September 5, 2017

Flexible Seating in a Reading Resource Room

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

When you are reading at home for fun, how do you sit? Are you sitting formally on a chair at your kitchen table or are you relaxing with your feet up on the couch? Most likely, you prefer to be comfortable when you're reading! The same holds true for our students, so why do we expect them to sit formally at their desks during independent reading? 

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.


**This post contains affiliate links.**

My First Step in Flexible Seating


I begin each of my remediation groups by providing students with an opportunity to read independently for fun. Students who receive additional reading support tend to get a lot of reading instruction but not as much time to actually practice reading as their on grade level peers. Since most classroom teachers send their students to my room, it allows us to gradually start as we wait for everyone to arrive. It also gives me a chance to confer with students. 

I noticed that students were not entirely engaged during this independent reading time. The first minor change I made was allowing my students to sit under tables, on my rolling teacher chairs, or put their feet ON my reading table as they read (*gasp!*). It wasn't uncommon for a teacher to come in my room and be in disbelief that I was letting my students put their feet on my table. But guess what? The students didn't even notice the teacher in the room because they were too busy reading! 


Providing More Options to Students


Since students responded so well to this minor change, I wanted to provide them with more options during independent reading. I purchased a couple bean bags, saucer chairs, and boyfriend pillows. I created a cozy reading nook in my classroom to make it inviting for students. And it worked! 

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.


As a result of the new reading nook, my students were so excited to read! I found the flexible seating options really helped the students to be more engaged during independent reading. In fact, on a daily basis other students stop by and tell me that they wish they could come read in my room!


Bringing Flexible Seating to Guided Reading


There was a disconnect between my cozy reading nook for independent reading and the formal setting of my guided reading table with traditional chairs. I found that students weren't always as engaged during small group instruction. The students in my group tend to struggle with attention issues so they had difficulty sitting still in my group. As a result I decided to purchase wobble stools! 


In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

Kore Wobble Chair


Students were provided the option to choose a wobble stool or a regular chair during our small group reading. Of course, this took some training to teach students the proper way to sit on the stools so they did not become a distraction. But the students quickly learned to make the right choice for the seating that worked best for them and most helped them to be engaged in our small group instruction. 

Students are only required to sit at the guided reading table when I'm giving explicit instruction. Typically this is just when I'm providing phonics practice or guided reading instruction in the primary grades. The older students have the option of sitting anywhere in my room during our instruction since we're typically focusing on comprehension which is a more collaborative approach instead of being as teacher-centered.


Flexible Seating Management


Luckily, since I have small groups I did not have to implement any formal management system of the flexible seating options. Students were allowed to select where they wanted to sit each day as they arrived. They did not need to move a clip to indicate their choice, instead they simply picked a book, chose their seat, and began to read. It naturally worked out and students did not fight over seats. Some groups of students found seats that they all naturally gravitated toward and they sat in the same spots each day. Other groups preferred to change things up, so they automatically took turns without me needing to keep track of spots.

Flexible Seating Success!


I noticed a tremendous difference in my students as a result of the flexible seating options. They were actually excited to read independently! Not only that, they were engaged in reading the entire time rather than pretending to read or wasting time finding a book to read. 

The data also indicated a positive impact!

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

We had more students pass the state standardized test at the end of the year than we did the previous year. Is this entirely due to flexible seating? No, of course not. But I do think the fact that students were more engaged during independent reading played a huge part in the improvement last year.

Next Steps


Obviously, I plan on continuing to use flexible seating in my resource room. I'm hoping to add more options such as crate seats. We already have one school reading nook (pictured below) but I'd like to utilize other unused spaces in the building to make additional reading nooks for students. 


In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.
See the students reading with their feet up?!


Have you used flexible seating in your classroom? Did you find it beneficial or challenging to implement? Share your experiences with it in the comments below.


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In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

August 21, 2017

Facebook Groups that Every Reading Teacher Should Join

Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

Facebook groups are an amazing way to collaborate with other educators around the country and even the world! In these groups, teachers can ask questions, share resources, and celebrate successes together. While classroom teachers benefit from the collaborative groups, they're especially helpful to reading specialists. Many times, there are only one or two reading specialists in a building which makes it difficult to collaborate with others. These groups provide an opportunity to connect with others who understand our job expectations and struggles. 


Here are Facebook Groups that will help you to enhance your reading instruction by collaborating with others. 


Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

The Reading Roundup Facebook Group

I created this group to support teachers in ALL aspects of balanced literacy. It is a newer group that continues to grow each day, so new members are always welcome! Don't be shy - feel free to share resources or ask questions at any time!


Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

The Reading and Writing Strategies Book Community

While this group was created to continue the learning of the Reading Strategies Book and Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo, you do not have to own the books to benefit from the community. Teachers use this group as a way to share strategies that have worked for them, mentor texts, and other resources.




Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

Disrupting Thinking - Why How We Read Matters - Book Club

If you haven't read Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst yet, stop everything you're doing and go get the book! It is by far the BEST professional book I've read in a long time. The group is intended to facilitate discussion around the strategies in the book but additional ideas are also shared among members.




Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Community

Irene Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell are balanced literacy gurus! Members are invited to "discuss what works and what challenges you face, ask questions, tell stories, and share what inspires you. The hope and purpose of this group is to help each other collaborate on a deeper understanding of all things Fountas and Pinnell."



Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

Keeping Up with All Learners

This group is intended to help teachers better meet the academic and behavior needs of our most challenging students. A great support network to make sure we are helping ALL of our students be successful!


Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

Second Story Window

Primary Teachers this group is for you! There are other groups for specific grade levels, but I like that this one includes all primary grades. Specialists who work with students in grades K-3 will also find helpful tips and resources in this group. 


Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!

Upper Elementary Ideas

In order to not leave out our upper elementary teachers, here is a very active group especially for you! As previously mentioned, there are groups for specific grade levels but this group is especially helpful for specialists like myself since it includes a range of levels.


What other Facebook Groups have you found to be beneficial? Please share them in the comments below!


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Facebook Groups are an incredible opportunity for educators to connect and collaborate with teachers across the world. Check out these Facebook Groups that you should join in order to enhance your literacy instruction!


August 14, 2017

10 Must Read Books for Back to School

Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year.


It's that time of year to start getting ready to go Back to School (cue the Grease 2 song). Do you already have your read alouds planned for the first few weeks of school? If not, hopefully this list will help make the first days easier with some amazing book recommendations. And if you do already have your books planned, maybe you'll find a new book to read. I have decided to include some classics that every teacher has probably read at least once as well as some of my new favorites that I think you'll love too!

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

And here they are, my 10 must read books for back to school!


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. The Kissing Hand

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

The Kissing Hand is one of the classics that I'm sure most of you have already read multiple times, but a back to school list of books would not be complete without it. This is a sweet story to help out any of your students who may be feeling a little sad and missing their families.


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. Miss Nelson is Missing

Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall

I have been reading Miss Nelson is Missing to students since I was a substitute teacher, which was 15 years ago! Sweet Miss Nelson goes missing and is replaced with the mean Viola Swamp. I love using this book to remind students that while we can have fun there are still rules that need to be followed. You don't want Miss Viola Swamp to show up when those rules are broken!


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. A Fine, Fine School

A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech

Principal Keene loves his school so much that he thinks there needs to be even more of it. In fact, maybe students should go to school on holidays, weekends, and even during summer vacation! This is a fun book that reminds us of all the amazing things about our schools and why learning is important. I like to use it as an opportunity for students to write about the things that make our school a fine, fine school.


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. David Goes to School

David Goes to School by David Shannon

David Goes to School and No David are both books by David Shannon that I'm sure you've read before, but I felt the list would be incomplete without them. (You're actually getting a bonus recommendation with No David - so these are books #4 and #4.5 on the list!) These books starring the lovable but mischievous David are a great way to remind students about the rules in school.


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. This School Year will be the Best

This School Year will be the Best! By Kay Winters

I only recently found out about this book. I honestly wish I knew about it when I was a classroom teacher. In this book, the students share their wishes for the upcoming school year. These wishes range from the expected to the very unexpected! A really fun follow-up writing activity could be having your students write their realistic and/or creative wishes for your school year together.


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. First Day Jitters

First Day Jitters by Julie Dannenberg

We have all felt a bit nervous about the first day of school, either as a teacher or when we were students ourselves. (If you haven't ever felt this way, I want to know your secret!) This is the story of one learner's struggles on the first day. It helps us empathize for the emotions others might be feeling but reassures us that it will all be alright!


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes by James Dean & Eric Litwin

I have a confession... I have only recently read Pete the Cat books for the first time! Yes, it's true... Now close your mouth since I know this is very shocking, but I have redeemed myself by turning into a fan! Pete is a cool cat with a catchy tune about his shoes that you're sure to get stuck in your head!


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. My Mouth is a Volcano

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook

A few years ago this book seemed to be showing up everywhere I looked online, so I had to see what all of the hype was about! I'm definitely glad I did! I'm sure we've all had experiences with students who always have something to say and they have to say the second it comes into their minds. This is a lighthearted book that sympathizes with those students about how it feels to have so many important things to say but also teaches them the value of listening to others and waiting to speak.


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T by Elise Parsley

Elise Parsley has quickly become one of my favorite authors! If you haven't read any of her books before, you need to read them ASAP! In this hilarious book, she explores what might happen if you were to bring an alligator to school for show and tell. As you read it, be sure to pay close attention to the details since they add another level of humor to the book. Students will love to write about other mishaps that could happen as a result from bringing in the wrong item (or creature) for show and tell!


Rounding up a list of 10 children's books you must read at the beginning of the school year. You're Finally Here

You're Finally Here by Melanie Watt

You're Finally Here is another funny book by Melanie Watt who also writes the hilarious adventures of Scaredy Squirrel. In this book, we meet a cute bunny who has been waiting a long time for you to arrive. It is a great way to welcome students to your classroom by letting them know how excited you are they're there and how you've been patiently awaiting their arrival. Plus, it's fitting since kids think teachers live at school anyway! 


There you have it, my list of 10 Must Read Books for Back to School. Did you find any new books on the list? Are there any books you love that did not make my list? Please share your book recommendations in the comments!



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August 7, 2017

4 Reasons Why you Need to Administer Reading Surveys

Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.


When I first became a reading specialist, I struggled with finding ways to motivate my 4th and 5th graders to read. They had little interest in reading the articles from the research-based program we were using. So I asked my principal for permission to try a different approach with these students and gave them more choices with their reading. But in order to plan for this type of instruction, I needed more information about my students. As a result, I began using reading interest and attitude surveys.

Since I work with students in grades K-5, I modify the surveys I use based on the grade levels. A simple survey such as the one below allows my primary students to draw the things they are interested in, such as their favorite books, topics of interest, hobbies, and other fun facts they want me to know. 

Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.



The intermediate survey for the upper grades asks students to let me know which genres and types of texts they enjoy reading.

Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.

I use recording sheets to keep track of the results. It helps me notice trends with students, such as a majority of them prefer reading graphic novels, which helps me to plan my instruction. 

Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.

Attitude surveys are very eye-opening as they give you insight into how your students feel about reading but more importantly how they view themselves as readers.

Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.

The students are always very excited to complete the surveys, and it naturally leads to great discussions. They can't wait to tell me all about their favorite book or all of the facts they know about dinosaurs! 

Here are 4 reasons why you need to administer reading surveys:


1) Build Relationships with Your Students

By administering reading interest and attitude surveys you are gaining valuable information not only about your students as readers but as individuals also. It helps you know their likes/dislikes, hobbies, and perceived strengths/areas of growth. I've been able to have animated conversations with students after finding out we both share a love of the Dallas Cowboys! I strongly believe that building relationships with your students is the most important thing you can do to help them be successful.


2) Engage and Motivate Your Students

One benefit of taking the time to get to know your students better is they feel like you care about them as individuals, which goes a long way in helping to engage and motivate them to read throughout the school year. They are also more engaged because they feel they have some input and choice into their own education. Aren't we as adults more motivated to read something that interests us versus something we are told we have to read? Let's show that consideration for our students by providing opportunities to read what interests them.

3) Plan Your Instruction

Administering reading interest surveys can actually make it easier to plan your instruction. It helps to provide you with a purpose for your reading instruction. If I notice a vast majority of students are interested in reading about sports, I can focus on finding a variety of texts about sports. If several students report that they struggle with understanding unknown words in texts, I can plan mini-lessons on vocabulary strategies.

4) Monitor Their Progress

Students' reading progress should not just be measured by their reading levels or scores on tests. We can monitor their progress in more meaningful ways. Administering the reading interest and attitude surveys multiples times a year can provide you with great insight on students' reading progress. Ideally through your instruction, they are gaining confidence in themselves as readers and expanding their horizons by reading different genres they had not previously enjoyed. Giving the surveys throughout the year allows you to see if their attitudes and interests are changing as a result of your instruction.

After seeing the positive impact the reading interest and attitude surveys had on my students and their reading progress, I now make sure I find time to administer them multiple times each year. 

Here are the Reading Interest and Attitude Surveys I administer with my students. (There are more surveys and recording documents that I use which are included in this set but were not shown in this post.)

Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.
Click here to find out more


Are you already administering reading interest and attitude inventories with your students? Have you found them to be beneficial? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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Reading interest and attitude surveys can make a tremendous impact on students' confidence in themselves as readers and their motivation to read. This article lists 4 reasons to administer reading interest and attitude surveys. It also includes a link to download surveys to use with students.



August 2, 2017

Are the Best Practices in Reading Really What's Best?



