"That was my fear--that I was not going to be ready to teach reading before I started working as a teacher.  I didn't feel I received the training that I needed in college.

I was afraid. [I thought,] "Oh, my God, my students!"

And then when I came here, and I found these programs that are not helping me, again I thought, "Oh, my God, what can I do?"

And then when Joanne came to us with Reading Simplified--you see--
'Ding!' We got it!

Now we're going to become reading specialists."

-- 1st Grade Teacher, Xiomara

Have you known that panic that Xiomara describes? Have you felt let down by your teacher training in just how to teach reading? Or the programs that your school provides?

I have! And Xiomara and her 2 NYC teaching colleagues have been there too.

But no longer!

Watch this smart, collaborative team of 1st grade teachers share their review of Reading Simplified. This trio transformed their reading instruction this past year and is proud and delighted with the results...the students' data...the joy.

They amaze me with their passion and camaraderie! Tune in to hear: 

  • what changed in their instruction,
  • what transpired with students' interests,
  • how they flexibly move students in and out of groups,
  • what happened when they presented their outcomes to their school,
  • how they now better serve their students with learning differences and ELL's, and
  • how their new approach, Reading Simplified, differs from other programs.

    You won't be able to resist their infectious enthusiasm for their students' new motivation and skill in reading and writing. 
3 NYC Teachers review Reading Simplified

Watch the video above or read the transcript below.
OR, participate along with our community who watched and discussed this video on Facebook Live (at the end of this post.)

Marnie: So I'm so honored to have you guys here. So, you are in a New York school. Tell me a little bit about your school, like the type of kids you're have.

Joanne: We work in a in a Community School District number four, which is located in East Harlem. Our school is primarily students of many backgrounds, but particularly we have students who are English language learners, and African American students. We have a many Hispanic students as well.

Marnie: And how long have you guys been working together?

Joanne: We as a team have been working together for...

Xiomara: Three years

Joanne: Three years. This is three years.

Alyssa: This is this is my second year.

Marnie: Okay.

Alyssa: So, I work with Joanne; we have the ICT class, or we have students with disabilities. I’m the special ed teacher and...

Xiomara: I am the regular ed teacher of the first-grade class....I have my own classroom.

Marnie: Okay, so it sounds like there's a lot of good collaboration going on here.

Joanne: Oh, yes.

Joanne: This particular school I've been at for 28 years.

Marnie: Wow!

Joanne: So, I’ve always taught here. I've never moved on to another school; hoping to retire here as well.

Joanne Reviews the Challenges Before Discovering Reading Simplified

Marnie: Okay, so tell me about your experiences teaching reading before you came across Reading Simplified activities?

Joanne: So, one of the things that I had noticed working in this particular school: we had done a lot of phonics programs. I did something called Open Court (it's changed its name now). So, I taught Open Court for many years at this school.

After that, we moved--the city changes programs, and I taught something called ReadyGen, which was a program as well in which the phonics wasn't really that great. And then we went into [our most recent program], which was what I had taught for about three or four years, and I really had a problem with it because it didn't make sense to me, in a lot of ways. It had too many rules. There was no embedded phonics within it. But I like the ideas of the tiles for making words.

And then I started to notice that the student levels were not moving. It started about two years ago...

We said, "Something's wrong."

Yeah, I said, "Something's definitely wrong."

And, and it's funny, because your Facebook posts would come up on my Facebook feed because I follow a lot of teacher Instagram pages and the like. And last summer I just kept flipping through it and flipping through it and flipping through it. You know, because...I was jaded. I was like: "just another thing."

Marnie: 20-something years!

Joanne: Right. So, then what happened was I got the scores of the incoming class, and I thought, "Oh, no."

So, then I clicked the button, and I was so happy that I had done it because I immediately started to connect the things in the work that you had done and all the trainings that I had had throughout the years. (I had been a literacy coach for a while also at the school.)

And so, I had had a lot of training and different things. And, and I knew right away that the things that you were doing--the tasks that you are asking kids to do--I connected, and I said, "Oh!" and I quickly said, "Oh, this is similar to this. This is similar to that." 

And I said, you know what?

