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Reading Teachers Lounge

This is the Reading Teachers Lounge where listeners can eavesdrop on professional conversations between elementary reading teachers. We are passionate about literacy and strive to find strategies to reach all learners. Shannon and Mary are neighbors who realized that they were “literacy soul sisters” at a dinner in their Atlanta neighborhood. Once they started chatting about reading they haven’t really stopped. Come join the conversation.

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Let's Talk About Phonemic Awareness

Mary and Shannon sort out the complex terms that are related to phonological processing. What is the difference between phonological awareness and phoneme awareness? We discuss how we teach these skills and provide resource ideas for you to try!Resource Links:Phonological and Phonemic Awareness IntroductionOrton Gillingham Educators' GuideEquipped for Reading Success by David KilpatrickPhonological Awareness and DyslexiaPhonemic Awareness Overview (from U. of Oregon)Getting Ready to Read Phonemic Awareness Centers (with the Frog book cover)FCRR Student Activities-look at the Phonological Awareness resourcesThe Literacy Nest:Building Phonemic Awareness for Struggling ReadersLong and Short Vowel Phonemic Awareness sortFollow Us:Our WebsiteInstagramShannon's TpT Store


8 Mar 2019

Rank #1

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Students Need Systematic, Explicit Phonics - ILA says so!

Mary discusses a brief that has been put out by the International Literacy Association that shares information about how phonics instruction must be systematic and explicit as part of an overall efficient, effective, and timely reading curriculum. Resource Links:Education Week July 18, 2019 Influential Reading Group Makes it Clear: Students Need Systematic, Explicit PhonicsBrief from ILA Meeting the Challenges of Early Phonics InstructionHard Words Why Aren't Kids Being Taught to Read (APM report by Emily Hanford)our Episode about reading terms: Phoneme and Graphemeour Episode about Phonological and Phonemic AwarenessCOME JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Our WebsiteFacebookInstagramShannon's TpT Store


12 Sep 2019

Rank #2

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Guided Reading

Shannon shares how guided reading groups are the non-negotiable element in her daily classroom. In this episode Mary and Shannon weigh in on the importance and power of small group teaching of guided reading.Resource Links:NOTE: As an Amazon Associate program, we earn a small amount from your qualifying purchases. We'd appreciate if you would use our links to help support the podcast.*Guided Reading videoLucy Calkins videos (small group videos on this page)Decodable text guided reading lesson videoComprehension Discussion promptsAMAZING free resources from Jan Richardson, a guided reading guruGuided reading self-assessment for teachersPrompts for Guided ReadingFountas & Pinnell-What is Guided ReadingNarrative Nonfiction Guided Reading Lesson videoGuided Reading-the Nuts and Bolts (from Scholastic)The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson* COME JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Our WebsiteFacebookInstagramShannon's TpT Store


24 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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All About Short Vowels

Shannon and Mary discuss background and strategies for teaching short vowels. You will learn facts and tidbits about literacy and why short vowels make their short, unique sounds. Hint! It has to do with the consonant next door. Learn about multi-sensory phonics based games and strategies for teaching struggling readers in your classroom. In the show notes you will find links to the resources we enjoy and use with our students. Resource Links:FCRR Short vowel reading center FCRR Real & Nonsense word center FCRR CVC make words & pictures Really Good Stuff teaching guide with short vowel word family pictures Orton Gillingham Educator's Guide *The Multisensory Language Triangle Short Vowels Videos PlaylistThe Measured Mom vowel picture sort Short Vowels practice game on Boom Learning (created by Shannon)Short Vowel Word Family lists Vowels and Consonants Teaching Presentation (created by Shannon)Short Vowels foldable NOTE: As an Amazon Associate program, we earn a small amount from your qualifying purchases. We'd appreciate if you would use our links to help support the podcast.*Follow Us:Our Website Instagram


13 Dec 2018

Rank #4

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Learning Disabilities 101

The process for identifying a specific learning disability such as dyslexia is complicated in the public school setting. In this episode Mary explains the RTI (Response to Intervention) process. She also breaks down how a student is eligible for special education in the public school. Key take away is ensuring that the student is receiving appropriate instruction to remediate their decoding struggles. Strong Tier 1 and 2 instruction is necessary to determine whether the student has a learning deficit or a learning disability.Resource Links:What to Expect at an IEP Eligibility MeetingResponse to InterventionIntervention Central13 Conditions Covered Under IDEAHow Does the Reading Brain Work? (video)RTI pyramid "triangle"Struggling Readers ChecklistFollow Us:Our Website Instagram


