Struggling readers

February 15, 2012

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.

Our Rocket Blast carried the story...

November 28, 2011

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...

September 16, 2011

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...

September 7, 2011

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...

August 31, 2011

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...

June 14, 2011

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.

One blog I read, ...

October 27, 2010

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.

Teaching kids to write upper and lower-...

August 16, 2010

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...

March 2, 2010

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...

December 15, 2009

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...

July 14, 2009

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....

May 18, 2009

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.

At our school, we...

February 10, 2009

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.

First, I recommended that she learn the facts...

February 4, 2009

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.

Carefully controlled experiments help researchers learn more about why poor...

November 5, 2008

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...

August 20, 2008

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...

February 26, 2008

A few weeks ago I blogged about a kindergarten lesson where the students were confused by the word pause, thinking the teacher meant applause or paws. I promised that teacher I'd send her some materials about vocabulary development with second language learners. I thought I'd share some of the resources I like.

Our sister site, Colorin Colorado...

February 21, 2008

I love the Florida Center for Reading Research. The center is directed by Barbara Foorman and Joe Torgesen. And no one that works there must need sleep! They're always cranking out really good reports and publications. It's one of the first places I go when researching something.

One of FCRR's more recent reports is a must read:...

January 9, 2008

Working with struggling readers is darn hard work. Progress is slow, and it takes an enormous amount of effort. Really concerted, dedicated, sustained effort. The students I work with usually make me want to bang my head against a wall out of frustration and leap across the room for joy, and that's within a 45 minute tutoring session!

The ...

November 14, 2007

Mog. Fim. Phum. Sote. Pagbo.

Just a few examples of the types of words students are asked to read on a Nonsense Word assessment. Some assessments are timed (how many nonsense words can you read in one minute?), and some assessments use a ceiling (stop when the student incorrectly reads 5 in a row).

Nonsense word measures are one part of...

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"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." — Chinese Proverb