Teacher education

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...

May 14, 2018

Teacher question:

I was curious what your thoughts are regarding small group instruction in Elementary school during the ELA block.  I’m unaware of any definitive research on the effect size of small group instruction or the impact it has regarding student achievement in reading. There seems to be a few different schools of thought: direct whole group instruction...

March 31, 2018

In most instances, educators will be using assessment data and classroom observations to create flexible groupings in the classroom. Other times, however, teachers may want to group or pair students randomly. This type of grouping works well for many different types of lessons including community-building activities, idea sharing, small-group discussions, or the exploration of materials....

February 28, 2018

In any effective and student-centered classroom, the voices of learners should be heard often; they should be asking and answering questions, sharing ideas, and expressing their thoughts. Some students, however, struggle to engage in some or all of these behaviors. They may need models for asking appropriate questions or adding relevant comments.

This “Off the Page” selection will...

January 12, 2018

Too often, student interests are seen as a hindrance to learning, when they can actually be very helpful to both students and teachers. In this video, I discuss how to take a student’s passion — be it calendars, vacuum cleaners, superheroes, dolphins, detectives, or Ozzy Osbourne — and turn it into classroom support.

This tip is taken directly from...

January 9, 2018

Happy New Year!

I had a lot of great feedback about this post in the last few years, so I am sharing it again to kick off 2018. I hope it will help you meet your inclusion-related goals as you get back to work this week.

Those that know me well, know that I love goal setting. I love teaching it to students and I love using it as a tool in my consulting. I also love using it in...

December 12, 2017

What if I told you it was possible to make some (if not most) of your students feel more comfortable by just adopting a few EASY strategies each day, week, and month? What if I told you these strategies would not cost a thing and would also help you — as the teacher get a bit more organized? What if I told you these strategies could also help students learn new skills? Are you intrigued...

November 14, 2017

It’s November and, therefore, it’s time for a new episode of “Off the Page.” In this segment, I am sharing a goal setting tool from 30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom. Don’t skip this one if you don’t co-teach, though! This strategy is a smart one and can work well for any collaborative team big or small.

August 15, 2016

When I was 18 years old, I was a volunteer tutor in an inner-city school. I wasn’t an education major — that came later — but I was intent on saving the world. I was excited about the idea of going into the city and working with elementary school kids who were growing up in poverty.

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.”

...

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

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...

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 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...

January 4, 2016

There is no single best way to grow professionally. Here are some "finds" that educators and related services personnel can add to their professional development toolkit. 

1. Reading for All

How to Mix Oil and Water So that Nearly Everyone (including '1 in 5' with poor reading skills) Learns to Read by...

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,...

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...

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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass