Motivation

February 7, 2017

We’ve had a mild winter here in Virginia and the lack of snow got me thinking about a past cold and snowy adventure to the boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder in upstate New York.

The trip to the Wilder farm happened long before my mother, niece, son and I took our summertime Little Journey to the homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder...

February 3, 2017

Guest post by Stacie Brady, AIM-VA

Welcome to supporting an awareness of literacy for students who use Braille. Braille literacy is directly linked to print literacy, academic success, and future employment. It unlocks many doors both personally for enjoyment and independence as well as professionally, leading to greater satisfaction and...

December 1, 2016

Guest post by Ian Moore, AIM-VA

Have you ever tried to read a phone number that was written as a single stream of text and struggled to retain the information or even quickly comprehend it? As an example, my phone number at AIM-VA training and technical assistance is: 17039935578.

How quickly could you read that number? Would you...

October 11, 2016

Last week I answered a teacher’s question about free reading time during the school day and its relationship to reading motivation (e.g., making kids like reading). I pointed out that such reading time has a rather weak relationship with learning (various...

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?

August 30, 2016

This summer we traveled to France for a friend’s wedding and the Tour de France. It was a trip that included a long road trip with multiple stops. I thought a fun way to get the kids excited about the trip would be a map exercise: creating a visual itinerary to help the kids understand where we were going and what we’d be seeing.

It gave us an excuse to check out some books...

August 11, 2016

When you ask my daughter Addie what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll say a number of things, one of which is wanting to be an architect. When you ask her why she wants to be an architect, she’ll tell you that buildings come in all sorts of interesting shapes and designs. She may also mention that it’d be fun to build dollhouses.

I wanted to help her explore the world...

July 28, 2016

Pokémon GO, the mobile game for smartphones, is so popular that daily usage data from SimilarWeb show it beats popular services like Twitter, NetFlix, and Spotify. Now, librarians are getting in the game with book displays and more. 

Best formats 

Teachers and parents of children with Individualized...

July 5, 2016

Kate Messner writes both nonfiction and fiction for a range of young readers. She’s explored the natural world as well as various themes in novels and picture books. I caught up with Kate while on a tour for her latest book, The Seventh Wish (Bloomsbury; 1619633760).

In it, readers meet 12-year old Charlie who catches a magical fish that grants her wishes. Serious...

June 27, 2016

Last week I pointed out that from grades 2-12 it wasn’t necessary to match students to text for instruction to proceed effectively. Research has not been kind to the idea of mechanical “instructional level” criteria like 90-95% accuracy (e.g., Jorgenson, Klein, & Kumar, 1977;  Kuhn, Schwanenflugel, Morris, Morrow, et al., 2006; Morgan, Wilcox, & Eldredge, 2000; O’Connor, Swanson, &...

June 8, 2016

Bookshare's summer reading collection for young readers is chosen to entice, engage and keep readers coming back when traditional books in print cause frustration.

Read Independently

For students with free Bookshare accounts, even the youngest readers can hop on a road to reading independently using an audio format that helps them best achieve literacy. Many charming books in...

May 24, 2016

Teacher question: I have just been hired as a reading coach in a school where I have been a third-grade teacher. My principal wants me to raise reading achievement and he says that he’ll follow my lead. I think I’m a good teacher, but what does it take to raise reading achievement in a whole school (K-5) with 24 teachers?   Shanahan's response:   It...

May 4, 2016

Bravo to native Virginian Cece Bell, a Newbery Honor Book winner and 2015 Children's Choice Debut Author finalist who created and illustrated El Deafo. She has crafted the 2016 official and ready-to-download bookmark for the 97th annual Children's Book Week 2016 that runs from May 2-8.

Equally exciting, there...

May 3, 2016

Years ago I took ballroom dance. I used to write about those experiences in this space. It was a great opportunity for me as teacher, since with dance I struggled greatly (something there is about having your legs bound for the first year of life that makes graceful movement a challenge).

October 13, 2016

"Graphic novels are the books with the tattered covers crowding the “hold” shelf and the books that generate the longest wait lists," according to Kyle Redford, a fifth grade teacher in Northern California and the education editor for the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.

Books of this kind are growing in popularity and there are many options for readers of all ages,...

April 19, 2016

Last week, I wrote about the value of the information parents receive when their kids take common — or standardized — assessments.

But I know that leaves some parents wondering whether they are permitting their children to experience harm by taking those assessments. There’s certainly...

April 7, 2016

It was my mom who introduced me to Beezus and Ramona. But the introduction was a bit unusual. We’re not talking about a cozy bedtime story or even a read aloud on one of our family’s long car trips. I had Ramona live in my living room.

Mom was, at the time, English Resource Coordinator for the Piedmont Schools Project. I didn’t know what that meant other than she...

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...

March 11, 2016

Super author Jeff Kinney, best known for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Wimpy Kid movies, does not have dyslexia, nor do his children, but he champions reading audiobooks! In fact, he personally only reads audiobooks as an alternative to traditional print.

Listening to audiobooks is reading, says Kinney. This view refutes claims by some to the contrary. In...

March 2, 2016

"I don't think there's a child out there who doesn't want to learn and be the best they can be."

Those are the words of Barbara Preuss, a veteran educator with more than 30 years of experience.

That is to say, she is no bright-eyed novice about to be confronted by reality. She is confronted by plenty of reality, every day. And yet she retains her belief that even the kids who...

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss