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“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?

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.

“I’m not smart enough.” “I’m not good at this.” Has a student ever said these things to you? How do you respond? Pinched for time, it may be tempting to flippantly disagree (“Sure you are!”) or brush the comments off. But taking the time to help the student change his mindset may be one of the most effective interventions you can make.

To achieve fluency, a student must read with appropriate rate, expression, and accuracy. All three components are required for fluency, but are they equally important? Jan Hasbrouck, Ph.D., is a reading researcher and Read Naturally supporter who has devoted her career to studying fluency. In this guest post, she discusses accuracy as the foundational component of fluency.

Picture yourself participating in a parent-teacher conference for one of your students. If you are a literacy specialist, a Title 1 teacher, or a special education teacher, it is always a bit awkward when the regular classroom teacher or the parent turns to you and says, “I don’t really know what Jamie does when he leaves class for reading intervention!” Even though regular classroom teachers and parents are usually involved in planning a student’s intervention, and they receive several formal reports about a student’s progress during the year, they may not necessarily be aware of what the student is doing day-to-day.

Last week, I helped assemble gingerbread houses for my son’s Kindergarten class to decorate. I sat down at a table covered in empty milk cartons, graham crackers broken into various shapes, and buckets of icing. The other parent volunteers and I exchanged timid looks until the teacher met with us and showed us a fully assembled prototype. It was then that we understood what our process should be. When we saw the finished product—the goal—we could relax and get to work.

Students taking high-stakes tests must have the capacity to read for extended periods of time. Whether they’re reading a series of questions, or reading to comprehend a lengthy passage, endurance is crucial to their success. How can we help build reading stamina?

You’re browsing the shelves of your favorite bookstore. Book spines of various sizes and colors flank a book whose cover is facing outward, looking you squarely in the eye. Not surprisingly, this is the book that interests you. Someone has clearly decided it’s special. Which...

This time of year can find many students lacking in motivation. Thankfully, there are many simple ways to spice up your Read Live or Encore program to keep your students engaged.

One easy way to give students a motivation boost is to have them track the number of stories they complete each week. As they try to match or beat their score from the previous week, students are incentivized to put forth their best effort each day.

Have you read all the books on your classroom bookshelf? If so, we’re impressed! Many busy teachers don’t have time to vet every single book available for independent reading time. Instead, you may rely on recommendations from other teachers, online reviews, or your knowledge of certain authors and publishers. Some of your most valuable book reviews, however, could come from your students themselves.

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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