All School-Wide Efforts articles

By: Victoria Tilney McDonough, Reading Rockets

Find out how an elementary school in Sheridan, Wyoming transformed their literacy instruction from a balanced literacy approach to a structured literacy framework. Integrating systematic and explicit instruction resulted in improved reading and writing achievement for their students, and professional growth for all of the teachers.

By: Courtneay Kelly, Ed.D., Reading Rockets

If you are planning to purchase a literacy program for instruction, get as much information as you can about a program's benefits and effectiveness. This article includes links to reputable review sources, where you can find basic comparative information about a range of commercially available literacy programs.

By: Reading Rockets

There are many people at your child's school who are there to help your child learn, grow socially and emotionally, and navigate the school environment. Here's a selected list of who's who at your school: the teaching and administrative staff as well as organizations at the district level. You might want to keep this list handy all year long.

By: Reading Rockets

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it, and show what they know.

By: Cathy Pratt

Autism expert Dr. Cathy Pratt talks about the goals of true inclusion, how teachers can support the sensory, executive functioning, and academic needs of their students with autism, the role of peer and whole-school support in helping kids with ASD succeed, sources for evidence-based teaching resources, and more.

By: Roger Ideishi

Occupational therapist Roger Ideishi shares his strategies for providing supportive environments in the general education classroom for children with autism. You'll also learn about Ideishi's innovative ideas for collaborating with museums, performing arts spaces, and other cultural institutions to make them more accessible and welcoming for children with diverse sensory and cognitive abilities. (Photo: Ryan S. Brandeburg, Temple University)

By: Reading Rockets

Learn some basic facts about bullying, a growing problem affecting our schools and our communities. Children's books can help our kids see the world from different perspectives and build empathy. In this article, you'll find books we recommend for strengthening social and emotional learning, as well as books that deal with bullying head-on.

By: Understood, National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)

1 in 5 students have learning and attention issues. An extensive literature review of empirical studies revealed three critical mindsets and eight key practices that can improve outcomes for students with learning and attention issues — and all students.

By: Indiana Resource Center for Autism

Browse this collection of visual supports and other resources to help your students with ASD be successful socially and academically in school. You'll find templates for social rules, classroom rules, emotional support, schedules, and more.

By: Cathy Pratt, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

Learn about factors related to school culture, teaching climate, and school-wide discipline practices that can aid or hinder a student with ASD's educational progress.

By: Susan Pimentel

In addition to explicit phonics instruction, teachers need to support students' ability to understand complex text and build background knowledge. Teachers also deserve access to high-quality curriculum materials — a thoughtfully arranged, comprehensive, sequential curriculum that embeds standards, the science of reading, and key instructional shifts.

By: Reading Rockets

It's time to head back to school. And while kids are stuffing their backpacks with new school supplies, we're packing a different sort of bag here at Reading Rockets — one filled with resources to help make one of the most important evening events of the school year really sparkle — back-to-school night.

By: Understood

There are many teaching methods that can help struggling readers, including children with dyslexia. Learn about the Orton–Gillingham approach and 10 other other methods to supplement your main classroom instruction.

By: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

Explore the differences among English learners, as well as dual-language, bilingual, and language-immersion programs, to help you decide what makes the most sense for your student population.

By: Paula Kluth

By: Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Understood

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching aimed at meeting the needs of every student in a classroom. It can be helpful for all kids, including kids with learning and attention issues. But UDL takes careful planning by teachers. Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom.

By: Amanda Morin, Understood

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know. Developing lesson plans this way helps all kids, but it may be especially helpful for kids with learning and attention issues.

By: U.S. Department of Education

Four strategies and practices are common to effective reading instruction programs: multi-tiered systems of support; universal screening, progress monitoring, and collaboration between special education and general education. This article provides links to tools that support implementation in each area.

By: Nicole Eredics

In order for inclusion to be successful, it must exist at all levels of education: the community, the school, the classroom, and the lesson. This brief overview describes what inclusion looks like at each level.

By: Center on Technology and Disability

In this webinar from the Center on Technology and Disability, you'll learn about assistive technology funding sources for children with and without IEPs.

