What is Reading Simplified?
I once heard that a classroom teacher has to make 700 decisions each school day. But I heard that number well before the internet took over our worlds! Today, who could possibly count how much information and decision-making moments must pass through a teacher’s mind?
“Can I go to the bathroom?”
“How do you spell, ‘difficult?’”
“What is your Common Core standard for this lesson?”
“Will you please call me?”
“Where’s my coffee cup?”
“Seven plus three is 11.”
“What are we supposed to do?”
“Ella threw up!” 😮
“Download our Comprehension Task Cards!”
“When I can I meet to talk about my son Luis?”
“Can you tie my shoe?”
“Have you submitted the attendance?”
“Who’s the Line Leader?”
“Enrique, ask three before me.”
It’s exhausting just to read.
Teaching, in general, is hard.
Plain-old truth. “Duh!”-kinda truth.
And teaching children how to read may be the most challenging, contentious, and disappointing task of the elementary teacher, reading specialist, special educator, or interventionist.
Proficiency rates for 4th grade readers descend below 40% for all U.S. children and, to our shame, hover around 20% for many children of color.
We became teachers to make a difference.
But some days we doubt we’re as effective as we should be.
Given the urgency of our students’ need, we shouldn’t have to endure the endlessly conflicting advice among various standards, advocacy groups, professors, politicians, publishers, district leaders, blog writers, reading wars, colleagues, and our own self-talk.
And we’ve been there.
Struggling with how to teach beginning reading to a 6th grade student.
Struggling with how to prioritize excessive district, school, and basal language arts objectives.
Struggling to take comfort in yet another student leaving our classroom without adequate reading abilities.
Streamlined Instruction. Accelerated Achievement.
Yes, teaching children how to read was once perplexing, overwhelming, and discouraging for us, too.
But after years of study, trial-and-error, research, professional learning, and practice with hundreds of children, we have discovered a simplified pathway for reading success for all children.
We have distilled the clamoring voices of the teaching reading world into a few simple steps.
We cut through the competing standards, mounds of reading research, basal objectives, and clever downloadable activities to reduce the complicated process of teaching reading into a
Enjoy a simplified plan for teaching your beginning, struggling, or dyslexic students and just a handful of activities and leave The Overwhelm behind.
Better still, your students will learn to read more easily and more rapidly….
Reading Simplified Distinctives
Through this blog, you will benefit from 3 key distinctives:
- A streamlined pathway for accelerating decoding, word identification, and fluency—the foundations of reading comprehension (see below for the pathway)
- A vetting of the best-of-the best from a researcher who is also a reading teacher.
First, a streamlined vision for accelerating decoding, word ID, and fluency. All of the items on a reading series scope and sequence are important.
Yet only a handful are urgent.
Does a 2nd grader who can’t read Hop on Pop independently urgently need to learn how to use quotation marks?
Does a first grader who can’t yet blend 4-sound words urgently need to know how to spell “group” and “soup?”
Rather they both need to urgently learn how to decode, become automatic with word ID, and move towards fluent reading. These are the 3 bulwarks of a good reading foundation that should trump all other competing demands.
A Streamlined Pathway towards Fluent Word Reading
Thus, we have developed a 1-page pathway, map, or plan of how to move beginning or struggling readers rapidly through the process of decoding, becoming automatic with word identification, and moving towards fluency.
See the 4 major objectives circled in yellow that lead, step-wise, towards fluency?
- Blending & Manipulating 3-Sound Words
- Learning Advanced Phonics Knowledge
- Blending & Manipulating 4-Sound Words
- Blending by Chunk (Multisyllable)
This 4-step pathway serves as our beacon when we teach anyone how to read. They help keep the Urgent front and center for us. They reduce The Overwhelm.
Most importantly, these 4 major guideposts allow us to move our students towards success rapidly.
On average, what other programs might expect to happen in 2-3 years, we witness in 4-6 months. This is the type Accelerated Achievement that we want for your students, too. ?
A Streamlined Set of Activities
There are literally millions of reading instructional activities available to each of us with a simple stroke of the Google keys. Many of them are super-cute, too, right? I know!
Which one should we use?
I feel The Overwhelm coming on again….
May we suggest another way? Keep the Reading Simplified Pathway in mind and just use a handful of reading activities:
These small handful of just 3 activities is our bread-and-butter with 4 year-old beginners and 10 year-old dyslexics. Yes, that’s true.
Then when we see a cute activity or we need to re-invigorate our student or reading group, we just consider, “Does this activity or idea move my student(s) forward on the Reading Pathway?”
And, “is this a tweak of one of my handful of activities?” If so, then we download, copy, and laminate the activity that’s on our computer screen. If not, we click, “Delete.”
A vetting of the best-of-the best from a researcher
who is also a reading teacher.
Finally, please know that you can come to ReadingSimplified.com anytime to get thorough, consistent advice from a reading teacher who has studied the reading research, who has taught hundreds of children how to read, and who has taught pre-service and in-service teachers in multiple states how to teach reading.
We will streamline out the fluff, noise, and confusion to bring the urgent and useful if you are looking to improve your ways of teaching reading to beginners, strugglers, or dyslexics.
Here you’ll find:
- Videos of teachers teaching students specific strategies (like this cutie),
- Articles of how to implement the Reading Simplified system,
- Reviews of books to teach beginning reading and when we use them,
- In-depth reviews of the best apps and how to use them (such as Montessori Crosswords), and
- Weekly Q&A mini-trainings. Don’t go it alone—ask us and we’ll tell you the answer or go find it.
We want to build the kind of place that we wish we’d had when we were first learning how to teach reading.
Like a Master’s Program online.
We hope you want to stick around. You probably do or you wouldn’t still be reading, would you? 😉
What trouble are you having with a reader(s) right now? Please let us know what’s keeping you up at night in the Comments below.