All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Hot Topics in Adolescent Literacy

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RTI and ELLs: A System of Support to Ensure Success

Alan Matan is the Department Chairman for ELL and Foreign Languages at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois. In this article written for Colorín Colorado, he explains the process by which his team created and implemented an RtI model designed to meet the needs of long-term ELLs

Supporting Informational Writing in the Elementary Grades

This article presents a developmental framework of informational writing developed from a study of children's writing in K-5 classrooms. See examples of children's compositions at each developmental level, and learn how to use this continuum to support increasingly more mature forms of informational text.

What Parents Need to Know About Common Core State Standards

What do parents need to know about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? How will they affect teaching and assessing mathematics and English language arts? What are the benefits and what can parents do to prepare for the CCSS?

Learning Disabilities: Implications for Policy Regarding Research and Practice

Top 10 Resources on Writing

Browse our resources about the developmental stages of writing, effective classroom strategies, assessment, writing disabilities, supporting writing at home, and more.

10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary

Drawing on research-based principles of vocabulary instruction and multimedia learning, this article presents 10 strategies that use free digital tools and Internet resources to engage students in vocabulary learning. The strategies are designed to support the teaching of words and word learning strategies, promote students' strategic use of on-demand web-based vocabulary tools, and increase students' volume of reading and incidental word learning.

Reading Adventure Packs: The Lorax

Go on a "Lorax" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: First Grade)

Making Predictions

As a young reader, your child is learning to make predictions while reading which they can use to monitor their understanding of the story while thinking ahead to the next part. Scientists, just like readers, make predictions all the time. Help your child begin to see the connection between what she does as a reader and what she can do as a scientist. Below are two simple ways you can encourage your child to put her prediction skills to work as a scientist:

STEM Tools at Home

Many of the "tools" needed for science, math, and engineering exploration are right inside your home! Here are five ideas for putting everyday tools to work for some everyday fun:

Early Literacy Instruction in Dual Language Preschools (Spanish/English)

Dr. Karen Ford provides Spanish/English dual-language practitioners with an overview of effective literacy instruction for young children. She includes strategies for supporting early bilingual literacy development, similarities and differences between the two languages and their alphabets, and guidelines for literacy assessment in the preschool classroom.

Scaffold Mindful Silent Reading

Help students internalize and routinize their reading comprehension monitoring with this sample lesson.

Literacy Processes and Levels of Thinking

How to Teach Expository Text Structure to Facilitate Reading Comprehension

Expository text offers particular challenges to the reader because of the abstract and unfamiliar concepts that it presents. Students should be taught the hierarchical structure of the expository text and the interrelationships among ideas — what experts refer to as text structure. Reading researchers have argued that knowledge of text organization, or structure, is an important factor for text comprehension. This article reviews techniques and procedures in teaching expository text structure.

Response to Intervention in Primary Grade Reading

Learn more about the four recommended practices in Response to Intervention (RTI): universal screening; progress monitoring and differentiation; systematic skill instruction; and system-wide implementation.

Return to Bilingual Education

In this excerpt from Foundations for Multlingualism in Education: from Principles to Practice, Ester de Jong shares an overview of the history of language policy in the United States. "Return to Bilingual Education" explores the 20th-century language policies that emerged after World War II, early bilingual education programs, and the Bilingual Education Act of 1968.

Immigrant Era: Focus on Assimilation

In this excerpt from Foundations for Multlingualism in Education: from Principles to Practice, Ester de Jong shares an overview of the history of language policy in the United States. "Immigrant Era: Focus on Assimilation" discusses the debate around language and language instruction at the beginning of the 20th century, in the midst of unprecedented waves of immigration to the U.S.

Early Years: Tolerance and Repression

In this excerpt from Foundations for Multlingualism in Education: from Principles to Practice, Ester de Jong shares an overview of the history of language policy in the United States. "Early Years: Tolerance and Repression" explores the wide ranging language policies in the 18th and 19th century, from colonial acceptance and encouragement of multilingualism to later repression of the languages of Native Americans and West African slaves.

Teaching Literacy in English to K-5 English Learners

Explore the five recommended practices for teaching literacy in English to English language learners: (1) Screen and monitor progress, (2) Provide reading interventions, (3) Teach vocabulary, (4) Develop academic English, and (5) Schedule peer learning.

Preschool Language and Literacy Practices

The What Works Clearinghouse reviewed the research on two practices used in center-based settings with 3- to 5-year-old preK children, as well as a number of specific curricula. Positive results are shown for (1) Phonological awareness training and (2) Interactive and dialogic reading.

Toward a Monolingual USA? The Modern English-Only Movement

In this excerpt from Foundations for Multlingualism in Education: from Principles to Practice, Ester de Jong shares an overview of the history of language policy in the United States. "Toward a Monolingual USA? The Modern English-Only Movement" explores contemporary language policy, including No Child Left Behind and the English-Only statewide ballot initiatives in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts. In addition, de Jong explores the complexities of historic and modern attitudes towards language use and instruction throughout the U.S.

Steps in the Scientific Process

One way parents can help children become interested in science is by explaining the scientific process. The scientific process is the way scientists go about asking and answering scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. Review the steps of the scientific process below, and learn how to incorporate your child into each one!

Choosing a Book in the Comfort Zone

Reading in the "comfort zone" means that students read well enough to understand the text. Here's a simple technique that students can use to determine if a book is right for them.

Create Reading Accountability

Engaged, accountable reading requires students to interpret, and respond, often creatively. This article suggests several personalized ways to hold students accountable for their reading.

Root Words, Roots and Affixes

Familiarity with Greek and Latin roots, as well as prefixes and suffixes, can help students understand the meaning of new words. This article includes many of the most common examples.

Engaging Parents in Literacy Learning

Students whose parents are involved in the academic school experience tend to be good readers and are successful in school. Even for those who struggle and perhaps read below grade level, if their parents are involved in school, then parents provide a support system to ensure achievement. Use the template in this article to generate ideas both from teachers and from parents themselves about how to engage parents with literacy assignments.

Developing "Student-Owned" Vocabulary

Students should learn specific vocabulary and academic language to comprehend content text, but they should also become independent in understanding and owning vocabulary. This article offers tips for developing students' "vocabulary ownership."

Develop Fluency Using Content-Based Texts

Fluency is the missing piece of the reading puzzle for many older students. They can decode, but they cannot do it automatically and accurately enough to comprehend text. Here are some fluency-building activities to complement content delivery. See also Teach Students How to Fluently Read Multisyllabic Content Vocabulary.

Teach Students How to Fluently Read Multisyllabic Content Vocabulary

Dysfluent readers are so consumed with word identification that they cannot focus on extracting or constructing meaning from the text. Here are some activities to develop students' fluency skills, so that they may move on to access content. See also Develop Fluency Using Content-Based Texts.

Evidence-Based Practices at School: A Guide for Parents

All parents want their children to receive the best education possible. One way to help your child succeed is to know if the school is using effective teaching and intervention practices. But how can schools and parents know if a practice is effective? One method is to see if there is any research or "evidence" to prove that the practice works. This handout explains the meaning of "evidence-based practices" and why they are important. It also lists resources where parents can learn more.

How to Read a Report Card

The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a little less scary and a little more productive.

Map Making

Students often have difficulty understanding abstract map symbols. Learn how to introduce map skills with literature that contextualizes mapping in a narrative, can be related to where in the world each student lives, and engages students by actively "doing geography."

Music Stories

Music stories are compositions of a narrative or descriptive sort. Students can listen for the story in the music, and this type of music can be integrated with literature, literacy, social studies, science, mathematics, and the other arts.