By: Donna Mecca

A veteran reading teacher shares takeaways from her 'Teachers as Readers' learning group. What teachers need: enough time to teach language arts, well-stocked classroom libraries, student input, and meaningful professional development.

By: Reading Rockets

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.

By: Reading Rockets

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.

By: Reading Rockets
Get ready for a great school year. Discover ideas for planning a sparkling back-to-school night, creating a literacy-rich classroom that is welcoming to all students, establishing an effective 90-minute reading block, building parent engagement, and more.
By: Daniel T. Willingham

Dr. Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, answers questions about effective teaching, reading comprehension, cognitive science, and more.

By: Reading Rockets

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.

By: The Language Diversity and Literacy Development Research Group, Harvard Graduate School of Education

The Lead for Literacy initiative is a series of one-page memos for policymakers and early literacy leaders on how to improve young children's literacy, birth to age 9. Using evidence from research, these briefs are designed to help leaders avoid common mistakes and present solutions and strategies for scalability and impact.

By: International Reading Association

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.

By: Dorothy Strickland
The curriculum framework offered here is a model for Common Core planning and implementation that can be adapted to K-12 in self-contained or departmental settings.
By: Kelly Chandler-Olcott, Paula Kluth

In addition to the unique gifts and interests that autistic students bring to the classroom as people, their responses can serve as an early warning system for pedagogical problems that are happening in the classroom as a whole.

By: Corrie Kelly

If you are planning to purchase an intervention program for instruction, get as much information as you can about a program's benefits and effectiveness. This article provides basic comparative information about a range of commercially available intervention programs.

By: Education Northwest

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?

By: PACER Center

All parents want their children to receive the best education possible. One way to help your child succeed is to know if the school is using effective teaching and intervention practices. But how can schools and parents know if a practice is effective? One method is to see if there is any research or "evidence" to prove that the practice works. This handout explains the meaning of "evidence-based practices" and why they are important. It also lists resources where parents can learn more.

By: Reading Rockets

The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a little less scary and a little more productive.

By: Center for American Progress, Claire E. White, James S. Kim

The powerful combination of systematic vocabulary instruction and expanded learning time has the potential to address the large and long-standing literacy gaps in U.S. public schools, particularly with low-income students and English language learners.

By: Reading Rockets

Back-to-School Night is a great opportunity for families to learn more about their child's school and teacher. Here are some signs to look for that indicate your child is in a place where good reading instruction can take place.

By: Reading Rockets
It's important to recognize what good schools look like. The quality of your child's school has a huge impact on his or her learning.
By: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
Too often, teachers say that the professionaldevelopment they receive provides limited application to their everyday world of teaching and learning. Here The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory shares a five-phase framework that can help create comprehensive, ongoing, and — most importantly — meaningful professional development.
By: The National Early Literacy Panel

The National Early Literacy Panel looked at studies of early literacy and found that there are many things that parents and preschools can do to improve the literacy development of their young children and that different approaches influence the development of a different pattern of essential skills.

By: Reading Rockets

Heading off to kindergarten is a big event for all kids and parents. For young children who have struggled socially or academically during preschool, it is a transition that needs careful planning and attention. Below are four suggestions for parents of children who may need extra help making a successful move to kindergarten.

By: Yoo-Seon Bang
Informed by the author's work as a researcher and as a Korean parent of a child in a U.S. public school, this article offers suggestions to guide educators in understanding and supporting the involvement of cultural and linguistic minority families in their children's schools.
By: Thomas Toch, Robert Rothman

Comprehensive methods of evaluating teachers that avoid the typical "drive-by" evaluations can promote improvements in teaching.

By: Project Appleseed

Does your school do a good job of reaching out to parents? Use this checklist to evaluate and improve parent-school partnerships.

By: National Center for Technology Innovation
With the range and variety of commercial software products on the shelves today, how can an educator or parent choose a program that will most benefit a particular student? Where are product reviews that can inform the decision?
By: Kristina Robertson

How can you hold an effective parent-teacher conference with the parents of English language learners if they can't communicate comfortably in English? This article provides a number of tips to help you bridge the language gap, take cultural expectations about education into account, and provide your students' parents with the information they need about their children's progress in school.

By: Pre-K Now

When you walk into a high-quality pre-K classroom you immediately see learning occurring. The following elements are critical to providing the sense of purpose, organization, and excitement that creates the best results for children.