Examine exactly what are the best practices in reading according to Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in their book Disrupting Thinking.

"[Best practice is] such a popular term that it is almost meaningless." 

~ beers & probst, disrupting thinking


Many times teachers, myself included, claim that we are using "best practices" to justify and validate our instruction. But how many of us know the research behind these practices? Do we use these strategies just because we always have and because it is what we are told to do? Or do we implement them because we know they truly are best practices?

The strategies teachers consider to be best practices can often be contradictory. Someone may claim it is beneficial to implement round robin reading while another teacher is strongly opposed to that practice (as am I). In some cases, teachers actually do the opposite of what research supports. For example, research has shown that weekly spelling lists are an ineffective practice but yet many educators still use them.

Best practice is a concept discussed in depth by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in their book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters. According to them, "we all want to say we're doing research-based best practices, but other times too many of us are willing to ignore what we know from research." 

Click above purchase the book (affiliate link).
This book is a game changer and a must read for all educators!
By far the best professional book I've read in a long time.
What are the best practices for reading instruction?

A majority of the research has come to the same conclusions about best practices for reading instruction. In some ways we as educators can over-complicate our reading instruction, but it really comes down to several key concepts that we need to implement. Students need to be given choice in what they read, and they need ample time to read.

Examine exactly what are the best practices in reading according to Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in their book Disrupting Thinking.
Chart from Disrupting Thinking
The above chart lists some of the best practices in reading according to Beers and Probst. Let's highlight 2 of those practices as they are the ones I feel are the most crucial.


Provide Student Choice


When my husband asks me to read some of his science research for work, I honestly cannot say that I'm highly motivated to read. It is not something I would choose to read myself, and it has no personal relevance to my profession. Do I read it? Yes, but slowly. Do I enjoy it? Not so much. 

If we as adults are more motivated to read the texts we choose, why would we expect anything different for our students? Richard Allington often refers to this within his research: "the evidence is clear that more choice enhances academic engagement and reading achievement" (What Really Matters for Struggling Readers, 2012). And isn't that what we want for our students?


Increase Volume of Reading


It logically makes sense that if you want to get better at something you need to do more of it. With sports, the only way to improve is by practice. The same holds true for reading. To become better readers, students need more time to read. Allington states, "there exists a potent relationship between volume of reading and reading achievement" (What Really Matters for Struggling Readers, 2012)


Examine exactly what are the best practices in reading according to Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in their book Disrupting Thinking.

What are the next practices for reading instruction?


While there can still be some inconsistencies among teachers about best practices, Beers and Probst suggest we consider our next practices: 

"If a best practice is rooted in what has worked in the past, a next practice speculates about what might be better in the future." 

Instead of striving to adhere to best practice, we need to be willing to take risks and try new ideas. This gives us the freedom to create innovative practices based on our students' needs. Will we be successful on our first attempts? Probably not and that's okay. 

Support from our administration is valuable in order to take these risks and innovate new ideas. I'm fortunate to work in a school with an principal who inspires and encourages us daily to take these risks. Andy Jacks has established a "Green Light" philosophy in which he tells us "yes" to new ideas we have. He trusts us as professionals to do what is best for our students. As a result, our students are very successful, because we are able to create engaging and memorable moments for them. (Check out his blog to find out more about the school culture he has established).

Examine exactly what are the best practices in reading according to Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in their book Disrupting Thinking.

So ultimately what it really comes down to is that the best practices are our next practices! Innovation leads to progress, but we can't be afraid of failure. Try, try, and try again. Maybe YOU will discover the next "best practice" in reading instruction for your students!

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Examine exactly what are the best practices in reading according to Kylene Beers and Robert Probst in their book Disrupting Thinking.

May 24, 2017

Stopping Summer Slide

Simple strategies for summer slide prevention and easy summer reading activities for kids. Keep your kids engaged in reading so they don't lose up to 2 months of academic progress during the summer.

Every September, I have the same conversation with classroom teachers. They come to me questioning students' reading assessments from the previous year. They insist a student is not reading at the level listed on the assessment. Does this mean the previous teacher did not administer a valid reading assessment? Of course not! This difference in reading levels is typically just a result of summer slide. When students lose months of academic progress during the summer months, it can lead to an increase in the achievement gap between students.

Research and common sense tells us that the more students read the more proficient readers they become. Reluctant readers are often the ones most impacted by summer slide. The biggest way to combat summer slide for these students is by finding ways to encourage them to keep reading. So how can we do that? Here are a few ideas I've found to be successful.


