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5 Language & Literacy Tools You Might Not Know About (But Should!)

Did you know there’s a reliable assessment tool for determining whether a young bilingual child’s language difficulties are due to a delay or limited exposure to English? We’ll introduce you to BESA™ (Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment™) and four other essential screening and assessment tools in this month’s feature article.

You’re not alone: Help for teachers of struggling readers from multisensory teaching experts

When teachers encounter students in their classes who struggle to read, they often are at a loss as to how to help them. General ed teachers don't always get instruction in how to reach students who fail to learn in the standard ways.

Teachers who find themselves struggling in the classroom can turn to Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, Third Edition. The techniques in this compilation for teaching students with dyslexia have been shown to also help others having trouble learning to read.

Learning how to read is a systematic process that can be taught. The authors of the Multisensory Teaching activity book have these words of advice for teachers willing to take on the challenge.

Preparing tomorrow’s teachers for effective spelling instruction

In the past, new teachers would walk into their classrooms with very little training in how to help students who struggle with spelling. How can they help a student who is a good reader but has difficulty spelling? What about a student who struggles with both?

You can ensure future educators walk into the classroom knowing the answers by using high-quality literacy texts that contain explicit instruction on teaching spelling skills. Follow these four tips to prepare teachers to help every student become a successful speller.

8 tips for enhancing literacy learning for students with disabilities

The opportunity to learn literacy skills has not always been offered to students with moderate or severe disabilities. But pressure for all students to show progress and a belief that students with disabilities are capable of greater academic achievement have led to a call for effective strategies for your whole class.

In Effective Literacy Instruction for Students with Moderate or Severe Disabilities, authors Susan Copeland and Elizabeth Keefe identify approaches that meet the learning needs of students with disabilities while enhancing the skills of all the students in your class.
Take a peek at these pointers that will help you ensure all students in your class are active learners.

Strengthen parents’ skills by increasing understanding of their child’s development

This season, give a child a gift that will last. No money, batteries, or 2-year contract required. All you need to do is talk with the child! And if you do so mindfully–keeping these few pointers in mind–you'll help that child build enduring literacy skills that will last for a lifetime.

Try these tips and free downloads for easy ways to engage children in conversation and during reading time. (We dedicate this last issue of the year to the memory of Betty Hart, whose groundbreaking research served as a foundation for many of the interventions highlighted within.)

Shared book reading: How you can help close the word gap

You can't turn around these days without seeing some reference to the "word gap"—the astonishing difference between the number and quality of words heard by young children in mostly low-income households versus those in higher incomes.

There are plenty of wonderful resources to encourage parents to talk, read, and sing with their children, but how about some tips for teachers? If you integrate these steps into your shared book reading time, you will expand children's word and world knowledge, and help them develop the critical comprehension skills they'll need to achieve.

Cultural diversity: 4 easy steps to help second-language learners

As our population becomes more diverse, you are more likely to have children who speak a language other than English in your classroom and whose families come from a different country or culture. Here are four easy steps you can take to promote positive development of your second-language learners along with all the rest of the children in your class.

Communication disorders: Make the best decisions possible

Over the course of a month, SLPs often work with people with a broad range of conditions: a child with Down syndrome, a student with learning deficits, an adult with a medical condition. How can you be sure you are making the best decisions in each case? Here are four resources sure to help.