It's also very easy and makes a lot of sense. Then when I saw that you did the Blend as You Read Approach? I said, "Yes!" Because we were having kids tapping things out with [our previous reading program] and doing exactly what you said in terms students not making that connection to reading. We have students with a lot of disabilities.

How to Teach Blending Sounds to Read Words

Alyssa Explains Improvements with Reading Simplified's Blending Technique

Alyssa: Yeah! I'd love to talk about that.

Marnie: Oh, good. Yeah.

Alyssa: My focus is on those students who have difficulties...they have executive functioning difficulties. And [our previous program], for example, which is a program that claims to be an intervention, I found it was kind of the opposite.

So, when you have students that have a hard time I'm recalling the /ay/ apple /a/ they've already forgotten the sound. And now, it's /ay/, /ay/, and it's "b," and it's not the sound.

I found last year which was my first-year teaching--I followed [previous program] to a "T." 

And at the end I thought, "Oh my god, I'm such a bad teacher."

Marnie: Ahh.

Alyssa: My kids didn’t grow.

Alyssa: "Why? Why haven't they grown?" 

I did it all year! Every single lesson...I even had to do double because there were so many needs. So, I was so defeated because they didn't move. And all they kept doing was

/c/.../a/.../t/ .... /tac/.

Joanne: Yeah.

Alyssa: And everything was, "Tap it out. Tap it out."

 And we spent weeks and weeks on letter formation and not getting ready for real reading.

Marnie: Right.

Alyssa: Joanne showed us this program [Reading Simplified]. And we zoomed in on just the sounds and just a few sounds at a time.

Marnie: Right.

Alyssa: Knowing them: "Oh, you see this? This is just /l/. It looks funny. This is still /l/."

Instead of, "This one has a short vowel. This has to be…. [the challenges of learning so many rules.] So, I mean, it [Reading Simplified] was like a whirlwind.

Marnie: Wow.

Streamlined Pathway 1st grade

How Reading Simplified's Streamlined Pathway Blew Joanne's Mind

Joanne: Just one thing I wanted to add on: the scope and sequence really blew my mind. Yes, that really blew my mind.

Because after all those years of teaching--all the one sound a week or one sound at a time--I thought, "Wow, this is awesome!"

I was a little bit skeptical at first.

But then when I started to see that it was easy--and it was sort of like they were catching on much easier than in the past.

When you give them the assessment to figure out where they're supposed to be on the on the Streamlined Pathway--that also blew my mind because we immediately are able to differentiate from day one.

Marnie: Oh! awesome.

Joanne: Right, because we already have a period called Word Work. We were able to differentiate Sort It right off the bat using the structures that you have put into place and just...

Marnie: Wow:

Joanne: Just dived in there. And we just went with it full blown. 

Marnie: Xiomara, what do you say, after hearing that? What's your response?

Xiomara: Yeah, I was frustrated, too. This is my fourth-year teaching.

Marnie: Okay.

Xiomara: So instead, I was frustrated, "Oh, my god, my students are not growing." And then when Joanne introduced these [Reading Simplified resources], it was overwhelming at the beginning because it was too much. And then when I so my students transferring--the reading to the reading and the writing, I was so happy.

And they were not learning [just] a sound a week. So, they were learning sounds and making words at the same time when CVC words.

For me, that was a gain in my room. And the progress that I've seen this year...

Alyssa: Oh, my gosh.

Xiomara: ...With the reading and the writing is amazing.

Marnie: Oh good!

Xiomara: Look, I get goose bumps because I'm very happy with with the approaches that you use, especially the Read It and Blend As You Read.

I had a student who and I emailed you about this, that she was not transferring, she was manipulating six sounds with the Switch It [but it wasn't transferring to reading.] 

She didn't pass level B and then you had a workshop on how to move up the level A's and B's. You told me to do the Read It. And it was great how she improved! Because I told her this is how we read. Let's go! And so now she's reading great. And...we are very happy with this. Thank you.

Alyssa: Not only the reading but the writing.

Marnie: Yeah, that's awesome.

Alyssa: I have a girl this year on the autism spectrum. When she came, she wasn't even a level A reader. She would look into the sky; she would make up a whole story when she would see four words.

Marnie: Right.

