I regularly read the Barnes & Noble book blog, often as one of many sources of book recommendations to add to my Good Reads reading lists. Last month, this blog had a post entitled, “Shocking Poll Results That Might Make Book Nerds Everywhere Cry.” And I was shocked by some of the numbers, maybe because reading is one my very favorite activities, or maybe because I happen to be surrounded by people who love reading as much as I do.
Many of you who work with struggling readers will probably be less shocked by these numbers. For instance, of the 1,000 Americans polled, “28% of respondents admitted to not reading a book of any kind in the past year.” Not even one book! The full results of the YouGov/Huffington Post survey can be found here.
Now, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but a sense of apathy toward reading will have dire consequences for the country. A lack of literacy skills can negatively impact a life in many, many ways. In fact, the Washington Post printed an article explaining that, “U.S. adults lag most countries in literacy, math, and computer skills.” The article discusses a survey of 5,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 16 and 65.
Are you shocked by either of these polls? How do you encourage your students to find a lifelong love of reading? How can we promote literacy in a way that keeps our country competitive with other nations?
Congratulations to Star Student Isaac E. from Springdale, AR! Isaac is a seventh-grade student at J.O. Kelly Middle School. Isaac’s teacher, Nicole Breaux, had this to say about him:
In my opinion, Isaac should be chosen as a Read Naturally Star of the Month for his dedication to improving his reading skills, his ability to overcome learning obstacles, and for his new-found passion for reading. Isaac has been in my reading class for two years now. He is constantly reading and has worked hard to improve his reading ability. He has overcome obstacles to develop his reading skills. Isaac offers assistance to classmates without being asked. He is truly developing life-long reading skills and a love of reading.
The Read Naturally Star of the Month program is designed to celebrate students who work hard to improve their reading skills. Each month, we select one student to feature in our newsletter. The selected student will win a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card, and the school or teacher who nominated the student will receive a $200 gift certificate for Read Naturally materials.
If you entered the drawing and your student did not win this month, he or she will remain in the selection pool for future months!
To nominate your deserving student, visit the entry form.
Photo courtesy of: FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stockimages.
What are the most effective ways to teach words and word learning? This edutopia article offers 11 strategies for teaching vocabulary effectively and in accordance with the Common Core State Standards. We were pleased to see that many of the suggestions in the article are incorporated into our popular Take Aim at Vocabulary program. Years of extensive research, carefully developed content, and thorough field-testing went into making Take Aim the highly successful tool it is. We believe Take Aim is the best product on the market for developing vocabulary in the critical middle grades, and Take Aim users agree. Here’s why:
- Take Aim presents word-learning strategies, such as using context clues, analyzing word parts, and connecting words to personal experience, in a focused lesson design. These concepts are taught in engaging ways and are continually reinforced, allowing students to internalize the skills and strategies necessary for independently learning unknown words.
- Each level of Take Aim teaches hundreds of carefully researched target words. These high-quality words are academic words as well as words students will encounter with frequency as texts increase in difficulty.
- Each target word is explicitly taught in the context of a high-interest, nonfiction story. Students are eager to learn the words as they engage with the content. To provide reinforcement and additional context, target words also appear in stories in which they’re not explicitly taught.
- Research-based activities provide repeated exposure to target words and develop students’ ability to independently determine word meanings.
- Take Aim develops word consciousness: the awareness of and interest in words and their meanings. Developing word consciousness helps students gain greater awareness of vocabulary and language (so they begin to “own” the words) and increases their motivation, interest, and enjoyment of reading.
- Take Aim is easily adapted for use with different populations: students meeting grade-level standards, students struggling with reading comprehension, and students who are below benchmark in vocabulary.
- Take Aim is available for use with individual students (students work mostly independently) as well as in a group format in which the teacher offers instruction to a small group of students before they complete tasks independently.
- Words and strategies taught in Take Aim align with the Common Core State Standards’ recommendations for teaching vocabulary.
- And much more!
A robust vocabulary and strong vocabulary-building skills are critical to reading achievement and academic success. Give your students the greatest chance to succeed by using a research-based program that’s proven to deliver remarkable results. Learn more about Take Aim here, or contact our office at 800-788-4085 to discuss your needs.
As we enter the week of Thanksgiving here in the United States, we take time to reflect on our relationship with educators. We are thankful that you continue to experience success using our programs with your students. We hope you have a joyous holiday with your loved ones.
When working with a struggling reader, it’s important to find the hook–the thing that will grab the student’s attention and encourage him/her to give a book a chance. Some students are drawn to historical fiction. Others to mystery or science fiction. How about a book that takes place in the student’s home state or town?
I found a list that includes both an annotated map and article with a famous book set in each state. For instance, the book set in Alabama is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. My home state of Minnesota has “Main Street” by Sinclair Lewis.
Have you read the famous book from your state? Do you agree with the selection? Do you think a familiar location in a book might motivate some of your students?
Each night as I read bedtime stories to my two young sons, I think about the wise words of children’s author Emilie Buchwald: “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” In my experience, these words are true indeed. And of course, the idea can be expanded. A loving lap may be the first and best, but it’s not the only place a reader is born. Children are also made readers gathered at the feet of their teachers, sitting beside their tutors, and coming together for story time at the library. Listening to a good book is a magical experience in any setting.
Thank you for reading aloud to your students. Not only is a book read aloud an important step toward building confident and capable readers, it’s also something that feels to your students like a hug or a home-cooked meal. It’s an expression of love.
If you’re looking for some read-aloud recommendations, Top Ten Books to Read Aloud that Span the Ages describes ten timeless books with great read-aloud appeal. We also appreciate the booklists on Read Aloud America, a website devoted to promoting literacy through reading aloud. Do you have any titles to add? We’d love to hear some of your favorites.
Want to impress your students today? Have them think for a moment about the fact that you’re older than the Internet. It may be difficult for them to imagine how you researched topics, mapped directions, or did much of anything without the help of the Internet! To take this a step further, challenge them to think about life before computers, life before the printing press, life before paper.
The history of publishing is a fascinating timeline, which takes us from the cave paintings of 40,000 BC to the ebooks of today. We think this information will enhance your students’ interest in reading as they learn about ancient libraries, the first book ever printed on a press (the Bible), the first smartphone (named Simon), the beginning of Google, and everything in between. Maybe they’ll even use the timeline to make predictions about what might happen next.
In the time Read Naturally has been in business, we’ve seen this field evolve tremendously. Where it will go from here is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt your students will be a part of it. As their wheels of innovation spin around the future, they’ll also cultivate an appreciation for the past: the books in their hands and the thousands of years that went into making them.