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October 8 2020

Why Assess Reading Motivation?

Educators like to measure things. We regularly measure a student’s reading level, his growth in reading ability, his skills in decoding, fluency and comprehension. From all these assessments we hope to know our students better and improve instruction. The one thing we typically fail to measure is motivation, yet the research indicates that motivation plays a significant role in how well students learn to read and in how much they read (Toste, Didion, Peng, Filderman, & McClelland, 2020).

August 27 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Teaching

The Read Side by Side Reading Program, a curriculum for teaching reading in grades 3-6, is designed to teach students how to access longer, more complex text and increase their interest and motivation to read.  As schools shift from in-person instruction to virtual instruction, these goals are even more important.  There are several reasons for this:

June 5 2020

What Is Assessment?

  At the roots, an assessment is an inference about a child’s progress based on the collected samples of that child’s behavior and thinking.  The quality of a teacher’s inferences about a child can be determined by the reliability and validity of the data.  If the assessment is reliable, the data collected is both accurate and consistent.  A valid assessment measures the right attributes of reading so that the inferences lead the teacher to the right conclusions and actions.

April 9 2020

Reducing the COVID-Slide by Looking at Summer Slide Research

A growing number of states have now closed schools for the rest of the year.  Such closures have caused many to wonder, “Will students fall behind in reading ability?”  We believe the data on summer reading loss can help us project the answer.  In this blog article, we will inform you of that research and provide strategies for reducing the COVID-slide.

March 27 2020

Teaching Online: Paring Back Instruction & Limiting Technology

Publishers, organizations, and non-profits have provided a wealth of materials, links, software, video tutorials, and products to support online learning in the wake of COVID-19.  The outpouring of resources has been impressive, but sifting through these mass amounts of learning materials has left teachers (and parents) overwhelmed and fatigued. 

March 10 2020

Mature Topics and Books in the Program

Are you reviewing the student books in the Read Side by Side Reading Program? All texts in the program have been thoroughly read and reviewed by our staff.  In this blog you will learn how titles were selected, what our criterion was for selecting (and not selecting) certain titles.  You will also be alerted to titles in the program that might be considered mature content.

Books in the Read Side by Side Reading Program have been selected for their quality, exposing all students to award-winning, rich literature.  Texts are selected according to:

October 2 2018

GENRE-FICATION: A Librarian's 5-Step Guide to Increasing Reading Motivation

GENRE-FICATION is a trend to make libraries more like bookstores, and it is transforming student motivation and interest in reading!  School librarian, Stephanie Davis, shares the 5 steps she took to switch from the Dewey Decimal System to a library organized by genre, and tells why she would never go back!

September 7 2018

Do Reading Comprehension Assessments Deliver What They Promise?

It is likely that your school district is trying to find an assessment tool to beef up its reading program and insure greater success on your state’s high stakes test. The search may have taken them to STAR Reading 360, I-Ready Adaptive Assessment Systems or the MAP Reading and Growth Skills Tests. All of these tests are a new breed of assessments, computer adaptive tests that promise far more than they can deliver. It is not their shortcomings that raise the greatest concern, it their incompatibility with what we know about reading comprehension and what we know about instruction that is troubling. In this blog article, Dr. Peter Dewitz discusses assessment and the Read Side by Side Reading Program.

July 27 2018

Better Readers, Avid Readers—What Should the Goal of Literacy Instruction Be?

For most educators the goal of reading instruction is to create better readers. For some better means a score on a standardized test, the 75% percentile. To others better means a higher reading level, a 5.0 GLE, a level 40 in fourth grade or meeting specific standards. All assume that the work of reading instruction is to develop a student’s expertise, to be better at it. In this blog article, Dr. Peter Dewitz explores the question—What should the goal of literacy instruction be?

June 29 2018

Climbing the Literacy Summit, Eatonville Elementary

The following is a case study, presented by Dr. Peter Dewitz, that demonstrates the impact of the Read Side by Side Reading Program on one struggling, priority school.  Learn how they climbed the literacy summit and were awarded 'School of Distinction' in 2017.

May 1 2018

The Pull of The Chapter Book

How does a child know that he or she has become a good reader? When you talk to children about reading, you find out that they have their own reading milestones—the first time they read a book, the first time they read a chapter book, and the first time they read a longer book, like Harry Potter.

March 21 2018

How to Group Students for Reading

FAQ: I have a question about how to group students for reading. Currently we are using a walk-to-read structure but will be switching curriculums to the Read Side By Side Reading Program. Is it okay if we keep our walk-to-read model with this program?

March 8 2018

3 Must-Haves for a K-2 Reading Program

Selecting a reading program for the primary grades can be overwhelming with so many aspects to consider.   Bethany Robinson offers 3 must-haves for your K-2 reading program, based on her 14 years of experience working in high-needs schools.

December 11 2017

The Conflict Between Differentiation and Scaffolding

What is the difference between differentiation and scaffolding?  While educators have long defined these strategies as being almost identical, they are, in fact, in sharp contrast to one another.  Differentiation adjusts the text to the child, while scaffolding enables the child to read and comprehend at a higher level.  

August 20 2017

Why Books? -- What Books Can Do That Passages Can’t

In this blog article, Peter Dewitz explains, the goal of reading instruction is not to move from level to level, but to develop our appreciation and skill with written language, to learn to think, and to foster our humanity. Books can do this; passages can’t.

June 22 2017

Making Inferences: 6 Essential Strategies

How do you help students make inferences while reading? Learn six essential strategies for inference generation that are sure to increase comprehension for even your most struggling readers!

May 1 2017

How Research Explains the Design of the Read Side by Side Reading Program

What should you be looking for in a research based reading program?  In this blog, learn about how motivation, comprehension strategies, text structure, and transfer of training make the Read Side by Side Reading Program the perfect choice for your next reading adoption!

March 16 2017

Reading Test Prep: 6 Things You Are Already Doing

 This is the time of year when teachers start to feel anxious about reading test prep for the upcoming high-stakes state assessments. No matter how effective your teaching has been all school year long, testing season raises doubts in teachers’ minds about whether or not they have done enough to prepare their students for state tests.

March 9 2017

Reading Stamina: The Wrong Goal

I recently received an email from ReadWorks with the subject line, “Build Reading Stamina With Longer Passages.” My next email was from the Fantastic Mr. Fox advertising newly designed chicken coops. This blog is not a specific attack on the website ReadWorks, or other sites offering passages for reading instruction, but an examination of reading stamina and its place as a goal of reading instruction. I will argue that focusing reading instruction on passages, because they emulate what students encounter on high stakes tests, is a mistake. Making reading stamina a primary goal in your classroom is also a mistake. The solution to the problem is not more or longer passages, but books, yes books, poems, articles, newspapers, and websites that incite the imagination and stimulate curiosity. 

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