Choosing Children's Books: Cultural Relevance Rubric

The Teaching Moves of a Strategic Teacher

Research demonstrates the effectiveness of the 12 strategic teaching moves described in this article. On any given day in any given classroom, the strategic teacher employs all of these moves — whether with the whole class, a small group, or just one student.

Revisiting Read-Aloud: Instructional Strategies that Encourage Students' Engagement with Text

This article describes evidence-based practices that encourage first graders' engagement with texts. The authors review reading as a transactional process, revisit the benefits of reading aloud to students, provide a rationale for promoting engagement with texts, discuss three literacy strategies implemented in one first-grade classroom, and share examples of work contributed by the students.

Extended Writing-to-Learn Strategies

Writing enables students to process, organize, formulate, and extend their thinking about what they have been learning. In addition, teachers can also assign writing to help students evaluate what they know and understand about a topic. These writing-to-learn strategies help foster students' abilities to make predictions, build connections, raise questions, discover new ideas, and promote higher-level thinking.

Reading (and Scaffolding) Expository Texts

To help students comprehend expository text structures, teachers can acquaint them with the signal or cue words authors utilize in writing each of the structures and use the graphic organizers offered in this article

The Keys to Remembering What You Read

Taking good notes while reading can help students improve concentration and actively engage with what they are reading. This excerpt from Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework describes a number of effective note-taking methods.

Reading (and Scaffolding) Narrative Texts

Students need to learn the purposes and methods of narration in order to understand the narrative framework and to eliminate frustration when they read. When students know the narrative elements, they can more easily follow the story line and make successful predictions about what is to occur. In addition, understanding these elements develops higher-level thinking skills.

Previewing Texts in Content Classrooms

Textbook previewing strategies focus not only on the structure of the text — such as the table of contents, index, chapter introductions, and so forth — but on a content overview, which focuses on the concepts and questions covered in the chapter and their interrelationships.

Teach Vocabulary by Building Background Knowledge

Students need to develop an extensive vocabulary to read with fluency. In turn, fluency in reading leads to increased comprehension. Fluency also comes from the written language of the reader since the student writes words he or she knows. Increased comprehension enhances the written language of the learner.

Use Cooperative Learning Groups to Engage Learners

When teachers structure cooperative learning groups as part of the overall reading program, they also open the door to a multiple intelligences approach to literacy, which is inherent in cooperative learning. This article offers guidance on Literature Circles and Cooperative Tear, two cooperative learning strategies supported by research.

Read Aloud, Read Along, Read Appropriately to Foster Flexible Readers

The read aloud, read along, and read appropriately strategies involve three phases of reading instruction. As the teacher thinks aloud about what he or she is reading, students begin to understand the connections between the words on the page and what they mean; in the read along strategy, teachers provide needed word prompts and cues, as well as fluency in the reading act; and the read appropriately strategy promotes the policy of reading material at an appropriate instructional level for greatest individual gains.

Outdoor Explorations

Stepping outside is a simple way to set foot into nature's laboratory. Backyards and neighborhood walks can lead to interesting conversations that contain new vocabulary words. You'll also be helping your child developing important scientific skills such as observing, predicting, and investigating. Try these fun outdoor exploration activities to nurture the budding scientist or mathematician in your home!

A Sample Rubric for Grading Student Writing

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.

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.

An Introduction to Analytical Text Structures

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.

Extra Support for Adolescent ELLs

Before- and after-school programs can play an important role in ELLs' success by providing a place and time for homework, extra academic support, and enrichment activities. These programs are particularly helpful for older students who may not have access to academic resources or help at home, or those with responsibilities such as working or caring for younger siblings. Learn more about the elements of an effective before- and after-school program for ELLs from this excerpt of Teaching Adolescent English Language Learners: Essential Strategies for Middle and High School (Caslon Publishing, 2010).

Homework Tips for Parents

Homework is important, but helping children with homework isn't always easy. Here are some ways you can make homework easier for everyone!


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