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The second year of my Read Live lab at the new school continues to go smoothly, and I am grateful to have drawn from last year’s stories to improve my process this year. Of course, just as things were starting to feel easy breezy, we hit an unexpected bump.

In my previous blog post , I explained my process for helping students answer questions #3 and #6, the vocabulary questions, correctly in Read Live. Part of my process involved motivating the students to do their best work, which I explained in detail in my previous post. In this post, I’ll delve into the details of how I set up and presented the lesson demonstrating how to answer questions #3 and #6 successfully.

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.

Though we’ve had a very good year, I have some ideas for making things even better next year. (Don’t all of us teachers begin to think of next year even before the current year ends?)

​The long Minnesota winter is finally over! The snow is gone, the air is warmer, the sun is shining (sometimes), and now that daylight savings is here, the days suddenly feel longer. As much as I love spring (and truly I do!), it causes me some dismay, because I know how its arrival can negatively impact the work ethic of some students.

​In my last post, I shared the many assessment mistakes I’ve made over the years. Blunders aside, I actually love spring assessments for one simple reason. The spring assessment gives me an opportunity to show my students the big picture and remind them that the best reward of all is taking ownership of their own progress. This is usually just a short conversation, but it’s one of the most important talks I will have with them.

​Is it really assessment season again? It feels like yesterday that I opened the lab at this new school, met my students, and screened them for reading difficulties using Benchmark Assessor Live. The winter assessment window seemed to arrive just a short time after that. And now it’s springtime already, and the April 23 to June 11 Benchmark Assessor Live assessment window is almost here. It is time to prepare to assess the students yet again.

​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.

“Everything is going so well,” I thought to myself. “This job gets easier every day!” That’s when the trouble began...

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