• Fluency,  Learning Disabilities,  Phonics,  Precision Teaching,  Reading Instruction

    Forget Sourdough Bread – My Pandemic Project is Precision Teaching!

    Some learned to bake sourdough bread. Some took on home improvement projects. However, when it came time for me to choose a pandemic project, I decided to be a precision teacher. Unfortunately, it is not Instagram friendly, so I will simply write about it. Let me introduce myself. I am a seasoned teacher with thirteen years in the NYC public school system with licenses in French and ESL. In fact, according to the NYC ratings system devised by the infamous Charlotte Danielson, I am even considered a highly effective teacher. I have also had skin in the game long enough to watch the DOE follow many fads, particularly the fad of big data.…

  • Decoding,  Dyslexia,  Fluency,  Learning Disabilities,  Phonemic Awareness,  Phonics,  Precision Teaching,  Reading Instruction,  Science of Reading,  Teacher Training,  Uncategorized,  Whole Language

    Of Fluency and Fritters

    t’s been clear for a long time that something is very wrong with the way reading is taught, but if we genuinely want things to change, we need to take a hard look at what actually works—and building fluency beyond a doubt does so. We owe it to students to get this right: their success in high school and beyond depends on it.

  • Decoding,  Dyslexia,  Fluency,  Phonemic Awareness,  Phonics,  Reading Instruction,  Sight Words,  Three Cueing System,  Whole Language

    Tipping The Scale on Fountas & Pinnell

    Fountas and Pinnell, as well as other balanced literacy programs, places a great deal of emphasis on this guided approach to reading and group work because, fundamentally, they see reading as a social activity, rather than an individual’s ability to decode text, something that happens in the confines of the brain in the reading circuit.

  • Reading Instruction

    Boys Are Falling Behind in Reading Worldwide

    The following article was written by Valerie Erde of Veridian Prep and is cross-posted from that website. Houston, we have a problem.  Our boys and young men are falling behind generally in educational attainment.  In fact, worldwide, women are enrolling in college and universities at much higher rates, are achieving higher grades in college, and completing degrees at higher rates than their male peers.  One explanation for this disparity is that between the ages of 15-24, boys especially lag their female peers in reading and writing skills – skills necessary for strong performance in high school courses, on standardized tests, and in more rigorous college-level work. If you’re thinking “oh,…

  • Fluency,  Reading Instruction

    Put a Finger on It! How Finger-Tracking Can Help Improve Children’s Reading

    As adults, we tend to take a lot of things about reading for granted.      For example, it’s obvious to us when book cover belongs in the front vs. the back. And everyone knows that English text is read from top to bottom and from left to right.  What we forget, however, is that children don’t come into the world automatically knowing these things; they have to be taught, either indirectly (from observing adults and older children read) or directly (from being taught by a caregiver or a teacher).  Even if children understand these aspects of reading well before they begin school, the actual act of turning squiggles on a page…

  • Reading Instruction,  Science of Reading,  Teacher Training,  Three Cueing System

    The Science of Reading: 5 Key Concepts

    The Science of Reading has been in the news a lot recently, and not surprisingly, many people (including a lot of teachers) find the sheer amount of information it involves overwhelming. So, the basics: the Science of Reading is not a movement or a belief system. It is a vast body of research based on hundreds of studies conducted by dozens of researchers over many decades, and involving fields in the social and hard sciences such as psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience. While researchers still have questions about the exact processes by which skilled reading develops, a sufficient number of studies have produced similar results to allow them to conclude that…

  • Reading Instruction,  Three Cueing System

    It’s Hard to Solve Problems that People Don’t Know Exist

    Note:  if you’re unfamiliar with the three-cueing system and want the full background, see this post first. If you want the short version, it’s this: basically, the three-cueing system is derived from the observation that skilled use a variety of “clues,” including spelling, syntax, and background knowledge to draw meaning from text. Over time, that idea became profoundly distorted into the notion that children should be discouraged from using all the letters in a word to determine what it literally says, and should instead look at only the first/last letters, along with other contextual clues—usually pictures—to identify it. I’m simplifying here, but that’s the gist. So moving on… A couple of weeks…