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Shanahan on Literacy

Timothy Shanahan

Literacy expert Timothy Shanahan shares best practices for teaching reading and writing. Dr. Shanahan is an internationally recognized professor of urban education and reading researcher who has extensive experience with children in inner-city schools and children with special needs. All posts are reprinted with permission from Shanahan on Literacy.

March 21, 2016

Teacher question: I’m confused. Our standards say that we have to teach kids to read at 820 Lexiles, but my third-graders aren’t even close to that. They are instructional at Level N on the Fountas & Pinnell gradient that my school uses. This makes no sense. How can I get my kids to such a high level in the time that we have? More >

March 16, 2016

Teacher Question:  Is there a particular order in which teachers should teach the letter sounds? Shanahan responds: Many teachers, principals, parents, and policymakers expect the proper ordering of letters and letter sounds in a curriculum to be more than a matter of convention or style. This question comes up often. More >

March 7, 2016

Two questions from teachers: I have a question that was posed to me be an elementary principal. Her question was, "How many times does a student need to write a high frequency word before they feel secure with it?"   [I must admit, I have never been asked this question before, and I cannot find research that addresses this specific question.]  More >

February 29, 2016

I was making a presentation about how to raise reading achievement. I was taking my audience through research on what needed to be taught and how it needed to be taught if kids were to do as well as possible. I was telling about my experiences as director of reading of the Chicago Public Schools at a time when my teachers raised reading achievement. More >

February 26, 2016

Teacher question: My students talk about the stories through collaborative conversations and class discussions, but I hardly allow time for students to write written responses.  How often should I have students write a written response and should students be taking notes on the story? Shanahan's response: More >

February 9, 2016

Teacher question: I am a Reading Coach at a Title I middle school serving a student population of 95% African American. Less than 40% of our students read at/or above grade level. My goal is to increase the amount of individual time that our students spend reading novels. More >

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox