June 27, 2016
June 20, 2016
Thanks Listen Current! Great stories await learners in grades 5-12 this summer and this listening comprehension program is free.
Get on board at Summer of Listening, an audio approach to learning about the real world. The program of podcasts stands to improve listening...
April 20, 2016
Reader question: I am currently teaching workshops and courses on reading and the Common Core and have approached these with regard to disciplinary literacy. So many of the teachers involved are seeing the value of creating discipline-specific reading experiences in their classrooms. This is especially true of secondary teachers but upper elementary as well.
April 4, 2016
Anyone who has taught reading — or really any course that requires a textbook — knows about kids who struggle to make sense of the text. Often they don’t even try. The text just looks hard and they’re ready to run. We’ve been talking a lot about complex text since the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) burst on the scene. But most of that talk has focused on how to find texts that meet the...
March 21, 2016
February 2, 2016
January 20, 2016
January 11, 2016
Recently, I was asked to make some presentations. I suggested a session on close reading and another on teaching with complex text. The person who invited me said, “But that’s just one subject… the close reading of complex text. What else will you talk about?”
October 19, 2015
Our school district is going wild over Lexiles because they are in the Common Core standards. I think they are overdoing it and don’t feel comfortable with some of the decisions that we are making. What are the weaknesses of Lexiles?
First, Lexiles is only one of several readability measures included in the CCSS. They started with that...
September 24, 2015
Today I was talking to a group of educators from several states. The focus was on adolescent literacy. We were discussing the fact that various programs, initiatives, and documents — all supposedly research-based efforts — were promoting the idea that teachers should collect formative assessment data.
I pointed out that there wasn’t any evidence that it actually works at improving...
August 31, 2015
Teacher question:I’ve read your posts on the instructional level and complex texts and I don’t think you understand guided reading. The point of guided reading placements is to teach students with challenging text. That’s why it is so important to avoid texts that students can read at their independent level; to make sure they are challenged. The Common Core requires...
July 29, 2015
From a teacher:
I wanted to ask your opinion regarding the structure of report cards for parents of students in grades 3-5. Understanding that ELA CCSS intertwines the areas of reading, language, spelling, writing, and moving toward creating district standards-based report cards in all K-5 grade levels, how do you think students' progress should be reported out to...
July 24, 2015
From a reader:
Any thoughts on top 2 or 3 literacy concepts on which you would focus librarians? Grades 4-8?
Let me say how happy I am that you are available to students and teachers. As I make my way across the country I find fewer and fewer school-based librarians. Unfortunately, you appear to be part of a...
July 10, 2015
When I was 8, there were two boys, Chris and Paul. They were both tow-heads, gentle and quiet, with loping walks; and both could draw beautifully… if a teacher struggled to draw a straight line or a round circle on the chalkboard, she’d ask Chris or Paul, who could do it, seemingly without effort.
Oh, and by the way, they were identical twins. I couldn’t tell Chris and Paul apart. Few...
April 16, 2015
Our district is wrestling with how much emphasis to give rhyming as an early literacy skill. We had previously downplayed rhyming as a necessary focus but the new CA ELA/ELD Framework and CCSS where rhyming is specifically called out has resurfaced old questions.
Our struggle is this .... with our very high (87%) English Learner population, rhyming is one of the later...
March 23, 2015
Would you add some thoughts about visual literacy, that is, questioning the artist/illustrator in the same way we are questioning the author/text … prior to analyzing the text. Thank you.
I’ve been carrying this question around for a while, trying to think up a good answer.
On the one hand, I’ve never been a big fan of “visual literacy.” It’s not that I’m insensitive to...
March 16, 2015
So the woman who runs my local children’s book store told me that more and more parents of young children are asking for “nonfiction beginning readers” because “that’s what Common Core wants.” Really? In kindergarten and first grade? Aren’t beginning readers supposed to develop their decoding and word recognition by reading simple stories (the ones populated by talking pigs)....
February 23, 2015
Standards-based educational reform goes back to the early 1990s. Since then, test scores have see-sawed a bit, but for the most part we are doing about as well as we’ve been doing since 1970 (when we first started collecting national reading data).
That means standards-based reform has not led to higher achievement. Establishing educational goals and aligning teaching to those goals to...
February 2, 2015
January 29, 2015
Why don’t you write more about the new tests?
I haven’t written much about PARCC or SBAC — or the other new tests that other states are taking on — in part because they are not out yet. There are some published prototypes, and I was one of several people asked to examine the work product of these consortia. Nevertheless, the information available is very limited, and I fear...