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My Student Can't Read the Lowest Book - A Case Study

At Read Side by Side we frequently hear teachers say, “Several of my students cannot read the lowest book club selection.” This matter-of-fact statement, tinged with disappointment, is often followed by permission to move to an easier text, one outside the three book club selections, but closely aligned to the students’ reading level. The assumption behind the teacher’s statement and request is the belief that students can best succeed when they are properly matched to just the right text. Yet, several researchers suggest that there is no such thing as the just right text and there is little or no research to support the practice of carefully matching children to texts, especially in the upper grades.

Why Assess Reading Motivation?

Educators like to measure things. We regularly measure a student’s reading level, his growth in...

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Teaching

The Read Side by Side Reading Program, a curriculum for teaching reading in grades 3-6, is designed...

What Is Assessment?

  At the roots, an assessment is an inference about a child’s progress based on the collected...

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...

Teaching Online: Paring Back Instruction & Limiting Technology

Publishers, organizations, and non-profits have provided a wealth of materials, links, software,...

On-Line School During COVID-19: 4 Things I Learned

My daughters’ school district launched online learning last week, only to be shut down by the state...

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...

5 Tips for Making Running Records Work in Your Classroom

For years I have used running records in my classroom, both formally and informally.  These...

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...

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...

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...

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...

How to Group Students for Reading

FAQ: I have a question about how to group students for reading. Currently we are using a...

Tips for Better Book Club Discussions

How do you get your students to talk during book club discussions? Sarah Collinge, author of the C....

Assigned Reading or Free Choice? The Illusion of Choice

Should students’ reading in school be assigned or left to free choice? Before choice can be...

The Conflict Between Differentiation and Scaffolding

What is the difference between differentiation and scaffolding?  While educators have long defined...

Setting Up the Classroom Library

Setting up the classroom library can be a daunting process. How do you organize books? Do you focus...

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...

Making Inferences: 6 Essential Strategies

How do you help students make inferences while reading? Learn six essential strategies for...

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...

Hooked on C. I. A.: Reflections on the Year

My CIA experience this year was AMAZING!  My students are hooked on the CIA reading program!  Here...

Janet's Year End Review - Looking Back

It’s hard to believe another school year is complete.  This year will be one that I always remember...

Sarah's Year End Review

The students and I know our classroom would have been a very different place without CIA this year.

Book Clubs in 3rd Grade

Forming the Groups When I heard that there were going to be book clubs that partnered up with the...

Glory Be: Charts and Vocabulary

“But it was so much fun!” This was in response (from my most busy girl) to a very long catch-up...

City of Ember Writing

The last 5th grade CIA unit is the City of Ember written by Jeanne DuPrau.  It is about a...

Charts with Children of the Gold Rush

This is my first time teaching 4.4, Children of the Gold Rush, and I’m really enjoying it! My...

Teaching Genre with Glory Be

After we came back from Spring Break, we started our final CIA unit of the school year, Glory Be. I...

Background Knowledge for Streams to the River

We are starting Streams to the River this month just as we are finishing our Native American unit...

4th Grade Writers

Writing is a big part of the CIA program as it gives students a chance to think deeper about a...

Kids at Work

My students are reading the fourth unit of study, Kids at Work by Russell Freedman.  Like the other...

Historical Fiction - Chains

My class will begin reading Chains in January. There are a couple of things I think about, one the...

MLK and Writing

Well, we are finally halfway through Martin Luther King Jr.’s biography! It feels like we’ve been...

Background Knowledge in Streams

One reason I love the third CIA unit for 4th grade, Streams to the River, River to the Sea, is the...

Student Engagement

Well, I sit here trying to figure out what to write about engagement. I have never used a...

The C. I. A. Approach in The War with Grandpa

I cannot believe we are in the process of wrapping up the writing project that follows our read...

Castle in the Attic with Janet Erickson

My students are really into Castle in the Attic!  We have almost reached the end of the second...

The Holes Unit of Study

Our second unit of study for 5th grade is Holes.  Students are always excited to begin this book...

Book Club with Janet Erickson

The Book Clubs are so much fun.  Every student is reading, talking about their book, or writing...

Vocab Handbooks

One part of the CIA program that I really enjoy is the vocabulary handbooks.  This is a great way...

Vocabulary Handbook

At the end of each CIA unit of study are the pages of the Vocabulary Handbook.  I make sure that...

Castle in the Attic C. I. A.

Beginning Castle in the Attic As a grade level we have to rotate CIA units so this year I started...

Turn and Talk - Hilary Cullen

Sentence Stems The use of stems in my classroom has completely changed the way I look at student...

Writing - Finishing Poppy

Poppy is Over  :-( Every single student in my classroom can now say that they have read a chapter...

C. I. A.: Poppy in Sarah Linington's Class

Beginning the CIA Unit We started the unit of study for Poppy after two weeks of Patricia Polacco...

Poppy: C. I. A. in the 3rd Grade Classroom

Updates I’d like to start this blog with a few updates since my last blog. In my blog,...

Earthquake Terror Unit of Study

In 5th grade, our first CIA unit is Earthquake Terror written by Peg Kehret.  It is an exciting...

Classroom Setup - Ryan Painter

I have spent the final days of summer going over how I will start the year as we all normally do...

Classroom Setup - Dawn Smith

My Classroom Setup I’ve come to look at setting up my classroom as my chance to be an Interior...