7 Dec 2018

Rank #5

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B and D Reversals

Shannon and Mary have a conversation about reversals of letters and numbers. Many parents and teachers are concerned about reversals, but the truth is that all reversals do need to be explicitly taught. Some children will make developmentally appropriate errors, while others are struggling with working memory, visual, and phonological processing. Direct instruction with model (verbal and visual cues) and demonstration is the only research-based strategy to help children correct their reversals.Resource Links:Bat and Ball; Drum and StickB is a bad, bad boy; D's like to talkLetter reversal posterGuest Blogger from Bay Tree Blog Ultimate Teacher's Guide to Letter and Number ReversalsHandwriting Without Tears Professional DevelopmentAnn Marie Morey - Free handwriting resourcesFollow Us:Our WebsiteInstagramShannon's TPT Store


22 Feb 2019

Rank #6

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We love FCRR!

Are you familiar with the FCRR?    They have done incredible work making free effective research-based literacy activities.    The centers include directions for teachers and all the necessary materials.   They are mostly print and go activities requiring minimal teacher prep! In this episode, Shannon and Mary share their favorite FCRR reading center activities.  They give ideas for storage and organization of the materials and ways to scaffold.RESOURCE LINKS:(General links are listed first, then below those you will see the links for the specific games mentioned.)FCRR homepageFlorida Center for Reading Research Student ActivitiesK-1 Student Center Activities2-3 Student Center Activities4-5 Student Center ActivitiesEmpowering Teachers section linkJill Shook loves FCRR too!Morpheme Structures (Prefixes, Suffixes, Affixes, etc) for second and third gradeSyllable Patterns gamesFCRR K-1 Phonics High Frequency Sight Words activitiesSPECIFIC GAME DIRECT LINKS FOR ACTIVITIES CREATED BY FCRR or SHANNONFCRR: Vowel Picture SortFCRR: Phoneme SwapFCRR: Vowel StarsFCRR: Multiple Meaning MatchFCRR: Medial Phoneme DominoesFCRR: Speedy PhrasesFCRR: Word WebFCRR: Sandpaper WordsFCRR: Contraction BingoFCRR: Root-A-WordFCRR: Synonym and Antonym ConnectionsFCRR: Empowering Teachers Rhyming lesson planShannon's Soccer Goal DIGITAL Vowel Sound Sort on BoomShannon's Soccer Goal PRINT Vowel Sound Sort on TpTShannon's Read Around the Shape on BoomCOME JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Our WebsiteFacebookInstagramShannon's TpT Store


29 Feb 2020

Rank #7

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Necessary Phonics Lessons

We share some of the unexpected phonics lessons that students need that aren't always obvious in the curriculum guides. These  important and necessary phonics lessons are essential in phonics instruction.Resource Links:NOTE: As an Amazon Associate program, we earn a small amount from your qualifying purchases. We'd appreciate if you would use our links to help support the podcast.*How To Teach Spelling by Laura Toby Rudginsky and Elizabeth C. Haskell*Emily Gibbon's of The Literacy Nest Spelling Generalizations Bundle The Orton Gillingham Educators' GuideMake Take Teach FLoSZ posterGentle Cindy anchor chartFCRR Student Activities3 sounds of edThe K or Ck RuleFollow Us:Our WebsiteInstagramShannon's TpT Store


9 May 2019

Rank #8

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Getting to Know Your Readers

How do you get to know your readers? Shannon and Mary share some of their experience using basic assessment tools to check foundational skills of their students: oral reading fluencysight wordsphonemic awarenessdecoding skillsspellingResource Links:Oral Reading Fluency (Dibels) Easy CBMDolch Sight Words Basic Phonics Test Quick Phonological Awareness Test Words Their Way Spelling Inventory Follow Us:Our WebsiteInstagram


15 Nov 2018

Rank #9

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Balanced Literacy versus Structured Literacy

