5 tips to help students master foundational skills

English language arts (ELA) standards identify a set of foundational skills students must master in their progression to becoming skilled readers. These skills include alphabet recognition, concepts of print, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, and fluency.

To effectively teach foundational skills within the classroom, educators need access to engaging materials that offer the right level of challenge for students and provide ease of usability. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of K-5 teachers use one or more high-quality ELA material for their classroom instruction due to common roadblocks like long adoption cycles and costs associated with the materials. But that statistic may soon change.

The pandemic left a lasting, negative impact on the American education system. K-5 student test scores plummeted in math and reading nationwide this year, erasing two decades of progress. Now, many teachers, schools, and districts want to reassess their foundational skills instruction.…Read More

Schools can do better than retaining struggling readers

Grade retention is ineffective and expensive, but 17 states and Washington, D.C. mandate it (and at least 12 more states allow it) for students who are not reading proficiently by grade 3. The best way to stop grade retention, whether you live in a state with laws mandating it or not, is to provide students with explicit, phonics-based literacy instruction rooted in the science of reading, beginning in kindergarten.

Here’s how schools and districts can help students begin learning to read on track and stay there to avoid retention.

Who Gets Retained?…Read More

New Research from Curriculum Associates: Student Achievement Shows Concerns and Bright Spots in Recovery—More Students Are Behind in Phonics but Some Schools Are Exceeding Expectations

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. — While more students are falling behind in foundational reading skills, some schools buck the trend with positive practice in the pandemic’s wake, according to new research released by Curriculum Associates today. 

The first report, The State of Student Learning in  2022, analyzes reading and mathematics data gathered from nearly two million Grades 1–8 students during the 2021–2022 school year via the edtech company’s i-Ready Assessment tool. In a second report, Keys to Unlocking Success, Curriculum Associates identified 301 schools across the country at which students are exceeding learning expectations and conducted research to understand how school leaders are ushering their students and schools toward recovery.  

“We’re beginning the third full academic year since the pandemic began, and many school communities are still grappling with the impact of the massive 2020 disruptions,” said Dr. Kristen Huff, vice president of assessment and research at Curriculum Associates. “The question is no longer if or howthe pandemic affected student learning, it is if and how it can recover. It is critical to grow our understanding of what measurable shifts have occurred in student learning as we have more distance from 2020 and more investment in recovery efforts.” …Read More

Arizona Department of Education Names 95 Percent Group an Approved K-3 Reading Improvement Program

Lincolnshire, Ill. – 95 Percent Group LLC, a leading provider of literacy solutions and instructional strategies for K-12 schools nationwide, announced today that the Arizona Department of Education approved its 95 Phonics Core Program™ as a supplemental literacy curriculum and its Phonological Awareness Lessons, Phonics Lesson Library™ and Phonics Chip Kit as early literacy intervention resources. Schools in Arizona can now find 95 Percent Group’s evidence-based products on their state list of reading improvement programs and begin using them immediately. 

The approval was based upon new, state-reviewed efficacy research confirming that 95 Percent Group’s foundational reading products meet Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Level 1-3 evidence requirement for reading instruction. The criteria were established by the Arizona Department of Education as part of its Move On When Reading initiative, an effort to provide all readers with specific, targeted instruction and interventions so that they are reading at or above grade level by the end of the 3rd grade. 

“95 Percent Group believes that evidence-based reading instruction is essential in schools. We have long invested in research that demonstrates the efficacy of our offerings,” said Brad Lindaas, Chief Executive Officer. “The Arizona Department of Education has been a key partner for us for many years, and today’s news will only strengthen our ability to support educators state-wide in promoting the development of early reading skills for all students. With this development, we expect it will be easier for more districts in Arizona to learn about and benefit from our evidence-based products,” he added. …Read More

Mississippi Department of Education Approves Curriculum Associates’ Programs as Evidence-Based Academic Interventions

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., August 3, 2021—The Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) Office of Student Intervention Services recently named a number of Curriculum Associates’ programs as approved academic interventions. Through this approval, which is valid until November 2025, schools across the state can confidently use i-Ready Assessment and Personalized Instruction, Ready Mississippi Reading and Mathematics, Teacher Toolbox for Ready Writing, and Phonics for Reading to support the academic needs of Tier II and Tier III students in Grades K–8.

“Addressing unfinished learning, especially for those students who need extra support, will be a top priority for all educators this coming school year,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “The recent approval from MDE reinforces the power of our evidence-based programs in supporting educators with this task of driving meaningful instruction, which will be key as they work to accelerate learning.”

The Office of Intervention Services supports educators and parents who are working with struggling learners, including English Learners. As part of the Office’s review of academic interventions, all approved programs had to be evidence based as well as demonstrate face-to-face, virtual, or hybrid learning components that help improve students’ deficit areas.…Read More

Super Duper Publications Provides Unique Educational Materials for PreK-5 Distance Learning and Teletherapy

Distance learning has become a staple of our current educational system. With the launching of its new Digital Library, which includes more than 340 resources to support distance learning and teletherapy, educational publisher Super Duper Publications is leading the way in providing online learning materials for young students.

This unique Library:

  • Has more than 340 instructional games, cards, and worksheets for educators and parents to use with PreK-Grade 5 students
  • Is updated with additional materials and features weekly
  • Targets specific skills – basic concepts, literacy, grammar, social skills, critical thinking, sequencing, listening, early skills, phonemic awareness, memory, motor skills, sensory integration, phonics, reading, and more.
  • Offers both short and longer activities to benefit students with limited attention spans
  • Is web-based for easy accessibility at school or home
  • Can be used in-person in a classroom
  • Works on a desktop, laptop, or digital whiteboard, as well as on mobile devices such as a Chromebook, tablet or smartphone.
  • Complies with State and Common Core educational standards

“When the pandemic hit, all education shifted online,” said Thomas Webber, chairman of Super Duper. “Nowadays, educators need easy-to-access resources that they can use with students during distance learning and online special education/speech therapy sessions. Parents are also looking for easy-to-understand materials that their children can use during at-home learning. We created this online Digital Library of our most popular print materials, so that educators and parents would have access to the learning materials their children need.”…Read More

Supporting emerging readers with home based literacy instruction

To help educators support emerging readers at home, multisensory phonics system Square Panda is offering a complimentary site license through 7/31/2020 and free Home Edition Playsets, valued at $49.95, for participating families (while supplies last).

The School to Home Engagement program is designed to provide quality literacy instruction and support so the student can work independently at home. It’s fun for students, easy for parents, and provides feedback in the Teacher Dashboard so their teachers can stay connected and provide support—even when they can’t be with the student.

To support your emerging readers at home, our complimentary offer includes:…Read More

12 ed-tech tools to try this term

The school year is in full swing, so it’s time to kick things into high gear and push learning to a whole new level. Online technology tools can be an incredible asset in the classroom, enhancing the learning experience for students and making the teaching experience more pleasant and less stressful. Check out these ed-tech tools that you should definitely consider bringing into the classroom this term.

Sight Words
Sight words are those words that a child should memorize in order to help them learn how to read and write. And, the most effective way to learn those words is through repetition using flashcards and word-focused games. Sight Words helps you to supplement phonics learning through a series of lessons, flashcards and games.

Quizalize
Just because you’re doing a quiz, doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while you’re doing it. And, on Quizalize, every quiz you find has been created to be both educational and fun. Teams of students can join forces in competition, while a live dashboard allows teachers to see each student’s strengths and who needs the most help from you.…Read More

School Specialty unveils intervention program for low-level readers

Interactive intervention tool aims to engage learners in a digital classroom

According to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress — the Nation’s Report Card — only about 35 percent of U.S. fourth and eighth graders perform at the “proficient” level in reading.

To help schools close the achievement gap with students performing significantly below grade level, EPS Literacy and Intervention, a division of School Specialty, announced the debut of iSPIRE, an interactive reading intervention program incorporates phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency to accelerate literacy skill development for the lowest performing students in grades PreK-8.

iSPIRE is powered by Exploros, a streamlined online teaching platform designed to connect teachers to students in a digitally transformed classroom with the teacher at the center of mastery based instruction.…Read More

App of the week: Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from Graphite by Common Sense Media. Click here to read the full app review.

 

hooked-phonics-appWhat it’s like: Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition includes 12 steps; each teaches rimes and letter sounds to help kids build words. Within each step, videos with catchy songs introduce letter sounds and sight words, and games help kids build words using onsets and rimes. Kids practice reading immediately, starting with step one, using the three ebooks that correspond with each step.
Price: $49.99
Grades: Pre-K-1
Pros: Rich resource includes a full phonics curriculum for an entire class of students.
Cons: Hefty price tag could put it out of reach of some teachers.
Bottom line: Thorough, high-quality phonics program offers impressive benefits for emerging readers.
…Read More