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Classroom strategies

Putting fluency in its place

For six years I trained and observed preservice elementary education students. I vividly remember one lesson, observing a student teacher whose lesson plan included using timed repeated readings to increase her students' reading speed.

Everything started off well until I saw the text she planned to use: A POEM. For timed repeated readings! I watched as she worked with students one-on-one using some of her favorite Shel Silverstein poems and a bar graph.

Reading logs, reading blahs

Many of us are back to school by now. And for most of us, that means daily reading logs, where a parent signs a log each night confirming that her child has read at home that day. For us, we're on day five, and we're already a little bored.

In the spirit of starting the year off on the right foot, here are a few ideas (hopes? hints?) for teachers and parents that may make reading logs more useful, interesting, and exciting.

I'd love to hear from teachers and parents about reading logs — what has worked for you, and what hasn't?
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My budding author and her (lack of) pencil grip

My daughter Anna LOVES to write. It's something she's always enjoyed doing. Her kindergarten class has Writer's Workshop several times a week, and she eagerly publishes her stories. During our school's Author Share later this month, Anna's planning to share a book of short stories she's penned.

She has fantastic skill with dialogue, word choice, and even a surprise ending or two. Where she lacks skill is with her pencil grip! She uses this two-finger-over-pencil, grasp mid-way-up-pencil technique that I've never seen before.

Space, AKA Concept of Word

6:17 A.M.

Anna: Mama, you know how it says "The Solar System" on the wall of my classroom? Well, it really says 'The space solar space system space.'

Me: (Yawn) Um, what sweetie?

Anna: On the wall. It really says, "The space solar space system space." You know, you have to put a space in-between words otherwise it just says gobbledy-gook.

Me: Oh, right! Of course.

Anna: O.K.

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss