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My Ladder of Reading & Writing – A Synopsis of the Update!

 The Ladder of Reading & Writing  On November 16, 2021, my updated Ladder of Reading (now called Ladder of Reading & Writing ) was unveiled. This took place at an online LIVE REVEAL event hosted by Dr. Jan Hasbrouck and organized by Read Washington (technical support provided by  Step by Step Learning ).  (Credit – and thanks – to Amy Fleisher from Read Washington for her wonderful publicity!) The HUGE response both before and after the unveiling made clear there would be value in my writing a blog post providing an overview of the changes.  What follows is a summary of the changes, similar to what I presented at the exciting LIVE REVEAL on the 16th. As on that night, I will not be discussing in detail all that grounds the new Ladder of Reading & Writing . Instead, I direct readers to view some of the vast amount of supporting research in links to books and articles and in documents (summarizing research) accessed via my website. More will be available as soon as I have t

Differentiation (Part 2): Effective Instruction Depends on Pre-existing Skills

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" All students deserve instruction that is clear, accessible, rigorous and relevant"  (Bondi et al., 2019, p. 357) As an educator, I have always been resolute that schools must provide effective instruction for students who experience learning challenges. Over the last two decades, the needs of students having difficulty learning to read, spell, and write have became more and more the focus of my teaching practice - and my own learning.  Yet my ongoing devotion to, and understanding of, children who struggle is not because my own children had any learning difficulties. On the contrary, both my children were reading before kindergarten. They were also advanced in spelling and writing. (This despite my lack of knowledge back then, as a young mom, of the research on how children learn to read!) Once my children began school, the biggest issue was that they were often under-challenged. My husband and I watched with dismay as our children were given extensive (and very repetitive)

Differentiation: The Key to Serving ALL Students Climbing the Ladder of Reading

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Changes to reading instruction are happening! In recent years, and especially over the last year, countless educators have begun to learn about the body of research known as " the science of reading ". The needs of children who struggle have been receiving a lot of attention from classroom teachers - and rightly so! For many of these educators, this has meant embracing a new way of teaching reading, replacing ineffective strategies such as being "taught" to read by guessing based on the picture. Teachers are eagerly sharing their new ways of teaching on various social media platforms, posting videos of their lessons, posting photos of detailed lesson plans, and writing detailed descriptions of their new teaching. Enthusiasm radiates!  Having put so much effort over so many years advocating for teachers to teach reading based on the research, I should be cheering from the rooftops on a daily basis!  Yet, at times I am worried.  What about the current wave of change