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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Pre-writing with Dr. Seuss

Seuss silliness is contagious! Spread it to your classroom writing centers.

Choosing a Preschool

Choosing a preschool for your child can be a tough decision; what works for one child may not work for another. This is particularly true for a preschooler with special learning or behavior needs. The following three considerations can help you get a head start on finding the right setting for your preschooler.

Helping Haitian Students Cope with the Earthquake

Many children and families of Haitian origin affected by the recent earthquake are facing tremendous distress and uncertainty. As an educator, there are a number of ways to support these students and families. Here are a few suggestions and resources.

Understanding and Empathy Through Children's Books

Reading Rockets helps parents and teachers address the aftermath of natural disasters with children through reading and books.

Assistive Technology Laws

Assistive Technology and the IEP

How to Prepare for an ESL Job Interview

If you are looking for a new ESL or bilingual teaching position, there are a number of things you can do to help prepare for the interview. This article outlines general information that will get you started, as well as areas of your own experience that may be helpful to highlight in the interview.

Why Are There So Many Different Medications to Treat ADHD?

Dr. Larry Silver outlines the science behind ADHD medications and explains why there are fewer choices than you may think.

How to Read With a Squiggly Baby (or Toddler!)

As parent, you know how important it is to set aside some time everyday to read with your baby or toddler. But you also know how hard it can be for your child to sit still while you read together! If you've got a squiggler in your house, see if these tips help your reading time go a little more smoothly.

Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision

Thanks to advances in imaging techniques and scientific inquiry, we now know much more about learning disabilities (LD), dyslexia, and the role of vision problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Council on Children with Disabilities, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology published a joint statement that summarizes what is currently known about visual problems and dyslexia. The statement also covers what treatments are and are not recommended when diagnosing and treating vision problems, learning disabilities, and dyslexia.

Parent Tips: How to Get Your Teen Reading

Strong reading skills are important for teenagers, but sometimes it can be a challenge to get them reading! Here are some ways to encourage your teen to read.

Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together: How Systematic Vocabulary Instruction and Expanded Learning Time Can Address the Literacy Gap

The powerful combination of systematic vocabulary instruction and expanded learning time has the potential to address the large and long-standing literacy gaps in U.S. public schools, particularly with low-income students and English language learners.

Why Teach the Holocaust?

Teachers often find the Holocaust to be an overwhelming subject to approach with their students. While the Holocaust offers important lessons to today's students, it can be a difficult to find the appropriate amount of information to share with young learners. This article highlights the importance of the Holocaust in today's classroom, and offers suggestions for integrating historical fiction into the unit of study.

Curricular Connections: Holocaust Remembrance

The Holocaust is often a difficult topic to discuss with students. This guide offers tips for approaching the subject, as well as cross-curricular connections for a more meaningful reading experience.

Use a PEER When You Read Aloud

The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you. Read below to learn more about dialogic reading and PEER, a method to help you remember a few important ways to read in this interactive way.

Cómo motivar a los adolescentes a leer

¡Si bien el hecho de que los adolescentes dispongan de sólidas destrezas para la lectura es importante, a veces hacerles que lean puede convertirse en todo un desafío! He aquí algunas maneras de motivar a su adolescente a leer.

What Teachers Need to Know About the "New" Nonfiction

The features of recent children's nonfiction picture books, a genre that is exploding in both quality and quantity, are described in this article. Recent nonfiction books reveal an emphasis on the visual, an emphasis on accuracy, and an engaging writing style. Suggestions are included for choosing and using nonfiction picture books in the classroom.

Phonics Instruction for Middle and High School ELLs

While it may seem the most expedient solution, it is not appropriate to put an older ELL student in a lower grade to receive the appropriate reading instruction. Age-appropriate activities integrated with academic content give older students the opportunity to make progress as readers.

Tips for Teaching Middle and High School ELLs

Digital Storytelling: Extending the Potential for Struggling Writers

While some young writers may struggle with traditional literacy, tapping into new literacies like digital storytelling may boost motivation and scaffold understanding of traditional literacies. Three types of struggling writers are introduced followed by descriptions of ways digital storytelling can support their development.

