This article provides sample reading lessons in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehnsion to support special education instructors, reading interventionists, and others working with students who struggle with reading.
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.
All kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade teachers — as well as reading interventionists — should teach students to keep their eyes on the words on the page so that they do not have to later struggle with breaking a habit that hampers effective, efficient reading.
An almost universal habit that struggling readers exhibit is looking up from the words when reading. Learn the three primary reasons why students look up as they read, and then find out how to respond to each case in the most effective way.
Integrating high-frequency words into phonics lessons allows students to make sense of spelling patterns for these words. To do this, high-frequency words need to be categorized according to whether they are spelled entirely regularly or not. Restructuring the way high-frequency words are taught makes reading and spelling the words more accessible to all students. This article describes how to “rethink” teaching of high-frequency words and fit them into phonics lessons.
The Simple View of Reading is a formula based on the widely accepted view that reading has two basic components: word recognition (decoding) and comprehension. Research studies show that a student’s reading comprehension score can be predicted if decoding skills and language comprehension abilities are known.
Learn the critical social communication milestones for babies and toddlers, from 7-24 months of age. These milestones cover five developmental domains — play, language, social interaction, emotional regulation, and self-directed learning.
Reading Rockets has packed a "virtual beach bag" of activities for teachers to help families get ready for summer and to launch students to fun, enriching summertime experiences. Educators will find materials to download and distribute as well as ideas and resources to offer to students and parents to help ensure summer learning gain rather than loss.
Early detection and early intervention can have a lifetime impact for children with autism. Learn the 16 early signs of autism that unfold from 9 to 16 months.
Tasks and activities which learners associate with past success tend to stimulate interest. Success begets success! Here you'll find a few success-oriented strategies that support motivation for students who have autism spectrum disorder.
Embedding literacy training opportunities with schedule training represents a strategy that may have surprising and positive outcomes for some students with autism. Schedules contain a small set of vocabulary for sight word recognition and offer natural opportunities for repetitive exposure to this core set of words.
Regardless of the grade level or the area of need, peers have been crucial in helping students with autism spectrum disorder to succeed in typical school and community activities. Here are some suggestions for using peer supports in your school.
Interviews with 12 adults on the autism spectrum provide insight into their own development of literacy skills, their present habits and challenges, and suggestions for teachers of students with ASD.
Anticipating the beginning of the school year can create anxiety for both family members and for their children on the autism spectrum. Get tips to help you be a proactive and positive advocate for your child.
Get practical tips on how to use various visual supports can reduce your student’s anxiety, by providing much-needed information about the school environment and routines.
Learn about the three psychological theories of ASD — Theory of Mind, Weak Central Cohesion, and executive functioning. Understanding these theories can help families and educators manage challenging behaviors at home and in the classroom.
Find links to examples of curriculum and programs that can be used to teach students on the autism spectrum. Topics include commuication, sensory support, social skills, life skills, literacy, math, science, and social studies.
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.
The transition from one grade to the next can be especially challenging for the student with an autism spectrum disorder. However, these students can more easily make this shift if careful planning and preparation occurs. Get tips for facilitating a smooth transition.
Today’s speech language pathologists (SLPs) play many roles in supporting the development of speech, language, communication, and literacy skills. Their roles often include screening, assessing, advocating, and programming/designing augmentative communication equipment in addition to providing direct intervention with students and indirect roles of consulting, coaching, collaborating, and training educators and families.
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.
Though circle-time may be difficult for students with ASD, with the appropriate modifications and additions to the activities and environment, the experience can be successful for students and staff alike. Get ideas that will help make morning meetings more meaningful to students, and will assist in increasing student success.
Learn more about talents and challenges in children with high-functioning autism. Get tips on how to make your classroom welcoming and supportive, including lots of ideas for creating physical and instruictional supports, and how to use specific interests to jumpstart learning adventures with other subjects.
Communication impairment is a characteristic of autism spectrum disorder. Learn more about how speech-language pathologists can support teachers, including information about different classroom models (e.g., push-in or pull-out), managing an augmentative communication program, and what a service plan can look like.
Parents can support their child's vocabulary skills through read alouds at home. Find out about Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 vocabulary words and terchniques for informal teaching while you read aloud.
The following questions can help you get to know your students with autism and give you insights that go beyond test scores and IEP goals.
Students with ASD can have strengths or challenges in either word recognition and language comprehension that will impact reading comprehension. It is important to assess, monitor, and track the word recognition or decoding skills and language comprehension skills as you evaluate reading comprehension.
An organized classroom with defined areas and spaces can help students with autism in anticipating the requirements of a specific setting and to predict what will be happening during the instructional day. Get tips on how to organize your classroom.
An organized classroom with defined areas and spaces can help students with autism in anticipating what is expected and to predict what will be happening during the instructional day. Get tips on how to create defined learning spaces and reduce distractions in your classroom.
A visual schedule communicates the sequence of upcoming activities or events through the use of objects, photographs, icons, or words. Find out how to set up visual schedules in your classroom to support your students with ASD.
Learn about four strategies for structured teaching to support students with ASD: (1) physical structure, (2) visual schedules, (3) work systems, and (4) visual structure.
A work system is an organizational system that gives students with ASD information about what is expected when they come to the classroom. Find out how to implement a work system in your classroom.
Visual structure adds a physical or visual component to tasks to help students with ASD to understand how an activity should be completed. Get ideas on how to implement visual structure in your classroom and support your students' independence.
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.
Just as we differentiate our core content instruction to meet individual student needs, our approach to digital citizenship should take student diversity into account. Get tips and strategies for teaching critical digital citizenship skills to your students with learning and attention issues.
Did you know that a baby’s brain is developing the most rapidly during the first two years of life? These early years offer a critical window of opportunity, like no other time, to launch language early and get a jump start on school success. Learn the milestones that develop from 7 to 24 months.
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.
In this article especially for parents of English language learners, get answers to your questions about parent-teacher conferences and find tips about how you can prepare for the conference, including suggested questions and topics to discuss.
In these video interviews, children's authors and illustrators who have learning and attention issues share their personal stories. You'll also hear from many popular children's authors who talk about books that can be engaging for kids who struggle with reading. Get tips on where to find great children's books, including graphic novels, book series, audio books, and more.
In this overview, learn how to capitalize on the benefits of incorporating different types of technology in literacy instruction (such as electronic books, and reading intervention programs) while minimizing the potential pitfalls.
Learning to read is a challenge for many kids, but most can become good readers if they get the right help. Parents have an important job in recognizing when a child is struggling and knowing how to find help. Here are some signs to look for and things to do if you suspect your child is having trouble reading.
All students need digital citizenship skills to participate fully in their communities and make smart choices online and in life. Here are three ways to make digital citizenship part of how we teach, rather than a thing set apart.
Find examples of research-based curriculum and programs that can be used to teach literacy and reading comprehension to students on the autism spectrum.
Young children learn by doing. Discovering what they can do with objects leads to learning to talk and to pretend. Find out what actions with objects children should be learning each month from 9 to 16 months. By 16 months, children should use at least 16 actions with objects.
Research with young children indicates that the development of gestures from 9 to 16 months predicts language ability two years later, which is significant because preschool language skills predict academic success. Find out what gestures children should be learning each month from 9 to 16 months. By 16 months, children should use at least 16 gestures.
Browse these Top Picks to discover the best in educational apps and websites that support children with learning and attention issues in these areas: emotional intelligence, social skills, and executive function. You'll also find recommendations for quality assistive technology to support kids who are struggling with reading.
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.
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.
What are the key traits to look for in a quality edtech product? Here are 12 questions that the education editors at Common Sense Education ask that can help you identify classroom-ready digital tools.
Learn about strategies and edtech tools that can help students to reflect on what they did over the summer and then design introductory projects that connect their experiences to the school-year curriculum.
Talking to your child’s teacher about dyslexia is the best way for her to understand your child’s challenges, strengths and needs. Here are eight tips to help you have productive conversations.
If your child struggles with writing, it’s important to find new and exciting ways to encourage her to write. Here are some creative strategies to try.
Learn about the process of writing songs, from brainstorming to writing to rehearsing from children's author and songwriting coach Mary Amato. Listen in to science-themed songs written by first graders, and find out what parents can do at home to encourage songwriting and an ear for the elements of a song.
Find out why it's a good idea for all kids to keep a diary, and get practical tips on writing and motivation for young writers from children's author and writing coach Mary Amato.
Discover more than a dozen ideas for encouraging your child to write, including creative and simple ways to get the whole family involved. You'll also find out how WOW stories can help unlock story structure for young writers.
Find out why it's a good idea for young aspiring writers to keep a journal, and get practical tips on journal writing from children's author and writing coach Mary Amato. She says, don't forget to bring a writing journal everywhere you go!
Browse these Top Picks to discover the best in educational apps and websites that support core literacy skills — phonics, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, and writing. You'll also find recommendations for quality assistive technology to support kids who are struggling with reading.
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.
Orton–Gillingham was the first teaching approach specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds. Many reading programs include Orton–Gillingham ideas, including a “multisensory” approach, which is considered highly effective for teaching students with dyslexia.
Learn the benefits of getting your child evaluated, who does the evaluation, what happens during an evaluation, what to do with the results, and more. You can also view a video to get an inside look at a dyslexia evaluation.
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.
Learn the basics about text-to-speech, what the research says about how well it supports comprehension, tips on how to get the most out of the technology, and a short list of recommended text-to-speech tools.
Are students who use assistive technology getting an unfair advantage? Will AT fix a student's learning challenges? Here are the top three misconceptions about AT and how it is used in the classroom and at home.
Learn how to use the SETT framework to identify a struggling student's learning needs and match that with the most appropriate assistive technology options. A case study is provided.
Reading requires strong skills in decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension. Learn about some AT tools that can support students in these three key areas.
A teacher shares his success in using podcasts to improve literacy skills in the classroom, in this blog post from Common Sense Education. Learn more about how reading along with a podcast builds confidence and literacy and keeps students engaged.
For today's students, smartphones are essential tools for processing and documenting the world. A field trip offers the perfect platform to show students how phones can offer extra context to their experiences, not distracting but enhancing. This blog post from Common Sense Education shares three ideas to try: scavenger hunt, guided tour, and re-captioning.
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 provides basic comparative information about a range of commercially available literacy programs.
In this Q&A with assistive technology expert Dr. Christopher Lee, learn more about using AT to support students with learning disabilities, finding the right AT tools, AT evaluations, self-advocacy, and much more.
