Dr. Steve Graham, Professor of Education at Arizona State University, answers questions about effective writing instruction, support for struggling writers, teacher professional development, and more.
Learn how to implement a research-based text structure strategy that infuses text structures at every step of reading comprehension instruction, beginning with the introduction of the lesson, previewing of text, selecting important ideas, writing a main idea, generating inferences, and monitoring comprehension.
A veteran teacher describes how she used visualization, Google images, video, and Skype to build background knowledge and enrich her students' classroom read aloud of a fiction book about ospreys.
Today’s Independent Reading (IR) programs differ significantly from SSR and DEAR. Effective IR programs require active teacher engagement, time, a broad range of leveled texts, talk around texts, and differentiated instruction. The benefits are well worth it: increased student achievement, motivation, and a love of reading.
Is your child enrolled in kindergarten in a school that is implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? In this overview for parents, learn more about what Common Core is and how to know whether a teacher is providing developmentally appropriate instruction to address the CCSS for your child. Here are some of the questions you might ask yourself.
To comprehend a story or text, young readers need a threshold of knowledge about the topic, and new, tougher state standards place increasing demands on children's prior knowledge. This article offers practical classroom strategies to build background knowledge such as using contrasts and comparisons and encouraging topic-focused wide reading.
Interactive writing is a dynamic instructional method where teacher and students work together to construct a meaningful text while discussing the details of the writing process. The writing demands of the Common Core standards require explicit and efficient teaching guidance, which is at the heart of interactive writing. Learn four specific ways teachers can adapt this practice when working with children in grades 2-5 who are more developed writers.
Semantic maps (or graphic organizers) help students, especially struggling students and those with disabilities, to identify, understand, and recall the meaning of words they read in the text.
Vocabulary lies at the heart of content learning. To support the development of vocabulary in the content areas, teachers need to give their students time to read widely, intentionally select words worthy of instruction, model their own word solving strategies, and provide students with opportunities to engage in collaborative conversations.
This commentary discusses what disciplinary literacy is and why it is important. It then discusses the ways in which elementary school teachers can infuse aspects of disciplinary literacy into elementary instruction. It argues that the Common Core Standards, even those at the K-6 level, are providing avenues for preparation for disciplinary literacy.
A classroom teacher examines the importance of the nonfiction read aloud as part of ongoing daily instruction, and highlights the need to empower students in both academic achievement, and as life long lovers of nonfiction, through focused informational literature.
Concepts of print need to be expanded to include graphics, with instruction in how to read and analyze graphical devices such as diagrams, timelines, and tables. Learn more about how to teach young students to read and understand visual information.
Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know the four "anchors" of the Common Core writing standards and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in all of these areas.
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.
Writing for an audience gives kids a reason to use their developing reading and writing skills. Here are some tips to get you and your child started with free, safe blogging sites.
Give your students a chance to deepen and share their travel experiences through narrative writing, diagrams and illustrations, and the reading of all kinds of print (including maps, brochures and menus). Authentic reading and writing experiences help students connect what's happening in class to the real world outside.
Your child may be at a school where they are using an approach called "flipped classroom" or "flipped lesson." If so, keep reading to find out more about the concept, and three ways that you can support flipped learning at home.
Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.
Our interconnected and digital world demands a lot of our learners. Here are five simple ways to help build your child's critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Children's author and historian Marc Aronson discusses the importance of reading nonfiction in developing critical thinking skills.
In plain language, find out what the Common Core Standards are, how student progress will be measured, their impact on English language learners, and how to stay informed.
Reading stamina is a child's ability to focus and read independently for long-ish periods of time without being distracted or without distracting others. Find out how you can help your child develop reading stamina.
Creativity is an important characteristic to foster in your child. Fostering a creative spirit will give your child experience identifying a problem and coming up with new ideas for solving it. Here are four ways to encourage creativity in your young child.
