Struggling readers

August 22, 2016

Teacher question: I've been reading your blog articles very carefully, and in one entry you recommended having the kids read a lot during the literary block time (and all other subjects), suggesting possibly 50% of the time should be spent reading. My question is how much of that reading time should be teacher-led (for close reading and complex text), and how much should be...

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...

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...

June 7, 2016

For students who struggle with print, alternative formats are ready, and the AIM-VA staff is accepting orders from teachers so eligible students can read for free over the summer break.

Summer Boost

Teachers who order now can offer students with print disabilities a literacy boost at no cost to families or schools so long as education teams find individual learners eligible for...

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...

May 19, 2016

All children stand to lose ground over the summer, especially students who are disadvantaged and those with disabilities. The apps that follow are chosen by experienced, discerning evaluators. Because they have passed muster they could be a summer best bet to:

Stop an academic slide over the school break Maintain skills across the curriculum Preview content for the next school year...

May 17, 2016

Reader question: Is there any research on how to prevent the summer slide?  I ask both as the parent of a 1st grader and as a teacher. I teach in a small, rural school with many struggling readers and English language learners, and every year we have kids who work their way up to grade level by the end of the school year but are behind grade level again when school starts the...

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 1, 2016

When is inclusion done right? Sessions at education conferences where Lynn Fuchs is speaking on this topic (and others related to accessing the curriculum) are always packed.

In the video clip below, Fuchs — the Nicholas Hobbs Professor of Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University — has sage advice about effective inclusion of students with disabilities in...

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...

March 23, 2016

Creating access for learning through audiobooks may one day have full acceptance; yet changes are underway and options are improving so teachers, parents and students have choices about how students listen while learning.

Not created equally

Teachers of students who struggle to read print know that audio formats are not created equally. There is a continuum from listen-only...

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 7, 2016

The Swedish animated short, "Falling Letters (Bokstavsbarn)," (4:14 min) by Erik Rosenlund depicts a child who learns differently. In this case, some of the character's everyday actions turn out awkwardly or set them apart socially from peers.

The ending offers a heartwarming reminder of the power that parents, guardians, and teachers or helping personnel can have when simple support...

March 7, 2016

Two questions from teachers:   I have a question that was posed to me be an elementary principal. Her question was, "How many times does a student need to write a high frequency word before they feel secure with it?"  [I must admit, I have never been asked this question before, and I cannot find research that addresses this specific question.]   The teachers in my...

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...

March 3, 2016

Beverly Cleary has received countless awards. They include being named by the Library of Congress as a Living Legend; Cleary received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her lasting contributions to children’s literature; she is the recipient of a Newbery Medal and several Newbery Honors; and has been the American nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award.

But...

February 26, 2016

The Open eBooks app debuted this week creating access to digital books for children in need. Right out of the box, there are questions on social media about accessibility features. That is a good thing. Many ebooks are not accessible or accessible enough for seriously struggling readers.

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

They need "born accessible" electronic books with...

February 26, 2016

WOWIE KAZOO! Surf's Up, a joyful picture book with two froggie friends at the beach debuted officially for all on February 1. The story unfolds on colorful pages with a unique literacy message that possibly could inspire readers who struggle.

This book combines two big talents — author...

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges