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The Science of Reading Intervention Program: Assessment-based Instruction

There’s never enough instructional time to teach students who struggle with reading.

However…

The Science of Reading Intervention Program: Assessment-based Instruction provides diagnostically-based instructional resources to individualize instruction for students grades 4–adult in 25 minutes per day for 18 weeks. Perfect for early-late schedules or Tier 3 pull-out instruction. Ideal for EL and ESL learners or students in Resource programs with IEPs. A great option for students in continuation school settings or community college and adult literacy programs with self-paced instructional modules.

Although it certainly makes sense to teach a comprehensive word recognition program to all struggling readers to ensure a solid foundation, some students and new transfer students will need second-chance instruction with more intense tutoring and practice in easily-managed small groups and independent practice. Only assessment-based instruction affords teachers the opportunity to address the diverse reading deficits of their students with targeted lessons. Make your instructional minutes count!

If time is limited, why waste instructional time with lengthy assessments?

The diagnostic assessments in this program are different. First, they are quick and easy to administer and grade (formatted in print, audio, and Google forms). Second, each assessment couples with short lessons to target each and every assessment item. And each lesson provides a short formative assessment to determine mastery. You choose which assessments need to be given and to which students.

Diagnostic Assessments with Mastery Matrices                                 

  • Vowel Sound Phonics Assessment (10:42 audio file)
  • Consonant Sounds Phonics Assessments (12:07 audio file)
  • Syllable Awareness Assessment (5:48 audio file)
  • Syllable Rhyming Assessment (5:38 audio file)
  • Phonemic Isolation Assessments (5:54 audio file)
  • Phonemic Blending Assessment (5:53 audio file)
  • Phonemic Segmenting Assessment (5:21 audio file)
  • Alphabetic Awareness Assessments (10 minutes)
  • “Pets” Fluency Assessment (2 minutes per student)
  • Heart Words Assessment (5:48 audio file)
  • Spelling Assessment (22.38 audio file)
  • Grammar and Usage Assessment (15–20 minutes)
  • Mechanics Assessment (10–15 minutes)

Corresponding Lessons (all individualized practice except as noted)

  • Phonemic Awareness and Alphabetic Awareness Lessons (Small Groups)
  • Phonics Lessons (Small Groups)
  • Expository Reading Fluency Lessons (YouTube Modeled Readings at 3 Different Speeds)
  • Spelling Pattern Worksheets
  • Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheets
  • Heart Words and Phonics Games
  • Syllabication and Morphology Lessons
  • Executive Function Skill Lessons

Three Reading Intervention Programs That Work Together To Get Results:

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Executive Function Skills

If you googled Executive Function Skills to get this article, you know that this is a trending educational topic. As educators, parents, and students, we’ve learned a lot about learning during the pandemic. Researchers, too, have hopped aboard this train with grant money conducting the ride, and the recent research base validating the importance of executive functioning skills is impressive.

Now, as I write this article in August of 2022, I can’t help thinking about two popular idiomatic expressions: “A horse by any other name is still a horse” and “What goes around, comes around.” Come to think of it, these expressions are not really that popular anymore, but I’m not familiar with their contemporary replacements.

Somewhat surprisingly, googling study skills still produces plenty of search results and you may even have found this article by entering this phrase. However, the updated “horse by any other name” is executive function skills.

Now, technically the two terms are a Venn diagram with some differences, but with a much larger overlap of similar components. Both study skills and executive function skills share the same characteristics: active self-regulatory processes which play substantial roles in learning.

Additionally, the older collection of study skills, which seemed destined to fade into oblivion due to instructional time constraints or had been narrowed down to last-minute test prep in many schools, has now been re-branded into a similar, but expanded version of itself.

“What comes around” are the same old, with some new, study skills, but with quite a different look. Executive function skills now are trending.