By: Reading Rockets

Parents love to know what's going on in their child's classroom. A weekly newsletter is a great way to keep the communication going. Check out our editable newsletter template. And get your students involved in preparing for back-to-school night with our "welcome to back-to-school night" flyer.

By: Stan Paine

How can school leaders support school-wide reading initiatives? Here are keys to leading the way in the areas of reading curriculum, instruction, assessment, and motivation.

By: The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
This research brief from the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement examines the research on teacher leadership and what it says about drawing on the skills of experienced teachers to facilitate school improvement.
By: Rick Lavoie

As we head towards September and a new school year, here's advice from special education expert Rick Lavoie that may be helpful as you attempt to make special needs kids in your class feel warm, welcome, and wanted. Using the word SEPTEMBER, he shares nine concepts that can help you in this effort.

By: Alex Torrez, William Allan Kritsonis
The development of new teachers in hard-to-staff schools should be of the highest priority for principals, as stability is key to long-term school improvement. Here are some factors principals should remember when recruiting and retaining teachers.
By: National Association of School Psychologists
In this statement, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) identifies the characteristics of students more likely to be retained and the impact of retention at the secondary school level, late adolescence, and early adulthood. NASP also provides a long list of alternatives to retention and social promotion.
By: Reading Rockets

Here are some ways parents can help relieve test anxiety, stress, and pressure, as well as a guide to interpreting your child's test results.

By: Alliance for Excellent Education
Working conditions play a much larger role than retirement in explaining why teachers transfer, leave a class, or leave the profession. This brief looks at the research about teacher turnover, and finds that while teachers' decisions to stay or leave a particular school is contingent on a variety of factors, in all cases the key seems to lie in the level of success teachers encounter in raising their students' academic performances.
By: Zach Miners, Angela Pascopella
It might seem that evaluating information online (just one form of "new literacy") and reading a book (more of a foundational literacy) are pretty much the same thing. But there are differences that, when brought into the classroom and incorporated into curricula, are enriching the educational experiences of many K-12 students. Many administrators are beginning to recognize the need to revise their districts' media skills instruction.
By: U.S. Department of Education
Studies show that screening English language learners for abilities in phonological processing, letter knowledge, and word and text reading will help identify those who are progressing well and/or who require additional instructional support.
By: Reading Rockets

Parent-teacher conferences are a great opportunity for families to sit down one-on-one with your child's teacher and talk about school progress. Here are some tips to make the most of this time.

By: Ellen Delisio
Hours of test preparation, especially in underperforming schools, has left little time for electives or even some of the un-tested basic subjects. Adding time to the school day and year has helped some schools improve their scores and flesh out their curriculums.
By: Reading Rockets

Back to School is an exciting (and sometimes nervous!) time for students and parents. A few tips might help you and your child get off on the right foot.

By: Lucy Steiner, Julie Kowal
Many school districts have adopted instructional coaching as a model for teachers' professional development. This brief offers guidance on how school leaders can tailor the most promising coaching strategies to the needs of their schools.
By: Victor Chudowsky, Naomi Chudowsky

One of the toughest parts of NCLB for local school districts is creating an accountability plan that works. While school districts have made progress in accountability over the last five years, they have also encountered great obstacles, outlined here.

By: The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
What are the factors that can improve school districts? This research brief from the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement reviewed more than 80 research articles that investigated the attributes of schools and districts that have improved over time and found 13 themes or characteristics common to them.
By: Andres Barona, Maryann Santos de Barona

This article discusses the challenges in providing psychoeducational services to the rapidly increasing minority populations in the U.S. and offers a brief elaboration of the role and function of school counselors and school psychologists and how they can meet the mental health and educational needs of this large and growing population.

By: Amy Milsom

The school experiences of students with disabilities can be positively or negatively influenced by the attitudes and behaviors of students and staff and by general school policies. School counselors can take the lead in assessing school climate in relation to students with disabilities and initiating interventions or advocating for change when appropriate. This article provides an overview of factors to consider in creating positive school experiences for students with disabilities and suggestions for intervention efforts.

