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

" 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

A win-win! Weaving movement into learning the secrets of the code

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Attention educators! Attention parents! Attention health professionals! We are missing a golden opportunity! Consider that reading is the most important skill a child will learn at school ( Adams et al. ) and that children benefit from systematic instruction that teaches the connections between letters and sounds ( Buckingham & Castles ). Consider that children must be able to decode to be able to comprehend text ( Simple View of Reading) and that  many repetitions  may be needed to achieve reading/spelling mastery of the code ( Ladder of Reading ) – more repetitions than some published programs allow for ( Denton ). AND... Consider that ALL children need to move more !   ( CACAP ) Consider those students who especially need opportunities to move , especially those with ADHD and   DCD . Consider that students K-3 are young children and young children naturally want to move ! Currently, there is abundant research i