The Threads of Reading – Karen Tankersley

On my blog, you will find many new reading strategies, ideas and suggestions for becoming a masterful “weaver” of the threads of reading in your own classroom.

Nothing is more important for a teacher than to know how to use good reading strategies and practices. Making a difference with our students is why we all became educators. Becoming strong and proficient readers and writers is critical for our students.

The goal of my website is to help you create strong and effective readers in your classroom. I have gathered hundreds of tips, tricks, and reading strategies that will help you meet the literacy needs of your students.

Many of these ideas featured here come from my own work as a reading specialist, literacy coach and professional developer.

Other tips and reading strategies are from the successful instructional strategies of great reading teachers I have known over the years.  Other ideas are from important research being done in the field that translates into effective instruction.

I will also pass along good ideas from other literacy experts in the field that you might find helpful for your own classroom instruction.

Share Your Own Effective Reading Strategies and Tips

Feel free to leave suggestions on great reading tips you use with your own students as you read. Also, feel free to ask questions or comment on the ideas and suggestions found here.

Please be an active participant when you visit here.  Return again and again for ideas, teaching strategies, and inspiration. 

Teaching students to read well is not an easy job. The more we share great ideas and identify what works to improve student proficiency, the better readers our students become.

Thank you for the work that you do every day!  You are valued and appreciated!

Karen’s Books on Teaching Reading

In addition to the information presented here, you may enjoy reading some of my books on teaching reading and working with struggling readers:

The Threads of Reading: Strategies for Literacy Development

Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12:  Reinforcing the Threads of Reading

Tests that Teach: Using Standardized Tests to Improve Instruction

How to Help Your Child Become a Great Reader: Easy Literacy Games and Activities to Do at Home

Instructional Coaching Impacts Teacher Performance

My Book on Literacy Coaching for Reading Effectiveness

If you are a relatively new Instructional Coach or Reading coach in your school, then you may also enjoy reading my book on literacy coaching:

Coaching the Threads of Reading: Helping Teachers Build Reading Success

You may also enjoy these posts on Literacy coaching on my blog:

Coaching the Threads of Reading for Literacy Coaches

Instructional Coaching That Gets Results

New Class for Literacy Coaches

Check out my new Literacy Coaching course, Coaching Heroes and Champions.

In this course, you will be able to improve your ability to inspire and coach the teachers in your school. You will be able to:

1: cultivate success as a literacy coach who facilitates adult learning that changes practice.

2: understand how to build trusting and caring coaching relationships that enable teacher success.

3: use coaching strategies to increase student academic performance and facilitate student-centered practices that instill joy in the classroom.

4: use data to hone instructional performance and improve student engagement and mastery of state standards.

Here is a list of what you will learn in Bringing Out the Heroes and Champions in Teachers: Instructional Coaching that Gets Results

Module 1: Clarifying the Coaching Role, Purpose and Vision for Success

Module 2: How to Differentiate Support to Meet Individual Teacher Needs

Module 3: Adult Learning, Mental Models and Teacher Career Stages

Module 4: Using Formative and Summative Assessment to Maximize Student Achievement

Module 5: Planning and Teaching for Maximizing Achievement

Module 6: Powerful Communications

I would love to hear your feedback on what you like and how the course might be improved for future students!

Using Storytelling in the Classroom

Using storytelling in the classroom creates impact for students. Teachers use storytelling to engage students in the content that they present to their students.

In addition, learning more about storytelling can also get students excited about their own learning.

Help your students explain what they are learning and communicate their ideas in unique and inspiring ways. Media presentation types include the use of photography, video, and the use of voice,

You can also use graphic tools to create captivating infographics on topics of interest.

Elementary school boy looking at a computer screen
Children are experts at using media so why not help them use their media skills for storytelling?

Students use video and pictures to communicate on a daily basis. Why not capitalize on interests they already have by blending these skills with learning?

If you have ever wanted to learn to use media tools like video, audio, photography and graphics to enhance your own teaching this is the perfect opportunity.

Once you have mastered these concepts, you can teach your students to create informative stories around what they are learning. Visual text can also increase student comprehension.

Free Visual Media Course for Storytelling

I am sure you are familiar with the beautiful photography on the pages of the National Geographic magazine. National Geographic has developed self-paced and Cohort-based free courses to help teachers easily learn to use storytelling in the classroom.

By enrolling in their free online courses, you can learn to use these instructional tools for your own presentation. Students can also create their own storytelling media applications to demonstrate their learning.

Through storytelling techniques, students can explore real-life problems and communicate their ideas and concerns in inspiring and motivational ways.

Using media for storytelling can deepen student thinking about important concepts and ideas. It can also help students learn to communicate their ideas in clear, persuasive ways that impact their audiences.

What better way to learn about audience and point of view?

To learn more about the National Geographic courses or to sign up for free, go to the National Geographic Website Education Tab.

There is also an educator certification course where teachers can collaborate with other educators to create activity-centered instruction using real world problems and issues in the classroom.

National Geographic courses are open to any educator from anywhere in the world who work with students. Courses vary in length, type and schedule. Skills learned in these courses are appropriate for use in all grade levels and content areas.

Post updated on September 29, 2022

Instructional Coaching That Gets Results

Announcing Our New Instructional Coaching Course

Announcing our new instructional coaching online course: Coaching Heroes and Champions! This course is for you if you are a new school instructional coach in your first through third year of coaching – who wants to make a difference in student success and teacher performance.