By: Craig Jerald
It is possible for educators to make better choices about how and when to teach to the test than the alarmist newspaper articles and editorials would seem to suggest. This article from the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement aims to help readers think beyond simple compliance with federal law or basic implementation of programs.
By: Craig Jerald
Walk into any truly excellent school and you can feel it almost immediately — a calm, orderly atmosphere that hums with an exciting, vibrant sense of purposefulness. This is a positive school culture, the kind that improves educational outcomes.
By: The Center for Public Education
Like class size reduction, increasing instructional time has lots of common-sense appeal as mechanism for raising student achievement. But more time in school can be costly. These key lessons summarize the current research on different approaches to organizing school time and schedules, beginning with the obvious question: Does more time make a difference?
By: Kate Walsh, Deborah Glaser, Danielle Dunne Wilcox
When some children are learning to read, they catch on so quickly that it appears effortless. It does not seem to matter what reading curriculum or teachers they encounter, for they arrive at school already possessing the important foundational skills. For other children, though, the path to literacy is far more difficult and by no means assured. It matters very much what curriculum their schools use and who their first teachers are.
By: Elizabeth Crawford, Joseph K. Torgesen
Improving the effectiveness of interventions for struggling readers requires a school-level system for early identification of 'at risk' students and then providing those students with intensive interventions. Learn from Reading First schools with demonstrated success in reaching struggling readers.
By: Candace Cortiella

This article provides an overview of the federal No Child Left Behind law and includes information to help parents use provisions of NCLB to ensure that their child has access to appropriate instruction.

By: The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
The most influential educational leaders are the principal and superintendent, and their leadership is inextricably linked to student performance. This article looks at the basics of good leadership and offers practical suggestions.
By: Lucy Steiner, Julie Kowal

Research shows that effective school leaders focus on improving classroom instruction, not just managerial tasks. A natural way for school leaders to take on the role of instructional leader is to serve as a "chief" coach for teachers by designing and supporting strong classroom level instructional coaching. Here's how to selecting a coaching approach that meets the particular needs of a school and how to implement and sustain the effort.

By: The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
Research shows that parent involvement can improve students' behavior, attendance, and achievement. But how can schools foster high-quality, successful parent involvement? The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement offers some research-based advice and resources to help.
By: The Center for Public Education
After more than 20 years of research, class size continues to be at the forefront of the educational and political agenda for schools, school districts, and school boards. Here is a snapshot of what research tells us about class size and student achievement.
By: Amanda Fenlon
Entering kindergarten can a joyful but also an anxious time, particularly for parents of children with disabilities. These best practices can help make for a smoother transition: using a collaborative team approach to involve families, setting transition goals, and focusing on the needs and strengths of individual children.
By: The Education Department

How can you help your baby or toddler to learn and to get ready for school? Here are some ways to make sure young children's physical and social needs are met.

By: National Association of School Psychologists
School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education to help children be successful academically, socially, and emotionally. Learn more about their role and the kinds of support and services they offer.
By: Sally M. Reis, Robert Colbert

Recent research on academically talented students with learning disabilities indicates that they have specific counseling needs that often are not addressed in elementary and secondary school. This article looks at what kinds of support students with this profile need, and how school counselors can provide it.

By: Partnership for Reading

School administrators have a critical leadership role to play in helping students become good readers. This article suggests seven key action steps on how principals and other administrators can create a school framework for success.

By: National Summer Learning Association
Research demonstrates that all students experience significant learning losses in procedural and factual knowledge during the summer months.
By: Walter Minkel

If you're a children's librarian who wants to promote an upcoming summer reading program at your public library, start by targeting the local schools. After all, that's where the children are.

By: Laurice Joseph

Get an overview of the characteristics associated with reading problems as well as the planning and implementation of effective interventions. Fundamental components of teaching such as scaffolding, connecting to prior knowledge, motivating, and providing opportunities to practice skills should be implemented.

By: Mark Stricherz

The National Association for Elementary School Principals has released a booklet on what principals should know and be able to do. Learn about their recommendations, including a focus on instructional leadership and six steps to raise test scores.

