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Assessment & evaluation

Report card comment redux

Thanks for your feedback on the report card comment two weeks ago. Your comments highlighted the need for balance between the need to provide parent-friendly information with the need to provide accurate, research-based information. In a perfect world, a good comment would do both.

Summer tutoring: How's it going? Four considerations.

Is your son or daughter working with a tutor this summer? Now that July has begun, it's a great time to evaluate your tutoring situation. It's not too late to make a few simple changes that can make a real difference in the remaining tutoring sessions.

Same thing next year? Grade retention.

We're approaching the fourth grading period at our school, which leads some teachers and parents to think about whether a struggling child should be retained. It's never an easy conversation to have.

Dyslexia: A primer

I love the Florida Center for Reading Research. The center is directed by Barbara Foorman and Joe Torgesen. And no one that works there must need sleep! They're always cranking out really good reports and publications. It's one of the first places I go when researching something.

Nonsense, as in nonsense words

Mog.
Fim.
Phum.
Sote.
Pagbo.

Just a few examples of the types of words students are asked to read on a Nonsense Word assessment. Some assessments are timed (how many nonsense words can you read in one minute?), and some assessments use a ceiling (stop when the student incorrectly reads 5 in a row).

23 words per minute

I have the pleasure of working one-on-one with several beginning readers, my own and a handful of others. There's nothing more amazing than sitting beside a new reader and listening to them as they "get" reading. It's something that you hear — their reading goes from word to word, choppy, and staccato-sounding to more phrasal, intonated, and just plain faster. But, how fast?

Words Correct per Minute (WCPM) is one way to determine a student's reading fluency. Quick probes based on carefully selected passages can help teachers screen, diagnose, and monitor students' progress.

Three years growth in a few months? Don't buy it.

Every week headlines from newspapers around the world tout "reading interventions" that claim fantastic results.

Singing software that "boosts students' reading skills by more than a grade level in nine weeks" or a physical education program during which students "did reading exercises and gym activities at the same time" and after the 2 1/2-month study, students increased three grade levels in reading.

Wouldn't it be nice?

Diagnosis: LD and ADHD

My friend Karen's daughter was just diagnosed with LD and ADHD. We both suspected this would be the outcome — it's been a long year of failure, referral, testing, and eligibility. Karen and Lisa are both exhausted by the process and feel relieved that Lisa might start getting the help she desperately needs.

Report Card Comments

Molly brought home her kindergarten report card yesterday. I completely skipped over the grades section, and went right to the teacher comments, written by Molly's teacher.

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio