• How Art Education Can Help Students Improve Reading Comprehension

    How Art Education Can Help Students Improve Reading Comprehension

    By Guest Writer, Clara Richman

    No, art may not solve any of the world's problems. It's not a cure for cancer. It's not a means of solving world hunger. And it's certainly not a driving force of world peace. But art, which is often taught as an extracurricular activity in schools, does something that neither of the aforementioned examples can do - … ...

    Read More

    Jun 25 2012
  • A Simple Incentive for Motivating Students to Read

    A Simple Incentive for Motivating Students to Read

    By Guest Writer, Melissa Miller

    My path to literacy was a lucky, privileged one, as I was raised by a librarian. Mom worked at a business school library and was a very active volunteer at our local public branch. She read to me, presumably starting when I was still in the womb. Though I certainly can't remember that far back, I know I was reading on my own before I was three. Our house was chock-full of printed matter…quite cluttered with it, in fact, despite Mom's purported organizational calling. The bottom line: she would never have let me not read.

    A quarter-century later, as a graduate teaching assistant in a large urban public university, I found myself emotionally distraught at the overall language abilities of my freshman composition students. ESL students from all over the globe did make up a solid 25% of my classes – but often, their work was better and their English proficiency seemed as high, or higher, than that of many of the American-born students! That part was frankly very disappointing, on a patriotic, sentimental level. ...

    Read More

    Jun 19 2012
  • Using Theme-based Projects to Motivate Reluctant ESL High School Students

    Using Theme-based Projects to Motivate Reluctant ESL High School Students

    By Guest Writer, Dr. Eugenia Krimmel

    In the inner city high school setting I found many unmotivated students who were talking about dropping out of school. Some English Language Learners come to school excited to learn while others lack motivation for various reasons. I couldn’t let these students give up! I had to figure out a way to get all of my ESL students excited about learning.

    Theme-Based Projects

    One thing I found effective was the use of theme-based projects. Theme-based projects can be an effective way to help ESL students gain reading comprehension. Paper and pencil as well as multimedia projects prove to be highly motivating for all my beginning ESL high school students.

    Results

    When I shifted from the antiquated ESL book series to theme-based project units, all my ELLs decided to stay in school. One 17 year-old, ESL 2 student even told me he comes to school just for my class.

    Here are some ways you can use this approach in your classroom: ...

    Read More

    Jun 18 2012
  • What’s the Best Way to Pace Students’ Reading Instruction?

    What’s the Best Way to Pace Students’ Reading Instruction?

    Have you ever asked someone a question or started discussing a topic and were shocked by the level of passion that comes out of the other person? You think you are asking a basic question or talking about a neutral topic but all of sudden the conversation takes a passionate twist?

    When I asked our Director of Teacher Training, Shantell Berrett, to discuss student pacing… I was surprised by the level of passion that came out around the topic. I wasn’t expecting that topic to elicit such a passionate response. In fact, I thought it was one of the boring-er questions I was asking her. It ended up being the most interesting!

    Seeing her passion and the stand she has developed as she has worked with teachers made me realize that the question hit on some controversy in the field of education. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. And nothing intrigues me like a good controversy. ...

    Read More

    Jun 14 2012
  • How Culture Affects the Way ESL Students Read English

    How Culture Affects the Way ESL Students Read English

    Guest Post by Dr. Eugenia Krimmel

    Even though the text is in English, English Language Learners (ELLs) are reading it through culturally patterned filters. Also known as discourse patterns, the way a language group organizes their expressions in longer text or conversations is strongly influenced by their culture.

    English speakers, like most Germanic language groups, subconsciously seek a beginning, middle and end of a joke, paragraph, story, or informational text. We English speakers view the world in a linear, concise, direct manner; therefore, our discourse pattern is a line of three elements. We do not respond well to redundancies, incomplete thoughts or going off on tangents within the text or conversation.

    In contrast, ...

    Read More

    Jun 01 2012
  • The Importance of Assessing Students Reading Ability Individually

    The Importance of Assessing Students Reading Ability Individually

    Guest Post by Jamie Menard, MA in Reading

    Over the years, most elementary schools have made it a priority to assess students' reading skills and, if students are below grade level expectations, to administer more detailed assessments that helps them figure out exactly what's going on, so that they can provide those students with appropriate interventions.

    A vast majority of elementary schools have administered computer-based screening tools to their students. Many even have a team of Reading Specialists that assess students in beginning, middle and end of the year benchmarks. Some elementary teachers are thankful that assistants and volunteers offer to administer both formal and informal assessments. This assistance results in teachers breathing a sigh of relief because it seems as though part of their heavy work load has become lighter. However, there is a possibility that teachers are in turn doing themselves a disservice and in turn struggle to understand why their students are indeed below grade level. ...

    Read More

    May 29 2012
  • What is the Best Approach for Teachers to Help Struggling Readers Over the Summer?

    What is the Best Approach for Teachers to Help Struggling Readers Over the Summer?

    This is my first year as a full time employee for Reading Horizons. In truth, I love my new job but I do have a confession to make. I miss the energy-charged feeling that accompanies the end of the school year as teachers and students anticipate the change of pace that summer vacation provides. However, I also clearly remember the elevated concern that most teachers feel about the effect that the summer months will have on the progress of students they have worked so hard with throughout the school year.

    Research validates their concerns showing that struggling readers in particular lose ground during the summer months compared to their non-struggling peers. This widening gap not only diminishes the instructional time invested by the previous years’ teacher, it adds to the instructional load of next years’ teacher. Many schools have implemented summer reading programs in the hope of narrowing the gap. Teachers at my previous school (Go Miners!) volunteered three hours weekly so students could have access to books on their level throughout the summer. We even included a story time so preschool students would be likely to check out books as well preparing them for literate futures. Overall, we didn’t see the effects we would have liked to see with the summer reading program. Now I know why. ...

    Read More

    May 21 2012
  • How Can You Include Phonics Instruction in High School Classrooms?

    How Can You Include Phonics Instruction in High School Classrooms?

    As much as you wish every student had a solid understanding of phonology and were able to transfer this understanding to written texts by the time they reach high school – this is not always the case. In fact, as was pointed out in a recent webinar hosted by Reading Horizons, often graduate students struggle with what are supposed to be basic and beginning level reading skills. Here is an enlightening comment from the webinar:

    “You folks are so on target with this.  I cannot tell you how many of my graduate students don't make these connections and apply the skills of encoding and decoding to real texts!”

    High school students (and apparently graduate students) still need phonics instruction in later grades, but there’s a problem: you aren't given any time for it. High school aged students are expected to already know these skills and you are expected to be focusing on vocabulary and comprehension instruction – not phonics instruction! What to do...   ...

    Read More

    May 17 2012

Email Subscribe

Featured Posts

Blog Authors

back to top