• 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 … ...

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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
  • Top 5 Reasons Blended Learning is Important in Your Classroom

    Top 5 Reasons Blended Learning is Important in Your Classroom

    By: Janine Caffrey, Ph.D.

    There has been much written about blended learning in recent years. The term “blended learning” means that students learn both from traditional activities in the classroom and from technology-based programs and instruction. Creating a blended learning environment for students can become very challenging for a teacher. She must ensure she has the right devices for the students to use, enough bandwidth on the school WIFI to ensure everyone can do what they need to do, appropriate software to accomplish learning goals, and a way to ensure that students are engaging appropriately in learning.

    Given the many challenges to implementing a blended learning model, why in the world would a teacher decide to do this?  ...

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    Dec 16 2014
  • Growing Up with Dyslexia: Additional Insights for Teachers, Parents and Students

    Growing Up with Dyslexia: Additional Insights for Teachers, Parents and Students

    Hello readers! As the new marketing content manager for Reading Horizons, I’ve been writing on the blog for the past few months and I know that I am just barely introducing myself—but I want to let you in on a little secret. My name is Sarah Young and I have dyslexia. My hope in writing this post is to give teachers additional insight, parents more hope, and provide students the coping skills they need not only to become successful readers but successful in all areas of life. If you find any of this information useful or inspiring, I encourage you to share it via social media or otherwise to those who may benefit from it.

    My Experience with Dyslexia ...

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    Dec 09 2014
  • The Teachers' Guide to Winter Break: Tips for Fun, Relaxation, & Professional Development

    The Teachers' Guide to Winter Break: Tips for Fun, Relaxation, & Professional Development

    Winter break is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you’re excited to have some free time; but on the other, you feel overwhelmed by a laundry list of things to do. STOP. It’s time to relax and savor your winter break this year. Realize that you’re only human and pick a few things you’d like to accomplish over the break. Live in the moment, be brave, and try something new. Who knows, you might discover things about yourself you never knew before. ...

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    Dec 02 2014
  • 10 Tips for Aligning Your Curriculum to the Common Core State Standards [INFOGRAPHIC]

    10 Tips for Aligning Your Curriculum to the Common Core State Standards [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Change is good. But change can also be hard. It can be difficult to adjust to new demands and create new habits that support a change. Depending on your state, you may be working to change much of your curriculum to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). To help you in this endeavor, we asked over 200 teachers in our recent Back to School Survey what has helped them align their curriculum to the CCSS. Although many admitted it is an overwhelming work in progress, here are a few suggestions from our survey participants: ...

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    Nov 25 2014

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