A specialist dives into how educators can teach reading while maintaining control, differentiating lessons, and giving grace in a virtual learning environment
There is a vast body of evidence from multiple disciplines over the decades that champions the science of reading to be the most effective way to teach students how to read. Unfortunately, it didn’t always make it into the curriculum, but more and more educators and district staff are raising awareness about the approach and making it more prevalent in today’s classrooms.
No matter how your district is handling back to school 2020, major adjustments will need to be made in every aspect of the learning process. To help ease your educators’ strain, here are a few ways to apply the science of reading, no matter what the setting.
Controlling what you can
One of the biggest challenges is consistently gathering data to drive instruction. We can only trust the validity of that data if we know the controls. With students being at home, we can’t ensure that validity because it’s hard to gain a sense of engagement. A question educators need to ponder is, “Can we make sure we are disseminating explicit instruction in a way we can control?” One of the advantages of implementing an online reading program is that students tend to engage with it better than paper materials. Plus, most reading programs offer an analytics tool that provides insight into student progress. Measuring engagement might entail more observant measures based on video lessons and discussion posts — but those require a reliable, at-home internet connection.
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