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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What Is an IEP?

Homework Tips for Parents of ELLs

What Are Classrooms Like for Students with Learning Disabilities?

Classrooms can be perilous in a number of ways for students with learning disabilities. Here are some tips to remember when working with students with LD.

Teaching Flexibly with Leveled Texts: More Power for Your Reading Block

Leveling mania has gripped many elementary schools. The use of carefully leveled texts designed to meet the developmental needs of many readers is a common feature in current reading programs. Although popular leveling systems — Reading Recovery, Benchmark texts, Lexiles — may vary in terms of the number of levels and discrimination among them, at the core they all attempt to classify texts in terms of their perceived difficulties for specific readers. In a desire to match readers to texts, books are scrutinized, classified, and sanctioned for reading only when the match between reader and text has been firmly established.

Effective Practices for Homework

What Teachers Need to Know About the Common Core State Standards

Learn the basics about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS): how they will affect teaching, the benefits and key features of the standards, assessment, and what teachers can do now to prepare for CCSS implementation.

Mission Critical: Reading Together to Build Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking, the ability to think deeply about a topic or a book, is an essential skill for children to develop. Here are some helpful tips and recommended books to strengthen your child's ability to think critically.

ELL Identification: Information for Administrators

Administrators play an important role in shaping the policies and procedures for identifying the language and academic needs of English language learners (ELLs). In this excerpt from Transforming Schools for English Learners: A Comprehensive Framework for School Leaders, Debbie Zacarian offers administrators an overview to ELL identification and placement best practices within the context of choosing the right program model for the population. Topics include information about home language surveys, test validity, and scheduling considerations.

Parents as Study Partners: Building an Academic Partnership with Your Child

In this excerpt from Tutor in a Book by Alexandra Mayzler and Ana McGann, parents are encouraged and given advice on how to become their child's "study partner." This excerpt provides information on building a strong academic partnership with your child.

Speech Recognition for Learning

Speech recognition, also referred to as speech-to-text or voice recognition, is technology that recognizes speech, allowing voice to serve as the "main interface between the human and the computer." This Info Brief discusses how current speech recognition technology facilitates student learning, as well as how the technology can develop to advance learning in the future.

Before- & After-School 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).

How should ELLs be grouped for instruction?

Placing ELLs in the appropriate instruction group presents a number of challenges to teachers, administrators, and ELL curriculum directors. Factors such as age, language proficiency level, language groups, staff time, program models, and available resources for ELL students can affect these decisions in a variety of ways. Researchers Ester de Jong and Nancy L. Commins provide a quite a bit of helpful guidance about this topic in this excerpt from English Language Learners at School: A Guide for Administrators.

Lessons Learned from Immigrant Families

No More Morning Madness!

No one wants to start their day in a frenzied mess of untied shoes and breakfast in hand as the school bus approaches. Follow these five short recommendations for smoothing out those rough mornings.

Reading Adventure Pack: The Snowy Day

Go on a "snowy day" 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: Kindergarten)

Back-to-School Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Our Top 8 back-to-school tips for parents emphasize communication, organization, and staying up-to-date on special education news.

Supporting Scientific Language in Primary Grades

The framework provided in this article for viewing students' science writing offers teachers the opportunity to assess and support scientific language acquisition.

Back-to-School: Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Our top 8 back-to-school tips for parents emphasize communication, organization, and staying up-to-date on special education news.

Back-to-School: Tips for Special Education Teachers

Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.

Back-to-School Tips for Special Education Teachers

Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.

Reading Adventure Pack: Farms

Go on a "farm" 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: Kindergarten)

Bright Ideas for Back-to-School Night... and Beyond

It's time to head back to school. And while kids are stuffing their backpacks with new school supplies, we're packing a different sort of bag here at Reading Rockets — one filled with resources to help make one of the most important evening events of the school year really sparkle — back-to-school night.

Resources for First-Year ELL Teachers

Helping ELL Newcomers: Things Your Students Need to Know

This excerpt from The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook offers an excellent list of practical details and logistics that ELLs need to know when starting at a new school, such as routines, rules, transportation, and classroom expectations. The list serves as an excellent reminder of the extra help ELL students and families need negotiating a new school system and will be particularly helpful for teachers new to working with ELLs.

Make History Come Alive with Books!

A great way for young children to develop an interest in history is through books! This article offers some ideas for getting started.

