• Survival Tips for First Year Teachers

    Survival Tips for First Year Teachers

    By Guest Author, Tessa Hardiman

    I know how you feel. I was shaking in my boots the first day I began teaching, too. However, I’m here to tell you that it is not going to be as difficult as you think it is. Let me share two lessons that I learned with you. When I started my first job, I had the opportunity to work in the school for a full week before the students started. This was a huge blessing to me because I had the time to question and pester my fellow teachers with lingering questions I had. They gave me tons of ideas and things to think about. I was so excited and busting at the seams with activities I would do with my little darlings. I planned writing activities, read alouds, higher order thinking activities, and slide show presentations. I was set to make a quick impact on those kids. This was when I learned my first lesson. ...

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    Nov 26 2012
  • Discovering What Motivates Each Individual Student

    Discovering What Motivates Each Individual Student

    We are all motivated by different things - different activities, different interests, different approaches, etc... Motivation is formed by our personalities and is connected to our temperament. It is not shocking that we are not motivated to do activities or tasks that we struggle with and are difficult for us. For example, students with processing disorders such as dyslexia are often unmotivated to work on reading and writing tasks because it is such a struggle.

    So, how do we as educators and parents help? ...

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    Nov 20 2012
  • The Role of Vocabulary in Teaching Students to Read

    The Role of Vocabulary in Teaching Students to Read

    The Common Core State Standards have returned our attention to multiple areas of literacy and language instruction. While at the annual conference for the International Dyslexia Association I attended a symposium titled Reconciling the Common Core Standards with Reading Research. As part of the symposium Dr. Marilyn Adams reminded us of the importance that vocabulary instruction plays in learning to read, and in reading to learn.

    What part does vocabulary play in learning to read? ...

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    Nov 08 2012
  • Is "No Child Left Behind" to Blame for Low Standardized Test Scores?

    Is "No Child Left Behind" to Blame for Low Standardized Test Scores?

    By Guest Writer, Angela Morgan

    Is it any wonder to know that less than half of high school seniors are prepared to go on to college and be successful young professionals? Harsh, no? That is what the most recent test results of the standardized college entrance exams, the SAT’s and ACT’s, are showing according to reports released by the College Board.

    Declines in test scores are apparent across the board in every ethnic group, and in every income margin, although there is a significant difference in the results of students who have been raised by parents who have more than a high school diploma. What can we do to turn this downward spiral around? ...

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    Nov 06 2012
  • The Big Picture: Challenges of Literacy in High School

    The Big Picture: Challenges of Literacy in High School

    By Guest Writer, Angelita Williams

    Last year, the scores on the critical reading portion of the SAT college-entrance exams dropped to record lows. Some are pointing to a more diverse student population as the culprit while others are blaming lax reading curriculums. Regardless of the demographics – or even the public school systems – the facts are clear: America's students are falling behind in literacy.

    The Impact of ESL Students and National Scores

    According to a Huffington Post article, the record lows in reading scores have bottomed out at a time in which 27 percent of the 1.65 million students who sat for the exam had a native tongue other than English. Some are pointing to an expanding Latino population as a factor in the decrease in scores.

    Regardless of the impact ESL students may have on national reading scores, teachers across America are discussing the unique challenges that ESL students and teachers face, especially when standardized tests are issued. Even at an elementary level teachers are expressing frustrations with the amount of testing that leeches quality classroom time away from students. ...

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    Oct 29 2012
  • Four Children's Books to Read to Elementary Students' During the Holidays

    Four Children's Books to Read to Elementary Students' During the Holidays

    Guest Post by Patricia Garza

    Are you looking for some new, interesting children's books to read to your students during the holidays? Aren't we all? I'm a fan of beloved classics like "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Polar Express," but there are so many other great books out there that teachers miss out on every holiday season.

    During my years as a teacher, I'd read a list of unique book titles to my students as a means of getting them excited about the holidays, teaching them about different holiday traditions, and introducing them to the joys of reading. Over the next few months, teachers should make a consorted effort to make their class readings more engaging and diversified. It's unfair to focus on mainstream holidays like Christmas when there are a whole host of other celebrations taking place. Read further to discover four great children's books you can read to your students. ...

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    Oct 22 2012
  • The Role of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics in Reading Success

    The Role of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics in Reading Success

    Often times what seems like a complicated problem all hangs on one specific defect in the larger process. And if you fix that one specific defect – the seemingly complicated problem is solved. It’s always nice to discover the specific defect that is creating a big problem. In the case of the literacy deficit, the specific defect is a lack of teacher training and quality instruction in regards to the most basic reading skills: ...

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    Oct 19 2012
  • How Will iPads Transform the Classroom?

    How Will iPads Transform the Classroom?

    By Guest Writer, Melissa Maranto

    Technology is proving more and more to be an exciting evolution in the way students learn. It is something that many people anticipate and look forward to learning and growing with. If you put the latest iPad in front of a group of people, it is going to steal their attention and spur their fascination. Very seldom will someone with an iPad in front of them let it just sit there. In the case of education, there is no difference. It is more than likely that if you put a hardcopy textbook and an e-book in front of a student, he will gravitate toward the e-book. Although the educational material is identical in both mediums, formatting that same material on an iPad, or any other piece of recent technology, promotes learning in a way that has never been seen before. ...

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    Oct 18 2012
  • Why & How to Use Nonsense Words When Teaching Struggling Readers

    Why & How to Use Nonsense Words When Teaching Struggling Readers

    By the time most of us first encountered Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, we were fluent readers. However, I am sure that you can recall the sense of cognitive dissonance that the nonsense words in this poem created.

    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

    All mimsy were the borogoves,

    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    Essentially, you were having the same experience that many beginning readers have when they see words on a page for the first time. When we encounter nonsense words, we are forced to rely on our knowledge of the alphabetic code, rather than memorization, to read the words. Phonics instruction supplies learners with strategies for approaching unfamiliar words in text. In fact, research has shown that using nonsense words in phonics instruction can increase a student’s ability to read words with accuracy and automaticity.  Here are a few benefits of using nonsense words. ...

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    Oct 17 2012
  • 3 Key Factors that Contribute to the Literacy Deficit

    3 Key Factors that Contribute to the Literacy Deficit

    With all the talk in the news about politics and education, it's good to look at what is really going on in regards to education and literacy:

    These statistics expose serious economic consequences for individuals, state governments, and the nation.

    In order to address these issues, we must first understand what is creating this great literacy deficit. There are three key contributors: ...

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    Oct 12 2012

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