Slowing the Summer Slide–Part I: Literacy

summer slide, reading, literacySummer is nearly here!

While kids may be rejoicing about the prospect of a summer break, parents and educators may wonder what they can do to combat the dreaded “Summer Slide”–a time when many students lose or forget the skills they learned during the school year.

As all educators know, kids who are already below grade level in their reading are especially at risk when summer break hits.

Summertime and the Reading Is Easy?

During the school year, struggling readers may receive more hands-on help from teachers and supplemental digital programs like Imagine Language & Literacy. But all bets are off once kids leave for the summer break.

For one thing, not all parents have the luxury of being at home with kids during the summer months.

What’s more–daycare, summer camps, and even summer school can be expensive for a lot of families. Even parents who work may not have the means to fight the summer slide in the traditional ways.

So, what’s a parent to do? Read more »

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Learning Out Loud: Readers Theater for Struggling Readers

 

Curtains Up leveled book, Imagine Language & Literacy If you have a struggling reader in your classroom, you already know how that student feels about reading anything out loud.

And yet, reading out loud is one of the best ways to improve students’ oral fluency.

For instance, within Imagine Language & Literacy, struggling readers gain confidence as they read and repeat text from leveled books and regularly participate in activities like Fluent Reader. What’s more, when teachers listen back to the recordings, they can easily track student progress toward oral fluency.

But Readers Theater can be another way to engage struggling readers and help them read aloud–with expression.

Why a Readers Theater?

If all the world’s a stage, then every classroom can be transformed into a theater–in this case, a Readers Theater, which: Read more »

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¡Canciones! The Music of Imagine Español

Imagine Español Pin Pon songHave you ever caught yourself humming the tune to a song you heard years ago? If so, you’ve tapped into the power of music and long-term memory.

The fact is, music makes learning stick. Just ask a neuroscientist. But first: a word or two on long-term memory.

Inherent to long-term memory are explicit (or declarative) and implicit (non-declarative) memory. If you consciously think of a specific memory, you’re tapping into explicit/declarative memory. By contrast, implicit/non-declarative memory requires no conscious effort.

When the brain is exposed to music and words together, that information becomes a part of the brain’s explicit and implicit memory. This helps explain why dementia patients who seemingly have little or no explicit memory can still remember tunes and words to songs they knew decades earlier.

Imagine Learning designers recognize that developing brains are open to myriad learning cues from an early age. In a semi-literal way, young brains are like sponges as they soak up information from multiple sources.

That’s why during the development of Imagine Español learning activities, designers worked closely with musicians, actors, and sound engineers to create an optimal learning environment–one in which music plays a critical role. Read more »

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Literary Halloween Costumes for Every Book Lover

Halloween time is here. Is your costume ready to go?

If you’re a book lover, you can answer that question in the affirmative, thanks to our book-inspired Halloween costumes!

Costumes from Childhood Books

When seeking inspiration for a literary Halloween costume, no need to look further than the books you loved as a child. Here are a few basics:

  • Fairytales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and so on)
  • Dr. Seuss (Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who)
  • Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach)
  • Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, etc.)

Wolf and Red Riding Hood costumes, Imagine Learning, literary, HalloweenRapunzel in her tower, Halloween costume Read more »

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A Guide to Math Picture Books in the Classroom

I Hate Mathematics book, Imagine This blog, Big Brainz, math factsIf you’re an elementary teacher, you’ve probably seen these two kinds of students in your classroom:

  1. Students who understand and enjoy math.
  2. Students who are frustrated by math because they don’t understand it.

It’s your job to help those in the second group find their way into the first group. Luckily, picture books about math can really help.

The ‘Why’ of Math Picture Books

It’s human nature to enjoy stories. By relating to a character who feels the way they do, students can gain the confidence to move through their own challenges–both in and outside the classroom.

Even more importantly, there’s a tangible link between reading and math. It stands to reason that doing one can help the other.

When teachers use picture books containing math themes (either implicit or explicit), they offer students a contextualized experience with mathematics generally.

Plus, a good story can comfort the heart of any student who’s afraid of math. Read more »

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