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Struggling readers

Six words can say so much

As LD Awareness month winds down, I want to share a few words (literally!) with you. They come from the 6 Word Parent Story contest that the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) ran earlier this month.

Creating avenues: helping below-level learners with the Common Core

We know them. We LOVE them. Our kiddos who fall just below that bar — the bar that the Common Core is challenging us to raise, day after day. I wholeheartedly believe that the Common Core is creating a climate of collaborative, critical thinkers that are raising the bar for THEMSELVES. But we still have our Tier II and Tier III punkins who need an extra boost.

The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia documentary

There's a new educational documentary that I can't wait to see, and I hope you'll try to see it as well. It's called The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, and is directed by James Redford. Redford shares the story of his son Dylan who, by the age of ten was "barely able to read and write. To say that school was difficult for him is beyond understatement." The film shares the Redford's story, as well as three other families, and insights from successful leaders in law, politics, and business, like Charles Schwab and Richard Branson, as well as from experts like Drs.

Learning more about learning disabilities

All of us who have worked with young children have worked with kids who struggle. Many of us have worked directly with kids with learning disabilities (LD). PBS NewsHour is putting together a terrific series about kids with LD as part of the American Graduate project. I encourage you to read, watch and share! Among the resources:

Third grade again?

If you've been following the news, you may have read about proposed state legislation (in Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Tennessee) that would make students repeat third grade if they can't pass the state reading exams.

How important is it to match a reader to a text?

The Common Core Standards are national standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. They've been adopted by over 45 states and six provinces, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. According to the Common Core website the standards "provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

New reality series: Kindergarten Teacher

Congratulations to Patricia Raina, from Suisun Valley K-8 School in Fairfield, California! Ms. Raina was one of three teachers from across the nation selected as winners of an NBC Education Nation essay contest.

Her idea? A new reality show: Kindergarten Teacher. Ms. Raina's essay is cleverly written in the form of "rounds" Contestants try to move from round to round, although certain things disqualify a contestant immediately.

What does good homework look like?

Teachers give homework just about every night of the week. A good homework assignment can provide students with practice with a skill already taught, can prepare students for an upcoming test, and can extend a project or topic under study. A poorly designed homework assignment can bring tears and frustration and a lost opportunity to build a bridge between what's being taught in school and talked about at home. Homework struggles are particularly real for struggling readers and for students with LD.

The 'learning styles' can of worms

The concept of learning styles has been around for a long time. Intuitively, the notion of learning styles makes sense, especially for those who work with struggling readers. Some kids seem to respond better to visual information, others to auditory, and still others to tactile information. Following this train of thought, teachers should present information in a style that is matched to a learner's learning style.

Reflecting on student use of strategies

Teachers spend lots of time teaching strategies to students to aid with their reading comprehension. Our classroom strategy section is chock full of ideas for integrating strategies into content area lessons, and many of our strategies include video showing a real teacher using the strategy in a real setting.

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"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps