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America has been celebrating Disability Pride Month every July ever since passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. Recognizing and celebrating individuals with disabilities should be an everyday, every-month practice, but we appreciate having a calendar month dedicated to this work—especially since helping students with disabilities and learning differences is a big part of what we do here at Read Naturally.

In order to continue improving in reading comprehension, students need to continually expand their vocabularies. As much as teachers might like to explicitly teach them all the words they need to learn, this just isn’t realistic. Students need to learn strategies for figuring out new words on their own.

The other day, my son asked me why blizzards are hazardous. The most interesting part of his question was the way he said the word hazardous. He pronounced it incorrectly, with a​ long a: HAYzardous. This told me he’d never heard the word spoken aloud before. However, when I probed him on the word’s meaning, he knew it exactly. How?

Have you heard of the fourth-grade slump in reading? Research shows that many students experience a decline in their reading ability around grade four, and this decline is linked to the size of their vocabulary.

If there’s one thing all teachers seem to agree on, it’s the fact that reading aloud to students is highly beneficial. Indeed, one of our most popular blog posts to date was about the magic of reading aloud to your class. This practice boosts literacy and builds community, and it is often a joyful experience for teachers and students alike. National Read Aloud Month is coming up in March, and we encourage you to start planning now for the ways you will participate.

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.

Do you have high reading comprehension? This question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think.

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.

My four-year-old son recently found a flashcard with the word “flabbergasted” on it. I read the card to him and told him the meaning of the word. He now brings the card everywhere he goes and belly laughs whenever he shows it to someone. Last night he slept with it under his pillow.

There’s something deeply delightful about learning a new vocabulary word.

Prior to becoming Read Naturally’s Educational Consultant, Karen Hunter was a reading specialist, special education teacher, and teacher trainer for 30 years in California. Karen is always brainstorming ways to teach valuable skills to students, and she has a knack for developing creative and motivating tools. This past year, our blog featured three posts by Karen, each one including a free resource she developed. Readers couldn’t download the content quickly enough. In case you missed them, we wanted to share them again.

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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