Intervention and prevention

March 13, 2019

Teacher question: My district is looking to improve our current intervention model. Currently, our reading interventionists operate on a pull-out model. However, we have heard that a push-in model can be be more effective so are interested in moving in that direction. What does the research say about the effectiveness of pull-out versus push-in for reading intervention? If...

February 19, 2019

Teacher question: Prevention of dyslexia and other reading problems should be everyone’s number one priority. Why isn’t their more emphasis on the early identification of reading problems, before they have a chance to ruin children’s lives?

Shanahan's response

In 2018, I was asked to edit an issue of Perspectives of Language...

April 18, 2018

Teacher question:

I wonder if you could comment on your blog about this crazy idea that the reading specialists should change the program every 12 weeks if a student is not showing growth on the one-minute reading fluency measure. I have second grade student who reads 80 wcpm with 97% accuracy. She made great growth in the fall but has leveled out this...

January 29, 2018

Teacher question

I teach first-grade and this year I switched schools. In my previous school, we tested our students with DIBELS three times a year. The idea was to figure if the students were having trouble with decoding so that we could help them. That isn’t how my new principal does it. He has us giving kids a reading comprehension test with leveled books. I...

February 13, 2017

This week’s challenging question:   I had a question from some schools people that I’m not sure how to answer. I wonder if anyone has data on what progress can be expected of students in the primary grades getting extra help in reading.   Let’s assume that the students are getting good/appropriate instruction, and the data were showing that 44% of students (...

August 22, 2016

Educators who hold to beliefs that audiobooks are cheating can have their say in their personal lives. At school, that point of view stands in the way of academic success for struggling readers for whom audiobooks and alternatives to print are a necessity. 

Decode poorly, read slowly? 

Students who decode poorly and read slowly should use audiobooks to access the curriculum. They also...

July 29, 2016

Reader question: I am a classroom teacher (grade 3) and a follower of your blog. I also have an M.A. in Reading. Last year our new principal told us that our RtI students do not need to be in the classroom during grade level instruction. I strongly disagree. I think that these students benefit from scaffolded grade level instruction and benefit from the kind of thinking and...

July 5, 2016

We in education tend to have very strong beliefs. And, those beliefs can overwhelm our knowledge — or even our willingness to gain knowledge.   Last week’s entry here focused on teaching kids with more challenging texts than we’ve been told to use in the past. The reason for the change wasn’t some brilliant insight on my part, but a gradual accumulation of direct research evidence. Evidence...

March 28, 2016

Teacher question: I read a research study (Kilpatrick, 2014) that questions the value of segmentation tests for measuring phonemic awareness, because such tests did not correlate well with first- and second-grade reading achievement. At our school we have used DIBELS in Kindergarten and Grade 1 to identify children at risk for reading difficulties. Is this really useful or are we...

November 6, 2015

In research just published by the University of California at Davis and Yale University, educators can find advice to heed now about promptly identifying and intervening with...

November 10, 2015

When I arose today I saw lots of tweets and Facebook posts about a new U.S. Department of Education study. Then I started getting emails from folks in the schools and in the state departments of education.

October 19, 2015

The popular fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes said,“it’s a capital mistake to theorize before you have the data.” Ben Johnston makes the same point when schools seek school success for struggling readers. He offers a solution for improving decisions whenever questions about providing reading accommodations seem more like a game of chance than a science. 

Subjective Decisions...

April 6, 2015

I have recently encountered some severe criticism leveled at reviews and reviewers from What Works Clearinghouse (for example, this from the National Institute for Direct Instruction). I am concerned about recommending this site to teachers as a resource for program evaluations. I'm wondering...

February 17, 2015

I would like your thoughts on some instructional practices that I am seeing an increase in amongst the schools that I work with What do you have to say about decreasing or eliminating science/social studies instruction for those students who have not met proficiency in reading (as determined by a screener or other assessment tool) to allow for RTI time?

We all deal with...

January 12, 2015

With IEP "season" just beginning, says the National Center for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM), two webinars are coming in February to help educators and families know the basics and determine a student's eligibility for alternatives during instruction when books in print are barriers to learning.

Alternatives to print help to assure that students with print disabilities are...

October 20, 2014

Lots of interest, all of a sudden, in full-day kindergarten … I’ve had several questions about that scheme during the past few days. I’m not sure why, but it is well worth discussing yet again.

What I’ve been asked has varied, but it always seems to come back to, “Is full-day kindergarten better than half-day kindergarten?” I get why that is being asked, and I’m too polite to sneer...

September 12, 2013

This September marks the first-ever Attendance Awareness Month in schools and communities. Attendance Works, one sponsor of the month, is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success starting with school entry. According to their site,...

July 8, 2013

A recent study in the journal Child Development suggests a link between students living in poverty and poor planning skills that extends into several academic areas, including math and reading. Using scores from a strategic puzzle-based task that requires advance planning and tactical moves, researchers found that scores on the planning task in Grade 3 predicted children's reading and math...

August 15, 2012

Happy back to school time for all you teachers, Moms and Dads! If you're reading my blog for the first time, welcome! I blog weekly-ish about all sorts of things related to reading, writing, parenting, teaching, volunteering, and more. This is a "no teacher bashing, no parent bashing" zone created with the recognition that we all find our own path in a way that works for us. Along the way I'll...

October 27, 2010

Richard Gentry and Steve Graham reaffirm the research about the importance of spelling and handwriting instruction in a new white paper. I'll write about the spelling research in a separate post, this one will focus on handwriting.

Teaching kids to write upper and lower-...

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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