Alyssa: She would just write strings of letters: she had no concept of word. I am happy to share that this girl is on level now in reading.

And she can write!

Marnie:  Awesome.

Alyssa: She got an award the other day because she read the entire 20 minutes. She is obsessed with reading. It is like the most amazing transformation.

Marnie: Hmm, how gratifying congratulations!

Alyssa: Feels good.

Xiomara: Thanks to you.

Marnie: Well, no, I just gave you some ideas.

You guys did the hard work of implementing. So Xiomara, what’s your overall class results? How does that compare with other years?

Xiomara: Oh,...that's what I was going to to say now. I had students ending last year--they were not on level.

Now I have...85% of my students on level.

Marnie: Wonderful.

Xiomara: Not even that--I have  four students reading above level.

Marnie: Wonderful.

Xiomara: And one of my students: he came to me reading a level A--and not really a level A--I can say a pre-reader.

Marnie: Right.

Xiomara: And when I told his mom that he was reading a level I now, she hugged me.

She said: “Thank you what did you do with him! You made a miracle!"

student writing

Xiomara and Alyssa Describe Their Students' Improved Engagement

Xiomara: I'm done with my curriculum, so I’m doing creative writing. I thought, "Oh my gosh, they know how to spell, now!  Look at this spelling and the writing. It's amazing."

Alyssa: You hear them; you hear them stretching those words.

Xiomara: Yes

Alyssa: You hear them across the room.

Xiomara: And the level of engagement now with the students is great because they feel they can work. They feel like readers, now, and writers. So, one of my students told me, "Now, I love it because I know how to write." So, you're hearing those things and you're here to help make them...

Alyssa: ...love reading.

Xiomara: Yeah.

Xiomara: Last year, I have students writing only three or four sentences.

Alyssa: My class was very, very dependent...

Xiomara: Right

Alyssa: ...on teachers.

Xiomara: Right.

Alyssa: They didn't even want to try because they felt unsuccessful.

Marnie: Right.

Alyssa: This year, the time actually spent reading has increased.

Xiomara: Increased.

Alyssa: So much. I mean, they are really reading.  Last year they would open the book,  turn the page--not reading.  This year they really read, and they can't wait to read.

It's amazing.

Xiomara: Yeah, they want to read. That's what is happening this year in this class.

Because we are the one who implemented it. And it's been so great that our school wants to do K-2 here.

Marnie: That's going to be awesome.

Alyssa: Right.

Marnie: Yeah.

Xiomara: Yes.

Marnie: If you can get the kindergarten teachers feeding into your classroom, you're going to have the older problem.  You're going to have to teach a whole another level up.

Xiomara: Oh, no. Yes.

Alyssa: I'm so curious now to see in two years time, our kindergarteners and where they are when they enter.

Xiomara: Because that was our frustration. They came to us very low.

Alyssa: So low. We can't teach first grade and they're performing at a kindergarten level?

Marnie: Right?

Alyssa: The expectations are so high.

Marnie: Yes, higher than ever.

Alyssa: And by the end of first grade, they come in as a pre-reader.

Marnie: Yes.

Alyssa: Sometimes you get 18 kids and then you have seven with disabilities. And then you think, "How the heck am I supposed to get all these kids and manage them? How am I going to get them to meet the end of first grade? And then we get evaluated on the growth?"

Xiomara: Yes.

Alyssa: So, we were so happy with the results that when we shared it with our administration, they would walk in and see our kids reading and they would be so surprised!

Xiomara: At the beginning, it was a little hard for me to do because I was not in the Academy. Then when I joined the Academy , I started taking the modules that my student jumped. It was amazing. And then I saw you on Facebook, and every Tuesday I'm there to see you.

Marnie: I know. Now, I get your name right. I'm sorry I messed it up for so long.

Xiomara: Because the better we get--we need to master so we can teach more effectively to the students and they grow more.

And I noticed that when I started taking the module, they grow more because I was doing it right.

Alyssa: it was a learning experience.

Xiomara: it was a learning Experience. 

Alyssa: But so much easier to follow than other programs....

Xiomara: Yeah.

Alyssa: ...that are just completely scripted

Marnie: Right.

Alyssa: Much more responsive and targeted. And just natural.

Sort It image

Xiomara Loves Using the Sort It Approach for Long Vowels

Xiomara: I want to mention this because, for me, this is very important. In all the programs, they're teaching the long vowels at the end of first grade. In the program that we are doing now, I was teaching long vowels, where? in November, October?

And how to introduce all of them to get a long /a/ that you don't have to teach today. And then long /e/.  Tomorrow, you're teaching them /o/ and I use the decodable  that you recommended. I love the program. 

Marnie:  Well said, thank you.

Xiomara:  You know the growth of our students is making us love this program so much.

Marnie:  So, Alyssa, what about you? When did you first see the sign that--wait a minute, this is different! And how long has it taken you to come to this realization that it's a lot different?

Alyssa: I experienced it right away.

Marnie:  What were you doing right away?

Alyssa:  Well, because I have another person in the room with me. It's a lot easier for us to manage small groups.  There's two adults and then you have RTI support. We had another adult, so the kids were occupied. So, I immediately had a group of three students who were pre-readers.

I immediately  jumped into it I did  Build It and then we moved to Switch it and immediately just pointing.  They didn't remember sounds but instead of /u/, /up/, /a/, and /s/, whatever it was--you see this look at it. This says /a/, what is this? /a/ like, and then when they saw it /a/, they are looking at the symbol instead of having to recall is this apple is this /a/ is this /ay/.

Marnie:  Right.

Alyssa:  Too many things, especially for a kid with disabilities.

Yes, I had to repeat the same lessons a few times, and this should work for a few sounds. But they got it because they didn't have to recall so many words and so many phrases. It was a symbol at /a/, /a/ what does that say /a/?

I loved the double L. I loved it. I mean I compared to [the other program], but in that program it was just a rule. It was a rule. So, when you're reading you have to look to see if this gets in double L.

Marnie:  You have to go ahead, look, and then back.

Alyssa:  I have to know that this /u/ is /a/ and that means that it's short. Think about that and let alone any six-year-old.

So, I loved it. There's two Ls instead of one L. And they would see it L. /ar/ they see /r/ like a pirate.

It's not like "ar" control vowels. It's a whole unit we're going to do…… no see this /ar/.

Marnie:  Let's read it.

Alyssa:  Let's read it. Let's put it into word. Let's blend an L.

It's not "let's tap and go backwards, let's blend." It was really a world of difference right away.

Marnie:  With blending and the more directly into print into letter sound knowledge. Great! Welcome back Joanne.

Joanne:  I think what happened was that because we use a certain company, for our running records, for example--and the students--it always was odd to me that they had to know a certain level of /a/ words, let's say or /b/ least /a/, least /b/, least /c/. That would tell you what guided reading book that you would sort of assess with.

And that was odd to me, because they are just initially learning how to read.  So, they were looking for habits, for example, picture clues and things like that, like comprehension strategies.

Now that we're talking about assessments, we started to notice a mismatch between what the company was using, and as the benchmark box.  It didn't match anything that we were doing in the class.

And so, we had to literally take one of our meetings and look and study these books and look at the features.

Alyssa:  We realize that between the levels, what is it, G, H, and I, at ends of the year, the G and H are more difficult than I book.

Joanne:  What do you do when you get to a tricky word? And I always talk about when they put the little finger down--when we started to see the transfer, that they would get stopped.

And they would put that finger down without us. My heart was filled with joy, because finally were starting to see that.

Alyssa:  I feel like it was the opposite with the sight words.

I felt like once they became readers, all of a sudden, they learned all the sight words rather than when I was trying to drill the sight words, they weren't retaining it. When I assessed their sight words, it was like, boom! boom! boom! boom! boom!

Joanne:  They also began to love reading more. They’re enjoying the reading more. We saw such progress this year, in terms of engagement and, just this inner motivation to pick up a book and read and I think that decoding...

Alyssa:  Figure out what the word is

Joanne:  Right. Because it's the Blend as you Read, they have a practical strategy. When I used to teach, it was one long spelling at a time and the fact that you have this key sentence, and they're allowed to--for me that was the big thing about trusting the kid. I identified a level--what you said about holding the kids back--because in all those years, I would think, "No, they have to learn this bit by bit."

And then so when you freed us from that, that was a really amazing gift that I was given.  Now I'm like, let's just do it, let's just be. It really frees you actually. It really does. That's why I wanted to give you a shout out because I felt that it was something that definitely made me a better teacher. And I know that Alyssa was so happy.

Alyssa:  My career--.I'm still joining the profession, and I'm still learning to not take everything personally. Last year, I felt so bad and thought, "What did I do? Why can't they read? I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing." So, I mean, the light switch went on...

Joanne:  And you know, I don't know if Alyssa spoke to this, but we have a lot of students with a lot of difficulties.

I was so happy this year, we had these pre pre-readers, they could not retain anything. They're still struggling. They're still reversing, but they grew three levels. And they may not be on level, but the fact...

Alyssa:  The kind of progress is it.

Joanne:  Yeah. And they're also going to be coming to this summer school. So, we still want to let it slide, Yeah. And so, I'm going to continue doing the Switch It with them and moving on to hopefully some of the advanced phonics pieces with them as well. I mean, they, they worked so hard this year. I don't know if you talked about how we manage the program at all. So that particular group, we basically saw them every day, we were fortunate enough to see them on a speech teacher came in, and she saw them three times a day, and then I would pull, I pull them out now for two times a week. And that's when we saw the biggest jump, but we weren't able to be flexible.

Marnie:  Well, that's really unique. A lot of schools are not given the intensity, especially in K and one when it's so desperately needed, because you can really change their whole trajectory. You guys did that. That's really smart. But it's helpful when you see that. Okay, this is working. So, if we do double the dose, it's not wasted personnel, right?

Joanne:  No. And the other issue is that, I don't know if Xiomara spoke about this but we into class kids. So, what happens is that if she has a struggling kid, he may not be on my roster, or she may not be on my roster. But if we felt that a child can fit in one of our groups, because it was the groupings were like, so flexible.

Alyssa:  So flexible. It was like boom boom boom.

Joanne:  Yeah, and we were just starting out. So next year, we're going to be even more, we're gonna be better.

Alyssa:  We already talk about it. Maybe next year we do more advanced phonics. More spelling.

Joanne:  We're all thinking already about how can we really say, this is not my student, my class, your class, but like, how can we really look at them as a unit,

Alyssa:  We all have the same end goal.

Joanne:  And what is it that as a team, like, it's okay, that, you know, whoever that child is, if he fits in my group, maybe that's something we can sort of be more open minded to, and work for the first graders.

Marnie:  Yes, that's beautiful. One of the criticisms historically, of small group homogenous guided reading is that the groups become fixed and the lower readers get, you know, the shaft so to speak. So, it sounds as if you guys blew that up? Why were you able to do that? Besides, obviously, you're a great group of collaborators.

Alyssa:  That kid now falls into my group. Let's rearrange. This kid doesn't really need it three times a week anymore. I mean it was natural. It makes sense.

Joanne: It was a natural thing. And Xiomara is always, which always sort of together

 Xiomara:  And how we arrange the group in my room, it was a little bit harder, because I'm only one teacher. So, when I have group of five students and for them was growing so fast. And I was moving them around, like every week from group to group. And then the one that I saw was not growing so fast. That's why we decided to do the interclass.

Joanne:  What happened there was natural benchmarks. So, September, then we regrouped about January. That's when we said okay, we gonna give them the same amount of time.

Alyssa:  We actually hold out some kids that we’re really concern with. We actually had a whole big meeting onwards those kids how we can kind of move them.

Joanne:  In January that was really not showing, they had other issues, some memories, some of them couldn't recall sounds and were confusing letters still.

Alyssa: When you have a whole year of just letter names.

Joanne: And so, they weren't holding on to anything. And so, we just said, Okay, that's it, we're going to have to focus on these kids. And then and that's what we basically did. And it didn't matter. Like I said, if it was in her room, or in my room, it was just kids.

Marnie: Super smart. So, then you presented it to your school, and you persuaded them to adopt this program. So that's impressive. That doesn't always happen. People like what they've had before sometimes. So how did you go about making that case?

Joanne: Well, it's funny.

Xiomara: The data.

Joanne: I think that also again, our K through two team is very close and we know each other, and we all have sort of the same sort of philosophy about the kids. And I don't think that there's one teacher here who wouldn't do anything that wouldn't try it.

Alyssa: I think across the board, everyone realized there’s a problem.

We get it because every year, the second year was getting our kids who couldn't read. And we were getting the kindergarten who couldn’t read. So, I think across the board, we were like, something's not right. Why there are kids so low?

Joanne: And they will also saying a lot of “Yeah, I'm having that problem with this program. This program doesn't make sense” and so we will already for something I think and again, it's something that.

You know, at first, I was ambivalent, because I was like, now who's this person coming in and telling them to try something new, and thank God, they, they actually, I'm very, they understand how the data and the need.

Xiomara: The need of the children.

Joanne: And the simplicity of the activities, it was so simple for them to follow, they made connections with [the previous program], we had the materials because we were using, you said, the tiles from the [the other program]. We put the lines on there, and it's easy. And the Read It just not much to do with the Read It and not much to do with the Write It and we will also marrying it with a guided separate guided reading. So, it really came together.

Marnie: Wonderful!

Joanne: So, I'm hoping that next year we should be a K-1 and 2 is one big giant Reading Simplified.

Marnie: I gotta come out. Can you let me come out and watch? I'd love to see it in action. Maybe like half way through the year.

Joanne, Xiomara, Alyssa: Yeah.

Marnie: So, Alyssa, I want to have I have a question for you. Because you just came out of getting your teachers license I assume. So, did you learn how to teach reading while you were there?

Alyssa: No, this might be controversial. 

But I, so I went to I got my bachelor's in the Gen. Ed. And then I got my master's before I even went into teaching. I took the year. And I got my master’s in special Ed and through my experience’s student teaching is where I really learned phonics and reading.

So, in school itself, no. I didn't, I didn't learn about reading before. They don't really teach you how to read.

Marnie: Which is really sad, because about 80% of special education kids have a reading need, right? So, it should be kind of they should be almost reading specialist.

Joanne: Yeah. And you know, and, and the thing with me was just again, I went to a school where they we had reading, as a course, but you know, that was back a longtime ago.

Alyssa: My reading first was how to give assessment.

Xiomara: It’s mine too.

Joanne: Yeah, now, we had that. But I mean, I, my experience, just from experience in the same school going through different programs that were mandated by whoever the mayor was at the time, and switches and things like that, um, you know, I, that was one of the things that I loved about the program, that your program as opposed to [the other reading program], it made it so simple. I had a hard time remembering when you had to put a little…. on top.

Marnie: Why, why do you think I made the Key Sentences? Like, well, I think there's another /e/, spelling??

Joanne: You know, for, for me, I just, I loved how it was just, so easy for the kids, and the trust that you have to have in their little brains. Like, I mean, I think that's what it is. 

It's like, I'm the teacher, and I'm going to teach you this today. Whereas you're like, Okay, here you go try it out. And then when we did that, you know, it's, that's when the group's really, really moved through that streamlined pathway.

And I was like, Whoa, and, and that, for me was such a big switch between what you're being taught about what to do when you're a teacher in reading.

And when you're actually have this simple, so it could be so simple. It makes so much sense.

Alyssa: Yeah.

Xiomara: Yeah.

Joanne: And again, the joy for me is when they put that little finger now when we see them, they stop, and we give I you know, I count the Mississippi's and I…

Alyssa: We’re not having to stop them like let me remember the rule. Is it apple? is it /a/? is it /c/? Is it like, I mean they just look at it and then like /r/. Easy, /ar/? /r/.

Joanne: Oh, and when they look at you they do to tell me like they stop and look at you to tell me and I just wait, and you see them. 

I get up, I get excited, I’m so happy, I give kisses like the whole thing because I’m overjoyed that they have that little skill that they got walking into the 2nd grade with.

Xiomara: In my case, that was my fear that I was not gonna be ready to teach reading before I start working as a teacher, because I didn't feel I receive the training that I needed in college. 

I was afraid. I was like, Oh, my God, my students.

And then when I come here, and I find these programs that are not helping me, and oh, my God, how, what can I do?

