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Learning Out Loud: Readers Theater for Struggling Readers

  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:
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Rhyme and Repeat: 5 Poetry Activities Kids Will Love

The cow jumped over the moon ... Hey diddle diddle ... You already finished the rhyme, didn't you. Ever wondered why those childhood poems stick in your brain? The answer is simple. Rhymes and poems have a beat. At its essence, poetry is the most kinesthetic of all written forms. We can dance to it, sing to it, and feel to it. Poetry and rhyming tap into each listener's heart and soul in ways that other texts may miss. Jabberwocky From an educational view, poetry also fosters social and emotional growth. Sharing poetry also builds a sense of community within a group of listeners and fosters creativity. Poems are great avenues for self-expression--among all cultures and languages. Students who don't speak English in the classroom can still listen to, read, or write a poem in their own language. Poetry is universal! Test it for yourself by reading the following lines aloud: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. Thus begins one of the most beloved of children's poems, "Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll (from Alice Through the Looking Glass, and What She Saw There, 1872). National Poetry Month may be nearing an end; but luckily, you can use poetry in the classroom all year round. Simply rhyme and repeat any of these activities in your class!
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Imagine Learning That's Fun: Week of the Young Child 2016

Every year, the National Association for Education of the Young Child (NAEYC) celebrates early learners, parents, and teachers through a week-long celebration called the Week of the Young Child. This year's celebration will be April 11–15, 2016, and all children throughout the country are invited to celebrate! In keeping with tradition, every day during WOYC has a special theme: Music Monday - encourages children to enjoy songs, dances, rhythms, and movement at home and at school. Taco Tuesday - inspires kids and family members to prepare and eat healthy foods and stay physically fit. This day is really about more than just tacos! Work Together Wednesday - gives children an opportunity to work together to build something fun--from any material, indoors or out. Artsy Thursday - allows kids to use their own creativity and imaginations as they create an art project. Family Friday - brings families together and invites kids to show and tell their family stories. Teachers, students, and parents can use their ingenuity to come up with projects and activities for all ages to enjoy. This is a great time to involve even the youngest children in your family or your class!
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4 ways to kick off your summer a little early

For many teachers, summer break is already here. But if you're one of the lucky few with a couple weeks of school left, there's no need to be jealous. Instead, get a little creative and make it through the next few weeks by kicking off your summer a little early. Try these guilt-free summer planning activities:
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Small steps with big effects

Have you ever done something you considered to be insignificant, only to find out later that it had a much greater impact than you thought? A couple of years ago I posted a video of "The Opposite Song" on YouTube. It was a song that helped children learn the concept of opposites. The video was part of a television program I helped produce here at Imagine Learning called Imagine Island. The show was designed to help English learners and pre-K kids learn the alphabet, build vocabulary, and master the basics of literacy. We created 26 half-hour episodes -- one for each letter of the alphabet. In recent months I realized that "The Opposite Song"  had been viewed over 20,000 times. This was quite surprising, as I hadn't really emailed the link to anyone or promoted it in any way. As the total views for the video continued to increase, we began receiving comments from viewers who used the video in their classrooms.  It was exciting to know that teachers were finding our video and putting it to use. But that fact was really driven home last week when I received a video response to "The Opposite Song."
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