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Teaching Tip: Making it Easy for Students to Learn

Michele Dufresne

Making it Easy for Students to Learn

The new school year is here! As teachers, we know it is critical to set up a positive learning community and classroom routines that will allow for good teaching all year long. This month, I will be sharing four tips to help jumpstart your classroom and ensure a successful school year.

My first tip for the month focused on getting assessments done early so you can get going on reading instruction. If you haven't read that tip, you can get caught up on our website. This week's tip centers around making learning easy for your students.

Can you think of ways you can make it easy for your students to learn? Learning does not need to be a giant hurtle to be leap over. It happens in small easy steps.

Here are a few suggestions:
1. Pick books that are not too hard or too easy. The "right" book can be read quite accurately the first time.

2. For beginners, make sure you introduce the language structure. Use books that have a common reading vocabulary so they develop what Marie Clay calls "islands of certainty."

3. For more experienced readers, find and introduce the challenging vocabulary. Make sure they understand what the book is going to be about before they begin reading.

4. Give students opportunities to reread books. Fluent reading will make reading easier.

Sometimes I see a child yawn and put his or her head down. A teacher will say to me, "Oh, they are always so tired!" I say, "No, watch them on the playground. They are not tired. The instruction is too hard." Watch carefully and ask yourself: did I make it easy for them to learn?

Happy new year to you all!

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books  early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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