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Reading Rockets News

September 2014

  • In Focus: Helping struggling readers: RTI, IEPs and more
  • Books & Authors: Digging for Little House treasures in Pepin's attic | Interview with Deborah Hopkinson (Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek) | New booklist: All Around Town (things that go!)
  • Ideas for Parents: Understanding the Common Core reading standards | Playing with word sounds | Books and activities all about builders and building
  • Ideas for Educators: Building blocks of reading: phonemic awareness | Featured strategy: blending/segmenting games | Comprehension strategies: to teach or not to teach? | Graphite: evaluating apps, games, and websites 
  • News & Events: One student's dyslexia changed how a community viewed learning | More than ebook vs. print: the concept of 'media mentors' | 'Text set' workshops

In Focus: Helping struggling readers: RTI, IEPs and more

Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention (RTI) is an early intervention practice designed to help struggling learners. The core components include universal screening, access to high-quality instruction and interventions matched to each student's needs, and progress monitoring to find out if a child is learning and how instruction can be adapted. Find out more in the articles below:

Response to Intervention in Primary Grade Reading

Checklist for Using RTI to Promote Reading Achievement

Mythbusters: What Is This Thing Called RTI?

RTI: A Primer for Parents

Related research and educator guides:

Rock-Solid IEP Teams

To write an effective IEP for a child with a disability, parents, teachers, other school staff — and sometimes the child — must come together around the table to look closely at the child's unique needs. So, who's on the IEP team?
Read article >

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Related video
Emilann's IEP Team (from our PBS Launching Young Readers show Empowering Parents) >

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Reading Rocks!

Reading Rocks! is a buoyant PBS television special that appeals to kids and encourages struggling readers to keep trying. The show features a kid author, a claymation movie, inspiring profiles, and silly moments with the host, actor Nick Spano. Reading Rocks! Also features actress Vivica A. Fox (Ella Enchanted) in an entertaining segment about some of the oddities of the English language and author/illustrator Christopher Myers (Wings and Harlem) in an elementary school visit where he uses his big feet to show children that being different is something to celebrate.
Watch show online >

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Find more resources on struggling readers:

Books & Authors

Digging for Little House Treasures in Pepin's Attic

Remember Laura's first trip to Pepin? In Little House in the Big Woods, Wilder writes, "Laura stood up on the board and Pa held her safe by the arm, so she could see the town. When she saw it, she could hardly breathe. She knew how Yankee Doodle felt, when he could not see the town because there were so many houses."

In our special blog series, children's literacy consultant Rachael Walker and her family (three generations!) visit some of the places where the Ingalls family lived. In this post, Rachael's clan visits the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin. See what they discovered there …
See blog post >

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History's Boys and Girls: Our Interview with Deborah Hopkinson

Deborah Hopkinson always loved history and as a young girl wanted to know more about the people behind the facts. She grew up to become an award-winning writer of history and historical fiction for young children and teens. Her "Tall, Thin Tale" of Abe Lincoln's near drowning and the picture book about Clara and her freedom quilt — a story of brave acts in the Underground Railroad — are riveting and rich in characters and historical detail, like all of Hopkinson's books.
Watch interview >

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NEW Booklist! All Around Town

Take a spin with Fly Guy, Maisie and Pigeon (and other delightful characters) in this collection of busy, colorful picture books all about things — and people — that go.
See booklist >

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Ideas for Parents

Understanding the Common Core Reading Standards

Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know what the four main areas of the Common Core reading standards mean and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in these areas. From our Growing Readers newsletter, in English and Spanish.
Get article >

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Playing with Word Sounds: Stretch and Shorten

Blending (combining sounds) and segmenting (separating sounds) are phonological awareness skills that are necessary for learning to read. Developing your child's phonological awareness is an important part of developing your child as a reader. Learn how working on phonological awareness can be fun and easy. (In English and Spanish)
See tips >

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Build It!

