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Teacher education

Can teaching grammar benefit reading comprehension?

Is there a relationship between grammar and reading comprehension? Yes, says Timothy Shanahan on Shanahan on Literacy. In summarizing the research, Shanahan suggests "as students learn to employ more complex sentences in their oral and written language, their ability to make sense of what they read increases, too."

Educational technology near and far

Do you feel like you just got caught up with the iPod Touch and the iPad? You probably have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and can find your way around the App Store with ease. You're good, right? Well, not so much, if you take a look at the 2013 Horizon Report K-12 Edition. For the fifth year in a row, the New Media Consortium collaborated with others to identify technologies that have "potential impact on teaching, learning and creative inquiry."

Inspiring words for Teacher Appreciation Week

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week! I hope every teacher out there feels the love they deserve during this week of national celebration. Big or small, I know each gesture is appreciated.

What teachers should know about research

Classroom teachers are really busy people. It's often hard enough to keep up with the day to day demands of the classroom, without having to worry about keeping up with the latest research and scientific findings. Any more, it seems as though every product and curriculum out there touts their "research based" foundation. With all the hype about "research based," "scientifically based" and "results driven," is it really worth paying attention to it at all? The answer is yes.

Four questions new teachers should ask

Lots of May graduates are looking for jobs right now. School job fairs and district openings are full with pre-service teachers looking for their first teaching job. While these soon-to-be college graduates are busy worrying about what the interviewer might ask them, I've always encouraged prospective new teachers to ask a few questions of their own. I told my UVA students to realize that they are interviewing the school and principal just as much as the school is interviewing them (although they told me it didn't feel that way!)

What does good teaching look like?

It's funny the way things work sometimes. Over the weekend, my husband told me all about the making of an Old Spice commercial. Apparently the commercial was all filmed in one shot, which will surprise you if you watch it!

Teachers take the summer off, right? Ha!

I don't know a single teacher who stops thinking and learning over the summer. Whether we're teaching summer school, doing curriculum development, taking summer classes or observing flowers and insects at the pool, there's a small piece of a teacher's brain associated with sharing information with kids that doesn't shut off (OK, there are no fMRI's to support that statement, just a bunch of anecdotal evidence).

Desk cleaning, first-year teacher style

Stories from a time when we had "more enthusiasm than commonsense" enable us to share a laugh. As Brenda Powers, editor at Choice Literacy wrote, the most memorable stories often begin with a failure — the bigger the better.

How running a reading program is like running a campaign

As I write this blog on Wednesday morning after our historic presidential election, I'm struck by an article I read on msnbc.com. Howard Fineman summarized what he saw as Obama's seven-prong approach to his campaign that served him well.

It was easy for me to see how well these same seven prongs could serve schools and districts well as they consider how they teach reading.

Below are the seven prongs as described by Fineman, with each prong's relationship to reading summarized. See what you think!

Mindful of Words

I recently reviewed Mindful of Words, Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4-8 by Kathy Ganske.

The book is a great resource for teachers and tutors who work with upper-level spellers. Based in developmental spelling research and vocabulary learning, the book helps teachers understand how to assess students' word knowledge and how to teach in a way that encourages a love of words.

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx