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​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.

This month we applaud Nathanael V. for being named our March Star of the Month. Nathanael is a fourth grade student at Kamala Elementary School in Oxnard, CA.

​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.

Does highlighting text as you’re reading it help you learn it better? Is intelligence fixed at birth? Do people have primary learning styles, such as auditory or visual? Do right-brained and left-brained people learn differently? A recent survey of over 3,000 Americans shows that the majority of people answer some of these questions incorrectly. Which questions are they? Do you know the right answers? Take this quiz to find out.

Picture a struggling reader in your mind. What age is the student? When many people think about struggling readers, they don’t picture teenagers or adults. And yet many middle-school, high-school, and adult learners struggle with reading. To help them achieve literacy, an effective intervention is crucial. Unfortunately, many reading interventions are geared toward younger students. The educators on the Read Naturally team have been aware of this problem since well before the company began in 1991. From the beginning, we have insisted that our programs feature high-interest, nonfiction content. The primary reason for this is so that a Read Naturally intervention can work for a learner of any age.

In her recent blog post All Improvement Is Not Equal!, Read Naturally founder Candyce Ihnot explores the relationship between the number of Read Naturally Live stories her students had read between Fall and Winter and their fluency improvement during that time period. Candyce discovered that the students who had read the most stories had made the greatest gains. Dr. Danielle Dupuis of the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement made the same discovery in her recent analysis of extant data from Read Naturally Live students.

It was the first day of the semester, and my Creative Writing professor asked us to introduce ourselves to the class. As part of the introduction, we were to name the book we were currently reading. I froze. I wasn’t reading a book at the time. It had been a busy month, and I hadn’t taken the time to read anything beyond a few news articles and the back of the cereal box. As my turn approached, I weighed my choices. I could either lie and name a book I had read in the past, or I could tell the truth and risk making a bad first impression. I’m a terrible liar, so I chose the latter. “I’m not actually reading a book at the moment,” I said, nervously.

​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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