Mary describes the differences between Balanced Literacy vs. Structured Literacy.We have been doing a series on Balanced Literacy which might confuse some of our listeners. RTL wants to bring best practices to our conversations. If you, like us, believe that a strong phonics practice is essential, you will want to help your school transition to using a stronger structured literacy approach to word study.  In this episode, we will be discussing ways to effectively bring stronger phonics instruction to your schools' teaching practices. Resource Links:Nancy Young Infographic, IDA NHSD Components of Balanced LIteracyIDA definition of Structured LiteracyIowa Reading Research Center article An Explanation of Structured Literacy, and a Comparison to Balanced LiteracyEmily Gibbons blog post: How to Help Your School With the Transition to a Structured Literacy ApproachBalanced Literacy article k12 ReaderLucy Calkins' Response to "phonics-centric"COME JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Our WebsiteFacebookInstagramShannon's TpT Store


13 Dec 2019

Rank #10

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Recognizing a Struggling Reader

Shannon and Mary talk about coping behaviors that struggling readers use to hide the "big secret" that they can't read. They share details about students' actions that teachers can look for in the classroom to gather more insight about their learners. Some tactics that are labeled as troublesome are actually deflection tactics that struggling students use to mask their learning deficits. Come join the conversation! Do the children in your room display these behaviors? We think you'll recognize many of your kids in these examples.Resource Links:Struggling Reader Behavior ChecklistWhy Millions of Kids Can't Read and What Better Teaching Can Do About It45 Questions to Encourage Student Reflection and GrowthInstructional Level versus Independent LevelSelecting Just Right BooksHi-Lo Books High Interest/Low Readability BooksFollow Us:Our Website InstagramShannon's TPT Store


15 Feb 2019

Rank #11

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Improving Encoding Instruction

Shannon and Mary discuss a professional article, "Why Phonics Teaching Must Change" published in Educational Leadership, September, 2008 by Jeannine Herron. They talk about a different approach to teaching students to read.  What if we focus more on encoding rather than starting with decoding?Resource Links:Article: Why Phonics Instruction Must Change Encoding, Decoding, and Understanding the Print LanguageTeaching Encoding and DecodingEquipped for Reading Success by David KilpatrickReview of Left and Right Brain - HealthlineFREE sound wall bulletin board Follow Us:Our WebsiteInstagramShannon's TpT Store


18 Apr 2019

Rank #12

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Read Aloud

Shannon and Mary share their tips and tricks for one of the most enjoyable experiences of reading with young readers: Read Aloud! We share professional resources, essential tips for working with struggling readers, and how parents can make reading aloud at a home a treasured time for any type of reader. Resource Links:NOTE: As an Amazon Associate program, we earn a small amount from your qualifying purchases. We'd appreciate if you would use our links to help support the podcast.*The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins*The Book Whisperer Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller*Example of Youtube read-aloudRaising Readers Free Course from Read Everyday Blog by Jansen BradshawRead Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease*How to Get your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell*How to Help a Child with Dyslexia with Home Reading from The Literacy NestAccommodations for Dyslexia by Susan BartonThe Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell*Beyond Leveled Books by Franki Sibberson and Karen Syzmusiak and Lisa Koch*Plot Mountain Youtube clipCOME JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Our WebsiteFacebookInstagramShannon's TpT Store


8 Nov 2019

Rank #13

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All About Long Vowels

Mary and Shannon describe how they teach long vowels to their struggling readers. They share their favorite resources and routines for conducting phonics lessons. Are you challenged by your struggling readers? Do you need some casual professional development without sitting in the media center? Come join the conversation and start implementing new strategies tomorrow!Resource Links:FCRR Long & Short Vowel Picture sort Long Vowels Videos PlaylistFree Reading.net Decodable passagesThe Literacy Nest Syllable gameThe Literacy Nest Long Vowel Clip CardsFCRR Short and Long Vowel Word sortLong Vowel Foldable *created by Shannon*CVC to CVCe word list *created by Shannon*Short and Long Vowel Soccer reading center & lesson *created by Shannon*Short and Long Vowel Soccer Boom Cards digital game *created by Shannon*Follow Us:Our Website Instagram


20 Dec 2018

Rank #14

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Preschool Literacy

Shannon and Mary talk about pre-reading skills and other school readiness skills that students need before going to Kindergarten. They interview Emily Howland, a pre-school educator about important early literacy skills and language development.  Resource Links:All About Learning - Motivation to Read 10 Tips for PreschoolersConscious Discipline - Social/Emotional curriculumPlay based curriculum Types of preschool programmingFollow Us:Our WebsiteInstagramShannon's TpT Store


