LANGUAGE! Live offers more for struggling readers than any other product. Proven foundational and advanced reading intervention. Peer-to-peer instruction. Literacy brain science. A captivating modern, digital platform for grades 5–12. All
in one affordable solution. More is possible
Literacy solutions guided by the Science of Reading pedagogy, the Structured Literacy approach, and explicit teaching of sound-letter relationships for effective reading instruction.
Grades K-5 blended literacy intervention
Grades K-5 online reading practice
Grades 4-12 print literacy program
Grades K-12 writing program
Grades 4-12 literacy intervention
TransMath® Third Edition is a comprehensive math intervention curriculum that targets middle and high school students who lack the foundational skills necessary for entry into algebra and/or who are two or more years below grade level in
A targeted math intervention program for struggling students in grades 2–8 that provides additional opportunities to master critical math concepts and skills.
Empowers students in grades K–8 to master math content at their own pace in a motivating online environment.
NUMBERS is an interactive, hands-on mathematics professional development offering for elementary and middle school math teachers.
Best Behavior Features Elements to Create a Happy, Healthy School Environment
LETRS professional learning is now offered exclusively by Lexia.
Reliable, Research-Based Assessment Solutions to Support Literacy and Math
Assess essential pre-literacy and oral language skills needed for kindergarten.
Enhance early reading success and identify students experiencing difficulty acquiring foundational literacy skills.
A universal screening and progress monitoring assessment that measures the acquisition of content-area literacy skills for 7th and 8th grade students.
A companion tool for use with Acadience Reading K–6 to determine instructional level and progress monitoring.
Assess critical reading skills for students in grades K–6 and older students with very low skills.
Predict early mathematics success and identify students experiencing difficulty acquiring foundational math skills.
Give educators a fast and accurate way to enter results online and receive a variety of reports that facilitate instructional decision making.
A brief assessment that can be used with Acadience Reading K–6 to screen students for reading difficulties such as dyslexia.
A new, online touch-enabled test administration and data system that allows educators to assess students and immediately see results, providing robust reporting at the student, class, school, and district levels.
Look to ClearSight to measure student mastery of state standards with items previously used on state high-stakes assessments. ClearSight Interim and Checkpoint Assessments include multiple forms of tests for grades K–high school.
Unparalleled support for our educator partners
We work with schools and districts to customize an implementation and ongoing support plan.
Grades 5-12 blended literacy intervention
Focused on engaging students with age-appropriate instruction and content that supports and enhances instruction.
Reading intervention for grades K–5.
At Voyager Sopris Learning®, our mission is to work with educators to help them meet and surpass their goals for student achievement.
Step Up to Writing®
by Jenny Hamilton on Sep 20, 2018
By Jenny Hamilton
LEARN MORE ABOUT
STEP UP TO WRITING
Another school year has begun and teachers are wrestling with schedules, expectations, and student learning. How do we get students to understand and retain the concepts we are teaching? According to Dr. Steve Graham and other researchers, having students write about what they’re learning is an effective way to clarify understanding and strengthen retention. How can you incorporate research-based writing strategies into your current instruction? In Writing Next (2007) and Writing to Read (2010), Graham’s findings identify summary writing as one of several strategies that strengthen writing as well as reading comprehension.
Effective Instructional Strategies
Before exploring ways to enhance our students’ abilities to summarize their learning, I’d like to examine a few basic tenets of effective teaching that could have a huge influence on our effectiveness as teachers of writing.
In their book Visible Learning for Literacy (2016), Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey work with John Hattie to identify the most effective instructional strategies for teaching literacy. Teacher feedback and teacher clarity, each with an effect size of 0.75, and distributive practice, with an effect size of 0.71, are three powerful strategies that significantly move the needle for student learning, especially in the realm of literacy acquisition.
Now, consider how typical writing instruction aligns with these practices. How do you provide feedback during a writing activity and use it to gauge the clarity of your instruction? Feedback and clarity thrive on mistakes. Do you routinely thank your students for making a mistake? Mistakes illuminate student perceptions, levels of understanding, and guide the needed redirection. While distributive practice may be a part of your instruction in some subject areas, how often do you incorporate it into your instruction to develop mastery of writing skills? When we have lesson time set aside for writing, so often students start with pre-writing and are expected to produce a rough draft by the lesson’s end. Think about how this current practice leaves no room for the three strategies outlined above. If the first opportunity for feedback comes when students submit their rough drafts, we have missed chances to correct and strengthen the underlying skills required to write a well-planned draft.
Instruction embracing these strategies would tackle one element of the writing process at a time and provide time for practice. By practicing one element at a time, we’ve created opportunities for timely feedback which in turn would allow us to clarify instruction based on student responses. Also, slivers of daily practice will not sabotage our schedule since this can easily become part of the daily lesson plan.
With this mindset, consider how you might make time for teaching summary writing. Beginning with summary sentences provides an opportunity to summarize daily learning without requiring an inordinate amount of time. Student sentences can be easily shared, creating chances for feedback and clarifying instruction. Teaching a pattern and then providing time to practice, allows students to master the skill. One approach for writing summary sentences is called an IVF statement:
Students need to hear your thinking, so complete the three segments with your students watching and listening. Having them hear your reasoning is incredibly powerful. Give your students the chance to practice orally before expecting them to generate a written summary sentence. Consider allowing them to write their sentences on a wipe-off board and then share them aloud. Be content with the practice of summary sentences until you see evidence of mastery. As your students practice writing these sentences, their understanding of the content will continue to strengthen. If your students are expected to read independently in a book of their choosing, use IVF statements to hold them accountable and encourage reflection.
Once you see signs of mastery, add the next step: a fact outline. At this point, students begin to identify the key pieces of information within the text or lesson’s content. Model this next step again using a think-aloud approach. Show them your thinking and then start asking them to help you create a simple list of bulleted ideas. Consider how many opportunities for feedback and clarity you are creating by working repeatedly with your students during this shared practice.
In the last step, students use their IVF statement and fact outline to write a paragraph. Repeated modeling of the culminating step is crucial. Moving from model to collaboration with your class provides practice with clarifying support. Throughout the process, students are thinking deeply about the content of longer pieces of text and the important elements. Being patient for the final product, the summary paragraph, allows your students to gain powerful insights into the writing process while continuing to analyze lesson content. Breaking the writing into slivers for practice sets the stage for teaching that solicits feedback, allows clarity, and honors distributive practice. Deeper content learning and stronger reading comprehension are bonuses that come with this instruction.
The strategy outlined in this blog comes from Step Up to Writing® Fourth Edition, a comprehensive writing program by Voyager Sopris Learning®. It embraces multisensory instruction that empowers teachers to collaborate with their students across all aspects of writing. You know you ‘ve delivered effective instruction when you ask your students “What’s it all about?” and they accurately and masterfully answer you.
Jenny Hamilton, M.Ed. has been a tireless advocate for students who struggle to achieve academic success. Her training and background in behavior management enables her to share practical solutions regarding classroom management issues. She also works with teachers to raise awareness of the emotional damage that accompanies academic failure. Jenny’s depth of experience in teaching elementary, middle, and high school students lends authenticity to her delivery when she trains and coaches teachers. A deep interest in the research behind best practices and the science of learning allows her to share with teachers and administrators current and relevant data on how the brain works and what can be done to change the trajectory of struggling readers and writers. She is currently an independent consultant focusing on literacy.
Add your email here to sign up for EDVIEW 360 blogs, webinars, and podcasts. We'll send you an email when new posts and episodes are published.