The research about executive function (EF) skills is particularly impressive in reading development. Researchers Nell Duke and Kelly Cartwright (2021) summarize this body of recent research:

Several EF skills contribute directly to reading: cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, working memory, planning, and attentional control… EF skills also contribute to reading ability indirectly, through both word recognition and language comprehension processes… EF is so important to reading that there is reason to believe that for some students, limited EF skills are the primary cause of reading difficulty.

As a reading specialist, I might not be quite as effusive in extolling the merits and critical importance of EF skills on reading development; however, they certainly play a role, especially with respect to reading intervention (e.g., Melby-Lervåg & Hulme).

In sum, the recent research does seem to indicate that the old study skills are still essential. So, thank you for teaching them to our students.

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The author, Mark Pennington’s Essential Study Skills is a wonderful collection of teacher or student-guided 20-minute lessons (the perfect substitute lesson plans) to teach what some seem to believe are common sense skills, or things other teachers must have already taught.

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

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Syntax in Reading and Writing

It’s all about syntax! Announcing publication of an all-new program, designed to improve students’ reading comprehension and writing sophistication. Ideal for middle and high school, but upper elementary may wish to check out the leveled (basic, standard, and proficient) lessons in the extensive preview.

Students will learn to understand (read) and apply (write) the key syntactic features in 18 weekly lessons of about an hour each. Focus is on function at the sentence level, not on rote memorization or drill and kill. Huge indebtedness to the late William Van Cleave… However, whereas William gave us the Why? and How? of reciprocal reading and writing syntactic instruction, this program gives you and your students the What?

The What? All the syntactic content and examples, short identification practice, 153 complicated syntactic sentences to analyze and revise with sentence kernels, sentence combination, sentence expansion, and more. Plus, short writing applications to practice each syntactic lesson focus in a variety of genre.

The greatest bang for the buck for fluent readers to improve academic reading comprehension and writing sophistication? Syntax at the sentence level. But, how to teach it?

The research over the last half-century is clear that isolated explicit grammar instruction is ineffective. However, the late William Van Cleave was certainly correct that implicit grammar instruction in the context of reading and writing provides no overarching framework, no consistent language of instruction, and not enough practice for students when taught only as problems arise. Bottom line? Neither explicit, nor implicit grammar camps link reading and writing instruction.

Writing and Reading Syntax

Syntax in Reading and Writing

Syntax in Reading and Writing will help your students learn the function of syntactic tools in reading and writing. No endless grammar identification and terminology worksheets; no DOL error correction; no mini-lessons; but lessons which teach how challenging sentences are constructed.

The 18 parts of speech, phrases, and clauses weekly lessons are leveled from basic to advanced and features 5 lesson components (10–15 minutes each):

1. Learn It! (the syntactic content and examples)

2. Identify It! (a short practice section)

3. Explain It! (analysis of challenging sentences featuring the syntactic focus)

4. Revise It! (kernel sentences, sentence expansion and combination)

5. Create It! (Short writing application with the syntactic focus in different genre).

Additionally, the teacher and students Reinforce It! by searching class and independent reading texts for syntactically similar sentences to analyze and explain.

Check it out! https://penningtonpublishing.com/collections/grammar/products/syntax-in-reading-and-writing

Enter discount code 3716 at checkout and get 10% off of the purchase price of all Pennington Publishing products during our Back to School Big Sale. 

Oh, don’t forget to download the free resources and diagnostic assessments at https://penningtonpublishing.com/

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Memorizing God’s Word

Heart Wordles

Heart Worldles

Heart Wordles Slide Games

Do you love Wordle? For those of you teaching reading intervention, SPED, or ELL classes, here’s a set of 43 FREE Google slide games to help your ages 8-adult students practice Heart Words. Heart Wordles is pretty darn fun!

A Heart Word is a word which includes one or more irregular sound-spellings. Generally, older students have a larger lexical bank than beginning readers, so some of the words used in the game will be new to younger students, but the game may be helpful for them, as well.

