Slowing the Summer Slide–Part I: Literacy

summer slide, reading, literacySummer is nearly here!

While kids may be rejoicing about the prospect of a summer break, parents and educators may wonder what they can do to combat the dreaded “Summer Slide”–a time when many students lose or forget the skills they learned during the school year.

As all educators know, kids who are already below grade level in their reading are especially at risk when summer break hits.

Summertime and the Reading Is Easy?

During the school year, struggling readers may receive more hands-on help from teachers and supplemental digital programs like Imagine Language & Literacy. But all bets are off once kids leave for the summer break.

For one thing, not all parents have the luxury of being at home with kids during the summer months.

What’s more–daycare, summer camps, and even summer school can be expensive for a lot of families. Even parents who work may not have the means to fight the summer slide in the traditional ways.

So, what’s a parent to do? Read more »

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Learning Out Loud: Readers Theater for Struggling Readers

 

Curtains Up leveled book, Imagine Language & Literacy If you have a struggling reader in your classroom, you already know how that student feels about reading anything out loud.

And yet, reading out loud is one of the best ways to improve students’ oral fluency.

For instance, within Imagine Language & Literacy, struggling readers gain confidence as they read and repeat text from leveled books and regularly participate in activities like Fluent Reader. What’s more, when teachers listen back to the recordings, they can easily track student progress toward oral fluency.

But Readers Theater can be another way to engage struggling readers and help them read aloud–with expression.

Why a Readers Theater?

If all the world’s a stage, then every classroom can be transformed into a theater–in this case, a Readers Theater, which: Read more »

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¡Canciones! The Music of Imagine Español

Imagine Español Pin Pon songHave you ever caught yourself humming the tune to a song you heard years ago? If so, you’ve tapped into the power of music and long-term memory.

The fact is, music makes learning stick. Just ask a neuroscientist. But first: a word or two on long-term memory.

Inherent to long-term memory are explicit (or declarative) and implicit (non-declarative) memory. If you consciously think of a specific memory, you’re tapping into explicit/declarative memory. By contrast, implicit/non-declarative memory requires no conscious effort.

When the brain is exposed to music and words together, that information becomes a part of the brain’s explicit and implicit memory. This helps explain why dementia patients who seemingly have little or no explicit memory can still remember tunes and words to songs they knew decades earlier.

Imagine Learning designers recognize that developing brains are open to myriad learning cues from an early age. In a semi-literal way, young brains are like sponges as they soak up information from multiple sources.

That’s why during the development of Imagine Español learning activities, designers worked closely with musicians, actors, and sound engineers to create an optimal learning environment–one in which music plays a critical role. Read more »

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Why Teach Academic Language?

Every day in American schools, teachers welcome more students whose first language is something other than English.

According to the Pew Research Center, this demographic trend will only grow exponentially in coming years. In fact, Pew estimates up to 93% of our population will come from immigrant populations and their children by the year 2050.

academic language Imagine LearningWhat do these numbers mean for schools? Here’s the short answer: schools will need better ways to teach language generally, and academic language in particular.

Why the importance? When students don’t master academic language, they’re at greater risk for falling behind or even dropping out of school.

The Language of Textbooks

Learning to speak, read, and write in English can be challenging enough.

But without knowing academic language (e.g., general-instruction words like “summarize,” math words like “times” as another way to say “multiplied by,” or science words like “hypothesis”), English language learners can quickly fall behind in their progress. Read more »

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Imagine Learning Teaches Figurative Language

figuratively speaking

 

Sleep like a rock

Light as a feather

Cream of the crop

As big as a bus

 

 

The above phrases are examples of figurative language, all of which are commonly used in day-to-day English.

Any student–especially any English language learner–can struggle with such figurative speech, particularly when the implied meaning (i.e., idiom) does not translate to the student’s first language.

The concept of figurative language is also difficult for struggling readers to understand, but all students need to be able to identify and use it in reading and conversation. Read more »

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