11 Apr 2019

Rank #15

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All About Vowel Teams

Vowel teams are combinations of vowels (two or more) that make one sound. When students begin learning about vowel teams they have to demonstrate an understanding of sound symbol relationship where multiple vowel teams represent a single sound. This developmental decoding milestone is quite complex and is a critical step that students must take on their journey to mastering syllable patterns. Shannon and Mary will walk you through some of the important steps in teaching readers vowel teams. Resource Links:The Literacy Nest Tips for Teaching Vowel TeamsCurated Vowel Teams Youtube clips playlistFCRR Same but Different activityFCRR Vowel Digraph Baseball activityWords Their Way Within Word textPat Cunningham Looks Right strategyPat Cunningham Brand Name Phonics (unit within the text)Vowel Team Word list with pictures (made by Shannon)Electric Company video link (from the end of the episode)Follow Us:Our Website Instagram


18 Jan 2019

Rank #16

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All About R-Controlled Vowels

Shannon and Mary discuss how they discovered the importance of teaching phonics instruction and syllable division to help their student begin to crack the code of reading. Throughout the episode they will talk about strategies and activities that include multi-sensory phonics instruction for teaching r-controlled vowel patterns. Resource Links:R-Controlled Spin game from FCRRGREAT Youtube video clips to introduce & practice the sounds!The Literacy Nest article about r-controlled vowelsSmitten with First R-controlled FriendsThe Measured Mom Gem r-controlled gamePat Cunningham Looks Right StrategyPat Cunningham Making Words activityThe Measured Mom FREE Elkonin boxesR-Controlled word list and pictures (made by Shannon)Follow Us:Our Website Instagram


11 Jan 2019

Rank #17

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Authentic Writing

Reading and Writing go hand-in-hand. Hesitant readers tend to be hesitant writers. We ask students to do a lot of writing throughout the day. Shannon and Mary discuss the importance and elements of quality writing instruction.Resource Links:NOTE: As an Amazon Associate program, we earn a small amount from your qualifying purchases. We'd appreciate if you would use our links to help support the podcast.*Thinking Maps The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subject Areas by Judith C. Hochman and Amanda Wexler*Reading and Writing Strategies Facebook CommunityLOTS of writing instruction videos from The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (Lucy Calkins)What is Writing WorkshopWriters Workshop Procedures7 Ways to Support Student Writing in any Content AreaSeth Perler student video describing how audience and purpose are essential to "getting your words on paper."Seth Perler video blog The Writing Process (in plain English)Empowering WritersFollow Us:Our WebsiteInstagramShannon's TpT Store


28 Mar 2019

Rank #18

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Decoding the MAP test

You've completed the benchmark assessments. You have done what has been asked of you by the administration. But really...what does that MAP score mean? Can you explain it to your students? Is it valid? Can you help your students set meaningful goals with the data? Are you just doing what is asked to get by, or are you really able to interpret and utilize the data for meaningful support? Shannon can help you! We have both been there! It's honest talk about data. We are here to help you work smarter and not harder. Resource Links:Parent Toolkit from NWEA (makers of MAP test)NWEA Professional Learning for TeachersRIT to Concept Document *need NWEA login*Follow Us:Our Website *check out website for more details about Shannon's MAP data documents*Instagram


30 Nov 2018

Rank #19

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Alphabetic Principle

Mary discusses the concept of alphabetic principle and strategies for teaching blending. Resource Links:NOTE: As an Amazon Associate program, we earn a small amount from your qualifying purchases. We'd appreciate if you would use our links to help support the podcast.*Reading Rockets Blending and Segmenting StrategiesThe Alphabetic Principle from Phonological Awareness to Reading WordsWhat is the Alphabetic Principle? This Reading MamaFlorida Center for Reading Research - Letter CorrespondenceTeaching Word Recognition, Second Edition: Effective Strategies for Students with Learning Difficulties (What Works for Special-Needs Learners)  by Rollanda E. O'Connor*Finger tappingBlending Board Binder (great example)The Blending SlideCOME JOIN THE CONVERSATION!Our WebsiteFacebookInstagramShannon's TpT Store


17 Oct 2019

Rank #20