Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's My Secret to Powerful and Effective Teaching?

 As the Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach for my school, I am responsible for determining the needs of the teachers and students and providing instruction and support to meet those needs.

Sometimes it seems a bit daunting as everyone needs something different.

I have kindergarten students who were struggling to learn letters and sounds, first graders who knew very little sight words and second graders who couldn't decode multi-syllable words.  I have new teachers and experienced teachers. How can I help all of them in one training session or collaboration meeting?

My diagnostic training has taught me to look for patterns.  So where's the pattern in the examples listed above?  Read them again. Do you see it?

Here's what I discovered as I worked with these students.

The kindergarten student had no preschool experience and only knew 4 letters.  She couldn't even identify all of the letters in her name.  She hadn't learned how to learn.

The first grader who knew only knew a few words hadn't learned how to learn.

The second graders who couldn't decode multi-syllable words were just looking at the first part and maybe the last part of the word and guessing.  They hadn't learned how to decode left to right through the words.

The teachers were reviewing  letters and sight words over and over and providing multiple opportunities to practice so why weren't the children improving?

I worked with the kindergarten and first grade students individually and trained their brains on how to learn more effectively.  I systematically taught the second graders how to decode left to right through words.  It's all about metacognition and making it relevant to children.

In my next blog, I'll tell you exactly what I did with each student and how the students are doing now.

Thanks for reading!


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