Classroom strategies

November 4, 2015

Dyslexia often is confusing for parents and teachers as the manner in which it presents can differ widely among children and youths. Dyslexia can go undetected for a long time, but it is neurologically based, known to be inherited, and will not be outgrown. Once students fall behind, their problems connected with reading, writing, and spelling can become complicated by negative feelings that...

July 16, 2015

From a teacher:

I have read a few articles and books by Daniel Willingham in the past, and I wonder if you are familiar with his work. I recently read an article about reading comprehension strategies and am curious to know what you think of his ideas. He says that focusing heavily on reading strategies isn’t really necessary.

(I often question the...

June 22, 2015

Recently, I wrote about the quandary of grouping. Small group instruction supports greater student engagement, higher amounts of interaction, greater opportunity for teacher observation, and more student learning. However, the benefits of small group are balanced by the relative ineffectiveness of most seatwork activities. Subtracting the downside of working on one's own away from the teacher...

May 22, 2015

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb is a trailer from Libro.fm. Viewing the video is a strategy that could engage readers with an audiobook and its author and or illustrator before listening....

January 11, 2015

Last week, I provided a link to a close reading video that a reader sent me. The link purported to present a model “close reading” lesson.

Although, there was much to like about the lesson, I complained that it wasn't close reading. Close reading is not a synonym for reading comprehension (or even "really good reading comprehension...

January 5, 2015

My daughters are Erin and Meagan. When they were little, Meagan would get upset because we always “ran Erins,” but never “ran Meagans.” That’s cute when a little one doesn’t know the meaning of a word. But such miscommunication can be a real problem in Common Core State Standards implementation. It’s getting so that I hate to hear the term “close reading” because it is misused so often these...

December 30, 2014

Last week, I explained why disciplinary reading strategies are superior to the more general strategies taught in schools. That generated a lot of surprised responses. Some readers thought I’d mis-worded my message. Let me reiterate it here: strategies like summarization, questioning (the readers asking questions), monitoring, and visualizing don’t help average or better readers. They do help...

December 23, 2014

Q: We are preparing for a PD session and want participants (who are a mix of K-12 teachers, coaches and administrators across the state) to begin to think about disciplinary literacy. To be transparent, this focus is in part a reaction to hearing that some of our schools are cutting social studies and science to make room for CCSS ELA/Literacy blocks in K-5 … we want to...

December 11, 2014

Teaching students with dyslexia and other print disabilities requires informed school administrators, teachers, related services personnel, and parents working together. Their efforts to establish eligibility for accessible educational materials (AEM=AIM) can assure that students who need it can access grade-level content in order to meet or exceed state standards.

Asessments,...

December 3, 2014

A flurry of built-in accessibility features involving voice and dictation from Apple are the latest operating system upgrades that benefit students who are frustrated and turned off when their textbooks and trade books come only in print.

New Tools

The additions mean students who learn differently have choices in the supports they use during a digital learning opportunity. No user is...

November 28, 2014

Teachers as "learning engineers" was a theme of a 2014 webinar focused on how to structure successful learning for students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education using technology and apps.

"I want you to think less like a teacher and more like an engineer," Jamie Basham told his webinar audience as part of a project of the...

January 7, 2014

Is there a relationship between grammar and reading comprehension? Yes, says Timothy Shanahan on Shanahan on Literacy. In summarizing the research, Shanahan suggests "as students learn to...

March 1, 2013

Words are so cool! I was reminded of that last night as I helped my daughter study for her word study test. Her word study for the week involved three Latin roots (pater, mater, dicta) and, for each one, related words used in our everyday lives (for example: patriarch, matrimony, contradiction). Anna doesn't really appreciate how much she's learning about words through this study, but I sure...

January 24, 2013

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes construction as: "The art of construing, interpreting, or explaining." I believe the key word is interpreting. Before students delve into text, we first must teach them how to break it apart and look for evidence. It's just as critical to teach our students what to do once they have collected the evidence. The art of interpretation is hard to...

January 8, 2013

Thoughtful. Careful. Precise. These are the words that should define our students as they provide evidence that supports text-dependent questions. Part 2 of our focus on evidence-based questions takes us into the world of informational text. It tends to be easier for students to find evidence to support their answers within informational text. However, where we sometimes fall...

July 11, 2012

Over at Shanahan on Literacy, Dr. Shanahan wrote an interesting post We Zigged When We Should Have Zagged about the lack of comprehension strategies in the Common Core State Standards.

For those familiar with...

May 22, 2012

If there's someone who knows about teaching writing, it's Steve Graham. He's a nationally recognized professor, teacher, and researcher in the field of writing. The bulk of his work is with students with learning disabilities. His writing is always clear, informative, and helpful.

Graham and his colleagues at Vanderbilt launched...

May 3, 2012

Teachers teach reading strategies to help with comprehension. The most common strategies teachers use are likely those found by the National Reading Panel to have enough scientific evidence to conclude that their use can improve comprehension: comprehension monitoring, graphic organizers, question answering, question generation, summarization, cooperative learning, story structure, and...

February 28, 2012

Pre-reading activities, the things teachers plan and do before reading a text, happen almost every day in elementary school. Pre-reading activities seek to improve a child's comprehension of a text by activating prior knowledge, and by providing time to pre-teach concepts or vocabulary students will encounter in a text. Pre-reading activities can be informal and quick, or they can be more...

November 28, 2011

The Common Core Standards are national standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. They've been adopted by over 45 states and six provinces, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. According to the Common Core website the standards "provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn...

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943