• Wading Through the Paperwork of Reading Assessments to Pinpoint Student Needs

    Wading Through the Paperwork of Reading Assessments to Pinpoint Student Needs

    By Guest Writer, Ali Parrish (@MsParrishClass http://techieteacher-charactercoach.blogspot.com)

    Today is one of my favorite days of the school year. It's one of the few days when I get to assess all my students' reading abilities one-on-one. I love our personal reading meetings when, like a doctor listening to symptoms of a patient, I "diagnose" their reading level, "monitor" the strategies they are currently using and further "prescribe" what they need in order to improve their reading.

    Reading assessments take a good amount of time and produce a lot of paperwork but the results of the assessments clarify how students can make huge strides in their reading and comprehension. One hurdle that we need to overcome however is transferring the students' identified needs that the assessments produce into actual reading lessons in the classroom and reading results in their day-to-day lives.

    Reading assessments produce piles and piles of paper that teachers may have to wade through to get to what their students really need. ...

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    Jun 10 2013
  • 8 Ways You Can Use Vine to Teach Reading Comprehension

    8 Ways You Can Use Vine to Teach Reading Comprehension

    By Guest Writer, Betsie Jonas (Reading Horizons Social Media Expert)

    As a social media junkie, I have used Vine in my personal life many times, and I have thought about how it could be used in education. Does it have a place in the classroom?The answer: Yes.Twitter and Vine (Twitter’s video sharing site) can be great resources in the classroom.

    If you don’t have a Twitter account, you should get one. You can sign up and make a private account, where no one can view your updates, unless you approve them. You can set up one for your classroom that can be used for in-class activities that can be viewed only in the classroom. You can also allow parents to follow the account, and tweet reminders of homework, permission slips, report cards, etc. You can set up a Twitter account at www.twitter.com. It is easy and free.

    If you haven’t heard of Vine, I will fill you in. ...

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    May 29 2013
  • How Have Books Influenced Your Life?

    How Have Books Influenced Your Life?

    Since the end of another school year is approaching, you may be expecting an annual post about the importance of summer reading as it relates to student progress. As a proponent of reading during all seasons of the year, I heartily endorse reading during the summer months for students as well as teachers. However, I am hoping that this post will inspire you to examine the influence that reading has had in your own life as well as the potential influence that reading can have in the lives of your students over the course of a lifetime.

    Have you ever stopped to think about the influence that reading has had on your life? I mean, have you really contemplated the effect that reading has had on your personality, your day to day actions, and/or your beliefs? Consider it. To expedite your introspection, here is the dictionary definition of the word influence: ...

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    May 21 2013
  • Top 3 Challenges Facing Teachers & Educators

    Top 3 Challenges Facing Teachers & Educators

    For 29 years the insurance company MetLife has been surveying teachers across America to identify challenges involved in public school education. In the fall of 2012, one thousand K-12 public school teachers (with an average of 15 years of experience) and 500 principals participated in the survey. Data from the latest survey was published in February of this year. It may not come as a surprise that teachers are concerned about decreased budgets, meeting the needs of diverse learners, and engaging parents and the community in the education of children.

    Here are some highlights from the report: ...

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    May 14 2013
  • Are “Third Grade Reading Guarantees” the Solution to Low Reading Scores?

    Are “Third Grade Reading Guarantees” the Solution to Low Reading Scores?

    “We’ll have to get bigger desks.” “Third graders will be sporting beards.” “It’s about time teachers’ feet are held to the fire.” These are just some responses elicited by proposals to retain students who are not reading on grade level by the end of their third grade year. Third Grade Reading Guarantees have recently been legislated in as many as 13 states in an effort to improve students’ readiness to ‘read to learn’ in grades 4-12. Spurred on with the statistic that 74% of students who are poor readers in third grade continue to struggle in ninth grade (Francis, Shaywitz, Stuebing, Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1996), policy makers are leading the charge to eliminate the problem. ...

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    May 07 2013
  • 8 Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexic Students (That Benefit ALL Students)

    8 Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexic Students (That Benefit ALL Students)

    Our Dyslexia Specialist/Teacher Trainer, Shantell Berrett, has a favorite saying she always tells teachers when teaching them how to help struggling readers (including those with dyslexia): “It is far more about the process than the content.”

    The strong right brain of dyslexic students offers them many unique strengths, however, tasks that require a set process to be accomplished (and hence, a dominant left brain) are much more difficult for dyslexic students – including language tasks. Despite the obstacle that this presents, it provides valuable insights into how to improve the process that information is taught. Dyslexic students require a clear process in order to understand many concepts (especially how to read) – but, clear instruction is beneficial for every student. ...

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    Apr 12 2013
  • The Rules of the English Language: Is There a Method to the Madness?

    The Rules of the English Language: Is There a Method to the Madness?

    Happy National Poetry Month! This poem is a poem that was written by Lord Cromer of England in 1902. It highlights some of the inconsistencies that seem to exist between spoken and written words in the English language.

    English is not a static language. Historically, it has been shaped and changed over the years by numerous political, social, and multicultural influences. Sometimes the change in a word is in the way it is pronounced, like the word sword wherein the ‘w’ used to be heard. Sometimes the change in a word (or words) is in the spelling, like in the words come, son, and love which used to be spelled with the vowel ‘u’ (until the Normans replaced it with an ‘o’ when it preceded the letters m, n, and v because a series of similar-looking letters was difficult to read). Webster changed the spelling of mould to mold and also dropped the ‘u’ in words like color and labor. Shakespeare himself was purported to coin over 1,700 words (Crystal, 2006) of which over half still exist today (e.g. bandit, daunting, laughable, and swagger).

    It’s no wonder that teachers and students can become overwhelmed and confused with some English words. However, there is good reason to take heart. ...

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    Mar 29 2013
  • What Do We Know About The Common Core Assessments?

    What Do We Know About The Common Core Assessments?

    There has been a lot of speculation about the assessments that are associated with the Common Core State Standards. Here are few things we do know and some things we don’t know about the assessments and just because I can’t help it, some of my thoughts on the matter. ...

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    Mar 26 2013
  • 4 Tricks for Helping Students Correct b/d Letter Reversals

    4 Tricks for Helping Students Correct b/d Letter Reversals

    This blog post is brought to you by the lowercase letters b and d. They look so similar that you can see where confusion occurs for beginning readers and writers. Letter reversals are frequently seen in the writings of K-2nd grade students whose orthographic representation of each letter is not fully developed. Students who have not properly … ...

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    Mar 12 2013

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