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Build mastery and automaticity in phonics and decoding with Word Warm-ups! These quick, easy-to-implement phonics exercises won’t beat the cold winter temperatures, but they will prepare your students for reading success.

Many students have difficulty decoding common phonics and syllable patterns. For these students, you won’t find a better solution than Word Warm-ups. When students receive support in mastering these patterns, reading achievement can grow by leaps and bounds.

Welcome back from winter break! After a week of record-low temperatures here in Minnesota, we’re ready to think about spring. Specifically, we’re thinking about the Setting Spring Targets article we posted on the blog last winter. This article and its companion, Make the Most of Winter Benchmark Assessment Data, contain important information for you to consider as you gear up to conduct winter assessments. These articles instruct you on how to interpret your students’ growth, how to set appropriate goals for fluency improvement, and how to keep your students on track to meet these goals. Click on the links to check out the articles, and let us know how we can assist you in making the second half of this school year as successful as possible.

How do we teach students to comprehend what they read? Educators have explored this question for decades. They've implemented strategies, developed lessons, and gained insights into what seems to work and what doesn't. Until recently, however, the question of comprehension was not explored in terms of what happens in our brains when we understand what we read. Today, thanks to advancements in neuroscience, we’re able to add this piece to the puzzle.

To engage struggling readers, we need to provide interesting content written at their level. Unfortunately, most articles in the mainstream news don’t meet these criteria. Does this mean struggling readers won’t be able to read about current events? Not anymore.

I am lucky to participate in Minnesota’s Early Childhood Family Education program with my two children. At the beginning of our weekly class, each parent shares a joy. The purpose of this ritual is to build a culture of gratitude, even on days when our job feels thankless. After recovering from the stomach bug, we’re thankful for health. When it’s brutally cold outside, we’re thankful for a warm place to gather. Our kids keep us up all night, but we’re thankful for their smiles.

Congratulations to Star Student Isaac E., a 7th grader from Springdale, AR! His teacher says he has overcome obstacles & worked hard to improve his reading.

What are the most effective ways to teach words and word learning? This edutopia article offers 11 strategies for teaching vocabulary effectively and in accordance with the Common Core State Standards. We were pleased to see that many of the suggestions in the article are incorporated into our popular Take Aim at Vocabulary program. Years of extensive research, carefully developed content, and thorough field-testing went into making Take Aim the highly successful tool it is. We believe Take Aim is the best product on the market for developing vocabulary in the critical middle grades, and Take Aim users agree. Here’s why:

Congratulations to Star Student Andrea C. from Latimer, IA! Andrea is a third-grade student at CAL Elementary School. Andrea’s teacher, Jennifer Waddle, had this to say about her:

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Ask your students what this famous Shakespeare line means, and many will tell you Juliet is wondering where Romeo is. As you probably know, she’s not. She’s wondering why he is. The confusion about this quote is not surprising. Wherefore in the world does wherefore mean why? It’s just one of the many puzzling nuances of the English language.

Congratulations to Star Student Derek M. from Sparta, WI! Derek is a sixth-grade student at Meadowview Intermediate School. Derek’s teacher, Becky Veenstra, had this to say about him:

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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