3 strategies we use to turn struggling students into confident readers

The ability to read–and read well–sets kids on a path to success. That’s why at Cambridge School, we focus on helping students with learning differences learn how to read. Students attend Cambridge School because they have been diagnosed with a language-based learning difference, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, or executive function difficulties, and have struggled in traditional academic settings. 

But if you walk into a Cambridge School classroom during one of our reading sessions, you will see engaged students reading both silently and aloud, using devices and books. You will see teachers working one-on-one with students checking their fluency progress and reviewing important comprehension skills and relevant vocabulary. You will see hard-working students becoming more motivated, confident readers. 

Each year our students make notable fluency gains, with many reading at or above grade level by the end of 8th grade or sooner. In the 2021-22 school year, all students in grades 2-8 made fluency gains from the fall to the spring, with a 52 percent average percent increase in words read correctly per minute. How do we accomplish this?…Read More

Edsoma Partners With MetaMetrics to Report Lexile Measures for Oral Reading

DURHAM, N.C. & WEATHERFORD, TX –  July, 2022 –  MetaMetrics® and  Edsoma today announced a new partnership that will help children using Edsoma’s innovative reading app build their oral reading fluency skills. Edsoma readers will receive Lexile oral reading measures and the app’s books will have oral readability measures from the  Lexile ®  Framework for Oral Reading. Edsoma is an app designed to improve literacy through real-time data. 

Edsoma’s scoring system is used to identify strengths and weaknesses in children’s reading. Using the app’s live follow-along technology, parents can help children develop a love of reading while learning to correctly pronounce the words that they are reading. Edsoma allows parents to read with their children from any location and automatically keeps track of a child’s reading activities so that parents and teachers can track their progress. 

Given the sobering numbers on children’s decreased reading performance since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, bringing with it repercussions from school closures and the challenges of virtual learning, educators and parents are looking for the help of innovative educational technology…Read More

School libraries are disappearing when students need them most

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

In 2014, I got my first teaching job at a brand new high school in Detroit. The building had once been an elementary school with a fully functioning library. There was even a built-in card catalog. Now, though, it was empty, and the position of librarian didn’t exist. When we held a community book drive to fill the shelves, we ended up with a ramshackle collection of old, random, age-inappropriate books, some print encyclopedias, and an eclectic mix of cookbooks.

Two years later, that room had become a dumping ground for unused supplies, and the school football team frequently used it as a meeting space. The bookshelves were disorganized, their alphabetization long ago destroyed. In fact, not a single area school I have worked at in the past nine years has had a functioning library. …Read More

3 key steps when using VR in education

As new VR technologies emerge, educators at all levels are finding new applications to augment the classroom experience – and for good reason. VR allows educators to move past pages in a textbook to create totally immersive experiences that stimulate and inspire students.

Imagine a social studies teacher leading a discussion about the Taj Mahal, for example. While educators and students used to be bound to traditional experiences like books, handouts, or PowerPoint presentations–now they can use the power of VR to take virtual tours of the monument, walking from space to space and seeing every detail of the carved stone.

The applications for VR in education are truly endless and open up an entirely new way of learning–with lesson formats that can literally bring students back in time for history class or transport them to different galaxies for science.…Read More

K-12 Students Access 100 Million+ Digital Books from their Schools with Sora Reading App

CLEVELAND – June 7, 2022 – Digital book access for reading and listening for K-12 students has reached a milestone. Students using the free Sora student reading app have now accessed more than 100 million books from their school’s digital collections since Sora launched in 2018. Sora is the award-winning student reading app available in more than 53,000 schools worldwide.

As schools transition to increased use of digital books and reading technologies, educators and school librarians are creatively integrating digital titles and Sora into curriculum programs and pleasure reading. For example, educators use Sora to connect students with their local public library for additional age-appropriate materials through Public Library CONNECT. Also, educators can create their own digital book clubs for students as well as encourage involvement in regional or global programs. Finally, educators can serve those with print or reading disabilities effectively via digital audio, and encourage students to spend more time reading by leveraging Sora’s badges and achievements.

