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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Represent, Act, Engage: How Universal Design for Learning Works

NAEYC Week of the Young Child 2016 Imagine Learning print concepts ABC song (space theme) from free the aliensPeeked inside a typical classroom lately? If so, you’re likely to see one teacher surrounded by an increasingly diverse group of students–each with unique learning needs.

What’s more, that ‘typical’ classroom is filled with students who are anything but typical.

Colombia activity, Imagine Learning EspañolFor one thing, there’s really no such thing as an average student.

Each class might contain students who struggle with reading or math, students who don’t yet speak English, and students with disabilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the gifted students who may need more challenges to stay engaged.

How on earth can one teacher meet the needs of all these diverse learners? 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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Imagine Learning Talks About the Common Core Standards

Common Core, Imagine Learning, state standards, advocates, opponents, CCSS, benefits, classroom, assessments, tests, fact or fictionAt Imagine Learning, we’re quite familiar with the variety of opinions surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Although our own programs are aligned with multiple state standards (and not just the CCSS), we know what most educators are thinking on the subject. Here, we share a few of our findings.

What the Data Say

In August of 2015 a nationwide PDK/Gallup poll revealed that a majority of respondents oppose the teaching of Common Core. Interestingly, black and Hispanic respondents showed a lower level of opposition, at just 35 and 50 percent respectively.

In an earlier (2013) poll by PDK/Gallup, 72 percent of those polled indicated that they trust public school educators. But the same respondents also assume most educators oppose the CCSS, a view not aligned with the data.

In reality, 75 percent of educators support CCSS standards. Read more »

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