Teaching Tip: Teach for Transfer

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One of the positive, yet unexpected, outcomes of COVID-19 has been the opportunity for me to work regularly with my grandchildren (and great-nieces!) on their reading.

My granddaughter Mae, a first grader, has been moving very nicely up the text levels—but my running records showed that cracks were forming at Levels G and H. My records consistently indicated that she was not working independently to solve unknown words.  (more…)

Teaching Tip: Shared Reading

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Shared Reading: A Powerful Literacy Experience, In-Person or Remote

By Jan Richardson, Karen Cangemi, and Michèle Dufresne

Whether you are working with students remotely or in person, you need to provide a combination of instructional experiences that will help all your students build a strong processing system. Shared reading gives teachers the opportunity to explicitly model strategies and skills that will help expand readers’ competencies.

Shared reading provides an opportunity for students to hear and interact with on-grade-level text. During shared reading, you can introduce readers to a variety of genres and text features. You can model strategic actions and fluent reading as you teach vocabulary and comprehension strategies. You can engage and increase student participation in the shared reading experience by including opportunities for echo, choral, and cloze reading. The same book can be used for several days. Rereading the book provides students with opportunities to learn new skills and strategies. Through shared reading, you can build students’ confidence and motivation for reading.

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Teaching Tip: Assessing Students Remotely

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As school starts, many of you will need to assess students remotely. It is important to assess students before beginning formal guided reading lessons. You will need data to help make decisions about forming groups and targeting instruction for reading, word study, and guided writing. If you are working with beginners, you will also want to know which letters they can identify to help you plan Beginner Steps (Pre-A) lessons. Here is our Letter-Sound Assessment designed specifically for remote use.

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Teaching Tip: Preparing for the Unknown

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How can we prepare for the many scenarios our schools will face this coming year? In order to succeed, we need to have contingency plans in place that will help us be flexible. Our kids deserve this.

Here are some tools I hope will help you!

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Teaching Tip: Beginner Steps Lessons Using the Digital Reader

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Some of you have asked about how to remotely teach the Literacy Footprints Beginner Steps lessons, or what Jan Richardson, in her book The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading, calls Pre-A lessons. These lessons are designed to help students who know very few letters and may have limited book experience and/or limited English.

Adaptations will need to be made, but I do think you can use the Digital Reader for teaching Beginner Steps lessons. Here are some ideas for how to do each component of the Beginner Steps lessons remotely:

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Teaching Tip: Video Book Introductions

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Hi everyone,

Since the Literacy Footprints Digital Reader launched last week, I have been looking for a way to create engaging book introductions to accompany the digital reader in a format that displays both the teacher and the digital book on the same screen. As we all know, in a guided reading lesson, the book introduction plays a critical role in preparing students for reading the book by providing a synopsis, looking at challenging words, rehearsing unusual language structures, and reviewing interesting text features. But it’s also a great way to get students excited about reading the book—and this is why book introductions are such a powerful component of the remote lesson. (more…)

Teaching Tip: Teaching Guided Reading Remotely

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The concept of how to teach children to read remotely was not even on my radar a couple of weeks ago. As the coronavirus spread and schools began closing across the country, I began thinking about how we can best provide guided reading instruction to our students at home.

There are two very big challenges we as teachers need to overcome: giving at-home students access to high-quality reading materials and finding ways to provide literacy instruction that engages and motivates children to read and write. Here are some solutions to these challenges that will help ensure children continue to progress in their reading and writing skills in these unprecedented times.

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Teaching Tip: Independent Reading… with Books Students WANT to and CAN Read!

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There are many research studies that show a strong correlation between the amount a student reads each day and reading achievement. The good news is that teachers understand this and are making sure their students read for a significant amount of time each day. One way they’ve increased time for reading is by giving students less busywork (such as worksheets) and setting aside time for independent reading. Many teachers do this by providing each student with a book box filled with reading material to use during independent reading time. This ensures that students do not need to spend their reading time hunting for books and are ready to read right away.

During one of our recent Office Hours, Jan Richardson said there are two criteria for books to be selected for a student’s book box: first, the books should be ones they want to read, and second, the books should be ones they CAN read.

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Teaching Tip: Guided Writing: Learning about the Main Idea and Key Details

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Guided writing is a powerful part of the guided reading lesson. Evidence shows that high-quality writing instruction can improve students’ reading comprehension, reading fluency, and word-solving skills. Guided writing can help students integrate what they have been taught in word study by giving them the opportunity to utilize what they have learned. It can also improve students’ writing skills, provide them with instruction in the craft of writing, and help them dig deeper into the meaning of the text.

To illustrate this, I am sharing here a video of a Literacy Footprints guided writing lesson that Jan Richardson did with a group of students in Virginia. The day before, they had read a Level K story I had written called Quack the Brave Duck with their classroom teacher. You can read the book online here.

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Free Valentines!

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Every year, Pioneer Valley Books offers valentines as free downloads to teachers and parents. This year our eight adorable designs feature Bella and Rosie, Sally the Cow, Rusty the Robot, and more! Click here to visit the Pioneer Valley Books website and download your free valentines!