Professional development

June 11, 2019

Recently, the PBS News Hour aired a report about the parents of children who suffer from dyslexia. Their kids weren’t being taught phonics and weren’t learning to read. When phonics instruction was provided, they did better, and so the moms were pressuring their state to ensure other kids wouldn’t face the same neglect. It was a classic story of public institutions (in this case schools) not...

May 29, 2019

Teacher question: I keep hearing that teachers don’t know the science of reading. But all the teachers that I talk to say that they teach phonics. What’s really going on?

Shanahan's response: 

I suspect that both the critics and the teachers are telling you the truth.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a national education inspectorate...

July 19, 2018

Back in the 1930s, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney always seemed to be putting on a show. They were going to be sent to a farm to work for the summer in Babes in Arms, but they wanted to go to Broadway instead — and they did!

I love that whole idea of Judy and Mickey with their teenage backs to the wall,...

April 30, 2018

Thanks to Twitter, last month I noticed that some of my teacher friends were producing and sharing a lot of great writing. They’d joined the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers and were posting interesting writing about everyday...

April 23, 2018

Thanks to Twitter, last month I noticed that some of my teacher friends were producing and sharing a lot of great writing. They’d joined the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers and were posting interesting writing about everyday...

April 2, 2018

Thanks to Twitter, last month I noticed that some of my teacher friends were producing and sharing a lot of great writing. They’d joined the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers and were posting interesting writing about everyday...

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.”

...

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...

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...

February 29, 2016

I was making a presentation about how to raise reading achievement. I was taking my audience through research on what needed to be taught and how it needed to be taught if kids were to do as well as possible. I was telling about my experiences as director of reading of the Chicago Public Schools at a time when my teachers raised reading achievement.

When I finished, a teacher approached...

January 21, 2016

Teachers, parents, and students should be seeing subtle and obvious changes in how dyslexia is identified and how educational services are delivered in schools.

Digital Choices

One simple measure to enact positive change is for educators and parents to act jointly during an Individualized Education Program meeting to bring accessible educational materials (AEM) at no cost to an...

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...

November 12, 2015

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences describes an update for the Lindamood Bell approach to reading instruction (LiPS®). Findings show some potentially positive effects and some mixed effects.

Can Be Important

I Believe in Myself

Both an adult student and a parent of a student,...

July 22, 2015

Free Webinars from well-respected sources are plentiful this summer. All found here advance the use of accessible educational materials and technology devices with learning supports. These go a long way to help students stay on grade, reach individualized education goals, and master district objectives and their state standards of learning. Accessible materials are the only way to close an...

May 5, 2015

So many special education webinars, so little time. It is hard to choose. But, podcasts can be a short, sweet, and entertaining opportunity to inform teaching and learning.

Jump On In

When Sharon Plante uses her combined expertise of technology in education and learning disabilities for her #spedchat "Learning Differently" podcast interviews, the BAM Radio Network's Special Education...

January 22, 2015

Hopefully, all educators have New Year's resolutions in place to improve professional practice. "POWER Up What Works," an activity of the federal education department, is lending a hand by publishing five proposals by Judy Zorfass related to improving teaching...

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...

June 25, 2013

By now, it's probably not a surprise that there are two different assessments that states are adopting for their Common Core state test. Many of the comparison studies have proven that the previous state assessments tested students at levels 1 and 2 of the DOK (depth of knowledge). After disaggregating...

June 10, 2013

Last weekend I broke out my beach towel for the first time this year … it felt oh so incredible! I LOVE the smell of summer! Growing up in Southern California, I truly relish the summer sun, knowing that our two months off fly by. Every year, as I am taking down bulletin boards and filing my piles of papers away, I always have one thought: "this is the summer I will organize myself ahead of...

May 28, 2013

There are many pressing issues we face in schools today — one of the biggest is student engagement. We have to change with our ever-changing society. Students in the 21st century are communicating with cell phones, iPods, G-chat, social networks, video games, Skype, webcams, flip cameras, and self-published web pages; e-mail is just a small component of our students' communication toolkit....

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"I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man not to have grown up among books." —

Abraham Lincoln