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Independent Practice with Decodable Word Lists

Independent Practice with Decodable Word Lists

Last week we offered seven ways to use our “Decodable Lists and Sentences” to supplement and support your phonics instruction.  Based on the positive response from readers, we decided to add one more way to use these collections. Today's idea is focused specifically...

Laying Language Track for the Word Reading Train

Laying Language Track for the Word Reading Train

In Chapter 1 of Shifting the Balance, we untangle a widespread misunderstanding about reading comprehension. It is “Misunderstanding 4” in the chapter that is about language comprehension.  Misunderstanding 4 goes like this, “Successful comprehension in beginning...

METANOIA  . . .

METANOIA . . .

We didn’t know this word a few weeks ago. But since we first became aware of it, we seem to be noticing it more and more.   Maybe it’s because we’re immersed in thinking about children’s language development these days.  Maybe it’s because we’re thinking a lot about...

Structure vs. Choice?  Urgency vs. Joy?

Structure vs. Choice? Urgency vs. Joy?

We’ve been thinking lately about the opposing tensions in our lives and the ways these tensions often leave us longing for a perfect balance.  The idea that our lives will be in perfect balance is,  of course, absurd.  Nevertheless, balance as an imprecise descriptor...

How do We Shift the Balance for 3-5 Students?

How do We Shift the Balance for 3-5 Students?

It has been almost a year since Shifting the Balance: Bringing the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom hit real and virtual bookshelves. We’ve been so moved by the robust response to this little book, to say the least.  Quite honestly, what started...

Hold the Vision. Trust the Process.

Hold the Vision. Trust the Process.

You may already know how much we LOVE the New Year with its fresh start and promise. But, even by the time calendar turns over to February, we can sometimes find ourselves fatiguing and starting to lose sight of our vision. It’s often easier for us to set big...

If You Take a Speech-to-Print Approach

If You Take a Speech-to-Print Approach

If you approach learning to read and write as a speech-to-print -rather than as a print-to-speech - process, . . .  . . . then you will want to start by making sure children have strong oral language.  And if you are going to build children’s oral language, . . . . ....

The Power of Re-Work

The Power of Re-Work

Ahh, the little prefix RE- ! Small but mighty!   We’re believers in fresh starts and REvised approaches. We’re advocates of taking stock and REevaluating. And in both our personal and professional lives, January has been a time of RE- for us. REflecting on how we have...

Are You Ready for Some Good News?  It’s Here . . .

Are You Ready for Some Good News? It’s Here . . .

It’s exciting when the little people we support start to know and recite some letter names and their associated sounds in response to seeing those little black marks on a page. But the problem is . . . ...we’ve all known children who know LOTS, if not ALL, of the...

A Little Fun with Phon- Words

A Little Fun with Phon- Words

Phonics? Phonological awareness?  Phonemic awareness?  What’s the difference, really?  And how can you keep all these phon- words straight?      Well, confusion about the phon-  words is created not only because they sound alike, but also because there is a...

Six Suggestions for Seamless Oral Language Development

Six Suggestions for Seamless Oral Language Development

What’s oral language development got to do with reading, anyway?  Well, it turns out . . . a whole lot.    As we explain in Chapter 1 of Shifting the Balance, reading comprehension doesn’t begin with reading; it begins with comprehension of spoken language.  And...

Helping Children Remodel Their Brains for Reading

Helping Children Remodel Their Brains for Reading

Kari’s husband, John,  likes to save scraps of wood and other building materials.  Sometimes he buys new stuff . . . but, boy does he get excited when he can repurpose something he already has on hand, using it in a new and useful way.  In the same way that John loves...

3 Things That Can Make Interpreting Research Tricky

3 Things That Can Make Interpreting Research Tricky

Perhaps you are thinking about that second (or third or fourth) cup of coffee you have in the morning. Maybe you are wondering if coffee is really good for you after all. So, you decide to get on the internet and do a bit of reading to find out what the research...

What is the science of reading anyway?

What is the science of reading anyway?

It’s in the news. It’s in the title of our book. It’s in the name of countless Facebook groups. It’s the topic of conversation at school board meetings and in state legislatures across this country.   So, what is “the science of reading” anyway?    First,...

Top 10 Reasons to Start a Book Study!

Top 10 Reasons to Start a Book Study!

We’re book lovers, for sure.   We’ve got stacks of books on our counters, our tables, and our nightstands. Our bookshelves are filled to overflowing, the delivery person keeps delivering new books that have fallen into our shopping carts!   We do lots of kinds of...

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