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To look into the eyes of a young person and see that he or she is struggling is difficult for anyone—but it’s especially difficult for the child’s parents. Students who struggle with reading often feel frustrated, tired, sad, angry, embarrassed, and a whole host of other emotions. The parents of these students often feel many of these same things. Many want to help their children but don’t know where to start. “What if I don’t have a background in education?” “What if I don’t have enough hours in my day?” “I know nothing about literacy instruction—what if my efforts to help end up confusing the child even more?” “There are so many programs claiming to help struggling readers—how will I choose the best one?” These are just a few of the many questions that can overwhelm a struggling reader’s parents. To these parents, our answer is simply: Let us help.

If your students’ parents are anything like me, they’re currently trying to figure out how to avoid a summer full of that dreaded declaration: “I’m bored!” Some parents intend to sign their children up for ALL THE THINGS in order to eliminate the possibility of boredom altogether. Is this a good idea?

It’s almost winter break! Are you counting down the days? Your students probably are! Their plans may include quintessential winter break activities like building snow forts (climate permitting), sipping hot chocolate, and having plenty of good old-fashioned fun. Before you release them to their holiday mischief, it’s always a good idea to remind them to incorporate plenty of reading into their plans.

In elementary school, I remember participating in a reading incentive program with a simple premise: The more books I read, the more points I’d receive toward a reward. Because of the reward, my classmates and I were highly motivated to spend our free time reading. What’s not to love about a program like that?

There was just one problem. I could read a long, challenging chapter book slightly above my reading level in the same amount of time it took my classmate to read a dozen quick, easy books below his reading level. Who earned more points? My classmate. What did I learn? Quantity beats quality. Don’t challenge yourself.

The program had a fantastic mission, but there was an unintended consequence for me and many other students. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens often in schools. The only way to avoid it is for teachers to take the time to scrutinize the practices and programs they put to use in their classrooms. Are we doing things out of habit or because others are doing them? Or are we doing things because they truly promote learning? A good educator is one who observes and adjusts—constantly and relentlessly.

Learning to decode words is a difficult skill in its own right. ELL students have the added challenge of learning this skill in a nonnative language. It goes without saying that these students need lots of extra support. What should this support look like?

Why are video games addicting? Neuroscience answers it with complicated data on neuron pathways and dopamine. Ask a child, and his answer will be much simpler: Because they’re fun!

As a mother of three young children who are drawn to the iPad like moths to a flame, it’s a little hard for me to write a blog post about the upside of screen time. Mostly I see the iPad as a frequent source of conflict in my house. And yet, I’m well aware that there is an upside to this technology.

You've worked hard all year to accelerate your students’ progress. Thanks to your dedication, many of your students are now reading better than ever. How can you ensure this crucial progress is not lost over the summer? While you can’t personally be there to ensure your students don’t experience the “summer slide,” you can help them avoid it. It’s as simple as sending home a flyer.

If you peruse Apple’s App Store, you’ll find thousands of apps that claim to be educational. But do these apps really promote learning? Or is the word “educational” just thrown in to make them more appealing to teachers and parents?

Are you looking for high-quality, research-based reading curricula at an affordable price… or even for free? Chances are, Read Naturally offers just what you need. Our highly effective tools target all aspects of reading development. Educator favorites include:

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