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An increasing number of schools are implementing iPad programs, which means an increasing number of teachers are looking for the best apps to improve reading proficiency. If this is you, we're pleased to inform you that Read Naturally offers two highly successful, highly affordable apps: Read Live and One Minute Reader. Which one is right for you?

Would you shop at a grocery store with a "one size fits all" theme?

“This book is too hard for you.” “This book isn’t at the right level.” Have you ever said these things to a student? Chances are, you have. As you know, a book at the wrong level can easily cause a struggling reader to feel frustrated or incompetent—which may lead to just turning the pages and looking at pictures. Thus, it’s often appropriate for a teacher to direct the student toward easier reading material. And yet, in some situations, a book that’s “too hard” is exactly the right choice. How do you know the difference?

If you were asked to list some of the words your students frequently misspell, I’m sure several words would immediately come to your mind—words that you have corrected over and over again. The first words that come to my mind are the words said and they, and I would guess those words are on your list as well!

The other day I finished reading my six-year-old son a chapter of his favorite book, and he responded with, “Good job, Mommy!” It was cute… and slightly off-putting. A few years ago I resolved to stop “good jobbing” my kids so much, but I had apparently fallen back into the habit—and now they were “good jobbing” me. While there’s nothing wrong with a genuine, “Good job!” here and there, the tendency to dump empty praise on our kids all day long can be problematic.

Earlier this year, we offered a free resource to all Signs for Sounds users. Kristin McDaniel, an educator in California, created Signs for Sounds Level 1 Word Sorts—a great activity for students to extend their learning after completing a Signs for Sounds lesson. We offered these Word Sorts, with instructions, for free on our website. Educators couldn’t download the content quickly enough—which is why we’re now offering even more! We’re happy to report that Signs for Sounds Level 2 Word Sorts are now available to download, for free!

I was recently talking with a mother of twins who admitted that her biggest struggle was not having enough one-on-one time with each twin. I thought of classroom teachers and how they struggle with the same thing. Wouldn’t you love to spend more individual time with each of your students? Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. And yet, Read Naturally’s placement procedure requires just that. The placement assessment asks you to sit with one student at a time, sometimes for several minutes. What if you just don’t have time?

Do you have students who confuse one letter with another letter? For example, a student might incorrectly read big for the word pig or dig. A student can easily confuse lowercase letters like b, d, p, and q. This is because each of these letters has an overall form that is identical or very similar to another letter’s form when rotated, flipped, or reversed.

A good educator finds strategies and programs that work and implements them in the classroom. A great educator begins with an effective strategy or program and then develops ways to extend the learning even further. Kristin McDaniel, a first-grade teacher in San Juan Capistrano, CA, is one of the great ones. Pleased with the results she was seeing from Read Naturally’s spelling program, Signs for Sounds, Kristin asked herself how she could capitalize on her students’ momentum. Was there a way to reinforce and solidify their understanding of the word patterns and high-frequency words featured in the program?

Prior to becoming Read Naturally’s Educational Consultant, Karen Hunter was a reading specialist, special education teacher, and teacher trainer for 30 years in California. Karen is always brainstorming ways to teach valuable skills to students, and she has a knack for developing creative and motivating tools. This past year, our blog featured three posts by Karen, each one including a free resource she developed. Readers couldn’t download the content quickly enough. In case you missed them, we wanted to share them again.

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