Dr. Christopher Lee is a nationally recognized advocate, author, speaker, and leader in the fields of learning disabilities and adaptive technology. In this Q&A, Dr. Lee shares his personal story.
Most mobile devices come with assistive technology (AT) that can help with reading, writing and organization. Common built-in AT features include text-to-speech and dictation technology.
Trying out assistive technology (AT) can help you find the right tool for your child. You may be able to test out devices at your child’s school or there may be an AT lending library near you.
The IEP team at school decides which assistive technology tools each student needs. Many teams make these decisions using something called the SETT Framework. Learn how the overall process works.
This Q&A provides a brief overview of the responsibility of public schools to provide and pay for a student's assistive technology under the federal IDEA law and Section 504.
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.
Assistive technology (AT) can be an effective accommodation for children with learning and attention issues. Understanding what AT is and how it works is the first step toward finding the right tools for your child.
Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. It’s sometimes called “read aloud” technology. TTS can take words on a computer or other digital device and convert them into audio. TTS is very helpful for kids who struggle with reading, but it can also help kids with writing and editing, and even focusing.
Assistive technology (AT) can be a powerful way to help children with reading issues, including kids with dyslexia. This guide is an introduction to AT tools for reading and where to find them.
Assistive technology (AT) can help kids with different types of writing challenges. AT tools can make the physical act of writing easier, as well as help kids who have trouble with spelling and grammar, and with organizing and expressing their thoughts. This guide provides an introduction to AT writing tools and where to find them.
Dictation is an assistive technology (AT) tool that can help kids who struggle with writing. Kids can use dictation to write with their voices, instead of writing by hand or with a keyboard — helpful for kids with dysgraphia, dyslexia and other learning and attention issues that impact writing.
A mother describes the warning signs for dyslexia in her daughter that she didn't see clearly. She also shares the life-changing resources that helped her understand what dyslexia is and how to get her daughter the support she needed to thrive.
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.
It’s a great time for children’s nonfiction! In recent years, these books have evolved into five distinct categories. Learn more about the characteristics of traditional nonfiction, browse-able nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, expository literature, and active nonfiction.
Special literacy events and celebrations can be a great way to get kids excited about books and reading. But for kids who struggle with reading, these kinds of events can challenge their self-confidence. Here are 15 strategies to help you plan a successful, joyful reading event for all kinds of readers and learners.
This ILA brief explains the basics of phonics for parents, offering guidance on phonics for emerging readers, phonological awareness, word study, approaches to teaching phonics, and teaching English learners.
Structured Literacy prepares students to decode words in an explicit and systematic manner. This approach not only helps students with dyslexia, but there is substantial evidence that it is effective for all readers. Get the basics on the six elements of Structured Literacy and how each element is taught.
Discover what kinds of books are especially popular with children who struggle with reading. The recommended books are based on a Reading Rockets survey of parents and educators of children with learning and attention issues, including dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder.
In this Q&A with Dr. Todd Cunningham, you'll learn the basics about assistive technology (AT) and how AT tools can help students with language-based learning disabilities to reach their full potential in the classroom.
If you suspect that your child would benefit from using AT at school, it's important to discuss your observations, suggestions, and questions with your child's teachers. Make time to speak in person. In this article, you'll find tips for opening the conversation with example conversation starters.
Learn some best practices in helping children with language processing issues learn to read in this Q&A with expert Nanci Bell, director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes. Find out what works with children who have weaknesses in concept imagery or symbol imagery.
The term “learning and attention issues” covers a wide range of challenges kids may face in school, at home and in the community. It includes all children who are struggling — whether their issues have been formally identified or not. Learning and attention issues are brain-based difficulties, and they often run in families. Find resources that can help kids be successful in school and in life!
To thrive in today's English Language Arts classroom, students need rapid recall of words they know and the ability to capture, learn and remember new terms.
View the results of the updated 2017 study on oral reading fluency (ORF) by Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald Tindal, with compiled ORF norms for grades 1-6. You'll also find an analysis of how the 2017 norms differ from the 2006 norms.
High-leverage practices (HLPs) and evidence-based practices (EBPs) when used together can become powerful tools for improving outcomes for students with disabilities and those who struggle. This brief shows the promise of these practices in advancing educator preparation and practice.
It is important for parents to understand the "language" of assistive technology so they can be informed advocates for their child's technology needs. The following glossary of terms can help parents learn about the kinds of assistive technologies that are currently available and how they can be used.
Reading Rockets helps parents and teachers address the aftermath of natural disasters with children through reading and books.
Self-advocacy is an important skill for even young kids with dyslexia to develop. But sometimes it’s hard for grade-schoolers to know what to say. Find out how you can help your child by rehearsing common situations she may face.
With careful and creative planning, literacy instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. Five ways teachers can provide a literacy education for all learners are offered here.
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” Three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development are described here: picture books, graphic notes, and story kits.
Learn about and watch some of the compelling in-depth news stories and documentaries about autism developed by public broadcasting.
PBS Kids has been a leader in autism awareness, developing original programming for television, web, and mobile platforms. Learn about the children's program and find links to games for kids and companion resources for parents and educators.
Recent documentaries have taken a fresh look at what it means to "be on the spectrum" and how to celebrate the gifts of neurodiversity.
Browse our lists of high-quality apps to support the emotional, language and communication, organizational, and social needs of kids with autism or Aspergers.
Discover five graphic organizers that can help kids with dysgraphia, executive functioning issues, and other issues that can cause trouble with writing.
Handwriting involves more than just making letters on a page — it requires strong fine motor and visual-motor skills. Here are some multisensory techniques to try if your child is struggling with writing.
Whether your child has mild or severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, making reading a fun activity can help your child's learning and social skills. You'll find sharing books together can be a good way to connect with your son or daughter. Reading also helps your child's language development and listening skills.
Here are 10 simple yet powerful things that parents can do at home to support teachers in their daily work of teaching our young children.
Browse this list of organizations and web resources focused on advocacy, information, and support for families and educators of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We've also identified helpful federal agencies and ASD projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
Learn the basics about autism spectrum disorder (ASD): what it is, signs and symptoms, strengths and abilities, risk factors, diagnosing ASD, the value of early intervention, and treatment and therapies that can help children and their families.
Sesame Workshop has introduced Julia, a muppet with autism, to the world of Sesame Street. Using selected clips of Julia from the program, a psychologist explains practical ways teachers can support children with autism.
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang calls us all to read Without Walls, exploring books about characters who look or live differently than you, topics you haven’t discovered, or formats that you haven’t tried.
Children's magazines are a wonderful supplement to classroom instruction. Students are exposed to a wide variety of texts and lots of interactive content. From stories, poems, and action rhymes to nonfiction, crafts, puzzles, and games, kids’ magazines can offer an abundance of high-interest content to support your curriculum.
Similar to comic books, graphic novels weave rich, lively visuals with a limited amount of text to drive the narrative. They can be especially appealing to young readers who are reluctant to pick up a more traditional book. Graphic novels are a great way to help struggling readers strengthen vocabulary, build reading confidence and stamina, and develop a deeper appreciation of storytelling.
Audio books are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audio books also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Here, you’ll find guidance on what to look for in choosing audio books as well as listening tips.
Dialogic reading involves an adult and child having a dialogue around the text they are reading aloud together. Learn how to use this strategy effectively to help kids build vocabulary and verbal fluency skills and understand story structure and meaning. Downloadable handouts to help guide parents in using dialogic reading are available in English and 14 other languages.
Turn travel time during a family trip into a great bonding and learning adventure with activities that build language for literacy and boost kids’ brain development. Here, you’ll find simple, fun ideas for singing, reading, and sharing family stories together.
For children with print-based reading disabilities, accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. Learn about the different kinds of accessible formats, including digital talking books, enlarged text, electronic publications, and more.
Learn more about books across multiple genres that are representative of the diverse world in which we live, including diversity in race, class, disability, and religion. You'll also find innovative approaches for bringing children and books together, as well as content analyses and descriptions of titles that share common features.
Research shows that students need at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction each day to become strong readers, and that this instruction must be systematic, explicit, scaffolded, and differentiated across the classroom.
Graphic novels for elementary and middle grade children have become enormously popular and widely accepted by parents, teachers, and librarians. In this resource section, learn more about this highly visual form of storytelling and how it can be used in the classroom, meet some writers and illustrators of graphic novels, and browse the "best of" booklists.
When spelling is taught in ways that emphasize the patterns of the English language, it can be a beneficial use of class time. Get tips on how to choose word lists that help students learn these patterns and their exceptions.
In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents manage the digital landscape they're exploring with their children.
High/low books offer highly engaging age-appropriate subject matter at a low reading level for struggling readers. High/low books can help build reading fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge, and interest in reading. Learn more about where to find quality high/low books.
This resource guide identifies high-quality, useful resources that address various aspects of accessibility: developing an accessibility statement, conducting an accessibility audit, acquiring accessible technology, and building professional development resources on accessibility for school staff and others.
By actively and independently reading text, students simultaneously can build their word identification, fluency, vocabulary, and text-dependent comprehension skills. Learn about three key steps teachers can take to help students experience success with independent active reading.
How do you choose books to read aloud with your child? There are many things to think about: how interesting the topic or characters might be for your child; an intriguing setting, time period, or plot; the liveliness or beauty of the language; or how engaging the illustrations are. Some books are more appropriate based on social and emotional development at each stage of a young child's life. Find guidance here in choosing great read alouds.
These 27 identified evidence-based teaching practices have been shown through scientific research to be effective when implemented correctly with students with ASD.
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.
Take this simple quiz to help you become more mindful in using digital technology with young children. It's all about content that is educational and developmentally appropriate, a context that encourages conversation and learning, and the needs of each individual child.
Choose wisely! This list is not exhaustive, but gives parents and educators a good idea of what to look for when considering an app and evaluating its educational value. Use app review sites and advice from literacy experts — including your local media mentor or librarian — to find materials that match children's needs.
Teaching experience supports a multi-sensory instruction approach in the early grades to improve phonemic awareness, phonics, and reading comprehension skills. Multi-sensory instruction combines listening, speaking, reading, and a tactile or kinesthetic activity.
Discover 12 easy tips that encourage multisensory learning at home.
