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How can we help those students who have not attended preschool and/or do not possess the same school-readiness skills as their peers?

In 1991, the term “World Wide Web” had not been coined yet. People went to the library to get information, and news of companies and products spread via word-of-mouth and flyers in the mail, not websites or social media. This was the climate in which Candyce and Tom Ihnot founded Read Naturally, a small business dedicated to helping struggling readers achieve fluency.

Read Naturally programs are highly motivating and therefore highly successful. Even so, some students need an extra boost to remain engaged. If you have a student or students lacking in motivation, our curriculum experts have a few suggestions.

One of the most frequently accessed tools on our website is the Read Live User Guide. This is the go-to resource for Read Live users with questions about anything from changing a password to customizing story options. Until recently, this guide was in PDF format. We’re pleased to report that it’s now HTML format, making it even easier to access and navigate. Click here to check it out.

Teachers love Read Naturally Strategy programs, first and foremost, because they are so effective in boosting reading achievement. An added bonus is that students work independently for most of the time. However, Read Naturally Strategy programs are not completely independent. The teacher needs to be present at crucial times in order for the strategy to work.

We are kicking off another year of Star of the Month students; highlighting student success and hard work with Read Naturally programs.

Do your Read Naturally students conduct their cold timings independently? Teachers have different opinions on whether or not they should. Some teachers believe that, in order to get the most accurate data, a teacher should be present during the cold-timing step. Other teachers believe that students should do this step independently in order to practice self-correcting errors. While both points of view are valid, here is Read Naturally's views on cold timings:

I think most parents and teachers would agree that bribery isn’t always a bad thing. Nobody wants to resort to it, of course, but having an emergency pack of lifesavers to dole out to the kids when the going gets tough is sometimes, well, life saving. The problem with bribery is that it can work well in the short term, but it’s often not the best path to long-term growth.

Flip on the 2016 Summer Olympics, and you’ll quickly see that today’s athletes are the best of all time. Records are being shattered left and right. The best sprint times of Jesse Owens, once considered the fastest runner in the world, wouldn’t even earn him a medal today. And if you really want to be blown away, compare the Olympic women gymnasts of 1936 to the “Final Five” who captured the gold in Rio. To say there’s no comparison would be an understatement.

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.

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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