Each of the 43 slide games focuses on a particular Heart Word sound-spelling pattern and provides the letters to form 5 words. Teachers should introduce the slide game pattern (the most common ones first) and help students blend example words before assigning students the slide game. Blend the phonetically regular parts and add the parts to learn by heart. New to teaching Heart Words? Check out my article, How to Teach Heart Words.

Not all agree on which sound-spellings are irregular. My selection of the 216 Heart Words in this game is based on sound-spelling patterns, syllables and phonics rules, and the Dolch 220 high frequency word list. I included 59 of the Dolch Heart Words (frequency numbers on the next two slides). Full disclosure: I also included words from lessons and decodables from my own reading intervention programs.

The directions are simple: Drag and drop the letters into the light shaded boxes to spell as many Heart Wordles as you can. I like playing the game whole class with a bit of competition (the first student to create all five words shouts out Heart Wordles! I’ve included a blank text box at the bottom of each slide for a few instructional options: 1. Type (and spell check) each word. 2. Explain the pattern or rule. 3. Write sentences including each Heart Word. 4. ?????0

Heart Wordles Slide Games

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1GL-EFFuEhQCoPLFAJYhXP7vn-qeeEZNFY4HAaWMEZMQ/copy

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If you like the Heart Wordles Slide Games, you’ll love my reading intervention programs for students ages 8-adult:

Intervention Program Science of Reading

The Teaching Reading Strategies (Intervention Program) is designed for non-readers or below grade level readers ages eight–adult. This full-year, 55 minutes per day program provides both word recognition and language comprehension instructional resources (Google slides and print). Affordable, easy-to- teach, and science of reading-based, featuring the Sam and Friends Phonics Books–decodables designed for older students. The word recognition activities and decodables are also available as a half-year option in The Science of Reading Intervention Program.

PREVIEW TEACHING READING STRATEGIES and THE SCIENCE OF READING INTERVENTION PROGRAM RESOURCES HERE. See all seven Heart Word Activities in action!

Get the Heart Words Assessment FREE Resource:

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Reading Comprehension Cues

Reading comprehension is thinking with text. I’ve chosen my words carefully, especially the preposition, with. Reading comprehension is not primarily thinking about text as an end product of reading. We need not get into a whole lot of argument with reader response Rosenblatt disciples v. Higher Criticism devotees to acknowledge that reading comprehension is a reciprocal process of the reader interacting with the text and author. If this is so, teaching students the cues to get more out of this interaction will necessarily improve reading comprehension.

Unfortunately, we teachers tend to spend more time building and assessing reading comprehension about texts. Think comprehension questions at the end of social studies or science textbook chapters. Or novel chapter discussions, quizzes, book reports, literacy groups. Nothing wrong with these teacher-guided, reflective activities; however, readers also need plenty of with text practice on their own to improve reading comprehension.

One controversial caveat to add at this point. When I emphasize on their own practice, I am not advocating hands-off sustained silent reading, free voluntary reading, drop everything and read, “Book Whisperer” approaches to eat up class time. We teachers need to actively teach, facilitate, and monitor this individual student practice in class and at home. I’ve written plenty and provided resources regarding these potential rabbit trails: See research-based articles HERE.

However, to stay focused on reading comprehension cues, I will share five active verb prompts which teachers can teach students to use to build better and deeper understanding with the text as they read. The beauty of these cues is three-fold. First, they work equally well with expository and narrative text. Second, they work in conjunction with any reading activity from dialectical journals to close activities. Third, they unify the language of instruction. If content area teachers use the same cue verbs and encourage their students to use this language, students will internalize these prompts and improve independent reading comprehension in all content texts.

The SCRIP Comprehension Cues: Summarize, Connect, Re-think, Interpret, Predict

Summarize means to put together the main ideas (if expository reading) and important details (if narrative reading) into a short-version re-tell of what the author has said. Teach students to summarize more than once at key transition points in the author’s train of thought. It frequently requires the reader to skim that part of the reading once more. Check out a YouTube video demonstration of the Summarize Comprehension Strategy, using The Boy Who Cried Wolf fairy tale to illustrate this strategy. The storyteller first reads the fairy tale without comment. Next,  the story is read once again as a think-aloud with interruptions to show how readers should summarize sections of the reading as they read to monitor and build comprehension.

Connect means to notice the relationship between one part of the text with another part of the text. The parts may compare (be similar) or contrast (be different). The parts may be a sequence (an order) of events or ideas. The parts may respond to other parts of the text, such as to provide reasons for or effects of what came before in the reading. Next, Connect also means to examine the relationship between one part of the text with something outside of the text. It could be something from another book, movie, television show, or historical event. Finally, Connect also means to see the relationship between one part of the text with your own personal experience. You may have had a similar experience in your own life to that described in the text. Check out a YouTube video demonstration of the Connect Comprehension Strategy, using Hansel and Gretel fairy tale to illustrate this strategy. The storyteller first reads the fairy tale without comment. Next,  the story is read once again as a think-aloud with interruptions to show how readers should connect sections of the reading within or outside of the text as they read to monitor and build comprehension.

Re-think means to re-read the text when you are confused or have lost the author’s train of thought. Reviewing what has just been read will improve understanding. You may even understand what the author has said in a different way than how you understood that section the first time reading it. Check out a YouTube video demonstration of the Re-think Comprehension Strategy, using Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale to illustrate this strategy. The storyteller first reads the fairy tale without comment. Next,  the story is read once again as a think-aloud with interruptions to show how readers should re-think sections of the reading as they read to monitor and build comprehension.

Interpret means to focus on what the author means. Authors may directly say what they mean right in the lines of the text. They also may suggest what they mean with hints to allow readers to draw their own conclusions. These hints can be found in the tone (feeling/attitude) of the writing, the word choice, or in other parts of the writing that may be more directly stated. Check out a YouTube video demonstration of the Interpret Comprehension Strategy, using Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy tale to illustrate this strategy. The storyteller first reads the fairy tale without comment. Next,  the story is read once again as a think-aloud with interruptions to show how readers should re-think sections of the reading as they read to monitor and build comprehension.

Predict means to make an educated guess about what will happen or be said next in the text. A good prediction uses the clues presented in the reading to make a logical guess that makes sense. Good readers check their predictions with what actually happens or is said next. Check out a YouTube video demonstration of the Predict Comprehension Strategy, using The Three Little Pigs fairy tale to illustrate this strategy. The storyteller first reads the fairy tale without comment. Next,  the story is read once again as a think-aloud with interruptions to show how readers should predict sections of the reading and check the accuracy of their predictions as they read to monitor and build comprehension.

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Teaching Reading Strategies Intervention Program

Intervention Program Science of ReadingPennington Publishing provides two reading intervention program options for ages eight–adult. The Teaching Reading Strategies (Intervention Program) is a full-year, 55 minutes per day program which includes both word recognition and language comprehension instructional resources (Google slides and print). The word recognition components feature the easy-to-teach, interactive 5 Daily Google Slide Activities: 1. Phonemic Awareness and Morphology 2. Blending, Segmenting, and Spelling 3. Sounds and Spelling Independent Practice 4. Heart Words Independent Practice 5. The Sam and Friends Phonics Books–decodables 1ith comprehension and word fluency practice for older readers. The program also includes sound boxes and personal sound walls for weekly review.  The language comprehension components feature comprehensive vocabulary, reading fluency, reading comprehension, spelling, writing and syntax, syllabication, reading strategies, and game card lessons, worksheets, and activities. Word Recognition × Language Comprehension = Skillful Reading: The Simple View of Reading and the National Reading Panel Big 5.