Children's picture books about autism can be a valuable resource for teachers in inclusive classrooms attempting to teach awareness, empathy, and acceptance among students. This article provides instructional tips for educators and offers suggestions for using children's picture books about autism to encourage positive, inclusive instruction.
How can parents support their children when they encounter an unknown word while reading? There are many English words that can’t be sounded out or decoded. Fortunately, there are other ways to help a beginning reader figure out the unknown word. Here are nine suggestions for what you might say.
Many children are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and they need services and support, now and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. More can be done to ensure that children with ASD are evaluated as soon as possible after developmental concerns are recognized. Learn more about CDC’s new data on ASD.
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 in the UK.
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.
Many struggling and special needs students have a print disability. Teachers can meet these students’ needs by translating the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into practice. Learn about the seven features of "born accessible materials" and how to select these materials for your school and classroom.
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.
Where can your school, library, or community group find free or low-cost books for kids? There are a number of national organizations as well as local programs you can turn to for help filling the shelves of your library, classroom, or literacy program and putting books into the hands and homes of young readers.
Learn the basics about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) including types of ASD, diagnosis, and red flags for ASD in toddlers.
Learn more about social communication problems in young children, how delays in social communication skills can be the earliest signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and what early intervention looks like.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be easy to miss in young children. Some behaviors involving social communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests may be red flags for ASD.
Treating communication and language difficulties early on can prevent potential problems with behavior, learning, reading and social interaction. Learn more about the five ways that early intervention can help your child and your family.
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.
This article explains how to create and use a daybook in the literacy classroom. Readers learn what a daybook is, how the daybook in one fourth and fifth grade classroom is structured, and how students in this classroom use that daybook during reading instruction to engage, record important information, and discuss a text.
Three patterns of reading difficulties are common. This article explains how recognizing these three patterns can provide a valuable starting point for planning reading instruction and interventions.
Get insight into how a 21st century literacies perspective can support inclusive literacy practices that create a community of learners, use digital tools to make the curriculum accessible, and link academic goals with real‐world platforms.
It’s a busy life filled with lots of things to do and even more distractions. But there’s one pursuit that can be fun for everyone involved, plus it has benefits that will have a lifelong impact. All that’s needed is a comfy place, an adult, one child or more, and a good book to share.
Inferential comprehension requires both emotional intelligence and cognitive skills, however instructional comprehension strategies typically underemphasize the emotional contribution. This article documents an intervention used by diverse third grade students which centers on teaching story comprehension through character perspective-taking (i.e., Theory of Mind).
Go on a heroes reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Second or Third Grade)
Reading Rockets has developed a set of reading adventure packs to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
Teaching children with autism to comprehend text can be challenging. Here are some strategies educators can incorporate into daily lessons to meet the literacy needs of their students.
Find out the characteristics of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that make writing difficult, and how use of technology can help support writing development. Results of a pilot study that utilized First Author® software to improve the writing of secondary students with ASD are described.
Go on a birding reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Second or Third Grade)
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.
Drawing on instructional materials, classroom images, and observational data from research, the authors illustrate these principles: establishing efficient, rich routines for introducing target word meanings; providing review activities that promote deep processing of word meanings; responding directly to student confusion; and fostering universal participation in and accountability for vocabulary instruction.
Wordless picture books may be better defined by what they do contain — visually rendered narratives — rather than what they do not contain. This article challenges traditional ways of looking at wordless picturebooks and offers a few approaches for integrating wordless picturebooks into a wider range of classrooms, preschool through middle school.
Oral language development facilitates print literacy. In this article, we focus on the ways in which teachers can ensure students' speaking and listening skills are developed. We provide a review of effective classroom routines, including some that can be enhanced with technology.
This teaching tip highlights a strategy that assists teachers in structuring classroom discussions about texts. Specifically, this conversational technique helps students think and talk about a text beyond its literal meaning. Students learn to make decisions about why a particular phrase is the Most Valuable Phrase (MVP) within a text as a whole.
An effective way to begin the writing process is to focus on prewriting, which involves organizing ideas, setting goals, and exploring topics. Learn about technology-enhanced strategies to help students create a "road map" that can guide them through the writing process.
When students engage in "word analysis" or "word study," they break words down into their smallest units of meaning — morphemes. Discover effective strategies for classroom word study, including the use of online tools, captioning, and embedded supports to differentiate instruction.
Find out how to help your students improve their writing through activities and tools that support the drafting stage. Show your students how to use technology tools to create, revise, and store their drafts in a digital writing portfolio.
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.
When a student is trying to decipher the meaning of a new word, it's often useful to look at what comes before and after that word. Learn more about the six common types of context clues, how to use them in the classroom and the role of embedded supports in digital text.
For years, the field of reading education has been engaged in thinking about best practices. Explicit instruction in vocabulary, rereading and using digital textbooks to motivate children's reading are among some of these updated best practices. Those in the reading community are urged to consider best practices, and how we may promote their uses, with high fidelity in classroom instruction.
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.
Just a few pages from your newspaper can be turned into lots of early learning activities. Here you'll find "letters and words" activities for the youngest, plus fun writing prompts and tips on how to read and analyze the news for older kids.
Let’s face it: Not all kids love to write. For some, every step of the writing process is difficult — including spelling, handwriting and getting organized ideas onto paper. In this edition of Growing Readers, you'll learn more about dysgraphia and how you can support your child's writing.
The birth of a child with a disability, or the discovery that a child has a disability, can have profound effects on the family. In this article, you'll find information to support the life cycle, health, and well-being of the family when a son or daughter has a disability.
One potential way of fostering empathy in young children is through picturebooks. Learn about empathy, theory of mind, the development of emotional intelligence, and the role of picturebooks in the classroom.
Preschool aged children love to write — they're always in search of a marker or crayon. Those early scribbles are an important step on the path to literacy. Parents and preschool teachers can support a writer's efforts in some very simple ways. And it's never too early to start!
Go on an archaeological reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Second or Third Grade)
The new focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) includes efforts to get kids involved in computer programming. Coding builds logical thinking and problem-solving skills. It's also creative and collaborative! Find out how you can introduce your child to the basic concepts of programming.
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.
Go on a reading adventure to learn all about our government! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Second or Third Grade)
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.
How can we supplement the limited time available for vocabulary instruction while motivating students to attend to the words they are learning? As a part of an academic word vocabulary intervention, the authors challenged sixth-grade students to find their words in the world around them.
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.
In many states, third graders who cannot read proficiently are required to repeat that year. This policy, known as mandatory retention, can greatly impact students' emotional and cognitive development. In an effort to reconcile the academic and social needs of young learners, this article addresses the pros and cons of mandatory retention, global treatment of the problem, and possible solutions.
Learn from a variety of experts on Response to Intervention (RTI) about what RTI is, the relationship between RTI and special education, how to implement RTI effectively district-wide, the role of parents, and much more. Learn more at the National Center on Response to Intervention.
Dr. Lynn Fuchs, Professor of Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, answers questions about fluency, progress monitoring, reading intervention, and more.
Dr. Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, answers questions about effective teaching, reading comprehension, cognitive science, and more.
Dr. Tracy Gray, a nationally recognized expert in education and technology implementation, answers questions about the use of technology to support struggling readers and writers, including children with learning disabilities.
For most parents, it's a challenge to keep kids reading and writing all summer. Suddenly 10 weeks of summer can feel like a very long time! We've got 10 ideas to help make this summer full of fun, creativity and learning.
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, and even our youngest children interact with technology on a daily basis. Find out what you as a parent can be doing to help your young learner navigate the digital world — you may need to reconsider how you connect with your child during technology use.
Go on a "robot" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Second or Third Grade)
Learn about the features in e-books that may distract, support, or extend comprehension and the need for more scaffolding of reading instruction with e-books. The article also addresses ways to familiarize students with multi-touch tablet devices while encouraging students and teachers to transfer print-based reading strategies to this new medium.
Providing young children with rich writing experiences can lay a foundation for literacy learning. This article presents a framework for individualizing early writing instruction in the preschool classroom.
April 22nd is Earth Day, an annual celebration dedicated to environmental awareness. Discover five ways you and your family can participate in Earth Day while also practicing reading and writing skills.
Go on a "gardening" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Second or Third Grade)
Learn the basics about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including incidence and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.
From activating prior knowledge to exploring language to capturing character, discover ten ways to integrate poetry into your language, reading, and writing lessons.
Discover ways to support literacy skills such as predicting, inference, cause and effect, and categorizing, as well as build STEM vocabulary and background knowledge, at home and in the classroom.
Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension and an increased awareness of how stories are structured.
Electronic books are becoming more and more commonplace. Here you'll discover practical tips for sharing e-books with your child, and how to keep the focus on reading and the story.
Learn more about the English spelling system, how spelling supports reading, why children with dyslexia and dysgraphia struggle, which words should be taught, and instruction that works.
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.
Most kids love stories, but not all love to read. Discover 10 creative ways to encourage active kids who would rather run than read, to enjoy digging into books.
The winter holidays are a great time to create low-key learning opportunities centered around books, storytelling, writing, and family adventures.
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.
Discover simple at-home activities you can use to help your child understand the connection between the letters of the alphabet and the sound associated with each letter.
Finding the right book for your child means finding something your child wants to read AND making sure it's at the right level for your child.
Children's author and historian Marc Aronson discusses the importance of reading nonfiction in developing critical thinking skills.
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.
If you've been around classrooms and teachers, you've probably heard the term "fluency." Fluency is something worth knowing more about! Read on to find out what it is and how to develop it in your young learner.
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.
Calendars help young children learn the basics of the days of the week and the months of the year. Your family calendar offers opportunities for other learning as well, including vocabulary, sequencing, and math.
Go on a "money" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Third Grade)
To get the most out of a shared reading, encourage your child to appreciate the pictures, and also guide their attention to printed words. Doing so may help your child's reading, spelling, and comprehension skills down the road.
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.
This practice guide provides four recommendations for improving elementary students' writing. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared toward teachers, literacy coaches, and other educators who want to improve the writing of their elementary students.
Go on a "night sky" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Third Grade)
Go on a "flying" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Third Grade)
Science fiction is a type of fiction where the stories revolve around science and technology of the future. As exciting as these books can be, it's good to remind your child that while science fiction may be based loosely on scientific truth, it is still fiction.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities in acquiring background knowledge and vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and making connections between reading and writing.