By: U.S. Department of Education
The Bush administration's program, No Child Left Behind, is a plan for educational reform that is targeted at changing the use of federal funds to close the achievement gap and improve achievement levels. The following is excerpted from the executive summary.
By: U.S. Department of Education
President George W. Bush's initiative, Reading First, aims to ensure that every child learns to read by the third grade. This summary describes its proposals.
By: Chia-Hui Lin
Teaching reading and writing to young children in American has always been an area of controversy and debate (Teale & Yokota, 2000), and it remains so today. The purpose of this article is to review various research studies and to identify essential elements of effective early literacy classroom instruction.
By: International Reading Association
Because reading specialists have advanced degrees in reading, they are in a position to prevent reading failure at their schools. This position statement describes the roles reading specialists can play in instruction, assessment, and school leadership.
By: International Literacy Association

Schools in the United States face enormous challenges in teaching children to read and write. Meeting these challenges in the 21st century will require a fundamental change in how policy makers, parents, and school professionals look at improving schools.

By: New American Schools
Improving education requires a comprehensive approach to school reform. This overview describes the context of school reform efforts and outlines the steps necessary to implement such reform.
By: National Institute for Urban School Improvement
From tailored learning experiences to flexible school structures, there are certain characteristics of instruction that is designed to meet the needs of individual students. Learn about these characteristics in this overview of what it means to teach every child.
By: Learning First Alliance
For teachers to help more children learn to read, their own learning must be a valued and integral part of their work. Here are guidelines for the conditions for and content of effective professional development in reading.
By: Learning First Alliance
In order to adopt research-based practices for teaching reading, teachers must be supported with quality professional development that helps them develop an extensive knowledge and skills base. This guide, written by Learning First Alliance (an organization of twelve national education associations), calls for changes in the context, process, and content of professional development in reading.
By: Linda Butler
The NICHD Early Interventions Project was designed to increase reading achievement in nine low-performing schools in the District of Columbia. This article describes the experience of one researcher working with these schools, and makes recommendations for policymakers and administrators.
By: Holly Kreider, Ellen Mayer, Peggy Vaughan
Good communication between parents and teachers has many benefits. When parents and teachers share information, children learn more and parents and teachers feel more supported. Good communication can help create positive feelings between teachers and parents.
By: Learning First Alliance
When it comes to reading, the nine months of first grade are arguably the most important in a student's schooling.
By: Catherine Snow, Susan Burns, Peg Griffin

There are certain characteristics of groups and individual children that increase their likelihood of struggling with reading. Find out how to use knowledge of these risk factors to help prevent reading problems for these children.

By: Catherine Snow, Susan Burns, Peg Griffin
Socioeconomic differences are conventionally indexed by such demographic variables as household income and parents' education and occupation, alone or in some weighted combination.
By: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement
Learn ten lessons from research about the home and school experiences necessary for reading success in this concise overview.
By: Joseph K. Torgesen
Early identification is crucial when it comes to helping children who are having trouble learning to read. This seminal article by Joseph Torgesen explains the assessment process and reviews the more commonly used assessment tools.
By: Cathy Pratt

Inclusion is a belief that ALL students, regardless of labels, should be members of the general education community. The philosophy of inclusion encourages the elimination of the dual special and general education systems, and the creation of a merged system that is responsive to the needs of all students.

By: U.S. Department of Education

Schools play a pivotal role in helping young children learn how to read. This collection of tips will help administrators, teachers, and other school staff members set children on the path to reading.

By: Texas Education Agency
Research-based reading instruction allows children opportunities to both understand the building blocks and expand their use of language, oral and written. These opportunities are illustrated by classroom activities in these twelve components of reading instruction for grades one through three.
By: Learning First Alliance

If 40 percent of all third-graders are not reading adequately today, reducing this substantially by the time children being born today reach third grade will be an enormous undertaking.

By: Texas Education Agency

Effective school reading programs in schools share certain characteristics, from sound methods and materials to quality professional development and administrative practices. Learn about eight features of research-based school reading programs.

By: Jennifer Ballen, Oliver Moles

There are often challenges to creating strong family and school partnerships. Here are tips for schools to face these challenges in order to make parents feel more comfortable and get more involved in their children's education.

By: Susan De La Paz, Steve Graham

When schools screen large numbers of students, they may under- or over-identify students with disabilities. Find out how school-based screening can be used effectively.

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl