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What Are Your Pet Peeves About Reading?

I recently read Tim Shanahan’s blog post about his reading pet peeves and it really got me thinking about my own. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 pet peeves about teaching reading. Pet Peeve #1: Telling a child they can only read books from their “assigned reading level.” Nothing kills the love of reading faster than telling someone that they can’t read a book because it’s either too easy or too hard for them. Just imagine the shame and embarrassment these restrictions might cause a student, especially if noticed by his/her peers. When students read for pleasure, they should be free to select books and topics that interest them and teachers should encourage that. Additionally, reading levels tend to be rather arbitrary and unreliable. A student who knows a lot about a topic will be able to navigate a more complex text on that topic.  As a parent, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum on this issue. When my son (with dyslexia) was in the 3rd grade, I made sure that he
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Literacy Podcasts Worth Listening To

The more I learn about literacy, the more important it is to me to listen to high quality podcasts that encourage and understand effective, evidence-based reading practices. Here is a list of my favorite podcasts. 1. Amplify The Science of Reading This is one of my go-to sources for information on the science of reading. The host is extremely knowledgeable, asks pertinent questions, and has a constant stream of expert guests. Not to miss episode: Nurturing Automatic Readers Check out this interview with Margaret Goldberg and Alanna Mednick from The Right to Read Project. They address the science of reading in an easy to understand manner. This podcast also has a recent series where they deconstruct Scarborough’s Reading Rope, with a podcast dedicated to each strand of the rope. It’s a must listen! Listen to the first episode in the series here. 2. Melissa and Lori Love Literacy This has quickly become one of my top favorite podcasts. Melissa and Lori are both fun, energetic, and enga

The Science of Reading: First Steps

The term “science of reading” has become a buzzword recently and there is often confusion over what the term means. Sometimes teachers think this refers to a specific curriculum, program, or method, but the term actually refers to a large body of research on reading. It encompasses thousands of studies on reading. Perhaps my favorite explanation of the science of reading comes from Louisa Moats who explains,  “First, the body of work referred to as “the science of reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, or a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of studies, supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages. These studies have revealed a great deal about how we learn to read, what goes wrong when students don’t learn, and what kind of instruction is most likely to work the be

Free Science of Reading Training

I am excited to share with you a professional development series based on the science of reading that I created for my master’s program. Since I strongly believe that every student deserves a teacher who understands the science behind reading, I am sharing these for free. 😊  Please know that this is only meant to be the very beginning of your science of reading journey. There is so much more to learn! You can access the information here:  https://sites.google.com/view/scienceofreadingpd/home If you are interested in the study I did for my capstone project, you are welcome to watch the presentation I created here: https://youtu.be/C0b8HF_L8V8

Healing Depression Through the Science of Reading

My son has experienced many highs and lows since I wrote the blog post  Childhood Depression and How You can Help , but at the end of his 3rd grade year he seemed to hit rock bottom. It could be because I had not been as vigorous and proactive with his depression as I had the previous year. I perhaps got a little relaxed with some of the ideas I felt so passionately about. -But he also started to really compare himself to his peers at this age, and the gaps in his learning were becoming more and more apparent to him. He’d stare dejectedly at all his school assignments…a big, red 1 at the top of each paper…and he’d anxiously tell me that everyone else in his class got 3’s.  I will never forget the day he looked me in the eyes and said, “I wish I was one of those babies that got left in a hot car.” It took my breath away. My beautiful son was sinking. Suddenly we were bombarded with suicidal thoughts, desires, and comments. “I wish I was dead!” he would scream desperately over and over.

The 7 Deadly Errors of Teaching Reading

There’s a wrong way to teach reading and, unfortunately, it’s also the most popular way.   So, if you’ve ever committed these teaching errors, don’t worry, you’re not alone.   I’ve been there, too.   I was shocked when I realized that many teacher prep courses and even professional development classes are teaching reading methods not supported by science.   If you’re reading this blog and find yourself surprised or even defensive at these “errors,” please take a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and use it as a springboard to start your journey into learning more about the science of reading.   Instead of feeling denial, guilt, or anger…I encourage you to simply learn more and do better. Deadly Error #1:   3-Cueing Strategies (aka the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies)               I know they’re cute and cuddly. I know everyone uses them. I know you’ve scoured dozens of thrift stores to finally complete your set.   But there is actually no research to support these “B

How To CoronaSchool in Kindergarten

Teachers around the world are quickly having to figure out how to deliver instruction online.  The past week has been a whirlwind of emotions for me.  Things have not been easy and, yes, tears have been shed.  I'm still trying to figure out how to handle the stress of creating daily lessons for my 27 kindergartners, while also providing and organizing the instruction of my own 4 children.  And just when I thought things couldn't get worse, we had a 5.7 earthquake on Wednesday morning, the first official day of remote learning in my district.  My house was swaying, my daughter was crying...and then I had to go in to my school, nervous and unsure where the day would go. But I'm happy to say that I have come up with a plan for online learning for my students.  I would love to share what I'm doing in case it helps any of you.  Please be kind in your critiques...things won't be even close to perfect...and my instruction won't be as comprehensive as normal. As I t