Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's That Time of the Year Again...

This is the time of year when many schools administer Early Reader Screenings. These screenings consist of a few key measurements to identify students who may be at risk for reading difficulties. These students should be closely monitored as they progress through school.

Research shows that learning to read is a process that begins long before children enter kindergarten. During the pre-K years, children develop early literacy skills that set the stage for reading.

Three of the most important pre-reading skills your child needs to become a successful reader are:

1) Print awareness (understanding the concepts of words and letters and directionality of text)

2) Alphabet knowledge (being able to identify letter shapes and their corresponding names)

3) Phonemic awareness (ability to distinguish the individual sounds within a word and to blend and segment those sounds)

An important note: screenings are a small snapshot of your child's overall learning profile. They may not identify all children who will have difficulty learning to read. However, the screenings have proven to be a good predictor of whether a child is at risk of having reading difficulties.  This allows parents and teachers to be proactive in addressing these areas.

If your school does not offer reading screenings, we specialize in reading assessments. If you'd like more information on reading and reading assessments, click here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Margaret

Over the last several weeks, we have been featuring one awesome staff member a week.

This week, we are featuring Margaret! We asked her a few questions, and here are her answers.

What is your favorite book?: To Kill a Mockingbird

What did you want to be when you were growing up?: I always thought highly of teachers. My dad was a teacher, and he put me to sleep with poetry, often Shakespeare's sonnets. Before I graduated high school, I knew I would be an English teacher. 

People say I . . . : should retire so I could have more fun, but I couldn't have more fun than I do teaching at Langsford!

What do you do in your free time? I sew, draw, and paint. I also play golf, and, of course, read.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Roxanne

For the next several weeks, we will be featuring one staff member a week.

This week, we are featuring Roxanne! We asked her a few questions, and here are her answers.

What is your favorite book?: The Wright Brothers, because it describes the many years of patient problem-solving needed to invent the airplane. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up?: I wanted to be someone who teaches and guides. 

People say that I . . . : am always busy because I am. 

What do you do in your free time? Garden, spend time with friends, exercise, read, volunteer,  and help my parents.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Best Literacy Apps for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

The preschool and kindergarten years are important for developing a solid foundation for reading, spelling, and writing. There are many apps out there that will help you give your child the practice they need at this crucial time. Here are some apps that are shown to develop the early literacy skills necessary to become a better reader, speller, and writer in elementary school.

For Alphabetic Knowledge:
·       Handwriting Without Tears
·       OG Card Deck
·       I Can Alphabetics
·       Starfall Learn to Read
·       Bob Books Reading Magic 1 & 2
·       Alpha-read

For Phonological Awareness:

·       Partners in Rhyme
·       Beginning Sounds Interactive Game
·       ABC Magic 1-6
·       Blending SE & TE (Student/Teacher Edition)

For Writing:
·       Handwriting Without Tears
·       I Can Alphabetics

Click here for more information about the apps and the criteria used to review them.

Staff Spotlight: Toni

For the next several weeks, we will be featuring one staff member a week.

This week, we are featuring Toni! We asked her a few questions, and here are her answers.

What is your favorite book?: That changes often. Right now it is The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (or any of her books.) 

What did you want to be when you were growing up?: A nurse, then a singer, then a teacher. (I've been a teacher since 1969 in one facility or another!)

People say I . . . : am creative, tenacious, and have a good sense of humor.

What do you do in your free time? What free time? Ok, read, aqua exercise, write poetry, garden.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How Early Should I Be Worried About My Child's Reading Skills?

One of the most commonly asked questions we hear at Langsford Learning Acceleration Centers is, "How early should I be worried about my child's reading skills?" Closely related is, "When should work on reading skills start?" Research clearly indicates that what preschoolers know before they enter school is strongly related to how easily they learn to read in first grade.

Three Predictors of Reading Achievement in preschoolers:

1) the ability to recognize and name letters of the alphabet

2) general knowledge about print (which is the front of the book and which is the back; which way to turn the pages of the book)

3) awareness of phonemes (the sounds in words)

If your preschooler is lacking in any of these areas, reading experts advise stepping in early. Research indicates nearly a 90% chance that a poor reader in the first grade will remain a poor reader without intervention.

The good news is, however, that slow starters can succeed if they are provided the right kind of help. Early intervention programs that combine daily instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and reading fluency strategies can improve reading skills to average or above levels.

So don't wait for your child to experience failure. If your young child is displaying warning signs that learning to read is going to be difficult, seek intervention early! If you'd like information on early reader screenings and/or full assessments to determine whether your child is at risk of reading difficulties, see our website.

Langsford Learning Acceleration Centers
(502) 473-7000

Monday, August 29, 2016

Establishing Good Study Habits

As children grow older, it becomes very important to have good study habits. There are a few things that middle and high school students can do to establish solid study habits.

For middle school students:
·       Visualize what you read! Turns out that what you understand is related to how well you can picture it in your mind’s eye.  Stop trying to memorize what you’re reading. Instead picture it so that you can understand it and think about how it relates to what you already know.  This is what real studying is all about.
·       Toss out your highlighter. When the cap comes off, the brain turns off.  Read with a pencil instead. Active ‘pencil reading’ is key.
·       Organize your papers each night. Take a short bit of time each night and organize your papers for that day, then prepare your backpack for the next day. Running around in the morning trying to find what you need is a stressful way to start the day. Even worse is showing up at school without the homework you completed. That will cost you.

For high school students:
·       It’s time for the adults to step back. It is best to stumble in high school and iron out the kinks before college, where it might be harder to get back on your feet.
·       Put away your phone. Attention shifting will hurt your productivity. MIT did a study and it turns out multi-tasking does not work. When it comes time to study, turn off your social media and put away your phone. Work for a solid block of time, and then take a break.
·       Read it on paper, not a screen. Studies show comprehension is better when reading from paper. Plus, the blue light that screens give off can wreck your sleep cycle, which makes it harder to get to sleep.

For both middle and high school students:
·       Get enough sleep! It’s hard to learn when sleep-deprived. Your brain integrates what you have learned during sleep. The average teen gets around 7 hours, but needs between 9 and 10 hours of sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Langsford Director Stephen McCrocklin recently talked to WDRB news about establishing good study habits. To watch the news segment, click here.