Learn about a partnership between Georgetown University and a local community outpatient care clinic to help improve the early identification of autism in young Latino children, including lessons learned that are relevant to school settings, such as effective communication approaches and building strong relationships with diverse families.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
Go on a "bees" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Third Grade)
Go on a "river" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Third Grade)
Read and discuss poetry with nature imagery with students. Take students on a poetry walk around the school, neighborhood, or community to observe and collect sensory images from direct experience with nature: the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of things outdoors. Students can take a poetry journal with them to write down words as they observe, listen, smell, and touch things outside the classroom.
Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects a child's handwriting. Children with dysgraphia usually have other problems such as difficulty with written expression. Learn more about causes, the importance of early assessment, dysgraphia and spelling, and effective instructional strategies that strengthen written language skills.
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.
This checklist helps parents find out how well they are doing in creating a literacy-rich environment in their home, and what more they can do to enrich their child's exposure to books and reading.
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.
Interactive writing makes the writing process visual to the whole class. Reading literature is an excellent way to initiate interactive writing in the class, and the teacher can continue using literature as the class does interactive writing with any new book that is read throughout the year.
Science learning involves lots of new vocabulary words. Focusing on root words, prefixes and suffixes can help your child learn new science words more quickly and become a word detective!
Parents are a child's first teacher, and there are many simple things you can do every day to share the joy of reading while strengthening your child's literacy skills.
Go on a "building" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First or Second Grade)
Writing in journals can be a powerful strategy for students to respond to literature, gain writing fluency, dialogue in writing with another student or the teacher, or write in the content areas. While journaling is a form of writing in its own right, students can also freely generate ideas for other types of writing as they journal.Teachers can use literature that takes the form of a journal by reading excerpts and discussing them with students.
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.
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.
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.
It's called lots of different things: Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), and Million Minutes to name a few. Regardless of the different names, the intent is the same — to develop fluent readers by providing time during the school day for students to select a book and read quietly. Nearly every classroom provides some time during the instructional day for this independent silent reading. Despite its widespread use in classrooms, silent reading hasn't enjoyed much support in the research literature.
Go on a "weather" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First or Second Grade)
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.
Get the basic facts about what it takes for a young child to learn to read, best practices in teaching reading, the importance of oral language in literacy development, why so many children struggle, and more in this overview.
Helping children understand the concept of sequence develops both literacy and scientific inquiry skills. Here are a few simple activities that families can do together to give kids opportunities to observe, record, and think about sequencing.
Go on a "cooking" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First or Second Grade)
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.
The struggling second and third graders in this study increased their reading comprehension after a 10-week Readers Theatre podcasting project. Podcasting made the students aware of a wider audience, which enhanced the authenticity and social nature of the strategy, and made their performances permanent so they could be stored and conveniently retrieved for later listening and evaluation.
Keeping a science notebook encourages students to record and reflect on inquiry-based observations, activities, investigations, and experiments. Science notebooks are also an excellent way for students to communicate their understanding of science concepts, and for teachers to provide students with feedback.
When fiction and nonfiction books are integrated into the teaching of a content area such as science, graphic organizers are useful for organizing information and enabling students to classify observations and facts, comprehend the relationships among phenomenon, draw conclusions, develop explanations, and generalize scientific concepts.
Research has shown that fluent oral reading learned through performance reading leads not only to engagement in and enjoyment of reading for students, but to reading comprehension. Learn how to integrate performance reading activities into your classroom.
Children begin using their senses to recognize patterns and categorize things at a young age — skills that play an important role in early learning. This tip sheet provides some simple activities, as well as recommended books, that parents can use to help their kids build pattern recognition and categorization skills in science and math.
Go on an "ocean" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First Grade)
Go on a "rocks" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First or Second Grade)
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.
This study of first and second graders looked at teacher-led read-alouds as a way to introduce science concepts. Results suggest that multiple exposures to a related concept across different stories gave students more time to build a mental representation of important ideas. This evidence suggests that moving beyond a single text as a source for building students' understanding is an important instructional approach.
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.
Teachers often find it difficult to integrate writing and mathematics while honoring the integrity of both disciplines. In this article, the authors present two levels of integration that teachers may use as a starting point. The first level, writing without revision, can be worked into mathematics instruction quickly and readily. The second level, writing with revision, may take more time but enables teachers to connect the writing process more fully with mathematics instruction. Six examples are provided, including student work, in which teachers have successfully attended to the goals of both writing and mathematics.
One motivating, engaging, and inexpensive way to help build the foundational reading skills of students is through the use of closed-captioned and subtitled television shows and movies. These supports can help boost foundational reading skills, such as phonics, word recognition, and fluency.
These seven steps provide an approach to spelling instruction that encourages word study based on the words students experience in their daily writing activities. The goal of intentional spelling is to shift spelling instruction from a focus on the number of words spelled correctly to developing an understanding of how words work.
Hands-on measurement activities are fun to explore with children. Introduce your young learner to these interesting new vocabulary words and knowledge, and help your child develop an early love of measuring everything in sight!
Children with speech and language problems may have trouble sharing their thoughts with words or gestures. They may also have a hard time saying words clearly and understanding spoken or written language. Reading to your child and having her name objects in a book or read aloud to you can strengthen her speech and language skills.
You'll find sharing books together is a great way to bond with your son or daughter and help your child's development at the same time. Give your child a great gift that will last for life — the love of books.
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?
Go on a "Lorax" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First Grade)
Scientists, just like readers, make predictions all the time. Help your child begin to see the connection between what she does as a reader and what she can do as a scientist. Here are two simple ways you can encourage your child to put her prediction skills to work as a scientist.
Many of the "tools" needed for science, math, and engineering exploration are right inside your home! Here are five ideas for putting everyday tools to work for some everyday fun:
Drawing on research-based principles of vocabulary instruction and multimedia learning, this article presents 10 strategies that use free digital tools and Internet resources to engage students in vocabulary learning. The strategies are designed to support the teaching of words and word learning strategies, promote students' strategic use of on-demand web-based vocabulary tools, and increase students' volume of reading and incidental word learning.
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.
The What Works Clearinghouse reviewed the research on two practices used in center-based settings with 3- to 5-year-old preK children, as well as a number of specific curricula. Positive results are shown for (1) Phonological awareness training and (2) Interactive and dialogic reading.
Explore the five recommended practices for teaching literacy in English to English language learners: (1) Screen and monitor progress, (2) Provide reading interventions, (3) Teach vocabulary, (4) Develop academic English, and (5) Schedule peer learning.
One way parents can help children become interested in science is by explaining the scientific process. The scientific process is the way scientists go about asking and answering scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. It starts with asking a question.
Familiarity with Greek and Latin roots, as well as prefixes and suffixes, can help students understand the meaning of new words. This article includes many of the most common examples.
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.
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.
Music stories are compositions of a narrative or descriptive sort. Students can listen for the story in the music, and this type of music can be integrated with literature, literacy, social studies, science, mathematics, and the other arts.
Students often have difficulty understanding abstract map symbols. Learn how to introduce map skills with literature that contextualizes mapping in a narrative, can be related to where in the world each student lives, and engages students by actively "doing geography."
Learn about evidence-based practices that encourage first graders' engagement with texts. The authors review reading as a transactional process, revisit the benefits of reading aloud to students, discuss three literacy strategies implemented in one first-grade classroom, and share examples of student work.
Stepping outside is a simple way to set foot into nature's laboratory. Backyards and neighborhood walks can lead to interesting conversations, new vocabulary words, observations, predictions, and investigations. Try these fun outdoor exploration activities to nurture the budding scientist or mathematician in your home!
Homework is important, but helping children with homework isn't always easy. Here are some ways you can make homework easier for everyone!
Classrooms can be perilous in a number of ways for students with learning disabilities. Here are some tips to remember when working with students with LD.
Find out how it benefits all students to read challenging texts. Rather than avoiding any use of more difficult texts, teachers can use instructional support to help students gain access to a more challenging reading experience. Learn how to make shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading more powerful and effective in your classrooms.
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.
Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication. These ten simple ideas will help teachers address some of these needs and provide guidance for bringing out the best in learners with autism.
For many learners with autism, transitions are the toughest part of schooling. These four strategies are designed to prepare the learner with autism for a new school or a new schooling experience and can be used days or months before the student arrives as well as throughout the school year.
To create environments most conducive to learning for students with autism and their peers without disabilities, teachers may need to examine ways in which classroom spaces are organized. Specifically, teachers may need to consider the sounds, smells, lighting, and seating options in the classrooms.
Speech recognition, also referred to as speech-to-text or voice recognition, is technology that recognizes speech, allowing voice to serve as the "main interface between the human and the computer." This Info Brief discusses how current speech recognition technology facilitates student learning, as well as how the technology can develop to advance learning in the future.
No one wants to start their day in a frenzied mess of untied shoes and breakfast in hand as the school bus approaches. Follow these five short recommendations for smoothing out those rough mornings.
Go on a "snowy day" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Kindergarten)
Our Top 8 back-to-school tips for parents emphasize communication, organization, and staying up-to-date on special education news.
The framework provided in this article for viewing students' science writing offers teachers the opportunity to assess and support scientific language acquisition.
Go on a "farm" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Kindergarten)
Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.
Learn how to teach children to write informational text through the use of focused read-alouds that include discussions of information book genre elements, features, and organizational structure. See examples of book compositions by second-grade authors that demonstrate how read-alouds can support young writers' genre knowledge development.
Summer's temperatures often send kids and parents inside to cooler air. Here are a few tips to make the most of those hot afternoons with some literacy and math fun using only your newspaper, computer, or other household items.
The text feature walk guides students in the reading of text features in order to access prior knowledge, make connections, and set a purpose for reading expository text. Results from a pilot study illustrate the benefits of using the strategy, and practical suggestions for implementation are offered.
Get the basics on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), including signs, treatment, accommodations in school, and tips for parents and teachers.
Consider organizing a book swap for your neighborhood or block. It can be a simple afternoon undertaking, or with more time and effort, a fun event that will become an annual tradition!
The summer is a time to unwind and relax for parents and kids alike, but learning should not come to a halt. By focusing on your child's interests, involving the family, and setting goals, you can motivate even the most reluctant learners
Letters are all around us! Here are some ideas on how to use print found in your everyday environment to help develop your child's reading skills.
Reading comprehension is often a concern for the teachers of students with autism. The comprehension strategies described in this article may help some students gain comprehension skills and improve their ability to read and communicate about written material.
