how they teach reading.

Below are the seven prongs as described by Fineman, with each prong's relationship to reading summarized. See what you think!

Darn hard work: Working with struggling readers

Working with struggling readers is darn hard work. Progress is slow, and it takes an enormous amount of effort. Really concerted, dedicated, sustained effort. The students I work with usually make me want to bang my head against a wall out of frustration and leap across the room for joy, and that's within a 45 minute tutoring session!

A new friend in reading: AdLit.org

I once heard Connie Juel, a prominent researcher in early reading, describe an interview with a struggling fourth-grade student. Connie had spent four years following a group of students who, in first grade, had been identified as at risk. She was wrapping up her longitudinal study, asking them how they felt about reading. "Reading?" one boy said. "I hate it. I'd rather clean a bathtub."

What sounds to teach when?

I'm often asked what the best sequence is for teaching letter sounds. From the work done by the National Reading Panel, we know that systematic and explicit phonics programs teach children letter–sound relationships directly in a well-defined and predetermined sequence.

Most systematic phonics programs sequence phonics generalizations from least difficult to more difficult. Even still, there are lots of programs that teach letter sounds using lots of different sequences.

What's Hot, What's Not in Reading for 2007

The International Reading Association published their 11th Annual "What's Hot" survey . If you haven't looked at this survey before, the results reflect the opinions of 25 literacy leaders; each respondent is asked to rate a topic as "hot" or "not hot," and then asked whether the topic "should be hot" or "should not be hot," (summary chart here.)

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass