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Classroom strategies

Close Reading: A Video Replay

Last week, I provided a link to a close reading video that a reader sent me. The link purported to present a model “close reading” lesson.

Although, there was much to like about the lesson, I complained that it wasn't close reading. Close reading is not a synonym for reading comprehension (or even "really good reading comprehension").

A Close Read of a Close Reading Video

My daughters are Erin and Meagan. When they were little, Meagan would get upset because we always “ran Erins,” but never “ran Meagans.”

That’s cute when a little one doesn’t know the meaning of a word. But such miscommunication can be a real problem in Common Core State Standards implementation.

It’s getting so that I hate to hear the term “close reading” because it is misused so often these days.

Why Reading Strategies Usually Don't Help the Better Readers

Last week, I explained why disciplinary reading strategies are superior to the more general strategies taught in schools. That generated a lot of surprised responses.

Some readers thought I’d mis-worded my message. Let me reiterate it here: strategies like summarization, questioning (the readers asking questions), monitoring, and visualizing don’t help average or better readers. They do help poor readers and younger readers.

I didn’t explain why better readers don’t benefit, so let me do that here.

All I Want for Christmas Is Content Reading

Q: We are preparing for a PD session and want participants (who are a mix of K-12 teachers, coaches and administrators across the state) to begin to think about disciplinary literacy. To be transparent, this focus is in part a reaction to hearing that some of our schools are cutting social studies and science to make room for CCSS ELA/Literacy blocks in K-5 … we want to strongly discourage these kind of decisions to the extent we can, and PDs such as this one are an opportunity to do so.

Are You Helping Students with Dyslexia Get A's: Achievement, Accessibility, Accommodations, AT?

Teaching students with dyslexia and other print disabilities requires informed school administrators, teachers, related services personnel, and parents working together. Their efforts to establish eligibility for accessible educational materials (AEM=AIM) can assure that students who need it can access grade-level content in order to meet or exceed state standards.

Mac's Voice, Dictation Upgrades Are Springboards for Students Who Struggle With Books in Print

A flurry of built-in accessibility features involving voice and dictation from Apple are the latest operating system upgrades that benefit students who are frustrated and turned off when their textbooks and trade books come only in print.

New Tools

The additions mean students who learn differently have choices in the supports they use during a digital learning opportunity. No user is likely to turn on all the features at one time. However, having a menu of choices can personalize each learning situation.

16 Apps, Websites for Including Students with Disabilities in STEM Education

Teachers as "learning engineers" was a theme of a 2014 webinar focused on how to structure successful learning for students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education using technology and apps.

Can teaching grammar benefit reading comprehension?

Is there a relationship between grammar and reading comprehension? Yes, says Timothy Shanahan on Shanahan on Literacy. In summarizing the research, Shanahan suggests "as students learn to employ more complex sentences in their oral and written language, their ability to make sense of what they read increases, too."

Expanding word knowledge: two strategies

Words are so cool! I was reminded of that last night as I helped my daughter study for her word study test. Her word study for the week involved three Latin roots (pater, mater, dicta) and, for each one, related words used in our everyday lives (for example: patriarch, matrimony, contradiction). Anna doesn't really appreciate how much she's learning about words through this study, but I sure do!

Grounded in evidence. Part 3: Constructed responses based on evidence

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes construction as: "The art of construing, interpreting, or explaining." I believe the key word is interpreting. Before students delve into text, we first must teach them how to break it apart and look for evidence. It's just as critical to teach our students what to do once they have collected the evidence. The art of interpretation is hard to teach, but if we begin with the basics, and model, model, model — then students can begin to understand the thinking process behind the interpretation they are expected to achieve.

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943