Reading Aloud—So Much More Than Sharing a Story


A regular read-aloud routine is wonderful for bonding and instilling a love of literature—but reading to children does so much more, from building vocabulary to fostering overall language development.Since younger children are generally only able to decode a more limited number of words, hearing words is highly impactful in expanding their vocabulary, and reading aloud can help them gain this auditory exposure. As children mature and learn to read themselves, they will be introduced to new vocabulary on their own—but older children enjoy being read to as well! It may be that a book on a high-interest topic is just beyond [...]

Reading Aloud—So Much More Than Sharing a Story2021-10-05T13:03:44+00:00

Familiar Games…With a Twist


While keeping up with learning is important during this uncertain time, it’s also essential for families to focus on stress management. Games can be a great way to keep minds active and have some fun along the way. Participation in games can improve students’ memory and communication, as well as engage them to read words, think about vocabulary, and hone their spelling skills. Use games you have around the house to play together. This is a time to get creative with the rules—or even throw the rules out! Many game pieces on their own can be used to promote reading [...]

Familiar Games…With a Twist2021-10-05T13:00:52+00:00

Literacy Home Activities for Young Learners


As we remain inside during these uncertain times, caregivers have become teachers—and Commonwealth Learning Center is here to help with some hands-on literacy practice ideas for young learners. Alphabet Work Here are a few activities kids can do with plastic letters or letter cards, shaving cream, and clay or pipe cleaners: Arrange letters in alphabetical order, with a model if needed. Devise a memory game to match uppercase to lowercase letters. Form letters out of clay, pipe cleaners, or Wikki Stix. Practice handwriting in a multisensory way: Place a small amount of shaving cream or flour in a baking tray. Have children form [...]

Literacy Home Activities for Young Learners2023-09-13T08:36:30+00:00

Sight Words, Decodable Words, & High Frequency Words


“Dad, I have to practice my sight words for homework.” What is a sight word? In the elementary grades, we use several different terms to categorize types of English words: decodable words, sight words, and high-frequency words. Let’s unpack them: Type of Word Definition Examples Decodable Words Follow the regular patterns of the language. Students can “sound out” these words, so there is no need to memorize them. run, spin, make, sport, she, team, spoil, fly, bubble, harvest Sight Words Don’t follow the regular patterns of English. They don’t sound the way that they look; therefore, they must be memorized. [...]

Sight Words, Decodable Words, & High Frequency Words2021-10-07T07:10:37+00:00

Print Books vs. E-Readers… Which is Better? Depends on Who You Ask…


Since the release of the Kindle, Nook, and iPad, e-readers have become very popular, and so has the debate between e-books and print. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that the average number of books read on an e-reader is 24, compared to 15 books for those reading print.(1) E-books are convenient, often less expensive, offer a number of accommodations, and can now be accessible across a variety of devices. However, research suggests that there may be a difference in how we comprehend text across each format. A 2014 study conducted by Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University found that readers of a short mystery novel on a [...]

Print Books vs. E-Readers… Which is Better? Depends on Who You Ask…2023-06-15T08:25:35+00:00

What Do Parents Need to Know About Close Reading?


Close Reading is an instructional routine requiring students to look critically at a short, complex text, reading the same text multiple times, and answering text dependent questions to deepen understanding. It is included among the Common Core Literacy Anchor Reading standards (R.CCR.1) which states: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. One major goal is to give all students the opportunity to engage in close reading of complex text. The spotlight is on close reading because it [...]

What Do Parents Need to Know About Close Reading?2021-10-05T13:09:05+00:00

Reading Strategies for College Entrance Exams


The reading passages on the SAT and the ACT are very different, and to further compound the situation the SAT test will be changing format beginning with the March 2016 tests. However, many reading strategies will be beneficial no matter which test your student takes. The first strategy to consider is engagement. It is unlikely that most students will have a motivated interest in reading the content of the passages on the test. Therefore, it is important to go into the test with at least one strategy to increase engagement with reading passages. Students should first read any introductory blurb that precedes [...]

Reading Strategies for College Entrance Exams2021-10-07T07:24:25+00:00

A Way With Words: Mastering vs. Memorizing Vocabulary


Part 2 Last time, we reviewed some of the reasons why vocabulary development can be so difficult for students. Now, we will focus on ways to help students begin to gain a full understanding of language that will last a lifetime. Vocabulary is learned through a wide variety of mediums, including conversation, watching television, listening to the radio, etc., but for the purposes of this post we’ll refer to strategies to help students master vocabulary within assigned academic reading. As students are reading, they should get into the habit of highlighting or underlining words they are unfamiliar with. They should venture a [...]

A Way With Words: Mastering vs. Memorizing Vocabulary2021-10-07T07:13:17+00:00

A Way With Words: Mastering vs. Memorizing Vocabulary


Part 1 All too often, students study vocabulary words for a test only to never think about them again once that test is over. They don’t realize, or perhaps don’t care, that they are being taught these words to utilize indefinitely, to include as part of their repertoire. Vocabulary is the keystone to comprehension, and developing an understanding of it in a deep way, through use in conversation and writing, is an essential life skill to be successful in a verbal world. Our students are struggling with vocabulary (as well as reading, spelling, writing, and comprehension) because of an invalid [...]

A Way With Words: Mastering vs. Memorizing Vocabulary2021-10-05T13:08:06+00:00

Professional Development
for Educators



Beth Dinelli, M.Ed
[email protected]

220 Reservoir Street, Suite 6 Needham, MA 02494-3133

Phone: 781.444.5193

Fax: 781.444.6916

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