Two women talking while sitting at a table.
Instructional Coaches Help Teachers Be More Effective

What Will School Instructional Coaches Learn in this Course?

This top notch course can greatly shorten the learning curve for new school coaches and help you hit the ground running in your new instructional coaching position.

Learn skills such as how to create productive relationships and build trust with your coaching clients. Identify teacher needs and career stages so you can meet your teachers where they are and improve teacher practice.

Delve into the research behind effective adult learning so you can help your coaching clients make a difference in student success within their classrooms.

Identify ways to use data to hone instructional performance, improve student mastery of state standards and improve learning engagement.

By understanding how to use these skills with the teachers with whom you work, you will be in a better position to build positive and productive relationships and improve teacher effectiveness and result in measurable student learning gains.

Learn facilitation skills that you can use to help school teams reflect on student success and create student-centered, focused classrooms that produce academic growth.

Understand how to use mental models to increase powerful communications and help teachers embrace change and mindsets of continuous improvement.

First year teachers thrive when working with a knowledgeable school coach. Working with a knowledgeable school coach helps new teachers increase their classroom effectiveness by as much as 4-5 years of experience in the classroom.

Where Can I Learn More About this Course?

Don’t miss this opportunity to sharpen your skills as a school coach and make a difference for the students in your school. Review the course curriculum by clicking here.

Click this link to learn more about this 6 module curriculum: Coaching Heroes and Champions.

Know someone who has just become a new instructional coach in your school?

If so, please pass along this email to your instructional coach. This course can help them get a head start on learning the tricks of highly effective coaches.

What Effective Readers Do When Reading (Part 2)

What We Learned in Part 1

In What Effective Readers Do When Reading (Part 1), we outlined what effective readers do differently when reading that separates them from poor readers.

In Part 1, we discussed how proficient readers use their background knowledge to help them connect to what they are reading.

We also discussed how strong readers use visualization strategies to help them understand what they are reading and picture in their mind how the story action is unfolding. They also visualize what the characters look like and how they feel as the story progresses.

In nonfiction, they may visualize processes or relationships between concepts.

Effective readers prioritize the importance of the ideas they are reading in the text. In order to summarize a text or make inferences about what they have read, students must first be able to determine what information is important in the text.

Readers must be able to distinguish between important information and information that may be interesting but not essential for understanding of the concept.

In this post, we will continue to examine what research says about what makes the difference between good readers and poor readers.

Teens Enjoy Relaxing with a Good Book

Effective Readers Summarize Information

Effective readers have a deep and insightful understanding of the text that they are reading.

When they finish reading, they can synthesize or summarize what they have read into the key points. They can retell these main ideas to others in a logical and sequential manner.

Good readers are able to retell the gist of a story they have read. They can also place the important events of the story into a proper sequence.

Proficient readers can talk about the text, construct thoughts or ideas about the content and mesh what they have learned with their own previous learning on the topic.

You can help your students improve their skill in summarizing information by asking students to stop and summarize what they are reading – either orally or in writing – at strategic points in the text.

Ask, “Who can summarize what we have read in this part of the (novel, chapter, article, etc.)?” Once a student has provided information, ask other class members if they can add anything more to the summary.

Practicing these skills orally or in writing will increase student skills in summarizing.

Summarizing text helps students identify the important ideas from a text while discarding unimportant ideas. Summarizing key points helps students improve their memory about what they have read. It also helps them retain information longer and understand what they have read more deeply.

Strong, Effective Readers Synthesize What They Read

When students synthesize information, they use their background knowledge and their new learning from the text.

They develop insights about the text and form ideas and opinions of their own. When readers synthesize a text, they bring their own thoughts, ideas, experiences, and background knowledge to their reading. They make connections to “go beyond” the surface ideas presented in the text.

Effective readers use their insights and analysis to explain how their thinking has grown or changed over time.

Ask students to talk about what they thought about the topic or information.

Ask them to think about how their thinking has changed or evolved as they read more information on the same topic. Use metacognitive strategies to help students answer questions like: “I used to think…… but now I think…..” to deepen their abilities to synthesize information.

When students find conflicting information, ask them to consider the reliability of the information they have found – especially online – and to verify the facts with additional reliable sources.

Effective readers reflect on what they have read.

They talk to others to clarify their questions or confusions and sort out key information to add to their own storehouse of knowledge. They mesh new knowledge with existing knowledge to build a solid set of beliefs and understandings about various topics.

Effective readers are able to summarize and synthesize information from multiple sources to form deeper levels of understanding about a topic.

Proficient Readers Have Expansive Vocabulary Knowledge

Proficient readers have an expansive vocabulary they can use to talk about text.

They can make comparisons between topics and characters because they have a good storehouse of adjectives to use when describing these elements.

Students reflect on word meaning and seek to understand the nuances between different words. They notice words they hear and words they come across in their reading and add them to their word storehouses.

Help your students expand their vocabulary storehouse by teaching words in categories and helping them learn the multiple meaning of words.

Students can also expand their word knowledge by playing word games – both online and off line – that make vocabulary learning fun and engaging.

Identify the important prefixes, suffixes and root words that unlock meaning in your content area. Systematically teach these important affixes to your students as they connect to your content.

By breaking apart unknown words into its word parts, the meaning of many more words can be unlocked.

Read: What Good Readers Do When Reading (Part 1)

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