Blog

No More Leveled Classroom Libraries

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 09-Aug-2015
I've talked to several first year teachers this weekend who asked for ideas for setting up a classroom library. Here are some pictures of libraries I've seen in some outstanding literacy-based classrooms. The classroom library should be a focal point of the room. Notice in the pictures that texts are arranged so that students will be drawn to them. Read More »

Using a Song of the Week to Practice Close Reading

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 03-Mar-2015
Close reading is the practice of reading carefully and purposefully in order to understand the author’s message. Students need a lot of varied practice using reading comprehension strategies in order to become proficient at close reading. Using a song-of-the-week is a fun way you can provide on-going practice. Read More »

Making Inferences

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 27-Jan-2015
Teaching students to use metacognitive reading skills to understand an author’s message can be challenging if instruction and practice isn’t carefully planned. Read More »

Teaching Students to Develop a Theme or Thesis

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 07-Jan-2015
One of the hardest skills a developing writer must learn is how to establish and convey a message about their experience, topic or belief. In narratives, there must be a theme. In expository and persuasive writing, a central or controlling idea serves as the thesis or position statement. The writing must be focused from the beginning to the end on this message. The writing of so many students in elementary, middle, and high school lack a clear message or ramble on with only broad references to a focused message. Obviously, the message or big idea hasn’t been planned and developed to achieve the writer’s purpose and audience needs. Many students are writing to comply with teacher directives rather than to share authentic ideas for a specific audience. Read More »

Teaching Students to Analyze Author's Craft

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 07-Jan-2015
The ability to analyze an author's work is the heart and soul of the being an active, strategic reader. On state tests, simply being able to summarize and answer basic retelling questions is a thing of the past. Proficient readers use the author's craft to understand the message and make connections to their lives and the world. Students need teachers to show them how to think about the author's use of literary elements, text structures, point-of-view, and word choice. Read More »

What's the Word? What's the Topic?

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 30-Nov-2014

A few weeks ago, during a small group reading observation, I watched a group of five learning-disabled students struggle with key vocabulary in a reading passage. While the goal of the group was to develop comprehension, it was clear that these learners needed a strategy and practice for decoding new words. Here is an easy-to-implement strategy that can be used to warm-up for reading group.

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