Some students identified with autism can participate successfully in whole-class rich literacy experiences, with the right kind of support. Learn about strategies for designing lessons that are appropriate, engaging, and challenging for every learner in the inclusive classroom.
Sharing poetry with kids is a great way to highlight language. Poems offer humor, interesting words, tongue twisters, alliteration, and opportunities for choral reading (reading together). Find out how to plan a lively and fun family poetry jam!
An introduction to 6 + 1 Trait® Writing, customized rubrics, student self-assessment, and peer editing.
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.
Teaching vocabulary is complex. What words are important for a child to know and in what context? In this excerpt from Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction, the authors consider what principles might be used for selecting which words to explicitly teach.
Knowing how to engage in signature scientific acts, such as formulating questions and using evidence in arguments is an important part of science learning. This InfoBrief from the National Center for Technology Innovation offers more information about using technology to support struggling students.
In preschool, your child will learn many types of skills. Reading books together in which the characters are going through the same thing can also help your preschooler develop these important skills.Below are four books in which the characters are learning some of the same skills as your preschooler. Consider adding these to your next stack from the library.
This study describes a second-grade science curriculum designed to individualize student instruction so that students, regardless of initial science and literacy skills, gain science knowledge and reading skills. The instruction incorporates flexible, homogeneous, literacy skills-based grouping, use of leveled science text, and explicit use of discussion and comprehension strategies.
Go on a Seussian Green Eggs and Ham reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Kindergarten)
Children who comprehend the most from their reading are those who know a lot about words. They are familiar with word prefixes, suffixes, word roots, and multiple meanings of words. Families can help develop word knowledge through simple conversations focused on words.
It's important to remember that a lack of sleep can greatly impact your preschooler's behavior and ability to have a good day at preschool. Try this little experiment with your child to make sure they understand and maintain an appropriate sleep schedule.
Go on a "sleepy" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Kindergarten)
Some parents are reluctant to contact their child's teacher. Don't be! A quick conversation or email exchange can solve simple misunderstandings, or make it clear that a longer, more formal conversation is needed. Here are three situations where parent contact is appropriate and even encouraged.
Combine Dr. Seuss and your local newspaper for some reading and writing fun in your classroom or at home.
Seuss silliness is contagious! Spread it to your classroom writing centers.
Choosing a preschool for your child can be a tough decision; what works for one child may not work for another. This is particularly true for a preschooler with special learning or behavior needs. Get a head start on finding the right setting for your preschooler.
The law requires that public schools develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each child. The IEP is a written plan for educating a child with a disability. The IEP describes the student's specific special education needs as well as any related services, including assistive technology.
As parent, you know how important it is to set aside some time everyday to read with your baby or toddler. If you've got a squiggler in your house, see if these tips help your reading time go a little more smoothly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Council on Children with Disabilities published a statement summarizing what is currently known about visual problems and dyslexia. The statement also covers what treatments are and are not recommended when diagnosing and treating vision problems, learning disabilities, and dyslexia.
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.
The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you — what educators call "dialogic" reading.
Reading aloud is a common practice in primary classrooms and is viewed as an important vehicle for vocabulary development. Read-alouds are complex instructional interactions in which teachers choose texts, identify words for instruction, and select the appropriate strategies to facilitate word learning. This study explored the complexities by examining the read-aloud practices of four primary teachers through observations and interviews.
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.
This article explains how to teach students to identify the compare-contrast text structure, and to use this structure to support their comprehension. It also shows how to use compare-contrast texts to activate and extend students' background knowledge and expand and enrich their vocabulary.
Originally designed with seventh grade students, Reciprocal Teaching is a research-based strategy that teaches students to work in small groups to coordinate the use of four comprehension strategies: prediction, clarification, summarization, and student-generated questions. This article illustrates how to implement Reciprocal Teaching for the Primary Grades (RTPG). Modifications include: additional strategies, cue cards with pictures and scripts, group work interspersed with whole class follow-up, and an independent written component for individual student accountability.
Parents and teachers can do a lot to encourage higher order thinking. Here are some strategies to help foster children's complex thinking.
As students grow older, they are asked by their teachers to do more and more with the information they have stored in their brains. These types of requests require accessing higher order thinking (HOT).
If your child has a learning disability, he or she may benefit from assistive technology tools that play to their strengths and work around their challenges.
Basic listening skills and "word awareness" are critical precursors to phonological awareness. Learn the milestones for acquiring phonological skills.
Additional and explicit instruction in phonological awareness is a critical component in helping fourth grade readers who struggle with phonological deficits. The exercises can be used as a warm-up prior to reading, spelling, or vocabulary instruction.
One way to help a child comprehend what he is reading is to encourage him to visualize parts of the story in his mind. These "mind movies" help clarify information, increase understanding, and can include any of the five senses. Try these practices below when reading with your child.
Parents and caregivers are often the first to notice when their child may be showing signs of delayed development. Get answers and advice with this easy-to-understand information about developmental delays.
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 below.
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.
By providing an environment rich in language and where thinking is encouraged, you can help your preschooler develop important numeracy and literacy skills. Here are four everyday examples of ways to integrate language and math.
Go on a "Wild Thing" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Kindergarten)
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.
Research-based information and advice for sizing up reading programs and finding the right one for your child with a learning disability.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from abbreviation expanders to word-recognition software programs — that address your child's specific writing difficulties.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders — that help students with reading.
You can and should use what you already know to be effective, research-based reading instruction to English language learners (ELLs). However, ELLs will need additional support in learning how to read, and the strategies here will help you to provide assistance in your everyday teaching, particularly for newcomers (students who have recently arrived in the U.S.).
Phoneme awareness is the ability to identify phonemes, the vocal gestures from which words are constructed, when they are found in their natural context as spoken words. Children need phoneme awareness to learn to read because letters represent phonemes in words.
When the back-to-school bell starts ringing, parents often hear and read school-related terms that are unfamiliar to them. Below are three terms and descriptions related to reading instruction that may help give you a better understanding of what's happening in your child's classroom and what it all means for your young learner.
Go on a "dinosaur" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First grade)
On a daily basis, ELLs are adjusting to new ways of saying and doing things. As their teacher, you are an important bridge to this unknown culture and school system. There are a number of things you can do to help make ELLs' transitions as smooth as possible.
Talking to and reading with your child are two terrific ways to help them hear and read new words. Conversations and questions about interesting words are easy, non-threatening ways to get new words into everyday talk. Here are some ideas to get you started.
"Get Ready to Read" is a fast, free, research-based, and easy-to-use screening tool. It consists of 20 questions that parents and caregivers can ask a four-year-old to see if he or she is on track for learning how to read.
Learn more about where to find help if you suspect that your child may have a developmental delay. A developmental evaluation will be used to decide if your child needs early intervention services and/or a treatment plan specifically tailored to meet a child's individual needs.
Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. Here are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help your child get the most out of a family or school educational experience.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders presents age-related guidelines that can help you determine if your child's speech and language skills are developing on schedule.
From previewing to reading with expression, here are several helpful hints for anyone preparing to read a book aloud to a group of children.
A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your preschooler. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!
A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your child. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!
Go on a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Pre-K and Kindergarten)
Go on a "green" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
(Level: First grade)
Go on a "folktales" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
(Level: First grade)
Go on a "time" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
(Level: First grade)
Go on a "musical" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
Go on an "animal" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
Go on a "food" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
This article offers some ideas on how to introduce poetry to ELLs and integrate it with reading instruction, as well as some ideas for reading poetry aloud in a way that will encourage oral language development.
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.
Libraries are great resources for families with young children; you can find books, entertainment, educational and cultural enrichment, literacy tips, and other valuable information. Here are nine reasons to visit your public library!
Tutors can play very important roles in the lives of the children they work with. Learn about these roles and the types of tutoring programs that are available to provide young readers with one-on-one support.
Word study is an approach to spelling instruction that moves away from a focus on memorization. The approach reflects what researchers have discovered about the alphabetic, pattern, and meaning layers of English orthography. This article describes nine tips for implementing a word study program in your classroom.
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.
Writing is a terrific way for children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is also a fundamental way in which children learn to organize ideas and helps them to be better readers.
A psychologist specializing in language-based learning disabilities explains how to talk to children about their LD: All the parts you need to be smart are in your brain. Nothing is missing or broken. The difference between your brain and one that doesn't have an LD is that your brain gets "traffic jams" on certain highways.
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.
ELLs can benefit from Reader's Theater activities in a number of ways, including fluency practice, comprehension, engaging in a story, and focusing on vocal and physical expression. Kristina Robertson offers a number of approaches to Reader's Theater with ELLs in this article.
Reading with comprehension means understanding what's been read. It takes practice, time, and patience to develop reading comprehension skills. Here is a before-during-after approach that families can use to help children learn to read for understanding.
What is Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) and how does it work? Find out more about CORI and how it helps children's comprehension and motivation through science inquiry.
Honoring books for self-selection, sharing the excitement of read-alouds, building a balanced book collection, making your passions public, and providing rewards that demonstrate the value of reading are just a few simple but transformative suggestions that can nurture the love of reading in your classroom.
This Bright Ideas article recommends five specific and measurable actions teachers can implement to assist ELL learning in the upcoming year. The resource section has links to helpful articles and websites for further support.
Having interesting things to read at home is a great way to keep kids motivated. Below are a few questions to ask yourself about your home library. Some simple changes on your part can help you create an amazing home library, and help your child develop an early love of reading!
A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.
How do you create a classroom library that is both organized and enticing to young readers? Here a teacher illustrates how she set up a classroom library. She provides tips on acquiring books and materials, organizing the shelves, creating labels, and making it cozy.
We all use strategies throughout our day to remember the variety of facts and ideas we need to retain. It is valuable for teachers, therapists, and parents to understand the memory process in order to become better equipped to help our students understand and use strategies.
This article describes the theory and procedures (purpose, format, teacher prompting, and assessment procedures) for small-group writing instruction. Guided writing lessons are intensive, small-group activities that help create instructional support and interaction between teacher and students during writing.
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.
Comprehensive methods of evaluating teachers that avoid the typical "drive-by" evaluations can promote improvements in teaching.
Riddles are an excellent way for kids to learn how to really listen to the sounds of words, understand that some words have more than one meaning, and how to manipulate words. And riddles are fun — a good incentive for thinking about words and reading.
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) describes ten dimensions of teaching that are linked to student achievement and social development. Each dimension falls into one of three board categories: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support.
