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At this point in the school year, most of your Read Naturally students are comfortable with the Read Naturally Strategy and able to work mostly independently. You worked hard to properly train them and to place them in the program, and your hard work is paying off as they’re becoming better readers. However, your involvement at this stage in the process is just as important as it was in the beginning. Now, you must turn your attention to keeping your students challenged.

Many students are feeling a lot of momentum this time of year as they’ve become more competent in reading and are advancing through Read Naturally stories and levels more quickly. Be sure to capitalize on their motivation and help them sustain it over winter break. Here are some at-home tools that can help keep your students excited about reading.

Read Naturally founder Candyce Ihnot is blogging again! Last year, after starting a Read Live reading lab in a new school, Candyce wrote a series of blog posts about her experiences. Teachers couldn’t get enough of her helpful tips & tricks, endless wisdom, and relatable stories. Due to popular demand, she is back again this year to share even more Stories From the Lab. In this post, she describes the many benefits of inviting parents and teachers into the reading lab.

What does active engagement really look like? A student might appear focused on a task—especially a task that involves a screen—but the kind of engagement that leads to deep learning might still be lacking. At Read Naturally, we have a special interest in student engagement. We know that active engagement is crucial to progress in reading. Therefore, we have designed all elements of our curricula to foster sustained student engagement.

Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking mindset research has been all the rage in education circles for a number of years now. Her research shows that students with growth mindsets—those who welcome a challenge and believe they can improve with effort—perform better than students with fixed mindsets who tend to avoid difficult tasks and who believe certain traits, like intelligence, can’t be grown.

Teachers can help nurture the growth mindset, and many have made it a priority to do so in their classrooms. But what, exactly, does this look like? Many people understand Dweck’s research to mean we should encourage and praise effort, not outcomes. But this understanding, Dweck says in a recent interview in The Atlantic, misses the mark.

Plenty of research confirms that schools with positive climates, in which the students have strong social-emotional skills, are ideal learning environments. Teachers and parents don’t need research to believe this—it’s common sense that when people are shown kindness as opposed to hostility, they’re far more apt to succeed in school and beyond.

A large, nationally representative survey recently conducted by Scholastic found that 94% of preK through Grade 12 teachers and principals believe students should have time for independent reading. Most teachers believe that, when students are given the time to read and enjoy books of their choice, engagement increases and a greater love of reading is fostered. However, just 36% of teachers say they actually set aside this time every day. In classrooms where independent reading does occur, students read for an average of 22 minutes.

As students learn to read more fluently, many develop a passion for writing. Stories are inspiring and life-changing for students of all ages—and at some point, many of them wonder, “Could I do that, too? Could I write something that other people will enjoy?”

​Imagine you purchase a new workout machine for your home. It’s a top-of-the-line machine, with all the bells and whistles, and it works like a dream. You’re so enamored with the machine that you’re actually motivated to work out! At first. A few weeks or months later, the machine loses its luster and working out doesn’t feel quite as exciting anymore. Does this sound familiar? I hate to tell you this, but it’s not the machine’s fault!

It was the first week of February, and I was just completing the winter benchmark assessment of my Read Live students. I celebrated the student’s fluency gains, and I reminded them that their improvement was due to their own efforts. But, even while celebrating, I noticed something alarming that my students couldn’t. The amount of improvement among my students was far from equal.

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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