Classroom strategies

July 30, 2019

Teacher question: I teach fourth-grade social studies at my school and I have an ongoing argument with our reading coach. Perhaps you can help me. She says that the way I teach is bad, but it works, and I see no reason to change. My students take turns reading paragraphs aloud and when each one finishes then I ask them questions or explain what the book said. I like it...

July 15, 2019

Teacher question: What is the most effective way to teach summarizing to our most struggling readers? How can we teach them how to summarize both literary and informational texts?

Shanahan's response:

Good choice. Of all of the literacy activities that you could have focused on, summarizing is the most powerful for elementary students....

October 31, 2018

Teacher question: I am working with schools who are strongly committed to the “I Do, We Do, You Do” method of teaching reading, and attempt to use this method when working with the reading of complex texts. I have noticed that this approach doesn’t often exist with “highly aligned curricula.”

My questions are: What is the role of modeling as it...

May 14, 2018

Teacher question:

I was curious what your thoughts are regarding small group instruction in Elementary school during the ELA block.  I’m unaware of any definitive research on the effect size of small group instruction or the impact it has regarding student achievement in reading. There seems to be a few different schools of thought: direct whole group instruction...

March 31, 2018

In most instances, educators will be using assessment data and classroom observations to create flexible groupings in the classroom. Other times, however, teachers may want to group or pair students randomly. This type of grouping works well for many different types of lessons including community-building activities, idea sharing, small-group discussions, or the exploration of materials....

February 28, 2018

In any effective and student-centered classroom, the voices of learners should be heard often; they should be asking and answering questions, sharing ideas, and expressing their thoughts. Some students, however, struggle to engage in some or all of these behaviors. They may need models for asking appropriate questions or adding relevant comments.

This “Off the Page” selection will...

January 12, 2018

Too often, student interests are seen as a hindrance to learning, when they can actually be very helpful to both students and teachers. In this video, I discuss how to take a student’s passion — be it calendars, vacuum cleaners, superheroes, dolphins, detectives, or Ozzy Osbourne — and turn it into classroom support.

This tip is taken directly from...

January 9, 2018

Happy New Year!

I had a lot of great feedback about this post in the last few years, so I am sharing it again to kick off 2018. I hope it will help you meet your inclusion-related goals as you get back to work this week.

Those that know me well, know that I love goal setting. I love teaching it to students and I love using it as a tool in my consulting. I also love using it in...

December 12, 2017

What if I told you it was possible to make some (if not most) of your students feel more comfortable by just adopting a few EASY strategies each day, week, and month? What if I told you these strategies would not cost a thing and would also help you — as the teacher get a bit more organized? What if I told you these strategies could also help students learn new skills? Are you intrigued...

November 14, 2017

It’s November and, therefore, it’s time for a new episode of “Off the Page.” In this segment, I am sharing a goal setting tool from 30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom. Don’t skip this one if you don’t co-teach, though! This strategy is a smart one and can work well for any collaborative team big or small.

April 4, 2017

A native of Vermont, Erica S. Perl now lives in Washington, D.C., where she writes a range of books for young readers. She has done very funny picture books, novels for middle grade as well as books for young adults, and most recently a novel in play form,

Your book,...

March 23, 2017

Welcome Madelyn Rosenberg to Book Life! Madelyn is a mom, journalist, and the author of nine books for children. Her newest book, This Is Just a Test, with Wendy Wan-Long Shang, comes out on June 27.

Guest post by Madelyn Rosenberg

For my elementary school acting debut, I was a box of granola...

January 17, 2017

Teacher question:   I truly want to help teachers strengthen their literacy instruction and students develop and strengthen their reading comprehension. I just viewed your online presentation on “How and How Not to Get Higher Test Scores” and I am intrigued. With only a few short months away from the testing frenzy as you can imagine administrators and teachers are in a...

October 5, 2016

Teacher question:

You have attacked DEAR time [Drop Everything and Read] because you say it does little to raise reading achievement. But what about having kids read on their own as a way to motivate them to be readers? As a teacher I want my kids to be lifelong readers so I provide 20 minutes of daily independent reading time. What do you think?

September 27, 2016

Usually these blog entries are replies to educators questions. Recently Doug Lemov interviewed me about reading instruction and posted it on his blog. We got into issues like reading strategy instruction, vocabulary assessment, close reading, and guided reading. Many of you know Doug's books, Teach Like a Champion and Reading Revisited. I was honored to talk to him and this will...

June 15, 2016

Teacher question:

Our reading coach has encouraged all of our teachers to use a lot of the “think-pair-share” reading strategy. I’m an upper elementary grade teacher. Is “think-pair-share” research based?

Shanahan responds:

This seems like such a straightforward question, but it has been tying me in knots for days. It all depends on what you mean by “research based.”

...

June 7, 2016

Why do you support the use of basal readers for teaching reading? Isn’t it the teachers that make the difference, not the textbooks?

What a peculiar—but all-too-common—question.

What has led to this weird belief that schools can have either textbooks or good teachers? That investments in teacher development and textbook adoption are opposites? Or, that the good...

March 15, 2016

In the last few weeks I've visited five schools in four states. Each of them educates large numbers of students from low-income homes and students of color, and each is either high-performing or on an impressive improvement trajectory.

The schools are different in lots of ways, but one thing characterizes them all: Teachers, principals, and other administrators work hard at building...

January 20, 2016

Teacher question: In terms of teaching comprehension to grade 3-5 students, what is the best way to help the readers transfer the strategies they are taught so they can be independent, self-regulated readers? Shanahan's response:  If you want to teach reading comprehension strategies to on-grade level students between the ages of 8-10, we have a pretty...

December 8, 2015

The Iris Center announces a new IRISSTAR Legacy Module, Dual Language Learners with Disabilities: Supporting Young Children in the Classroom. It is free online and offers ideas for serving diverse early...

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"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln