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Struggling readers

Concerns About Accountability Testing

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 that almost anything I may write could be misleading (the prototypes are not necessarily what the final product will turn out to be).

The "Almost Best" Collection of Apps, Extensions for Special Education from An AT Specialist

I raved about Karen Janowski's wiki UDLToolkit and the serious matter of achieving academic accessibility in classrooms when the AIM-VA blog started publishing in 2014. I turn to her recommendations today as 2015 gets rolling.

Seven Ways to Give Students with Print Disabilities Accessible Educational Materials for Learning

With IEP "season" just beginning, says the National Center for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM), two webinars are coming in February to help educators and families know the basics and determine a student's eligibility for alternatives during instruction when books in print are barriers to learning.

Alternatives to print help to assure that students with print disabilities are able to participate in the general education curriculum and make progress toward their IEP goals.

"Kids Recommend" K-8 Book Lists Are Compiled by Youths for Their Peers Who Hate to Read

This is not a special education "story" about instruction made accessible, but it could be.

This is a story of children in an independent school in mid-coastal Maine who read widely. One of their goals is to read and to compile grade-level lists that only include books that will engage their peers who struggle to read! The effort helps many children "carve out" identities as book choosers, reviewers, and readers.

Ring in The New Year with Curated Books, Apps, Media Chosen During 2014 by Super Sources

Bravo to carefully curated lists by reliable sources where the raters and choosers share what they love best.

Here are recommendations from great sources. Raters evaluated and selected books, apps, and media that were offered during 2014 or remained top recommendations chosen in the past. The selections that follow are a mixed bag suitable for various ages. Specific age levels and descriptions are noted on the linked sites.

Grolier Club's "Famous 100" Children's Books Named: Many Are Available in Alternative Formats

"One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" is on display for a limited time in New York City. Many books on this curated list that once were only in print are available from AIM-VA partners including Learning Ally, Bookshare, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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.

15 "Headstrong Nation" Facts Aim to Improve Dyslexia Acceptance, Ways of Some Teachers

Headstrong Nation's "Learn The Facts" sheet underpins current thinking by this national advocacy group of adult dyslexics and parents. The goal is to achieve greater understanding and acceptance of the challenges and strengths of those who struggle to read due to this neurologically-based learning difference.

Ear Read Those "Clifford, The Big Red Dog Books?" This Strategy Helps Dyslexics, Others

The author of Clifford the Big Red Dog series died this week. For students with print disabilities, "ear reading" Norman Bridwell's famous books by using audiobook versions is a must. Overcoming or bypassing their disability and accessing text in the way the student learns best helps them join with peers to discuss Bridwell's stories, his life (author studies), and books by other authors on the same topic.

9 Irresistible "Accessible Books in Print" Ideas to Delight Learners Who Struggle To Read

When high-tech solutions are set aside, a low-tech book picking-strategy can fuel literacy instruction. This list of best books in print for struggling readers is shared by an experienced special education teacher of students with dyslexia.

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl