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Shanahan on Literacy

Author: Timothy Shanahan

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Timothy Shanahan is a renowned expert on the teaching of literacy. This podcast addresses practical issues in teaching students to read and to read better.
35 Episodes
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This episode considers the value -- and limitations of using choral reading in the teaching of oral reading fluency.
This "blast from the past" revisits -- revises -- a blog posting from 2018. This podcast explains what the research has to say about teaching with decodable text. The idea of teaching students with decodables is a hot topic in reading education these days. Find out what research has to say about these materials and what they contribute to learning to read -- if anything. You might be surprised at what the "science of reading" has to say about this practice.
Most reading interventions for older students fail. One reason for this is that they tend to focus on raising general reading achievement, instead of putting the major emphasis on helping those students to develop the reading abilities that would allow them to succeed. Think pre-remediation rather than remediation.
These days there is a great deal of interest in controlling classroom reading instruction. One approach to this is to require "fidelity" of program use. What does fidelity mean and will it improve reading achievement? This podcast explores those issues and suggests ways that programs can be used and adjusted for maximum success.
This podcast explores how classroom reading instruction is best organized -- whole class or small group? The tendency has been to promote small group instruction over all other considerations -- an approach that is not often very successful. Find out why.
This podcast explores the role that guided reading should play in reading instruction and how best to support students during such reading experiences.
This podcast explores the idea of teaching students to read at their instructional level. It explains why this is not such a good idea beyond beginning readers.
These days there is a big push to emphasize knowledge in reading programs. This has led to welcome increases in emphasis on social studies and science texts in reading. But what about literature? Is there anything to be learned from stories and poems that would count as knowledge in this new regime? This podcast will explore that issue and provide some guidance to teachers on the matter.
This episode explores the value of professional development for improving reading achievement. Some school districts are investing heavily in very expensive professional development programs in the hopes these will raise reading achievement.
Teachers are often told that differentiation in instruction is important and in reading that tends to mean multiple groups of kids being taught different things. Is that a good idea for phonics? Why or Why not? This episode will answer those questions.
School administrators often believe that students can be evaluated on the individual reading comprehension standards and they push teachers to teach and assess these individually. The research suggests that such efforts won't work.
Teachers are often told to teach comprehension strategies, but what if many of the strategies that are recommended only incidentally address comprehension? Learn to distinguish comprehension strategies form study skills.
This blog entry explores the three ways that teachers can teach their students about the relationships that exist between reading and writing.
These days people are claiming that brain science has proven that phonics instruction is the way to go. However, brain science doesn't work that way. This podcast will explore what it is and isn't that brain science can tell us about reading instruction -- and what a safer bet would be to getting things right.
A teacher asks about the benefits of phonics in the upper grades and this podcasts provides an exploration of the research on this issue along with practical advice on how best to meet students learning needs in reading.
Recently, several organizations have started evaluating reading programs. These ratings are getting a lot of attention from school districts around the nation, but how good are they and how should they be used? This podcast will explore those issues and provide some recommendations.
This podcast replies to a teacher's question that asks about the proper sequence to teach the alphabet and phonics skills. It explores what research has to say about sequence and whether it matters and provides some specific criteria to consider in selecting or constructing curricula. You can read a transcription of this podcast and reader comments here: Shanahan on Literacy Blog.
Each year, Shanahanonliteracy.com presents a list of the highest rated literacy charities in the U.S. and Canada. These charities distribute books, make electronic resources available, and support literacy instruction in a variety of ways and to a variety of needy children. The list is useful in that it encourages giving to the best of the national/international literacy charities, shows the range of resources avalable, and reveals some possibilities for your schools.
State standards and state tests emphasize the importance of "main idea" in reading instruction. Many schools (and commercial programs) in response to this try to teach main idea by having students read texts and answer main idea questions. However, that neither improves students' ability to answer such questions or reading comprehension. This podcast explains why and provides practical advice about what kinds of teaching students should receive concerning the main idea. Listen to this podcast and you'll find out why the main idea is not the main idea when it comes to teaching reading comprehension.
This podcast explores the research on phonics teaching to English Learners and concludes that such instruction is important. However, ELs are more likely to struggle with language than decoding, so both decoding and language interventions need to be available to all children.READ MORE: Shanahan On Literacy Blog
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