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Last week, we discussed the importance of using the Read Naturally placement passages to place your students in Read Naturally. Yet even if you follow that procedure to a tee, some students will perform unexpectedly. Therefore, the next step in the placement process is to evaluate each student’s initial placement to ensure it was correct.

Years ago, Read Naturally cofounder Candyce Ihnot asked a little boy named Christopher about his experience shopping for new shoes. “How many pair of shoes do you usually try on?” she asked. Christopher responded by rattling off several numbers, which helped Candyce make her point. In order to find the best fit, kids often need to try on a number of different styles and sizes. Similarly, students new to the Read Naturally program need to “try on” a few levels to find the fit that’s exactly right for them. We call this process placement.

Every word has a story. The more pieces of the story you know, the more likely you are to remember the word’s meaning. For example, during this high season of political discourse, consider the word ballot. This word originated in Italy and translates to “small ball or pebble.” Italians once voted by casting a small ball or pebble into a box, which explains why, in English, a ballot is a device for casting a vote. To students learning the word ballot, the story of the ancient Italian voting system, as well as the connection to the word ball, will likely help them retain the meaning of the word better than if they were asked to simply memorize the definition. And wouldn’t it be fun to teach them these little clues and bits of trivia?

Since the original study in 1989, independent researchers across the country have conducted well-designed control group studies using the Read Naturally strategy. These studies validate the effectiveness of the Read Naturally strategy on improving students’ fluency. A recent study published in the National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal (Volume 28, Number 1) is no exception. This study, entitled “Response to Intervention: Increasing Fluency, Rate, and Accuracy for Students at Risk for Reading Failure,” conducted by Drs. Christine Tucker and Don Jones, concluded that at-risk students using a Read Naturally intervention made significantly greater gains than at-risk students receiving only general reading instruction.

You've probably heard the words “Common Core State Standards” hundreds of times already this school year—and it’s only October! Are you exhausted trying to ensure your curricula align with these standards? When it comes to Read Naturally products, you can relax—we've done the work for you.

Read Naturally has another solution for enhancing students’ vocabulary in the critical middle grades. Take Aim at Vocabulary – Group Format is a new instructional model for our original Take Aim program. This product is an ideal solution for small groups of students whose assessment scores indicate a weakness in vocabulary or who need support in learning the meanings of unknown words in text.

If you've ever completed the Read Along step of the Read Naturally strategy with a student, you've probably noticed that the narrator reads the stories slowly. Some teachers have wondered if this rate is too slow. After all, our goal is fluency. Shouldn't the stories be modeled at a rate that matches the speed of normal conversation?

Not exactly. When designing the Read Naturally program, Candyce Ihnot did extensive research into modeled reading rates for developing readers. She discovered from published studies, as well as her own experience, that slower rates resulted in improved accuracy for students.

Do you ever feel like you’re assessing all the time? You’re assessing the weather and the traffic. You’re assessing what to say and how to teach. You’re assessing all the information that comes across your desk and computer screen. You’re even assessing whether or not to continue reading this post, aren’t you?

Oh yeah, and you’re assessing your students. There are benchmark assessments, progress monitoring assessments, and Read Naturally-specific placement assessments. What’s the difference? Is anyone confused?

Imagine purchasing a fancy new camera. Its state-of-the art features promise to deliver remarkable results. So you bring the camera home, skim through the manual, and start snapping photos. The photos are great—but you know they could be better. Wouldn't it be great if a professional photographer could give you personalized instruction on all of the camera’s features? Instruction that would specifically address your questions, needs, and goals?

Not long ago, Read Naturally writers could be found crafting new stories about everything from the first cellphone to a harrowing shipwreck survival. Meanwhile, they were updating previously published Read Naturally stories to reflect the most current research. But why stop there?

A cascade of content enhancements followed. Hundreds of new vocabulary terms were defined, and comprehension questions were added to be more consistent with standardized tests. New illustrations, improved audio, Spanish translations, updated manuals, and a fresh design made the content come to life. Teachers were deeply involved every step of the way, ensuring that all content was appropriate for struggling readers and compliant with Common Core State Standards. Finally, in early 2012, Read Naturally released the best version of its flagship product to date—Read Naturally Encore.

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!

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