Articles from "Food for Thought":
Some students transfer automatically, others must be guided.
We are sometimes asked about the following situation. Students fail to learn to read after several years of instruction while using several different interventions. Then they are put into the Stevenson Program and they begin to read effectively and consistently. However, they do not transfer their skills to other materials. In these other materials, the students do not successfully read the same words they read frequently in Stevenson. If this has happened to your students, we have some simple solutions.
First, make sure your students are comfortable. Children who have previously failed often sometimes become attached to the specific book (in this case a Stevenson reading book) in which they read successfully. It is almost as if
Most educators can’t escape the issue
If you are tired of hearing about the common core standards, we don’t blame you. However, the adoption, or lack of adoption, of the standards is affecting almost all public educators, at least to some extent. If you would like to know more about the relationship between the Stevenson Reading Program and the relevant Common Core Standards, you can click here to read more. If you would like a wider perspective, we recommend a recent issue of
Making the most out of the last few weeks of school
Some schools systems will wrap up their academic year as soon as May 21, some will finish a full month later and most will finish in between those dates. Whether you have seven more weeks or only two, you still have time to do something important for your students – let them feel success.
Most of you reading this newsletter are working with struggling readers. By this point in the school year, it is clear what aspects of reading most confuse each student. If you are not using the Stevenson Program, you probably think it is too late to try Stevenson to alleviate a student’s struggles. It is not. We can show you how. If you are already using Stevenson, you have probably found your students are doing quite well with most things, but still laboring with
We wish you a wonderful holiday season. Teachers, who are often parents as well, are used to taking care of others, so don't forget - take care of yourself too. Get some rest. Have some fun.
Lessons 15 through 19 of the Basic Blue Core Manual establish a foundation for all the suffix work that is woven into the remainder of the Stevenson Program. While the essential concept of adding suffixes to words is reviewed several times at different points in the program, your instruction will proceed more smoothly if students really master Lessons 15-19 before covering much more of the Blue Level. Stevenson makes the whole process of adding suffixes easier to understand by making these phonics elements more concrete and more memorable. For example, students scrape off one kind of frosting from their layer cake words and then add a different flavor. However, if your students have very significant learning problems, the transition from single syllable (one-beat) words to two syllables (beats)
In the Spring of 2013, we wrote an article about some of the teaching issues that arise when struggling readers encounter the Common Core Standards. Of course, we are not the only ones to have concerns in this area, and this topic is undoubtedly going to be an ongoing subject of discussion. Education Week recently published a multi-part report entitled, "Diverse Learners and the Common Core." You might be interested in the whole report, but we particularly liked the piece called "Common Core's Promise Collides with IEP Realities." In the article many educators seemed worried about cognitively impaired pupils in particular. However, some degree of conflict exists between the standards and the needs of any atypical learner. Consider dyslexic students, children with ADHD and pupils with auditory processing issues. They all require some amount of special instruction. We are not suggesting that high standards be abandoned, only that the standard bearers need to consider the needs of all learners. If you would like to check out the Education Week article, click here.
We recently posted a new, simple assessment tool that you can use with students who are following the Overlapping Strategy. This startegy is an approach to starting the Stevenson Program. It covers key information from the first level of the program and teaches it concurrently with the second level (thus "overlapping" the content of the two levels). The Overlapping Strategy is usually used with struggling readers at the upper elementary or middle/high school level - students who don't need to repeat letter level phonics, and who have at least a small amount of reading skill already. The assessments are simply a few word lists used to help you determine which phonics elements are most problematic for the student. Along with the lists and directions, you will find some suggestions for varying the pace and emphasis of your instruction as you move through the materials. This new teaching tool can be found under the "Teaching Resources" section of this website (fourth item), or you can simply click here and print it.
A national movement has been underway for several years now with a with a perfectly reasonable goal: to develop common core educational standards that will apply nationally, rather than have fifty different sets of standards from each state to which educators and publishers must adjust. These are intended to be minimum standards, not complete specifications for all curricula at all levels. They are also not intended to preclude local decision making.
All good intentions aside, however, the Common Core State Standards create some thorny issues. We won’t try to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of the CCSS in this article. However, we thought we would make a few points that might help teachers who are using, or want to start using, the