On the Go: What Consumer Products Can Do For You (If You Know Where to Look!)

Common devices, such as PDAs, cellular phones, and handheld mp3 players can be assistive tools for learners with disabilities. Learn more about these devices and their applications in the classroom and beyond.

Reciprocal Teaching for the Primary Grades: "We Can Do It, Too!"

Originally designed with seventh grade students, Reciprocal Teaching is a research-based strategy that teaches students to work in small groups to coordinate the use of four comprehension strategies: prediction, clarification, summarization, and student-generated questions. This article illustrates how to implement Reciprocal Teaching for the Primary Grades (RTPG). Modifications include: additional strategies, cue cards with pictures and scripts, group work interspersed with whole class follow-up, and an independent written component for individual student accountability.

Compare, Contrast, Comprehend: Using Compare-Contrast Text Structures with ELLs in K-3 Classrooms

This article explains (a) how to teach students to identify the compare-contrast text structure, and to use this structure to support their comprehension, (b) how to use compare-contrast texts to activate and extend students' background knowledge, and (c) how to use compare-contrast texts to help students expand and enrich their vocabulary. Although these strategies can benefit all young learners, the compare-contrast text structure is particularly helpful to ELL students.

Working with Your Child's Teacher to Identify and Address Math Disabilities

An expert explains how math disabilities are identified and how parents can work with teachers to help their kids.

Avoiding Homework Wars

Does your child have trouble finishing homework within a reasonable amount of time? Is homework a frequent family battle? Learn how to stay sane and help your child succeed.

How to Increase Higher Order Thinking

Parents and teachers can do a lot to encourage higher order thinking. Here are some strategies to help foster children's complex thinking.

What Should an Assessment System Look Like?

The developmental nature of reading means that diagnosing the reading comprehension ability of adolescents is more challenging than diagnosing reading comprehension among third graders. In particular, assessments should not only capture the increased sophistication of the reading task in the middle and high school years, but should also capture the specialization of the many tasks that comprise reading comprehension for older readers. Educators must think carefully not only about what the assessments they use consider "grade-level" text, but also how those assessments capture or fail to capture the processes involved in reading in different content-area classes.

Higher Order Thinking

As students grow older, they are asked by their teachers to do more and more with the information they have stored in their brains. These types of requests require accessing higher order thinking (HOT).

Imbedding Adolescent Literacy in Out-of-School-Time Programs

How can structured out-of-school (OST) time programs provide more support to students and schools in advancing literacy skills? How might these programs incorporate adolescent literacy development activities, while preserving their unique youth development approach?

Teaching Content Knowledge and Reading Strategies in Tandem

Many areas of instruction can have a rippling effect for the expansion of readers' repertoire of skills, including pre-reading, predicting, testing hypotheses against the text, asking questions, summarizing, etc. Literacy-rich, content-area classrooms include a variety of instructional routines that provide guidance to students before, during, and after reading.

Content-Area Literacy: Mathematics

Of all the academic disciplines taught in middle and high school, the one we least expect to entail reading extended texts is in mathematics, but math texts present special literacy problems and challenges for young readers.

Content-Area Literacy: Literature

Reading complex literary texts offers unique opportunities for students to wrestle with some of the core ethical dilemmas that we face as human beings. The growth of ethical reasoning is one of the most compelling reasons for schools to develop students' capacities to read complex works of literature. Students who enter high school as struggling readers are quite capable of engaging with such texts, in part because these same students are often wrestling with complex challenges in their own lives.

Content-Area Literacy: History

The ability to read historical documents including contemporary explications about societal, economic and political issues provides a direct link to literacy as preparation for citizenship. As in the other disciplines, schools are unique sites for youth across class and ethnic boundaries to learn to read such documents and to develop the skills to engage in such reading for college and career success.