Researchers have identified three kinds of developmental reading disabilities that often overlap but that can be separate and distinct: (1) phonological deficit, (2) processing speed/orthographic processing deficit, and (3) comprehension deficit.
Phonological awareness is critical for learning to read any alphabetic writing system. And research shows that difficulty with phoneme awareness and other phonological skills is a predictor of poor reading and spelling development.
Learn the six types of syllables found in English orthography, why it's important to teach syllables, and the sequence in which students learn about both spoken and written syllables.
Riddles are the perfect medium for learning how to manipulate language for many reasons, including students' familiarity with them and motivation for reading them. Here's how riddles can be used in the classroom to stimulate student's metalinguistic awareness.
Every child is unique and has an individual rate of development. This chart represents, on average, the age by which most children will accomplish skills in hearing, understanding, and talking.
How can parents help their children find books that are not "too hard" and not "too easy" but instead are "just right"? Here's some advice.
Answers to frequently asked questions on how to help children with communication disorders, particularly in regards to speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Learn what to look for as your child's handwriting skills begin to develop, as well as some signs and symptoms of dysgraphia — a learning disability that affects a child's handwriting and ability to hold a pencil or crayon.
Find out more about the different types of learning disabilities, how they're identified, and what types of instruction support students with LD.
Healthy hearing is critical to a child's speech and language development, communication, learning, and social development. Children who do not hear well are at an increased risk of becoming struggling readers. Here are some signals that may indicate a hearing problem.
Here are some strategies to help a child who does his or her homework, but doesn't turn it in.
Teachers do their best to improve students' fluency, but sometimes the information they have to work with is incomplete and, therefore, leads them down the wrong path. For example, silent reading or 'Round Robin' reading seem like good ways to improve fluency. But, in fact, increasing fluency requires more practice, more support, and more guided oral reading than either of these strategies can deliver.
What should fluency instruction look like? And, what can teachers do to help students whose fluency is far behind their peers'? This article should help practitioners use of fluency-based assessments and select instructional practices.
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.
This Info Brief provides information to help parents find and obtain alternative sources of funding for classroom- or home-based assistive technology when funds are not available through a child’s school.
Get the answers to frequently asked questions about accessing e-text through the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). Find out how to obtain e-text so that students with learning disabilities can get printed material in the format they need.
As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and make content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.
Concerns about how to build academic vocabulary and weave its instruction into curricula are common among classroom teachers. This article reviews the research and offers some practical suggestions for teachers.
Starting a home library for your child shows him/her how important books are. Having books of his/her own in a special place boosts the chance that your child will want to read even more. Here are some ideas for creating your own home library.
What is differentiated instruction and how can it help your child? This article helps parents understand and support differentiation in the classroom.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers these age-appropriate ways that parents can engage their young children to help develop speech and language abilities.
Get tips on how you can foster a sense of partnership with the teacher and administration to support your child's education.
Literacy centers offer meaningful learning experiences where students work independently or collaboratively to meet literacy goals.
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.
How do parents know if their child's reading delay is a real problem or simply a "developmental lag?" How long should parents wait before seeking help if their child is struggling with reading? Susan Hall answers these questions.
Children are full of questions about the world around them, and summer is a perfect time to tap into your child's interests. Here are some ways to start a journey of discovery together.
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.
Spelling is a challenge for people with dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association provides a fact sheet explaining why people with dyslexia have trouble spelling, how to find out the reasons a particular child has this difficulty, and how to help children with dyslexia spell better.
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.
Dads play a critical role in their children's literacy development by modeling reading, sharing stories, exploring the world together, and engaging in meaningful conversations that build critical thinking skills.
Dads play a critical role in their children's literacy development by modeling reading, sharing stories, exploring the world together, and engaging in meaningful conversations that build critical thinking skills. Here are a few suggestions to help fathers strengthen their literacy connections with preschoolers.
Teachers and parents should suspect dysgraphia if a child's handwriting is unusually difficult to read. Find out more about this neurological problem that can cause physical pain as some children struggle to write.
A child's success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school. Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home. Our one-page parent tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages — we encourage you to choose the ones that work best for your child.
Early and sustained summer learning opportunities lead to higher graduation rates, better preparation for college, and positive effects on children's self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. High-quality summer programs keep students engaged in learning, teach them new skills, allow them to develop previously unseen talents, and foster creativity and innovation.
Learning to speak two languages is like learning any other skill. To do it well, children need lots of practice, which parents can help provide. This American Speech-Language-Hearing Association brief gives information and tips for parents.
Anyone at any age can learn a second language after a first language is already established, but it takes a lot of practice. Second language acquisition often happens when a child who speaks a language other than English goes to school for the first time. This brief looks at the best way to teach a second language and how speech professionals can help.
Kindergarten is where most children learn to read and write. Though some kids can do this before entering kindergarten, it is not required or expected. Being ready for kindergarten means having well-developed preschool skills, and being academically, socially, and physically ready for the transition. Here are some signs that your child is ready for kindergarten.
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.
Using Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) or practices to encourage engagement, educators can advance the breadth and depth of students' reading by explicitly and systematically nourishing students' motivations as readers.
Eli, a young boy, tells us what it is like to have dysgraphia. Regina Richards, a well-known expert on dysgraphia (and Eli's mom), explains how to help children who struggle with the challenges Eli describes. Practical techniques discussed include POWER: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, Revise.
When engaging in writing, young children often mirror what they see around them; adults and older children writing lists, notes, text messaging. They are observing the way writing is used in our everyday lives. Here are some simple things families can do to support young children's writing.
Teachers: How do you convince your principal, fellow teachers, and other school staff to help the student in your class who has a learning disability? Rick Lavoie, world-renowned expert, speaker, and author on teaching children with LD, tells you how to get your voice heard. Learn how to handle common road blocks and become a proactive and successful advocate in the hallways, the teacher's lounge, and the administrative suite.
This list was created to help teachers know which spelling words should be taught to kids in grades 1–5. The list contains 850 words that account for 80 percent of the words children use in their writing — the ones they need to be able to spell correctly.
Writing is a complex operation requiring knowledge of text structure, syntax, vocabulary, and topic, and sensitivity to audience needs; so it is not surprising that many teens find writing challenging. This article identifies the qualities of strong writing instruction, and offers advice to teachers for incorporating writing instruction into their practice, using tools like notebooks and journals, and sharing strategies that reinforce the importance of pre-writing and revision.
Find out how you can support your child before and after taking a standardized test, as well as ways you can support your child's learning habits on a daily basis so that test day is not so stressful.
Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world. Find suggestions for books and corresponding activities to extend your preschooler's reading experiences.
Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world. Below are some suggestions for books and corresponding activities to extend your child's reading experiences.
Teach your students to avoid the avoidance of writing. Learn how to lead them down the path of enthusiasm and self-confidence about writing through research-proven strategies.
Writing is a highly complex language skill. Without skilled, systematic instruction, many students — particularly those with disabilities — may not become proficient writers. At stake is access to the general education curriculum. This brief discusses developmental stages, why writing may pose particular challenges for students with disabilities, and what areas should be the focus for remediation.
Different book leveling systems each have unique ways of describing the age- and grade-level appropriateness of books. This chart provides equivalency information across six leveling systems: Basal level/PALS, Guided Reading, DRA, Rigby PM, Reading Recovery, and Lexile.
Find out why writing is so important in our lives, as well as practical suggestions for activities to help your child become a stronger writer.
Many New Year's resolutions focus on developing healthy habits. Here's one that is important to make and keep: provide a regular diet of books and reading for your preschooler. Try this menu of reading activities.
Children with executive function problems have difficulty with planning, organizing and managing time and space, and weakness with "working memory." Learn more about executive function, how it affects learning, and strategies to help children in school and at home.
Help students engage in reading and writing by asking them to write captioning for audio-less video clips. This article contains step-by-step instructions for using the technique as well as links to digital media and suggested teaching ideas.
The use of metacognitive strategies helps students to "think about their thinking" before, during, and after they read.
Are your students drowning in information, misinformation and downright bunk? Are information literacy skills tested in your state? Teaching information literacy skills has never been more important. But it's easier said than done. As teacher-librarians, how do we teach those critical, all-important information literacy skills in ways that capture and hold student interest?
As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences, can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and to make the content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.
Focus on reading readiness and enjoy winter holidays at the same time with these simple activities you can incorporate into your preschooler's daily routine.
During the holiday season, consider adding some new traditions for your family that will make meaningful memories and strengthen foundations for reading and learning success.
The home is the child's first classroom and parents are the first teachers. Parents who read to their children everyday and talk about what they are reading together promote a joy of reading and literacy achievement. How can teachers encourage reading at home and support the role of parents as educators? One way is through the use of our reading adventure packs — a theme-based collection of books and related interactive activities that kids bring home from school to share with their family.
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.
Some preschools schedule meetings during the year to talk about your child's progress. Here are some tips to make the most of those meetings.
In this article, a seasoned ELL teacher synthesizes her own classroom experience and the findings of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth to make recommendations for effective literacy instruction of ELL students.
As a parent of a beginning reader, it's important to support your child's reading efforts in a positive way and help them along the reading path. Here's a little information about beginning readers, and a few pointers to keep in mind.
Concrete suggestions for teachers who want to communicate well with all of their students, especially English language learners and students with learning disabilities.
Even the youngest child is somewhere on the path to becoming a reader. As a parent, it's important to support your child's efforts in a positive way and help him or her along the reading path. Here's a little information about emergent readers, and a few pointers to keep in mind.
Discover 20 ideas for including all students in classroom read alouds. These suggestions may work for students who need to fidget during whole-class instruction, those who need materials to keep focused, and those who require alternative ways of demonstrating attention, engagement, and interest.
Do you think your child or student might have dyslexia? This fact sheet provides a definition of dyslexia, symptoms, prevalence, signs, and effects, as well as ways to help your child.
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.
Preschool provides a wonderful opportunity for your child to make new friends, socialize, and learn from an adult. Starting preschool is an exciting (and sometimes nervous!) time for little ones and parents. A few tips might help you and your child get off on the right foot.
America's approach to education has lagged behind as industry and technology have continued to advance. To truly prepare students for the 21st century workforce, and to remain competitive in the global economy, the National Center on Education and the Economy has ten policy recommendations for America's schools.
Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. For Spanish-speaking ELLs, cognates are an obvious bridge to the English language.