Children are makers and builders — and naturally interested in how the things around them are imagined and constructed. Explore the shapes in buildings or how a city changes through the centuries, take an armchair tour of some the world's most famous architectural landmarks, learn how to build a cardboard castle or megafort, and much more with our collection of picture books, hands-on activities, interactive apps and kid-friendly websites.
See books and activities about building >

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See also:
Reading Adventure Pack: Builders and Building

Ideas for Educators

Building Blocks of Reading: Phonemic Awareness

The Development of Phonological Skills

Basic listening skills and "word awareness" are critical precursors to phonological awareness. Learn the milestones for acquiring phonological skills. (Excerpted from Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) by Louisa Moats and Carol Tolman).
Read article >

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Phonemic Awareness: Watch & Learn

Observe effective phonemic awareness activities in action and hear from the experts in these short clips from our PBS television series Launching Young Readers.
Watch video >

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Related article
Phonemic Activities for the Preschool or Elementary Classroom

Featured Strategy: Blending/Segmenting Games

Children who can segment and blend sounds easily are able to use this knowledge when reading and spelling. Segmenting and blending individual sounds can be difficult at the beginning — our recommendation is to begin by working with syllables. We've suggested lots of engaging activities that provide kids lots of practice with word sounds — guess-the-word game, robot talk, the segmentation cheer and more.
See classroom strategy >

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See all phonological awareness strategies >

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Comprehension Strategies: To Teach or Not to Teach?

I don't hear anything about comprehension strategies anymore. Was that idea just another fad or are should we still teach those?

I would encourage you to continue to teach comprehension strategies as a scaffold for dealing with challenging text. The point would be to make it possible for kids to make sense of truly challenging texts; the use of strategies could be enough to allow some kids to scaffold their own reading successfully — meaning they might be able to read frustration level texts as if they were written at their instructional level.
Read full blog post from Tim Shanahan >

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Evaluating Apps, Games, and Websites

From Common Sense Media, here's a fantastic new resource called Graphite created to provide parents and teachers with unbiased reviews of apps, games, and websites. If a child shares a new app they've discovered and you want to know whether the app is educational, go to the Graphite website and search for the app under "Reviews and Ratings." In need of a fun app to inspire learning? Graphite allows you to search by subject, level, cost and type. Reviewed products are also mapped to the Common Core Standards to help you focus on particular curricular areas. The site also includes reviews from teachers who have actually used the product in the classroom, as well as suggestions for how to incorporate the tool into lessons.
Learn more >

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News & Events

One Student's Dyslexia Changed How a Community Viewed Learning

This is a story about parents making a difference, how a mother's experience united an entire community and transformed the way children learn in school. When Liz Woody's son Mason was in third grade, he struggled to read basic words. After Woody moved Mason to a specialized school, she set out to transform techniques to reach struggling readers.
Watch story from PBS NewsHour >

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More than Ebook vs. Print: The Concept of 'Media Mentors'

This summer, the School Library Journal stoked a debate long simmering in libraryland. Print books or ebooks: Which are better for helping children learn to read? Children's librarians have strong opinions on the subject, as shown in essays published last week with battling headlines. Given the emotions stirred on both sides, it would be easy miss the point on which all writers agreed: Children's librarians and school librarians can play — and should play — a huge role in modeling what it looks like to read with children and to help build discriminating tastes in quality books, e- or otherwise. We need twenty-first-century librarians to become what I and others have come to call "media mentors" for children and families.
Read article from Ed Central >

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'Text Set' Workshops

Student Achievement Partners (SAP), a nonprofit founded by lead writers of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that creates and disseminates free education resources, has announced its first training dates for its Text Set Project. The project brings together teams of librarians, educators, and suppliers to develop units of instruction — or "Text Sets" — to support teaching college readiness and the CCSS. The initial sets will be annotated bibliographies of recommended multimodal, multi-genre collections of free materials on a range of topics to use in the classroom.
Read article from School Library Journal >

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Pugnacious
In
Rags
And dreaming of
Treasure
Even while
Swabbing the deck.

Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th with pirate writing! Thanks to author Mary Quattlebaum (Pirate vs. Pirate) for this acrostic.

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