Ideas for Struggling Readers

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Oct 26, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As a school librarian, I often interact with frustrated parents. Whether in person, at conferences, phone calls or even when they see me at the grocery store they want recommendations for their child so they will enjoy reading or to become better readers. I gladly give them some exact titles, but there is a method behind my madness.  I am constantly reinforcing these ideas with teachers as well. Students need to READ so they can become better READERS!  I feel, it doesn’t matter so much as what they are reading, but they enjoy it.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reviews, Reading Lists, Literacy

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month Through Literacy

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Oct 6, 2016 12:04:00 PM

It's National Hispanic Heritage Month, and many educators are searching for ways to highlight the many contributions Hispanics and Latinos made and continue to make in their schools.  Whether it's learning about notable Hispanics, exploring their history in America, or learning about countries in the Caribbean, Central America, or South America, all and many more activities contribute to deepening the knowledge and appreciation of Hispanic culture and history within our schools.  All of the following titles are currently available on Big Universe, and represent a variety of content and genres:

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reviews, Literacy

Scaffolding: Why kids need it!

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Sep 28, 2016 11:34:00 AM

Reading helps increase knowledge and vocabulary! Dr. Suess said, “the more you read, the more you know you will know”. Scaffolding goes hand in hand with reading.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Reviews, Literacy

Fluency Boot Camp, Week Three: PUNCTUATION

Posted by Reine L. on Sep 19, 2016 12:05:00 PM

The key is to get students to understand that punctuation is for the reader, not the writer. Not to mention, when students begin to focus on punctuation, the reader employs a rhythmic tonal quality that is not monotonous, but captures the patterns of the language, according to Fountas and Pinnell.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Reviews, Literacy

Is Blogging in Your Technology Toolkit?

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Sep 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Helping students find and use information is vital for their future success in the workplace. By providing various learning opportunities that use technology, you will see an increase in their reading, writing, and problem solving skills. This post will focus on how blogging can benefit you as well as your students.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Writing, Technology, Literacy

Challenging your ELL Students

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Sep 1, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Do you have English Language Learners in your classroom? There has been an increase of ELL students in some parts of the country. In Kindergarten alone, some schools have seen an increase of 50%. Currently there has been a shift in thinking.  Students should be encouraged to learn English, but also continue to become educated through their primary language. These types of students are referred to as Dual Language learners. The term Dual Language Learners was adopted by US Department of Education, more information can be found in this document.  This term is used to identify the growing population of students that come to school from homes that speak a primary language other than English. Most of these students are not fully fluent in English. With CCSS, Dual Language Learners struggle to meet these higher standards. With accommodations and support throughout the school year, students can become successful life longlearners.  Studies show that if Dual Language students who receive dual language support in their formative years (PK-3rd Grade), have a higher chance of reading at a proficient level and future success. 

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Differentiation, Reviews, Literacy

Books that Take You Places

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Jul 22, 2016 10:00:00 AM

What are your travel plans this summer? Are you trying to fit one last trip before back to school? Here's an idea: learn about your mode of transportation before you go. This is just one way to get engage readers during the summer. Topics that students can relate to or that they find interesting are a great "starters" for independent research.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Integration Ideas, Reading Lists

Using History to Hook Readers

Posted by Teresa M. on Sep 11, 2015 7:32:00 PM

Learning about historical events can be a fun way to introduce and review higher level reading skills. Finding relevant and engaging resources can help you hook your students on history. Here are some examples of skills that could be taught while using history books.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Reading Lists, Literacy

Pre-Reading Engagement Strategies

Posted by Teresa M. on Aug 30, 2015 6:22:23 AM

"I hate reading!" and "I don't want to read!" Obviously these comments are not from an engaged reader. Regardless of a student's' reading level or ability, reading can be an engaging past time. The key is to prepare your readers. There are many strategies you can use.

Book/ Picture Walk- Through this activity, students become involved in the story by using picture clues. Students are encouraged to make predictions. You can encourage engagement by asking open ended questions. For example, "What do you think is happening in this picture?".

KWL Chart-This strategy is very effective when used with non-fiction text. What do they K (know) about the topic? What they W (want) to learn, and What they L (learned). By using this chart, students will discover information through their reading.

Book Talks- Getting kids "hooked" on reading is just a matter of time. You need to find the "right" book. Not all students enjoy fiction. Use a variety of books and summarize the books to encourage reading.

Student Recommendations- Utilize this feature on Big Universe and find out what other students are reading and enjoying! The "featured books" are also an excellent place to start as well as using the "similar" feature.

Featured Examples:

From the publisher, "A cricket, a rat, and a bat live happily in a dark cave. Each one has a unique way of navigating without light, but one day, an explorer enters the cave and brings light. Written in rhyme, this is a good beginner reader."
From the publisher, "Malcolm and his best friend Dandy aren't like other 10-year-old boys. Malcolm would rather avoid his older sister, experiment in his lab, and read his science magazines than play sports. In one magazine, he comes across an advertisement for an Ecto-Handheld-Automatic-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced Specter Detector. Its arrival is the beginning of the boys' new career as Ghost Detectors when they discover a practical-joking poltergeist! Calico Chapter Books is an imprint of Magic Wagon, a division of ABDO Group. Grades 2-5."


What other strategies have you used to engage your readers?

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Reviews, Literacy

Kindergarten Readiness

Posted by Teresa M. on Aug 24, 2015 11:00:16 AM

Is your kindergartener feeling tired, scared, happy, sad, or possibly overwhelmed about starting school this fall? Reading can be a great way to connect with your child and reassure them as they experience school for the first time. You can also help build their confidence while building fundamental reading skills. These titles are sure to please your kindergarten!

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Integration Ideas, Reading Lists, Literacy

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