If your child cannot read their textbooks, they need digital copies of their books. Schools now can use National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) to get e-text. Learn the details that will help you advocate for your child so they can use NIMAS. And learn where to find the publishers and producers that provide e-text.
Interesting experiences give kids a broader framework for new information they might encounter in books, and when kids have lots of experiences to draw on, they have a better chance of making a connection with what they read! Help your child build background knowledge this summer with these activities.
Research has demonstrated that the most effective read-alouds are those where children are actively involved asking and answering questions and making predictions, rather than passively listening. This article describes in detail a technique for a three-step interactive read-aloud using sophisticated storybooks.
Libraries today have changed in a number of ways to meet the demands of our modern society, but their underlying purpose for children is still to help them discover the joy of reading. As summer peaks, many local libraries advertise special summer reading programs and activities to keep children enthusiastic about reading.
Put together a summer listening program for your child. Listening is an engaging way to learn, so your child may love listening to books and other written documents. Have them listen to music and stage plays, comedy routines, and other works. Point out background sounds, such as the way the peppy tune on a sound track adds fun and humor to an adventure tale. Learning to listen is particularly helpful to children with learning disabilities.
Learn what questions to ask about Response to Intervention (RTI), an approach to helping struggling learners that is gaining momentum in schools across the country. This article from the National Association of School Psychologists tells you the most important features of the process, key terms, and RTI's relationship to special education evaluation.
Can teachers and parents of preschoolers identify learning problems early enough to prevent problems later in school? The Recognition & Response model helps adults know what to look for and how to help, so that later remediation and special education may not be necessary.
Here are a dozen simple strategies to help your children keep the academic skills they learned during the school year. Support them as they read. Give them material that is motivating — and some of it should be easy. Help them enjoy books and feel pleasure — not pressure — from reading. The summer should be a relaxed time where their love of learning can flower.
The U.K.'s National Literacy Trust offers ideas that schools and nonprofit organizations can implement to get fathers involved in their children's reading.
Most words in a child's vocabulary come from everyday encounters with language. Children pick up language from books, media, and conversations with the people in their lives. Here are some ways you can increase your child's vocabulary and background knowledge, and strengthen the foundation for their reading success.
Reading over the summer not only keeps your child from losing ground, but actually improves skills for the coming year. Here are some suggestions to keep a book in your child's hands over the summer months.
The identification of a child with dyslexia is a difficult process, but there are ways that parents and teachers can learn more about the reading difficulty and support the child's learning.
Letter writing can be fun, help children learn to compose written text, and provide handwriting practice — and letters are valuable keepsakes. This guide was written for England's "Write a Letter Week" and contains activities to help children ages 5–9 put pen to paper and make someone's day with a handwritten letter.
Nursery rhymes are important for young children because they help develop an ear for our language. Both rhyme and rhythm help kids hear the sounds and syllables in words, which helps kids learn to read! Here are some activities and recommended poetry books to aid your child's developing poetry, rhyming, and rhythm skills.
The literacy-rich environment emphasizes the importance of speaking, reading, and writing in the learning of all students. This involves the selection of materials that will facilitate language and literacy opportunities; reflection and thought regarding classroom design; and intentional instruction and facilitation by teachers and staff.
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.
Did you know that kids whose parents are involved in their education have better grades, a better attitude toward school, and more appropriate school behavior than those with less involved parents? Consider trying a few of these tips — and make a big difference!
Parents — you are your child's most important teacher! Using a few of these ideas, you can help your child enter the classroom ready to read.
Favorite stories get shared many times over. Here's some advice about how to find a good children's book and what to do once you're reading together.
If you're thinking of hiring a private specialist to test your child for a learning disability, here are some key questions to ask yourself and the prospective evaluator.
Knowledge does much more than just help students hone their thinking skills: It actually makes learning easier. Knowledge is not only cumulative, it grows exponentially. Those with a rich base of factual knowledge find it easier to learn more — the rich get richer.
Students often think they understand a body of material and, believing that they know it, stop trying to learn more. But come test time, it turns out they really don't know the material very well at all. Can cognitive science tell us anything about why students are commonly mistaken about what they know and don't know? Are there any strategies teachers can use to help students better estimate what they know?
How does the mind work — and how does it learn? Teachers' instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct. Such gut knowledge often serves us well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on?
Get the basics on the benefits, challenges and costs of different kinds of tutoring services: private, tutoring centers, online tutors, and free Title I supplemental services.
Tutoring offers kids the special one-on-one attention that busy teachers often can't provide. From simplehomework help to intensive work on basic skills, tutoring can offer just the boost your childneeds to succeed.
In the last few years, an alarm has sounded throughout the nation's middle and high schools: too many students cannot read well. It isn't that they don't know their ABCs or how to read words. It's that they cannot understand or explain what they're reading. Johnny can read, but he doesn't understand.
The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities developed an overview on screening, diagnosing and serving children age four or younger. The document was developed for researchers, administrators, and people who need an academic overview.
Learn what reading fluency is, why it is critical to make sure that students have sufficient fluency, how we should assess fluency, and how to best provide practice and support for all students.
Professional school counselors can be more effective in their work with parents of students with disabilities — as well as with the students themselves, their teachers, and other students — if they understand parent perspectives. Parents' areas of concern are described, and implications for school counselors are discussed.
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.
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.
Screening, diagnosing, and progress monitoring are essential to making sure that all students become fluent readers — and the words-correct per-minute (WCPM) procedure can work for all three. Here's how teachers can use it to make well-informed and timely decisions about the instructional needs of their students.
Does your child want to write to his favorite author? Children's book author Mary Amato explains how.
Learning happens when we connect new information to what we already know. When children have limited knowledge about the world, they have a smaller capacity to learn more about it. Here are four ways teachers can build content knowledge that will expand the opportunity for students to forge new connections — and make them better independent readers and learners.
Talking to your child helps expand vocabulary, develop background knowledge, and inspire a curiosity about the world – all of which help with learning to read! Here are some simple activities you can do at home to get your child ready to read.
Don't forget to add non-fiction books to your reading routine! Kids can follow their own interests and learn about the world around them by reading about bugs, dinosaurs, or outer space. You can also use the information in books to do activities at home – make green eggs and ham like Sam I Am, or a newspaper hat like Curious George!
One of the most misunderstood topics in reading instruction involves the extent to which children should be encouraged to rely on context cues in reading.
Learn about an early intervening system being developed for young children, called Recognition and Response, designed to help parents and teachers respond to learning difficulties in young children who may be at risk for learning disabilities as early as possible, beginning at age 3 or 4, before they experience school failure and before they are referred for formal evaluation and possible placement in special education.
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.
Use picture books to teach young writers how to organize plot logically. This article includes examples of basic plot structures, along with picture books that use those structures.
Genetic differences in the brain make learning to read a struggle for children with dyslexia. Luckily, most of our brain development occurs after we're born, when we interact with our environment. This means that the right teaching techniques can actually re-train the brain, especially when they happen early.
Reading instruction changes the brain. New before- and after- images that show what happens to children's brains after they get systematic, research-based reading instruction show that the right teaching methods can actually normalize brain function and thereby improve a child's reading skills.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities presents a basic fact sheet on dyscalculia, a term which refers to a wide range of learning disabilities involving math. The following questions are answered: What are the effects of dyscalculia in early childhood, during the school years, and on teenagers and adults? What are the warning signs? How is dyscalculia identified and treated?
Helping struggling readers in the general classroom is a challenge, but The Access Center offers a solution. By using Response-to-Instruction’s tiered approach and Universal Design’s equal access philosophy, you can bridge the gap so that you are truly leaving no child behind.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can play a number of important roles in using RTI to identify children with disabilities and provide needed instruction to struggling students in both general education and special education settings. But these roles will require some fundamental changes in the way SLPs engage in assessment and intervention activities.
Response to Instruction (RTI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are two great ideas for making sure the curriculum reaches all students. Learn about how you can implement these ideas as part of your regular routine in the general education classroom.
Technology — and especially the subset of technology tools known as assistive technology (AT) — can be an effective element of the writing curriculum for students with disabilities. Since writing is so integral to school success, AT is often indicated to assist students with disabilities.
School is not the only arena in which children's minds need to be nurtured and expanded. Equally vital is the kind of education and brain building that a student undergoes at home.
According to author E. D. Hirsch, Jr., the only useful way to prepare for a reading test is indirectly by becoming a good reader of a broad range of texts, an ability that requires broad general knowledge.
Many young readers are puzzled by the rules and exceptions of spelling. Research shows that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge. Learn more about the relationships between letters and sounds and how a proper understanding of spelling mechanics can lead to improved reading.
The goal of phonics instruction is to help children learn the alphabetic principle — the idea that letters represent the sounds of spoken language — and that there is an organized, logical, and predictable relationship between written letters and spoken sounds.
Find out what the scientific research says about effective phonics instruction. It begins with instruction that is systematic and explicit.
Here are 15 tactics that may help children enhance attention and manage attention problems.
How can you tell when a student has a language-learning disability and when he or she is merely in the normal process of acquiring a second language?
Spelling difficulties can be enduring in individuals with reading disabilities, sometimes even after reading has been successfully remediated. Addressing spelling difficulties is important, because poor spelling can hamper writing and can convey a negative impression even when the content of the writing is excellent.
These activities are for families and caregivers who want to help their preschool children to learn and to develop the skills necessary for success in school — and in life.
By the time they begin kindergarten, children in the United States have watched an average of 4,000 hours of TV. Here are some tips that will help you monitor and guide your child's TV viewing.
This article illustrates the difference between being able to decode words on a page and being able to derive meaning from the words and the concepts they are trying to convey.
Named "One of America's Top Doctors," Dr. Shaywitz is professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine and author of the bestseller Overcoming Dyslexia. On January 27, 2005, Reading Rockets hosted an online discussion with Dr. Shaywitz, who answered questions about dyslexia and other reading difficulties and responded to parents' concerns.
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.
Creating a library of your child's books is a great way to show her how important reading is. It will also give her a special place to keep her books and will motivate her to keep pulling books from her own library to read. Here are some ideas for getting started!
Research about how much children lose ground over the summer is well documented, but kids don't have to lose ground over the summer. In fact, you can encourage your child to have a summer of fun and learning with these five free and easy things to do.
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.
Suggestions for fostering independent reading include: (a) Give children books that are not too difficult. (b) Help them find books they will enjoy. (c) Encourage them to try many kinds of material. Although independent reading cannot substitute for teaching decoding, it improves reading comprehension and the habit of reading.
