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What kind of learning can happen on the first day of school? Naturally, students will learn who you are, the rules of your classroom, and where to put their materials. Our hope is that they will do some effective work toward their literacy goals too. Is it realistic to expect this on day one? With One Minute Reader Live, it certainly is!

Ready or not, school is starting soon. For many teachers, that means you’re just getting used to waking up later, feeling rested, and hopefully enjoying some travel. But in the back of your mind you’re also thinking about your classroom, your students, and your lesson plans.

Last month, we asked you to share feedback about what makes parent-teacher conferences successful. Thank you to all the teachers and parents who responded! Here is a compilation of the advice we received--the list includes everything from how to provide parents flexibility in scheduling to why it's important to have a variety of jelly bean flavors. Whether your spring conferences have passed or not, please read and enjoy this great advice!

When I first started teaching, I knew that independent reading was important. I knew I wanted to give my students the opportunity to read something on their own that they loved, but I didn’t realize the need to be specific and intentional in this practice. Because of this, I would provide time for “free reading” or “DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Time” on a regular basis. However, it didn’t always go as planned. From time to time, I would have students flipping through pages of the book (not reading). Some students played in their desks during this time. I even had a student or two fall asleep. As a new teacher, I knew I needed to provide opportunity for more focused reading, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. I was frustrated with myself and my students.

We have just about made it through the first semester of the school year, and we want to make certain that we are teaching our students vocabulary skills to the highest level possible. Among the very common questions we contemplate throughout the school year, there are always those questions of how we can reach our students and increase their level of mastery. How can we have our students dig deeper and increase their level of mastery?

If your students have been properly trained in the Read Naturally program, and if you’ve checked their initial placement (Encore or Read Naturally Live), you’re now entering the sweet spot of a Read Naturally intervention. This is when your students’ progress and confidence will really start to soar. You now have the important task of monitoring their performance to accelerate learning.

It is a remarkable thing to witness students improving in their reading fluency. Sometimes you can hear the difference from one day to the next. Students can hear the difference in their own voices too. More importantly, they can feel it—and it’s this feeling of confidence that motivates them to work even harder. The purpose of a Read Naturally intervention is for students to make as much fluency growth as possible from day to day, week to week, month to month. As an educator, how can you support and maximize this growth?

Read Naturally founder Candyce Ihnot likes to tell the story of a little boy who went from struggling to fluent using the Read Naturally program. When Candyce asked the boy how he got to be such a good reader, he said with a smirk, “It was nothing you did.” Rather than be offended by his brutal honesty, Candyce was delighted. The boy was taking due credit for his own accomplishment. He had come to understand that he’d possessed the tools for success all along. Having found the confidence and fortitude to master a huge challenge, he could now draw on those qualities again and again—without his teacher’s help.

If you work with beginning or developing readers, chances are you’ve encountered a student who has difficulty identifying certain lowercase letters. While uppercase letters are more easily distinguished, lowercase letters like b, d, p, and q—which look very similar—tend to cause confusion.

There are certain kids who want to do everything fast. Do you know any? Their inclination to race through the world seems built into their DNA, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. These kids are often eager to raise their hands, respond to problems, and try new things (not to mention excel in sports like Track & Field). But, as you know, these kids often need to be taught to slow down in their schoolwork. Putting forth their best effort is more important than being the first to finish.

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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