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9+ Idea-Packed Resources to Prime Staff Development So All Learners Progress in 2016

There is no single best way to grow professionally. Here are some "finds" that educators and related services personnel can add to their 2016 professional development toolkit. 

1. Reading for All

How to Mix Oil and Water So that Nearly Everyone (including '1 in 5' with poor reading skills) Learns to Read by neuropsychologist Tim Conway at TEDxOcala on Dec. 15. Decide if his "highly effective" science-based approach can impact current approaches to reading instruction. 

Free Apps Games Provide an Accessible Path to STEM/STEAM Content + Skill Building

When science learning materials in print frustrate or close out students who struggle with traditional learning materials, alternative media can get students back into the game. There are many free digital options that can engage learners and keep their attention while they provide opportunities for skills, understanding, and vocabulary to grow.  

Read Together During School Breaks! This ALA/CBC Book List Includes Alternatives to Print

Reading for pleasure during school breaks can maintain a struggling student's academic progress and may stave off regressions.

Parent Power Surges! Understood.org's First Year Successes, Toy Guides for Learning, Attention

Something unique happened to inform parents about special needs and what a result: a surge in parent awareness about children and youth with learning and attention problems, says a founding partner in Understood.org.

7 Assistive Tech Finds from Dependable Sources: Read These Over The Thanksgiving School Break

Assistive technology ideas overflow in these articles collected during 2015. The next school break might be a good time to consider some of them to ease instruction for students who struggle in school. 

10 Specialists Pick Apps, Websites to Help Special Needs, Struggling Readers Love to Learn

Apps and websites for special needs and other struggling learners are best when sources are trusted, juried, or chosen by people we respect. Here is a round up of chosen apps. Some are targeted to special needs learners, while others are intended to help all students love to learn whether or not they have identified disabilities. 

Happy Birthday KidLit TV! Find "Read Out Loud" Videos by Book Authors, Much More

Kidlit TV is a resource chock full of treasures to help educators and parents explore children's literature. Be sure to add the "Read Out Loud" selection to your teacher or parent toolkit. Find several books read aloud by their authors.

In the video above, author Mike Curato reads Little Elliot, Big City (4:46 min.), a story of how a little guy in a big city solves problems (with help from a friend). This book has engaging illustrations. 

Few Know Their Library Loans Out e-Books: Clues to the Local e-Book Kingdom with a Caution

A vast majority of libraries in the United States have an e-book collection but few patrons know the books are there for loan, according to writer Michael Kozlowski.

Advocate for Accessible Digital Books During "Read an E-Book Day" Coming Sept. 18

OverDrive, the service that gives library card holders access to free digital books, eBooks and more, invites public participation for Read an eBook Day on Sept. 18. This is an opportunity for teachers, other educators, and parents to advocate for library collections to include eBooks that offer flexible rather than fixed or static digital text. There are different types of digital text and the flexible text is best for most struggling readers 

Audiobooks Recorded by Screen Actors Guild Volunteers Widen Accessible Book Choices

Teachers who like using Storyline Online, the free literacy website where voice artists/actors from the Screen Actors Guild read children's books, will also enjoy Learning Ally audiobooks that also are read by professionals. Through a volunteer program, the "Acted Community" has about 130 voice artists and professional actors who bring their talents to Learning Ally's accessible book space. 

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase