There are a number of current informal reading inventories - each has its strengths, limitations, and unique characteristics, which should be considered in order to best fit a teacher's needs.
All written work should be assessed using a rubric. Using a set of criteria linked to standards not only allows for uniform evaluation, but helps students understand what is important about an assignment and encourages them to reflect on their work.
Being able to speak English fluently does not guarantee that a student will be able to use language effectively in academic settings. Fluency must be combined with higher order thinking skills to create an "academic language," which allows students to effectively present their ideas in a way that others will take seriously. The author, an ELL teacher, describes her use of "protocols" (a cheat sheet of sentence starters) to build students' cognitive academic language proficiency.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities to acquire background knowledge and vocabulary, improve their reading comprehension, and increase their motivation for learning.
What can afterschool programs offer that the regular school day can't? To build literacy skills and school achievement, think outside the classroom.
Many students are used to writing narratives - stories, description, even poetry, but have little experience with analytical writing. This article is an introduction to six analytical text structures, useful across content areas. See also Analytical Writing in the Content Areas.
Because writing is thinking, the organization of students' writing reflects both the structure of their thinking and the depth of their understanding. Students should be writing in all their classes, explaining what they know and how they know it. Thus, it's essential for content-area teachers to give students meaningful analytical writing assignments. Read An Introduction to Analytical Text Structures for more information and graphic organizers to help with writing instruction. L.11-12.3 Language Functions/Style
Learn about assistive technology tools - from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders - that help students with reading.
What does research tell us about effective teaching techniques to help adolescents develop their writing skills? This article summarizes Writing Next, a 2007 study of adolescent writing instruction.
An Anticipation Guide is a strategy that is used before reading to activate students' prior knowledge and build curiosity about a new topic. Before reading a selection, students respond to several statements that challenge or support their preconceived ideas about key concepts in the text. Using this strategy stimulates students' interest in a topic and sets a purpose for reading. Anticipation guides can be revisited after reading to evaluate how well students understood the material and to correct any misconceptions.
A concept map help students visualize various connections between words or phrases and a main idea. There are several types of concept maps; some are hierarchical, while others connect information without categorizing ideas.
A concept sort is a strategy used to introduce students to the vocabulary of a new topic or book. Teachers provide students with a list of terms or concepts from reading material. Students place words into different categories based on each word's meaning. Categories can be defined by the teacher or by the students. When used before reading, concept sorts provide an opportunity for a teacher to see what his or her students already know about the given content. When used after reading, teachers can assess their students' understanding of the concepts presented.
The Double-Entry Journal strategy enables students to record their responses to text as they read. Students write down phrases or sentences from their assigned reading and then write their own reaction to that passage. The purpose of this strategy is to give students the opportunity to express their thoughts and become actively involved with the material they read.
The Frayer Model is a strategy that uses a graphic organizer for vocabulary building. This technique requires students to (1) define the target vocabulary words or concepts, and (2) apply this information by generating examples and non-examples. This information is placed on a chart that is divided into four sections to provide a visual representation for students.
The Inquiry Chart (I-Chart) is a strategy that enables students to generate meaningful questions about a topic and organize their writing. Students integrate prior knowledge or thoughts about the topic with additional information found in several sources. The I-Chart procedure is organized into three phases: (1) Planning, (2) Interacting, and (3) Integrating/Evaluating. Each phase consists of activities designed to engage students in evaluating a topic.
It provides students with a way to recognize the relationships between words and concepts using their prior knowledge about a topic. The list-group-label strategy can be used before and after students read.
Paragraph Shrinking is an activity developed as part of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS). PALS is a classwide peer tutoring program in which teachers carefully partner a student with a classmate. The Paragraph Shrinking strategy allows each student to take turns reading, pausing, and summarizing the main points of each paragraph. Students provide each other with feedback as a way to monitor comprehension.
Possible Sentences is a pre-reading vocabulary strategy that activates students' prior knowledge about content area vocabulary and concepts.
Power Notes is a strategy that teaches students an efficient form of organizing information from assigned text. This technique provides students a systematic way to look for relationships within material they are reading. Power Notes help visually display the differences between main ideas and supportive information in outline form. Main ideas or categories are assigned a power 1 rating. Details and examples are assigned power 2s, 3s, or 4s.
Question-Answer relationship (QAR) is a strategy to be used after students have read. QAR teaches students how to decipher what types of questions they are being asked and where to find the answers to them. Four types of questions are examined in the QAR.