If you only have time for a half-year (or 30 minutes per day) program, the The Science of Reading Intervention Program features the 5 Daily Google Slide Activities, plus the sound boxes and personal word walls for an effective word recognition program.

PREVIEW TEACHING READING STRATEGIES and THE SCIENCE OF READING INTERVENTION PROGRAM RESOURCES HERE for detailed product description and sample lessons.

Get the SCRIP Comprehension Strategies FREE Resource:

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School Jingles

School Songs

School Jingles

Twas the Night before Christmas

The most famous Christmas poem, was originally titled “A Visit.”

It was published anonymously on December 23, 1823. Not until 1837 did the author of the poem, which was now known as “Twas the Night before Christmas,” claim credit. The author was Clement Clarke Moore, a New York professor who was initially ashamed to claim credit for such an “unscholarly work.” Much of what we know about Santa Claus comes from the verses of this poem as you will soon hear. Of course, as an English teacher I would have preferred the apostrophe prior to the contraction, ’twas, but the author of the poem retains the right to punctuate as he or she or they so chooses!

Watch the catchy Twas the Night before Christmas” YouTube video after you read a bit about me and what I can do for your school.

I Write School Songs

In addition to my experience as an English teacher, I also am a professional musician and songwriter. I combine my love for teaching and music in a commercials jingles and songwriting business. Yes, I write school songs!

If you want to develop your school’s brand, establish traditions, and build school spirit, incorporating original, customized music can help you do so! I write and record three type of songs for schools, including lyrics from your mission statement, creed, motto, name, colors, and/or mascot:

  1. A quick “Announcements” lead-in for your morning public address with 10 versions to keep the song fresh;
  2. A “Spirit (Fight) Song” for special events, assemblies, sporting events, use in the multi at lunch, and video messages;
  3. A catchy and singable “Alma Mater” to close assemblies, staff meetings, PTA/PTO meetings, and graduation ceremonies.

The “Spirit Song” and “Alma Mater” include optional videos with song lyrics for group singing and sheet music with piano accompaniment for band and choir performances. The songs also make great additions to your school website. As a former teacher, I understand the importance of creating a positive and unified school climate. Your own school songs can enhance the culture of your school. Plus, they are a lot of fun! Your satisfaction is guaranteed. Check out samples, pricing, and reviews at https://penningtonpublishing.com/collections/mark-pennington/products/school-songs. Or contact Mark directly at 888-565-1635 or mark@penningtonpublishing.com.

School Jingles

School Songs

Oh, and here’s the video to enjoy: Twas the Night before Christmas”

Happy Holidays,

Mark Pennington

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School Songs

I Write School Songs

Interested in developing your school’s brand, establishing traditions, and building school spirit with original, customized music? As a professional songwriter and musician, I write and record three type of songs for schools, including lyrics from your mission statement, creed, motto, name, colors, and/or mascot:

  1. A quick “Announcements” lead-in for your morning public address with 10 versions to keep the song fresh;
  2. A “Spirit (Fight) Song” for special events, assemblies, sporting events, use in the multi at lunch, and video messages;
  3. A catchy and singable “Alma Mater” to close assemblies, staff meetings, PTA/PTO meetings, and graduation ceremonies.

Review from Ryan R. Lucas, Principal of Governor’s Ranch Elementary in Littleton, Colorado:

“Mark was exceptional easy to work with. He took into consideration existing school culture and traditions, and incorporated everything into some amazing songs that will become traditions unto themselves. The songs were catchy and students loved them!”

The “Spirit Song” and “Alma Mater” include optional videos with song lyrics for group singing and sheet music for band and choir performances. The songs also make great additions to your school website. As a former teacher, I understand the importance of creating a positive and unified school climate. Your own school songs can enhance the culture of your school. Plus, they are a lot of fun! Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Check out samples, pricing, and reviews at https://penningtonpublishing.com/collections/mark-pennington/products/school-songs.

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