Through Sora and a school-managed account, students have convenient and safe access to age-appropriate ebooks, audiobooks, digital comic books and more from their school’s hand-selected collection. Noteworthy data regarding the 100 million books milestone:…Read More

Poptential™ Digital Storytelling Makes Summer School Fun

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — (June 3, 2022) — Millions of high school students are expected to hit the books in summer school to help close the pandemic education gap, get a head start on a jam-packed schedule, or to repeat a failed class. As a result, teachers are looking for educational tools that engage students and help them compete with summer distractions.

“Summer school teachers have to work extra hard to keep students engaged,” said Julie Smitherman, who taught high school social studies for eight years and is now director of content management for Certell, Inc.’s  Poptential™ family of free social studies courses.

About 3.4 million students attended summer school in 2020, and as many as 40% were absent daily, according to ThinkImpact. One proven way to keep students engaged is through the use of pop culture media to illustrate key learning concepts.…Read More

What are your reasons to celebrate this school year?

We can all agree that the challenges we’ve seen in the last two years are unprecedented. However, when we consider all that’s happened and all that we’ve learned, there is also much to celebrate.

We can celebrate because students are back in school. We can celebrate the fact that libraries and librarians are in the spotlight. We can celebrate the fact superintendents no longer have to moonlight as meteorologists to call a snow day because we can deliver instruction virtually. 

We can’t forget specific challenges and controversies, though—we’ve argued about masks, vaccines, and books. Teachers are leaving the profession. Librarians are facing criminal consequences over their collections. District leaders are attempting to navigate an increasingly political landscape where it’s becoming nearly impossible to please everyone. …Read More

5 ways to support students’ access to diverse books

Access to diverse books positively impacts children as readers and as people. Having access to diverse texts helps children expand their vocabularies, deepens their understanding of language, provides opportunities for problem-solving, provides critical affirming experiences to students’ lives, and presents opportunities for students to learn about people with different lived experiences.

Students of all races, genders, religions, languages, abilities, interests, and beliefs should have opportunities to have affirmative literary experiences, where they see themselves reflected in the books they’re reading. These opportunities still do not exist today for many children.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center publishes research on books depicting characters from diverse backgrounds. The research showed that books included very low representation of primary characters for many backgrounds and experiences. According to this data, many students are more likely to encounter a book with a primary character who is an animal or other nonhuman character (29.2 percent of total books) than a book including a primary character who is Black/African (11.9 percent of total books), Asian/Asian American (8.7 percent of total books), Latinx (5.3 percent of total books), a person with a disability (3.4 percent of total books), or LGBTQIAP (3.1 percent of total books).…Read More

How UX classroom design empowers students

It’s the last day of summer break. You walk the halls, ducking your head into classrooms as you go. Each room looks ready for the year: inspiring quotes on walls, names on desks, chairs perfectly arranged. Every room except one, that is.

This particular room has boxes of books, containers of art supplies, and furniture pushed against the wall. You smile and move on, never doubting that this room will be one of the most creative, functional, and beloved rooms in just a few short days. It always is. 
 
How will it get there? The students will make it happen.

Why get students involved? …Read More

How Are Some Leaders Able to Connect With Their Communities, Followers, and Stakeholders in Ways That Others Struggle?

March 23, 2022 – Even with the deluge of leadership books on the market, a superintendent of a large school district and his colleague, the head of a prominent PR firm, still struggled to find a book that spoke to them. So they wrote one themselves. Dr. Quintin Shepherd and co-writer Sarah Williamson use their combined decades of experience in the education and corporate spheres to create a unique model for leadership that is anchored by compassion and a powerful new language. The Secret to Transformational Leadership presents the personal journeys of such professionals as a pediatric cancer specialist, a president of an innovative nonprofit, and a former investment banker who became an online entrepreneur.

The authors use their experiences to illustrate how we are at a precipice for real change in the way we perceive and enact leadership. This book offers practical advice about how to adopt a new language of leadership. And if we can help others think differently, ultimately, we can create a ripple effect of empathy, compassion, kindness, and a sense of purpose for our life’s work.

DR. QUINTIN SHEPHERD, a true visionary for the future of education, is the Superintendent at Victoria Independent School District in Victoria, Texas.  SARAH WILLIAMSON of SWPR Group works with leaders in education to create thoughtful public relations programs that promote growth, build momentum, and enhance learners’ academic success and overall well-being.…Read More