Content-Area Literacy: Science

The demands of comprehending scientific text are discipline specific and are best learned by supporting students in learning how to read a wide range of scientific genres. Besides text structures emphasizing cause and effect, sequencing and extended definitions, as well as the use of scientific registers, evaluating scientific arguments requires additional skill sets for readers.

Vocabulary Development During Read-Alouds: Primary Practices

Reading aloud is a common practice in primary classrooms and is viewed as an important vehicle for vocabulary development. Read-alouds are complex instructional interactions in which teachers choose texts, identify words for instruction, and select the appropriate strategies to facilitate word learning. This study explored the complexities by examining the read-aloud practices of four primary teachers through observations and interviews.

Types of Adolescent Literacy Initiatives in Out-of School-Time (OST) Programs

Enhancing adolescents' literacy abilities in structured out-of-school time (OST) programs is a growing area of interest among OST enrichment providers. Schools and community-based agencies have developed a host of after-school remedial tutoring programs that provide intensive instruction for struggling students, while project-based youth development programs incorporate text-rich activities to provide highly motivating opportunities for young people to practice their reading and writing skills.

Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities: An Overview

If your child has a learning disability, he or she may benefit from assistive technology tools that play to their strengths and work around their challenges.

New Electronics: Turn Them On for Learning

Many computer products have built-in accessibility options such as text-to-speech, screen magnification options, or voice input controls. Learn what some of these optional features are and how to integrate them into instruction and studying.

The Development of Phonological Skills

Basic listening skills and "word awareness" are critical precursors to phonological awareness. Learn the milestones for acquiring phonological skills.

Phonological Instruction for Older Students

Additional and explicit instruction in phonological awareness is a critical component in helping fourth grade readers who struggle with phonological deficits. The exercises can be used as a warm-up prior to reading, spelling, or vocabulary instruction.

Using Read-Alouds with Critical Literacy Literature in K-3 Classrooms

Teacher read-alouds are a vital part of literacy instruction in primary classrooms. Learn how to conduct read-alouds that feature high-quality children's books which will prompt children to think and talk about social issues that impact their daily lives.

Picture This! Using Mental Imagery While Reading

One way to help a child comprehend what he is reading is to encourage him to visualize parts of the story in his mind. These "mind movies" help clarify information, increase understanding, and can include any of the five senses. Try these practices below when reading with your child.

Does My Preschooler Have Delayed Development?

Parents and caregivers want the very best for their children, and therefore are often the first to notice and to worry when they suspect their child may be showing signs of delayed development. Get answers and advice with this easy-to-understand information about developmental delays.

Playing with Word Sounds: Stretch and Shorten

Blending (combining sounds) and segmenting (separating sounds) are phonological awareness skills that are necessary for learning to read. Developing your child's phonological awareness is an important part of developing your child as a reader. Learn how working on phonological awareness can be fun and easy below.

Tips for Parents: Parent-Teacher Conferences

These bilingual tips from Colorín Colorado give parents an overview of parent-teacher conferences and answer questions such as "What if I don't speak English?" and "What will my child's teacher want to talk about with me?" Parent checklists are provided that can be used before, during, and after the conference. These tips are also available as a downloadable pdf in English and Spanish.

Building World Knowledge: Motivating Children to Read and Enjoy Informational Text

Exposing young children to informational text early on can help them to handle the literacy demands of fourth grade and beyond. Practical instructional techniques can be used to promote understanding and enjoyment of informational texts. The three techniques described here — Text Impression, Guiding Questions, and the Retelling Pyramid — can help children become familiar with the language and structure of non-fiction books.

Audio Test

Reading 101 for English Language Learners

In this article, Kristina Robertson highlights ELL instructional strategies based on the five components of reading as outlined in "Teaching Children to Read," by the National Reading Panel (2000). This report is a study of research-based best practices in reading instruction and it focuses on the following five instructional areas: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension.

Paths to Inclusion

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: Math and Literacy for Preschoolers

Even our youngest learners are exposed to math everyday. By providing an environment rich in language and where thinking is encouraged, you can help your preschooler develop important numeracy and literacy skills. Here are four everyday examples of ways to integrate language and math.

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