You've got the reading lists. You've got the books. But what else can you do to make your children better readers this summer?
The purpose of this National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) report is to examine the concepts, potential benefits, practical issues, and unanswered questions associated with responsiveness to intervention (RTI) and learning disabilities (LD). A brief overview of the approach is provided, including attributes, characteristics, and promising features, as well as issues, concerns, unanswered questions, and research needs.
About 10 million children have difficulties learning to read. The good news is that more than 90 percent of struggling readers can overcome their difficulties if they receive appropriate treatment at early ages.
Not everyone lives near Chincoteague lsland off the Maryland and Virginia coastline (Misty of Chincoteague) or has a chance to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder house museum in the Ozarks (Little House on the Prairie). But books can inspire some exciting day trips.
Parents can make reading more motivating by letting children choose books and making reading a memorable family event. Find out what children themselves have to say about these guidelines for parents to increase motivation.
Use the power of stories to explore what's different and the same, new and shared, about ourselves and our experiences. These nine books find wonderful ways to express universal themes through African Americans, both fictional and real.
Part of teaching reading is motivating the children to practice, practice, practice. Find out how to use children's poetry to encourage kids to read.
The reader's theater strategy blends students' desire to perform with their need for oral reading practice. Reader's Theater offers an entertaining and engaging means of improving fluency and enhancing comprehension.
Encourage literacy in your home and community. Here are some great tips to start everyone on the road to reading.
Children can learn about family heritage at the same time they are improving their literacy skills. Using family-based writing projects, you can build a connection with parents, and help children see the value in their own heritage and in the diversity around them.
Writing is a new way for young children to tell their stories and express themselves, but they are also learning valuable lessons about print concepts and letter-sound relationships when they put pen to paper.
Literacy activities can take on a new meaning when students are reading and writing about their own community. Children learn the true value of print when they document the oral histories of the elders in their town.
How do you choose the best method for measuring reading progress? This brief article describes which assessments to use for different reading skills so that you can make sure all students are making progress towards becoming readers!
Guided oral reading is an instructional strategy that can help students improve a variety of reading skills, including fluency. This article explains how to implement it in your classroom.
The specific signs of dyslexia, both weaknesses and strengths, vary widely. Problems with oral language, decoding, fluency, spelling, and handwriting are addressed, as well as strengths in higher order thinking skills.
The earliest clues involve mostly spoken language. The very first clue to a language (and reading) problem may be delayed language. Once the child begins to speak, look for difficulties with rhyming, phonemic awareness, and the ability to read common one-syllable words.
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.
A look at three pivotal longitudinal studies that clearly show: Late bloomers are rare; skill deficits are almost always what prevent children from blooming as readers.
Music is a great way to introduce children to sounds and words! Research indicates that exposure to music has numerous benefits for a child's development.
Students with autism spectrum disorder have a number of unique challenges in the classroom. Learn how to set up work systems that can help your students become more independent by strengthening organization skills, reducing distractibility, understanding sequence of events, and more.
An informal assessment of phonic elements, including what the assessment measures, when is should be assessed, examples of questions, and the age or grade at which the assessment should be mastered.
An informal assessment of letter/sound recognition, including what the assessment measures, when is should be assessed, examples of questions, and the age or grade at which the assessment should be mastered.
An informal assessment of the concepts of print, including what the assessment measures, when is should be assessed, examples of questions, and the age or grade at which the assessment should be mastered.
An informal assessment of reading fluency, including what the assessment measures, when is should be assessed, examples of questions, and the age or grade at which the assessment should be mastered.
An informal assessment of phonemic awareness, including what the assessment measures, when is should be assessed, examples of questions, and the age or grade at which the assessment should be mastered.
Students need to think while they are reading. By using modeling, coached practice, and reflection, you can teach your students strategies to help them think while they read and build their comprehension.
Parents want the best for their children. Reading can open a window on the world, bringing chances to learn, enjoy and create. Even though schools teach reading and writing, home is the first and best place for your child's love of reading to grow.
What parents do or don't do in the preschool years has a lasting impact on children's reading ability. Learn some facts about the importance and need for literacy experiences in the primary grades.
Teachers are often asked to modify instruction to accommodate special needs students. In fact, all students will benefit from the following good teaching practices. The following article takes the mystery out of adapting materials and strategies for curriculum areas.
There are many beliefs and a great deal of dogma associated with reading acquisition, and people are often reluctant to let go of their beliefs despite contradictory research evidence. Here are 10 of the most popular and most potentially pernicious myths that influence reading education.
Comprehension strategies are conscious plans — sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of text. Comprehension strategy instruction helps students become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension. These seven strategies have research-based evidence for improving text comprehension.
The statistics are consistent: Young male readers lag behind their female counterparts in literacy skills. This article looks at the social, psychological, and developmental reasons why, and suggests solutions — including the need for more men to become role models for reading.
Activities that stimulate phonemic awareness in preschool and elementary school children are one sure way to get a child ready for reading! Here are eight of them from expert Marilyn Jager Adams.
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.
What should you do if you think your child is having trouble with reading? Sometimes children just need more time, but sometimes they need extra help. Trust your instincts! You know your child best. If you think there's a problem, there probably is.
The U.S. Department of Education developed this brief guide for reading tutors. It lists ways that tutoring helps both the learner and the tutor, and provides practical tips that can help tutors be more effective in their work.
Many kids lose ground during the summer months, especially those from low income families. Part of the problem is that many students don't have easy access to books. This article presents some suggestions for what schools can do.
This article discusses current research-supported instructional practices in reading and writing. It also reviews alternatives to ability-achievement discrepancy in identifying students for special education services, as well as introduces the idea that ability-achievement discrepancies should be based on specific cognitive factors that are relevant to specific kinds of learning disabilities rather than Full Scale IQ.
Differentiated instruction, also called differentiation, is a process through which teachers enhance learning by matching student characteristics to instruction and assessment. Writing instruction can be differentiated to allow students varying amounts of time to complete assignments, to give students different writing product options, and to teach skills related to the writing process.
Learn the basics of how a digital whiteboard works and potential benefits of using the technology in early literacy instruction. Results of a research study in a first grade classroom reveal that digital whiteboards are effective as an organizational tool for lesson preparation and followup instruction; provide opportunities for scaffolded learning; and stimulate greater student engagement.
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.
Audiobooks have traditionally been used with second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders. In many cases, audiobooks have proven successful in helping these students to access literature and enjoy books. But they have not been widely used with average, avid, or gifted readers. This article lists the benefits of audiobooks for all students.
Does your child need to be evaluated for a learning disability? Learn how to find the best professional, prepare for evaluation, and get the most information from the experience.
Many families are under the mistaken impression that holding their child out of kindergarten for an additional year will be beneficial, that it will give the child the gift of time. But families need to be aware of the possibility of too little challenge and the potential negative effects of holding children out.
Creating a word family chart with the whole class or a small group builds phonemic awareness, a key to success in reading. Students will see how words look alike at the end if they sound alike at the end — a valuable discovery about our alphabetic writing system. They'll also see that one little chunk (in this case "-an") can unlock lots of words!
Dialogic reading works. Children who have been read to dialogically are substantially ahead of children who have been read to traditionally on tests of language development. Children can jump ahead by several months in just a few weeks of dialogic reading.
Motivation is key to school success. Just as the actor asks a director, "What is my motivation, for this scene?," the child turns to teachers, parents, and peers to discover the "why" of learning. Motivation is often defined as a need or drive that energizes behavior toward a goal.
Find out how teachers can play to the strengths and shore up the weaknesses of English Language Learners in each of the Reading First content areas.
Moms, dads, or grandparents can play simple word games with kids to increase their ability to recognize and use letters and sounds. Try these games the next time you're on the go.
Here are some concrete techniques that children can use to study spelling. This article also shares guidelines teachers and students should keep in mind, because practice makes permanent.
The International Dyslexia Association prepared this fact sheet describing reasonable accommodations involving materials, interactive instruction, and student performance to will help children with learning problems in general education and special education classrooms.
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.
Find out how to help students with executive functioning issues learn to manage their time, space, materials, and school work.
Children's knowledge of letter names and shapes is a strong predictor of their success in learning to read. Knowing letter names is strongly related to children's ability to remember the forms of written words and their ability to treat words as sequences of letters.
How can classroom reading instruction help poor readers — indeed, all students — become more like good readers? Research suggests that the answer may lie in providing students with instruction that both teaches them the comprehension strategies that work so well for good readers and helps them to develop the necessary metacognitive awareness of how and when to use these strategies.
Effective comprehension instruction is instruction that helps students to become independent, strategic, and metacognitive readers who are able to develop, control, and use a variety of comprehension strategies to ensure that they understand what they read. To achieve this goal, comprehension instruction must begin as soon as students begin to read and it must: be explicit, intensive, and persistent; help students to become aware of text organization; and motivate students to read widely.
Based on research and effective practice, these strategies help students learn how to coordinate and use a set of key comprehension techniques before, during, and after they read a variety of texts.
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.
Quality can look different in individual primary grade classrooms. However, there are certain characteristics of effective early reading programs that parents can look for in their children's classrooms. First Lady Laura Bush presents a list of these characteristics in this guide for parents.
This article discusses the power of reading aloud and goes a step further to discuss the power of thinking out loud while reading to children as a way to highlight the strategies used by thoughtful readers.
One of the keys to helping struggling readers is to provide them with books that they can and want to read. Fiction for struggling readers must have realistic characters, readable and convincing text, and a sense of the readers' interests and needs. Non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, even comic books can hook students on reading.
The scientific research on vocabulary instruction reveals that 1) most vocabulary is learned indirectly, and 2) some vocabulary must be taught directly.
The following are answers to frequent questions teachers have about fluency instruction.
According to a recent major study of over 1,300 children across a seven-year period, different child care experiences influence the development of young children. Learn about these influences in this summary of a study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify, hear, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words. Manipulating the sounds in words includes blending, stretching, or otherwise changing words.
This article takes the approach that if we avoid school failure in the first place, there might be less of a reason to consider retention. Specific “strategies” are described, including: intensifying learning, providing professional development to assure skilled teachers, expanding learning options, assessing students in a manner to assist teachers, and intervening in time to arrest poor performance.
Children learn when they make connections between what they hear and what they know. One method parents can use to help make these connections is called a think aloud, where you talk through your thoughts as you read.