Explore two ways you can help your child begin to develop information literacy: learning to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and figuring out if a source of information is reliable.
This guidance from the International Reading Association represents a consensus of the thinking of literacy leaders in the field who support thoughtful implementation of the Standards for student literacy achievement. Seven key topics are addressed: use of challenging texts; foundational skills; comprehension; vocabulary; writing; content area literacy; and diverse learners.
Many kids love to read about science and nature as well as real people, places, and events. Nonfiction books present information in engaging and interesting ways. Find out how you can help your child learn to navigate all the parts of a nonfiction book — from the table of contents to the diagrams, captions, glossary, and index.
Almost every week there is a news story about a new finding or discovery in science. These news stories are one of the exciting steps in the science world: sharing what you find! Helping kids share their own scientific findings will make them feel like part of the scientific community.
Real-life scientists use charts and graphs as a way to organize and understand the information they have gathered. Young scientists can do the same! These activities will help you and your child create simple bar charts together, learn the vocabulary of graphing, and have fun building graphs using real objects.
Inferences are what we figure out based on an experience. Helping your child understand when information is implied (or not directly stated) will improve her skill in drawing conclusions and making inferences. These skills will be needed for all sorts of school assignments, including reading, science and social studies.
Discover some simple hands-on activities and games that can be done at home or in the backyard to help your child develop a deeper understanding of cause and effect — and strengthen reading comprehension and scientific inquiry skills.
Young kids love technology, gadgets, and nature! While parents may be looking for ways to reduce screen time for their kids, here are a few helpful suggestions for integrating simple technology and books into your outdoor adventures in a fun and educational way.
Science and math explorations give your growing reader a chance to strengthen observation and writing skills by keeping a special journal to fill with sketches, notes, and graphs. Try these ideas to get your child started.
This article presents a developmental framework of informational writing developed from a study of children's writing in K-5 classrooms. See examples of children's compositions at each developmental level, and learn how to use this continuum to support increasingly more mature forms of informational text.
What do parents need to know about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? How will they affect teaching and assessing mathematics and English language arts? What are the benefits and what can parents do to prepare for the CCSS?
Expository text can be challenging to young readers because of the unfamiliar concepts and vocabulary it presents. Discover ways to help your students analyze expository text structures and pull apart the text to uncover the main idea and supporting details.
Critical thinking, the ability to think deeply about a topic or a book, is an essential skill for children to develop. Here are some helpful tips and recommended books to strengthen your child's ability to think critically.
Sharing lots of different kinds, or genres, of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement 'traditional' fiction. Some are suggestions for read alouds, while others may be ones your child can read on his own.
Children's nonfiction picture books is a genre that is exploding in both quality and quantity. Recent nonfiction books reveal an emphasis on the visual, an emphasis on accuracy, and an engaging writing style. Suggestions are included for choosing and using nonfiction picture books in the classroom.
While some young writers may struggle with traditional literacy, tapping into new literacies like digital storytelling may boost motivation and scaffold understanding of traditional literacies. Three types of struggling writers are introduced followed by descriptions of ways digital storytelling can support their development.
Exposing young children to informational text early on can help them to handle the literacy demands of fourth grade and beyond. Practical instructional techniques can be used to promote understanding and enjoyment of informational texts. The three techniques described here — Text Impression, Guiding Questions, and the Retelling Pyramid — can help children become familiar with the language and structure of non-fiction books.
Technology tools and supports can be an excellent way to help struggling students engage with social studies texts in a meaningful way, and build deeper understanding through guided inquiry.
Getting information from a non-fiction text can be especially challenging for ELLs, who may not have had much experience working independently with expository texts. This article offers ways that teachers can help ELLs work effectively with non-fiction texts and includes strategies for introducing components, structure, and purpose of expository texts.
Background knowledge is crucial to a child's academic success. Young children, especially those from at-risk communities, need broad and deep exposure to informational text and rich vocabulary in order to develop more complex thinking skills.