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Imagine you’re attending a class to learn to play the guitar. The students in your class display a wide range of abilities. Some are brand new to the instrument; some know a few chords; and some already play quite well. How would you learn best in this environment? Would it work well for the teacher to instruct the group as a whole for the duration of the class? Or would it make more sense to sometimes break the class into small groups, allowing the beginners to start with the basics while the more advanced students could fine-tune their playing?

Congratulations Valenee V.! Valenee's dedication to learning has earned her the Read Naturally Star of the Month award for October. Valenee is a fifth-grade student at Castle Elementary in Oakdale, MN.

An American Public Media documentary that went viral last year makes the strong argument that better phonics instruction will greatly improve our nation’s literacy statistics. According to the report, entitled, Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?: “[A] big takeaway from decades of scientific research is that, while we use our eyes to read, the starting point for reading is sound. What a child must do to become a reader is to figure out how the words she hears and knows how to say connect to the letters on the page. Writing is a code humans invented to represent speech sounds. Kids have to crack that code to become readers.” In order to crack the code, children need to learn how letters represent speech sounds. In other words, they need to understand phonics.

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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