American Sign Language/English Bilingual and Early Childhood Education

Learn about American Sign Language (ASL)/English bilingual programs to support the acquisition, learning, and use of ASL and English to meet the needs of diverse learners who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Beat the Heat with Your Weather Page

Summer's temperatures often send kids and parents inside to cooler air. Here are a few tips to make the most of those hot afternoons with some literacy and math fun using only your newspaper, computer, or other household items.

15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children

This article describes research-based principles and best practices for reading to deaf children. The underlying principle is a positive belief in the children's ability to become strong, enthusiastic readers.

Contents of the IEP

An IEP is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in keeping with certain requirements of law and regulations. These requirements are discussed in this section.

The IEP Team

Information Book Read-Alouds as Models for Second-Grade Authors

Learn how to teach children to write informational text through the use of focused read-alouds that include discussions of information book genre elements, features, and organizational structure. See examples of book compositions by second-grade authors that demonstrate how read-alouds can support young writers' genre knowledge development.

Book Picks from's Boys of Summer

We've added three new book reviewers for the summer — Nick (10th grade), Graham (7th), and Breece (4th), are sharing their summer reading choices each week and telling us exactly what they think.

Guiding Students Through Expository Text with Text Feature Walks

The text feature walk guides students in the reading of text features in order to access prior knowledge, make connections, and set a purpose for reading expository text. Results from a pilot study illustrate the benefits of using the strategy, and practical suggestions for implementation are offered.

Engaging Parents to Support Academic Attainment Over Time

Chances for success are improved when adults offer children, starting at a young age, positive expectations and aspirations about what they can do and achieve. Learn ways to help parents support students' long-term success in school, career, and life.

Engaging Parents to Support Academic Achievement

Academic achievement is a strong predictor of high school graduation and is critical to long-term success in college, work, and life. A sixth grader who fails math or English, has unsatisfactory behavior, or poor attendance has a 75% likelihood of dropping out. Freshmen in Chicago public schools who earn a B average or better have an 80% chance of finishing high school with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Engaging Parents to Support Good School Attendance

Poor school attendance is a strong predictor of school dropout. Children can’t learn if they aren’t present in school, so attendance is a must. Parents are best positioned to ensure children attend school and to build the expectation around attendance.

Deafness and Hearing Loss

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

Parent Engagement in Transitions to Middle and High School

Using the 3A framework (Attendance, Achievement, and Attainment) for dropout prevention developed by the America's Promise Alliance and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this article highlights specific knowledge that parents need to support students' success, as well as ways that schools can engage parents as partners.

Book Swap for Kids

Libraries and bookstores are great options for building a home library. Another great resource for books is a book swap. Consider organizing one for your neighborhood or block. It can be a simple afternoon undertaking, or with more time and effort, a fun event that will become an annual tradition! Below are some suggestions for organizing a book swap for kids.

Speech and Language Impairments

Summertime and the Learning Is Easy

The summer is a time to unwind and relax for parents and kids alike, but learning should not come to a halt. By focusing on your child's interests, involving the family, and setting goals, you can motivate even the most reluctant learners

Summer Learning Resources for Parents

School's over, but that doesn't mean that kids need to stop learning or reading! Summer is a great time for kids to read what they enjoy and to learn in new kinds of environments. Learn more from Colorín Colorado's summer reading resources!

Response to Intervention in Reading for English Language Learners

This article briefly highlights the knowledge base on reading and RTI for ELLs, and provides preliminary support for the use of practices related to RTI with this population.

Bilingual Students in Spelling Bees

Comprehensive Assessment and Evaluation of Students With Learning Disabilities

Environmental Print

Letters are all around us! Here are some ideas to use print found in your everyday environment to help develop your child's reading skills.

The Resources at Your Library

The library is a public service for the community, with everything from free book rentals to tax help. Read on to find out what resources are available for you at the library.

Preschool: An Introduction for Parents

Teaching Tips: Summer School for English Language Learners

Veteran teacher Sharon Eghigian has nearly 15 years of experience teaching in a variety of ESL summer programs. Some of those programs include ESL summer school (Grades K-5), "Jump Start" classes at non-profit agencies (ages 8-16), and cultural orientation/ESL classes for newcomers (K-5). Sharon draws on her experience and shares some of her favorite summer ESL school activities and tips in the following article. Most strategies are geared towards elementary ELLs, although many can be adapted for older students.

Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners

Tell Me About the Story: Comprehension Strategies for Students with Autism

Reading comprehension is often a concern for the teachers of students with autism. The comprehension strategies described in this article may help some students gain comprehension skills and improve their ability to read and communicate about written material.

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