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In the early days of research as a co-author of Voyager Sopris Learning’s TransMath, I spent a lot of time observing struggling math students in the classroom. I soon discovered these students had much more than a deficit in math content knowledge. They also had lost all confidence in their ability to learn math.
Most students who struggle to read do so for reasons that have nothing to do with intellect or capability. With the right instruction, some patience, and a caring teacher, every student can be more, achieve more, and prove they are more than the limitations that categorize them.
A foundational ability of humans is the willingness to try things to see how they work out. This might be the most important talent we have developed.
That ultra-basic approach—fed children learn better than hungry ones—has a counterpart in the realm of individualized strategies for dealing with struggling students.
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.
A colleague and I have been looking at progress and outcome measures for a number of students using different interventions. After much plotting and discussion, we came to a remarkably insightful conclusion that I would like to share with you.
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