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  • Don't Miss the Point: Content-Focused Reading Instruction Is Crucial

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | May 17, 2017
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    While many language skills and comprehension strategies are embedded in daily lessons, teachers know that the overall purpose of each lesson sequence is to understand content related to a theme. The reason for reading a text is clear: The text is worthwhile. It is complex and rich. The topic is inherently interesting—or if it isn’t, yet, it will be once the students know something about it. The reader will be rewarded with understanding, insight, ideas, and new information.

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  • Empowering Teachers with Velocity, a Real-Time Adaptive Learning Program

    Posted By Shannon McClintock Miller | Apr 26, 2017
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    Editor's Note: Recently, Shannon McClintock Miller, educator and author of The Library Voice blog, featured Velocity on her page and shared her excitement about the 60-day free trial.

    At ISTE last June I was introduced to Velocity® a dynamic, online literacy program for K-5 students that optimizes the way education is experienced by letting technology empower and enhance both teachers and students. I loved how Velocity transforms classrooms into 21st-century learning stations, making it perfect for 1:1 instruction and other learning environments. Velocity makes learning fun with special little characters and unique "worlds". They engage and motivate a love of reading and challenge students with new skills on grade-level and beyond. Velocity also fills in the instructional gaps of individual students. 

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  • Distracted Reading: Sometimes, It Is a Great Notion

    Posted By Michael Milone, Ph.D. | Apr 19, 2017
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    It is a truth universally acknowledged that any reader in possession of a good book must be attentive. If those words sound familiar, then you know what I am talking about. If they are new to you, then you have a very important work of literature to include on your “I'd better read this” list. Paying attention is a consummation devoutly to be wished in most circumstances, from successfully implementing a recipe in the kitchen to driving a horseless carriage, sometimes called a motorcar. By so doing, we are more likely to accomplish our goal, whatever it might be, whilst avoiding the less-than-pleasant circumstance of inconveniencing others. The need for attention is especially compelling for young learners, whose minds have not yet accumulated the sense or sensibility of their elders. Please do not mistake my urgings, for like you, I recognize the importance of attending to the task at hand, no matter what it might be.

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  • Versatile Comprehension Strategies: Using Extended Metaphor Across Disciplines

    Posted By Gretchen Wing | Apr 05, 2017
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    "Teaching poetry to kids of any age is a blast. Simile? Think of your least favorite subject and your least favorite chore and combine them with “like.” Personification? Give that chocolate-chip cookie a tone of voice as it calls you to eat it. Metaphor? If your sister were a dog, what kind would she be? During my 20 years of teaching high school English and Social Studies, however, I found the power of metaphor stretched far beyond poetry. When extended, a metaphor is more than a descriptive tool; it becomes a system for comprehending and articulating complex concepts.

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  • Staying Grounded in Reading Realities: A Better Approach for Struggling Readers

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Mar 29, 2017
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    At the end of October, I attended and spoke at the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) meeting in Dallas. IDA remains the best interdisciplinary conference for all professionals, advocates, and families concerned with reading, writing, and language difficulties. IDA meetings, over the past three decades, are where I’ve obtained my real education. This meeting was as informative as ever. We heard from neuroscientists, psychologists, directors of interdisciplinary research centers, researchers in language acquisition, experienced clinicians, education advocates, teacher educators, public school literacy leaders, and families affected by learning difficulties. Through diverse perspectives, one theme stood out for me: We will serve students and families better if we are informed by the facts. Romantic ideas, though appealing, will not serve the needs of students or teachers. Let’s examine a few beliefs that we’re better off without.

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  • The Deep-Reading Brain and the Good Life

    Posted By Maryanne Wolf, Ed.D. | Mar 15, 2017
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    What is "Deep Reading"?

    Consider a simple insight with large implications: Human beings were never born to read. Reading or written language is a cultural invention that necessitated totally new connections among structures in the human brain underlying language, perception, cognition, and, in time, our emotions. The reading brain circuit emerged, which became a vehicle like no other for ever more elaborate connections, which gave literate humans an evolving platform for the development of new thought. Reading represents one of the most important epigenetic breakthroughs in the history of the species; our very history was made possible by it.

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  • Curiouser and Curiouser: The Importance of Intellectual Curiosity

    Posted By Michael Milone, Ph.D. | Mar 08, 2017
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    The reason for this blog’s title will become clear in the next two paragraphs. It is, as you undoubtedly remember, a phrase uttered by Alice during her adventures in Wonderland. This fantastic work of Charles Dodgson—pen name Lewis Carroll—is well worth reading, if you haven't done so, or re-reading, if you have. The first two paragraphs alone are so short and elegant as to warrant memorization, and they include the thoughtful observation, “...and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation?’” When we think of the growth mindset, the two characteristics most often mentioned are intelligence and effort. What is just as relevant, but often overlooked, is intellectual curiosity. Sophie von Stumm and her colleagues have described it as “the hungry mind” and “the third pillar of academic success,” which are perfectly appropriate. You might want to take the time to read their scholarly work, or considerably less time to read a commentary on their study.

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  • Motivating Struggling Adolescent Readers: Try Relevance & Success

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Jan 25, 2017
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    Motivation, according to a recent textbook on adolescent literacy*, is “a feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes a student want to complete a task or improve his or her skills.” Teachers of adolescent poor readers, however, often find that their students are willing to do anything BUT read and write. Getting students to believe that they can make meaningful progress—when all prior experience suggests they will not—and to work at something that has never been rewarding is a major challenge.

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  • Making Sense of Close Reading in the Intermediate Grades

    Posted By Nancy Boyles, Ph.D. | Nov 30, 2016
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    When close reading gained prominence a few years ago, I was a little insulted that as a professional developer in the area of literacy, anyone could think the instructional strategies I shared with teachers did not help students to read “closely.” Then, I learned more about close reading and saw that it truly did push teachers and students to a whole new level of rigor. In time, I’ve also learned there are a few principles and practices that when applied well will make teaching the process of close reading achievable for teachers and the outcomes of close reading meaningful for students.

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  • Context and its Use in Interpreting Assessment Data

    Posted By Janet R. Macpherson, Ph.D. | Oct 26, 2016
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    Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part blog discussing context and its use in interpreting assessment data. The first part of this blog was published here on Oct. 19.

    In last week's blog, I wrote about the importance of context in situations from reading to deciphering vocabulary words to interpreting assessment data.

    Although context has many applications for helping to understand unclear situations, it also can be an important guide for educators seeking to compare and evaluate student progress.

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