Show Me Where You're Reading

Our school is very active on social media. We encourage students to post pictures with our school hashtag showing us where they are reading over the summer. I printed copies of the pictures to create a bulletin board when we returned to school. We received some really cool pictures!


Simple strategies for summer slide prevention and easy summer reading activities for kids. Keep your kids engaged in reading so they don't lose up to 2 months of academic progress during the summer.


Online Access to Books

Some students do not read over the summer due to the simple fact that they do not have access to many books. Here are some websites to provide students with access to more books!

  • Unite for Literacy - This website has emergent books meant for early readers. I love that it offers a vast selection of nonfiction books. It also allows you to change the language and provides an audio option, both of which are great features for our English Language Learners.
  • EPIC! Books - Teachers have access to free books for students. But parents have to pay for home access ($4.99 a month). Luckily there is a 30 day free trial which is a great option to get students started with summer reading!
  • Storyline Online - Students can listen to stories being read aloud by famous actors. 


Check with your local library

Our local library offers incentives to get students to come in over the summer. Each summer is a different theme that students can earn prizes each time they come into the library. They also offer fun events and activities to encourage families to visit. Look into what programs your local library offers and make sure to tell your students' families! You may also want to find ways to make sure all students have a library card before leaving for summer break.


Reading Challenges

There are so many reading challenges available to students over the summer. Each year we select a different challenge and spend time promoting it to the students before the end of the year. Students who complete the challenge are invited to attend a celebration when school resumes. This past year these students got to choose a new book and attend a Popsicle party in our learning garden. Here are a few reading challenges you may want to consider using:

Reading Scavenger Hunt, Summer Reading, Reading Challenge

What other ways do you encourage students to read during the summer? Any successful tips on how you help stop summer slide? Comment below with the strategies that have worked for you!

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Simple strategies for summer slide prevention and easy summer reading activities for kids. Keep your kids engaged in reading so they don't lose up to 2 months of academic progress during the summer.


May 3, 2017

Simple Multisensory Phonics Strategies

Reluctant readers and students with dyslexia can greatly benefit from multisensory phonics activities. Check out these simple strategies you can easily implement with your students!

Dyslexia has been a hot topic in education lately. In fact, Virginia is now requiring teachers to complete dyslexia training when applying for licensure in order to make sure educators know how to meet these students' needs. Hearing the word dyslexia can make some teachers nervous, but what they need to remember is that they are already implementing these strategies daily! Multisensory learning is beneficial for students with dyslexia to help activate multiple areas of the brain which helps these students make the necessary phonetic connections when working with words.

In order to reassure you that you DO already know how to help students with dyslexia, here are some simple multisensory phonics activities that are beneficial for these students that you're most likely already implementing!

**Post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Reluctant readers and students with dyslexia can greatly benefit from multisensory phonics activities. Check out these simple strategies you can easily implement with your students!

What can I use?
These are just a few suggestions. Be creative with other tools you can use!
  • Shaving Cream
  • Magnetic Letters
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Songs & Dances (link to an example of songs I use with my students)
  • Gel Sensory Bags
  • Play-Doh
  • Sand / Sugar / Salt
  • Air Writing
  • Sandpaper Letters
  • Pipe Cleaners / Wiki Sticks

What strategies should I try with these tools?
Here are a few suggested strategies you can implement with the tools mentioned above. The important thing is to make sure the students are verbalizing the sounds as they manipulate/write with the tools. This helps activate the different parts of the brain to strengthen the connections for the students.
  • Practice writing letters
  • Sight words writing practice
  • Making word families
  • Decoding unknown words
  • Making Words

More about Making Words

Reluctant readers and students with dyslexia can greatly benefit from multisensory phonics activities. Check out these simple strategies you can easily implement with your students!

Patricia Cunningham's Making Wordsis a structure that provides scaffolded support to students when working with words. Students are lead through steps to create new words by adding or deleting phonemes, manipulating letters to make words, and ultimately using all of the provided letters to make a mystery word. For example: Take 2 letters to make at. Add a letter to make cat. In the picture above, instead of having students manipulate letter tiles I had them become the letters. This added a kinesthetic approach which helped make the phonics skills more concrete for them.

Most likely you are already using many of these multisensory strategies or just needed a quick reminder about them. But what about your students' parents? I made a video series to explain and model various multisensory learning strategies. It is beneficial for parents and new teachers to view these strategies in action. Below is an example of one of these videos but a link is also provided to access the entire playlist. 



What other multisensory learning strategies do you use with your students? Which ones to you find to be the most effective? Comment below with the strategies you use!


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Reluctant readers and students with dyslexia can greatly benefit from multisensory phonics activities. Check out these simple strategies you can easily implement with your students!