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Struggling readers

Teach handwriting. Really!

Richard Gentry and Steve Graham reaffirm the research about the importance of spelling and handwriting instruction in a new white paper. I'll write about the spelling research in a separate post, this one will focus on handwriting.

7 posts to consider

It's Back to School time, which means more first-timers may be coming to this Sound it Out blog than before. Because of that, I decided to take on the 7 Link Challenge described by Problogger . By taking the challenge, I'm able to highlight some posts from my archives and revisit some of the resources I've gathered through blog posts. So, here goes! (Challenge category is in bold)

Homework blues

Homework

Do your kids ever feel this way? This was written by a 7 year old, a student facing many years of homework.

Homework has been around a long time, and has had its supporters and critics since the very beginning. Critics say homework cuts into quality family time and leaves students with no down time or time to pursue non-school interests. Proponents believe that homework teaches responsibility and provides important time to reinforce what is taught during the day.

So long, Mr. Ambassador

This December marks the last month of Jon Scieszka's tenure as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. For two years, Mr. Scieszka (the author of several children's books and founder of Guys Read) has worked to promote a love of reading and books. He's been particularly focused on helping parents and teachers reach the reluctant reader, one he describes as "that's the kid who might be a reader, who could be one, but just isn't that interested in reading."

Monitoring Student Progress

When schools undertake a Response to Intervention model, one important piece involves progress monitoring (PM). Conducted at least monthly, these assessments can inform instruction, estimate rates of improvement, and identify students who are not making adequate progress.

Each of those are important to ensuring that kids are getting what they need out of their reading instruction. There are several excellent resources that provide guidance regarding progress monitoring. I'll highlight two here.

Summer reading bags: access for all

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the research on access to books for kids in poverty. In short: all kids, but especially kids from lower-income households, need access to books over the summer. If there are no books laying around to read, it's unlikely that a child will lay around to read.

Talking to your child about learning disabilities (LD)

My neighbor's son, a second grader, was just found eligible to receive special education services for a specific learning disability (LD) in reading. His Mom called me to find out what resources I could recommend to help her talk with her son and her family about LD. As I gathered resources for her, I thought I'd share them with you too.

Ranting about RAN

Lots of kids with reading difficulties have trouble on measures of rapid automatized naming (RAN). RAN tasks measure the time taken for a child to name alphabet letters, digits, colors or common objects presented in a random order. Poorer readers consistently perform more slowly on automatized naming tasks.

How running a reading program is like running a campaign

As I write this blog on Wednesday morning after our historic presidential election, I'm struck by an article I read on msnbc.com. Howard Fineman summarized what he saw as Obama's seven-prong approach to his campaign that served him well.

It was easy for me to see how well these same seven prongs could serve schools and districts well as they consider how they teach reading.

Below are the seven prongs as described by Fineman, with each prong's relationship to reading summarized. See what you think!

New school year = rough transitions for some

My friend Kathy has a son with mild to moderate disabilities. Henry is going into third grade this year, and I just got an email from her:

"Back to school" has special meaning for Henry. Transitions are tough for him, so these first few weeks of getting adjusted are hard for everyone. I know things will eventually settle down, but I wish these this time of year could be easier. So many tantrums, so many tears.

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"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me." — Strickland Gillilan