And then when Joanne came with Reading Simplified, you see, Ding! we got it! Now we're going to become reading specialists.

Marnie: You are sounds like I mean, you're swapping kids around you and you're identifying need, you're giving them what they need, and that's really

Joanne: We don’t play around here we’re serious about our work here. We don't play around.

Marnie: It shows.

Xiomara: On your Facebook group like every week it’s like, oh my god! I am learning a lot and I’m learning, learning.

Marnie: Cool.

Joanne: She comes back number one fan and she shares and she tells us about little thing that Marnie said. 

Marnie says you should try this. And I said, Marnie said then we gotta do it.

Marnie: That's awesome. I'm so grateful. So, talk to me about professional development, specially Joanne and Xiomara, you've been here teachers for a while you've done you've done a lot of programs. 

So, I really like Joanne, how you said this Reading Simplified puts together a lot of things that you had learned about but there was maybe. What was that was before and then now it's kind of what's changed about it.

Joanne: What Reading Simplified does is it takes the best of the programs, that you know how there's not one program that fits everything,

Marnie: Right.

Joanne: Might find this program, we like this from that one, Oh, I like this part from this one. And teachers now have to come and supplement the programs. 

And so, what happened with yours, your program is exactly the best of all the things that I have learned as a teacher. So, when I saw that, this put everything together using the idea about the brain and how the brain processes things.

And the fact that you don't that, you ask us to trust the child and just throw it out there, that was it for me. And then the fact that you're using the Phonemic awareness and phonological skills along with the symbols, without naming that you're taking that what's important from, we don't need the name of the letter, we just need the sound.

And then using that and marrying that with connected text, which is sort of like the phonics based sort of decodable kind of text, which I hadn't try with, and then also using that constant writing and saying the sound and constantly review reviewing the sound and the modalities using all of the language and, and, and the actual handwriting of the sounds, so that would get embedded constantly, and it's never the letter name.

And I call it like noisy writing. I'm like, okay, I don't need the easy writing, you know, and, and having that child do all of that all at once and then await play the racing game, which they love. And you know, again, this is a a part of a balanced literacy program. So, this is just one component of our day, what we're doing morning message we're doing, we're doing shared reading, we're doing guided reading, we're doing independent reading,

Alyssa: Everyday.

Joanne: We're doing guided writing, as well. So, within that, I think it's 120-minute block,

Marnie: I love it!

Joanne: Yeah, we are supposed to be doing 120. And here at 120-minute block, we're incorporating all of that. And so, if I'm going to do a shared writing, we're doing our noisy writing.

Marnie: Yes, it can just bleed into all the areas.

Joanne: Like when we're doing in our centers, we have to when we're taking groups, again, each center really has to incorporate that sound.

Alyssa: The kids that aren’t with the teacher today, they have to be practicing the long vowel spellings to make the Sort It.        

And we've done it before, so they know how to take that and do it on their own.

Joanne: Yeah, and we just practicing the reading in the real world, you know, real context of reading. Because, it can't just be a decodable, but you have to have the guided reading in there. And have the independent reading.

Marnie: Right.

Xiomara: This program is targeting the students where they are. We’re not holding them back.

Joanne: Yes.

Alyssa: Targeted, Differentiated Instruction.

Joanne: And systematic. Did I say accelerated?

Alyssa: Now I know how to do it. Now, I’m a reader I can read. When before it was I don't I don't mind doing I can't read.

Xiomara: And this program is great for the ELLs too. The English language learners because they learn their sounds first than anything else. So, they’re learning the language and reading and writing. 

For me, this is one of the ___ that this program has. That is not only helping the students with disability, also the students who doesn't speak up the language that you might.

I was and ELL myself, so helping them with this program is ___ they’re growing a lot.

Marnie: Wonderful. So, it aligns with your you're wanting--to keep these kids moving. And you know how to move them now, because you've been doing it for the last few months. Awesome! Well, thanks. Good night, ladies. 

Joanne, Xiomara, Alyssa: Good night, bye! Thank you!

Here's how our Facebook community responded while I shared these 3 NYC teachers' video review of Reading Simplified. Just in case you want to carry on that conversation there!

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