• 14 Classroom Activities That Increase Student Engagement

    14 Classroom Activities That Increase Student Engagement

    ***This content is based on a webinar presented by Reading Horizons Reading Specialist Stacy Hurst. ***

    Some might think that direct instruction involves simply getting in front of the class and teaching the required material. But direct instruction can be so much more than that!

    We, as teachers, need to be doing more to get our students to take … ...

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    Feb 24 2015
  • 3 Ways to Prevent the Effects of Testing Error in Your School

    3 Ways to Prevent the Effects of Testing Error in Your School

    ***This content is based on an interview with Reading Horizons Board Member and former Director of Graduate Literacy Programs at Bemidji State University, Dr. Brian C. Ludlow.***

    With so much riding on standardized test scores, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and make decisions based solely on those results without questioning their accuracy. Be sure to get the whole story before making any judgment calls. There are many ways to receive insight into your student’s educational needs besides assessment, including close observation of the student during class time, checking test scores against classroom grades, and simply having an honest conversation with parents. These decisions should not be taken lightly as they can affect a student’s self-esteem and future accomplishments.

    Here are some real-life insights from Reading Horizons Board Member Dr. Brian C. Ludlow that will help you understand the effect testing error can have on our students. ...

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    Feb 17 2015
  • Using Word Sorts to Help Students Recognize Word Patterns [Classroom Activity]

    Using Word Sorts to Help Students Recognize Word Patterns [Classroom Activity]

    By Sandy Hoffman

    In the book Words Their Way, authors Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton and Johnston explain that humans have a natural interest in finding order, comparing and contrasting, and paying attention to what remains the same despite minor variations. Teachers see this inclination in their students, who are trying to master reading and spelling the English language.

    At so many of my trainings, teachers ask me how they can get their students to identify how one skill or concept is different from another. ("How can I get my students to understand why ‘fir’ has the ‘er’ sound but the ‘ir’ in 'fire’ doesn’t?" "How can I get my students to see the difference between words that follow Phonetic Skill 1 and words that follow Phonetic Skill 3 or 4?")

    My answer is usually the same. ...

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    Feb 10 2015
  • 10 Reading Passages in Honor of Black History Month

    10 Reading Passages in Honor of Black History Month

    Black History Month is not only a time to learn about influential figures in the war against racism, segregation, and voting inequality; but also a time to celebrate those who have inspired us throughout history and who will continue to inspire us in the present day.

    In honor of Black History Month, we at Reading Horizons have compiled the following passages from the Reading Horizons Reading Library to make your classroom planning for February as easy as possible. Grade and Lexile® levels have been identified for each passage. ...

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    Feb 03 2015
  • 10 Habits that Keep Teachers In Charge of Their Classrooms [Classroom Management]

    10 Habits that Keep Teachers In Charge of Their Classrooms [Classroom Management]

    It’s amazing how much you're expected to juggle as a teacher. Despite your best efforts, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of tasks you have to accomplish for your students. To help you manage the load, we asked over 200 teachers in our Back to School Survey what they do to keep their classrooms running smoothly. Here are the consistent habits that were repeatedly mentioned in the survey: ...

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    Jan 27 2015
  • 4 Ways to Boost Student Motivation

    4 Ways to Boost Student Motivation

    ***This content is based on a webinar presented by Reading Horizons Reading Specialist Stacy Hurst. ***

    Our students are naturally bright and inquisitive. They have a love for learning. But somewhere along the way they can lose that spark and begin to just go through the motions in academics. They no longer seem to have fun in school. They begin to care more about the grades than the subject matter and can lose the motivation to learn.

    Although some (or most) of their motivation may have disappeared, Stacy Hurst has a few suggestions to nurture, regain, and even instill additional motivation in our students.

    Here are four tips that you can implement to help increase student motivation in your classroom: ...

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    Jan 20 2015
  • Scaffolding Reading Instruction Using Fountas and Pinnell, Reading Horizons, and Other Techniques

    Scaffolding Reading Instruction Using Fountas and Pinnell, Reading Horizons, and Other Techniques

    By: Patty Wilson

    What do English Language Learners (ELLs), dyslexics, and struggling readers all have in common? They are among the 30% of all students who require direct, explicit instruction to become proficient readers. And many of these students need additional scaffolding each step of the way.

    Let me share the story of an ELL student who also has an Individualized Education Plan.

    Knowing that I had used best practices and monitored data to determine instruction caused me to take a closer look at Lora’s lack of progress. Usually ELLs thrive and rapidly advance with daily English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to supplement their classroom lessons. However, it was mid-December of last year and Lora was failing first grade with all of the standard ESL interventions in place. ...

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    Jan 13 2015
  • 10 Qualities of Effective Teachers [INFOGRAPHIC]

    10 Qualities of Effective Teachers [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Think back to the very beginning of your teaching career. You were full of excitement (and energy) as the new school year approached. Instead of learning behind a desk, you finally would have the opportunity to teach in front of the classroom. The days to follow were filled with anticipation, smiles, and laughter. Then eventually, once the newness began to wear off; the hard times inevitably came along too. What kept you going was that one teacher that showed you what you were capable of. Whether it be through a helping hand or a quiet example, you knew that if she could do it then you could do it too.

    In a recent survey, we asked our network of teachers to think about a teacher they admire and list the qualities they believed made those teachers effective. The following qualities were shared again and again: ...

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    Jan 06 2015
  • 14 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2014: A Resource for Becoming a More Effective Teacher

    14 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2014: A Resource for Becoming a More Effective Teacher

    Deciding on your New Year’s resolution can be an overwhelming task. As you look back on 2014 you may find many areas you’d like to improve on for the coming year. And while setting resolutions to organize, read, and exercise are all well and good; one of the best resolutions you can make this year is to become a more effective educator. To help you in this endeavor, we have compiled some of our best and most popular blog posts of 2014. We hope that you find this resource useful, educational, and inspiring.

    So without further ado, here are the fourteen most popular blog posts of 2014: ...

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    Dec 30 2014
  • Build Class Unity with “Gum Drop Engineering” [Classroom Activity]

    Build Class Unity with “Gum Drop Engineering” [Classroom Activity]

    By: Linda Sahagan

    I’ve had the unique opportunity this year and last year to teach a combined class of advanced learners. I refer to them by that title for lack of a better way to describe them. I started with these students last year when they were second and third graders. I was asked to teach them again this year as 3rd and 4th graders. Parents were given the option to keep their children in my class for a second year or move them to a new class. The majority of them chose to stay, so I’ve had most of the same students for a year and a half. 

    There were several factors that came into play when these students were chosen for my class. First, they were all given an end of year math assessment. Next, they were benchmarked in reading. Finally, their behavior, attendance, and ability to work independently was taken into consideration. The outcome was a class full of students who are avid readers that read well above their grade level. They are also mathematically minded kids, who excel in math, and catch on quickly when introduced to new concepts. They are well behaved, responsible, conscientious, competitive, self-motivated, and often perfectionistic. Precocious is the word I would use to sum up the average student in my class. Sounds like a dream class right? Don’t get me wrong it’s a fabulous class but it comes with its own unique challenges. 

    My students were used to being at the top of everything in their previous classes. They were used to being the ones who would finish first. They would be recognized often for their academic accomplishments and good behavior. Much of their identity and self-worth was dependent on their academic performance. Now they are in a classroom full of high achievers and there isn’t much that sets them apart. They now have more competition because everyone can read well and everyone is good at math. ...

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    Dec 23 2014

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