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Nothing says, “Welcome back from break!” like being faced with winter benchmark assessments. The recommended testing window is December 16 – February 6, so for many of you this task is in the near future. Our blog is full of great information about winter assessments.

Read Naturally, Inc. was born out of research. In 1989, a reading teacher named Candyce Ihnot conducted a study in her classroom for her master’s thesis. Candyce applied three research-based methods (teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring) in a simple set of steps in an attempt to improve her students’ reading fluency. Her approach proved to be highly effective and became the basis for the Read Naturally Strategy.

Congratulations to December Star Student Kai-yon M., a sixth grader at Van Corlaer Elementary in Schenectady, NY! Here is what Kai-yon's teacher, Karen Morandi-Isabella had to say about Kai-yon.

Do you ever wish you could invite Bill Gates or the late Steve Jobs to your home or school to show you exactly what your computer and its programs are capable of? Sure, it’s all buried in the manuals somewhere, but nothing beats personalized instruction from an expert. The ability to ask your questions, to learn the skills that are most beneficial to you, to discover how a device or program can meet your specific needs—this experience would increase user satisfaction by leaps and bounds.

This is exactly the kind of experience we offer through our personalized training options.

Last week, I helped assemble gingerbread houses for my son’s Kindergarten class to decorate. I sat down at a table covered in empty milk cartons, graham crackers broken into various shapes, and buckets of icing. The other parent volunteers and I exchanged timid looks until the teacher met with us and showed us a fully assembled prototype. It was then that we understood what our process should be. When we saw the finished product—the goal—we could relax and get to work.

Nothing can replace the learning that happens when students interact personally with a good teacher. Not even the most sophisticated computer can compete with that. However, the use of technology in connection with face-to-face learning can have huge benefits for both teachers and students. That's one reason why blended learning—a mix of online and classroom learning—is gaining popularity in schools around the world.

Why is it fun to play games? Researchers have found that it’s the learning aspect of games that makes them fun. When we’re playing games, we’re making choices, realizing consequences, mastering skills, and working toward goals. We’re developing our understanding of systems and rules. Our brains are highly stimulated by this kind of learning, and we’re motivated to keep doing it. The best part is that our brains are working hard, yet we don’t feel drained by the effort—we’re just having fun!

Congratulations to Star Student Brianna P., a fifth-grade student at Bryant Elementary in Owosso, MI! Brianna's teacher, Dede Raffaelli, had this to say about her:

Did you know there is a downward spiral of reading failure? It starts with the foundational skills. Beginning readers who have difficulty learning to read words accurately and fluently may continue on a downward spiral, making it harder and harder to catch up.

Did you grow up playing card games like Crazy Eights, Go Fish, and Memory? Chances are your students will love games like these as much as you did. And now there’s a way to play these types of games while simultaneously improving reading skills!

Make Your Student a STAR!

Read Naturally Star of the Month​Share your student’s success story—nominate him or her for our Star of the Month award. Win a Barnes & Noble gift card for the student and a Read Naturally gift certificate for your class!

pointer Submit a Star-of-the-Month entry

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