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Supporting Struggling Learners

We’re in the midst of a paradigm shift when it comes to struggling learners. There is less emphasis on pull-out programs and one-on-one instruction, and more time spent collaborating with teachers to push in to support these students in classrooms. Yet each learner is unique, and the range of struggles requires a range of possibilities. Here is where you will find case studies and examples of strategies that have worked.

The Words We Use

Dana Murphy looks at a coach's role in helping teachers change negative, nonspecific language used to describe struggling students.

Poetry Love

Why not poetry? Melanie Meehan asked herself what genre might work best for a summer writing academy for students. She explains why poetry is the perfect summer genre for students who might be reluctant to receive extra support.

Stop Paying in Quarters: Changing Thinking and Practice

Matt Renwick pays tolls the old-fashioned way on a long drive, and ponders connections between his experience and teachers' resistance to tech innovations.

First Days of Reading Support

Cathy Mere explains why it's important as a reading support teacher to avoid assessments in the first days of school, and instead focus on getting into classrooms to observe and share resources.

Starting the Year Together

Cathy Mere shares questions literacy specialists and coaches might ask early in the year to build rapport with teachers.

The Failures of a Doughnut

We can celebrate the wonders of what a doughnut can do to improve a bad day. But what it can't do is make children read more. Jen Schwanke takes on reward programs for children that may hinder more than help family relations.

No Special Class

A parent is adamant about her child not receiving extra support, and teachers and administrators are frustrated. Jennifer Schwanke works to understand the root of the problem.

Parents in a Foreign Land

Jennifer Schwanke shares the poignant tale of connecting with the parents of English language learners.

Inclusion: What Does It Mean?

Melanie Quinn chronicles the changes her school staff has gone through in defining and designing inclusion programs, from the "rolling cart" year to the time when all horseshoe tables vanished. This year, the staff finally got on the same page by creating a document defining their beliefs about inclusion.

Don't Confuse the Already Confused

Gretchen Taylor observes the confusion that ensues when different adults, all with the best intentions, work with readers who are struggling.

Assessment and Response to Intervention

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain why the promise of RTI won't be fulfilled until individual assessments are more closely linked to interventions.

Coaching Minute: Strategic Reading for Our Youngest Learners (VIDEO)

In this quick video tip, Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan have wise advice for supporting strategic reading in young learners.

What Holds Students Back in Writing?

Melanie Meehan brings together her recent observations in classrooms to identify five things that get in the way of students moving forward as writers.

Breaking Tasks Down into Steps

Melanie Meehan identifies a crucial step in assessing student needs: asking students to think through where learning breaks down for them.

Libraries for All: Considering Struggling Readers

Cathy Mere explores the classroom library structures and texts that best support struggling young readers.

Repurposing a Classroom Library for Coaching and Intervention: Hooking Reluctant Readers in Grades 3–5

Julie Johnson moves from a teaching to a coaching and intervention position, and finds the move requires some rethinking about her library of books.

Educating Parents on Supporting Boys

Jodi Mahoney shares insights from research on boys' literacy that is useful to share with parents in presentations.

Coaching Demonstration: Conferring with a Struggling Third-Grade Reader (VIDEO)

Clare Landrigan works with third grader Reese as his teacher observes in this coaching demonstration conference.

Confessions of a Struggling Beginning Reader

Wouldn't you love to put yourself in a time machine and go back to your earliest days of learning to read? Shari Frost is able to experience learning to read again as a veteran literacy coach. She takes on the Hebrew alphabet and language, and gleans many insights for her work with children and teachers.

The Worried Parent

Jennifer Schwanke shares a common experience for principals -- meeting with parents who are worried about the progress of their child.

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