Articles from "Food for Thought":
A new school year is well underway, and if you work with struggling readers, there are bound to be new challenges. Perhaps you have different students than you expected, new records to keep, or a new schedule. If any of your problems involve implementing the Stevenson Reading Program in one way or another, do not forget that free consultation is available at 1-800-343-1211. Our office hours are M-F, 9-5 Eastern Time, and we are often in the office late. If a consultant is not available the moment you call, the office will make arrangements for a phone appointment. We are happy to help however we can.
If the Stevenson program is new to you, you are probably taking it in small doses to get used to it, particularly since it is early in the school year. While this is a normal human reaction, we encourage you to dive in. We are always here to help (800-343-1211), and your struggling readers definitely need something that will work. While you don't want to pressure students who have learning issues, both you and your students will learn a great deal about Stevenson from just doing it. Follow the directions but have fun. If you or your students feel confused, one of two things should happen: you can call us, even with the smallest question, and we will clear things up; or you will find that something that seems confusing one day becomes clear the next.
At two different workshops last spring, we heard a teacher say that research has shown that if a child does not learn to read using phonics by the end of third grade, they won't be able to learn by phonics. We do not believe this is true, and it could be a dangerous idea if many teachers begin to believe it.
It is almost impossible to keep up to date on all of the research in the field of reading, even if you are a specialist. However, we are not aware of any research that supports this idea about the ineffectiveness of
We have developed a new policy for offering free introductory workshops in order to make it easier for more people to learn about the Stevenson Program in depth. For many years we have gone to certain areas and offered a two-and-a-half hour workshop for free. These sessions are more than slide shows. They serve two essential purposes.
First, the introductory workshops thoroughly describe the methods that the Stevenson Program uses: why we choose these methods, how they address specific learning issues and how they differ from other programs.
While this change can seem small to those of us who may have learned to read easily, for struggling readers it can present a major challenge. In some cases, you will see students whose reading problems previously seemed minor begin to struggle and fail. So the transition from single syllable to multisyllable words needs to be made carefully.
Let us examine some of the assumptions behind some of these policies, and the consequences that follow. One assumption behind No Child Left Behind was that many educators just weren’t being held accountable. Another
The Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee is not a new idea. Other places, notably Florida, have encouraged similar policies, and, so far, the indications are positive. Those students who have been retained and received extra help are having greater success in later grades than similar students have in the past. Of course, as with most large policy initiatives, there are both positives and negatives, and the results are not conclusive. Without trying to analyze
All good intentions aside, however, the Common Core State Standards create some thorny issues. (See our editorial below for some of them). 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
[This article was carried over from the previous issue because of interest in this subject.]
Fluency is often a significant issue for struggling readers. Over the years there have been a variety of viewpoints on when and how to address this issue, so we thought we would share our perspective. You may have already encountered these points in some of our manuals, but, if you did not, we review them here in hopes of helping you make the most of your teaching time and effort.
Fluency is most usefully defined as accuracy plus speed. Reasonable fluency is important for good comprehension. If you sacrifice accuracy to gain speed, you will not improve comprehension. (Increasing speed without accuracy does not happen often, but can occur during some kinds of instruction.) Reading with "expression” is often