For Teacher Appreciation Week, we are recognizing teachers who are embracing technology in their classrooms in an effort to increase student engagement and achievement.

Teachers–Over the years, you have shared many creative ways to use ReadTheory as an effective tool to help students increase skills, including reading comprehension and vocabulary. From raising student lexile levels through our adaptive technology to creating your own rewards for students, you have demonstrated expertise and enthusiasm.

We are proud of the progress we’ve made together in the following 4 ways:

1. Differentiation

Your classroom is full of students with an assortment of learning styles, along with varying abilities and diverse backgrounds. It’s important to reach all of them and time is always an issue. Even if you spend nights and weekends creating innovative differentiated reading materials, the ratio of teachers to students is rarely 1:1. When you incorporate technology into your lesson plans, you can address this issue. 

According to Toni McLaughlan, an ESL teacher of adult learners in the Higher Colleges of Technology Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, “ReadTheory allows students to progress at their own individual rates with no social pressure or shame.” ReadTheory adapts to student levels, automatically differentiating lessons for students and saving you time. This feature gives you the opportunity to meet in smaller groups or facilitate activities to address specific needs while the other students are still working on ReadTheory. 

For example, you can create a kinesthetic learning activity with stations. Students can travel around the room and find the central idea for passages at each station. If some students need extra help with understanding the concept of a central idea, they can continue working on this skill on ReadTheory.

2. Data-driven instruction

As a teacher, your intuition naturally drives decision-making in the classroom. Sometimes you just know what a student needs, especially after many years of experience. However, it’s not always so easy to pinpoint student strengths and weaknesses. Using data-driven instruction can be extremely effective. 

ReadTheory statistics are updated regularly. Kara Guiff from White’s Jr/Sr Bridge program in Indiana says, “ReadTheory finds the appropriately leveled texts and comprehension questions and students learn by tracking their data.” Teachers can use the data to create lessons and assessments.

The U.S. Department of Education specifically recommends the use of diagnostic tests and assessments to plan personalized instruction. These tests set a baseline for students and are helpful at the start of a new school year. 

Consider administering a diagnostic test at the start of the school year, mid-year, and at the end of the school year to monitor ongoing student progress. You can provide the information to teacher teams and administrators to use for the next school year.

3. Goal-setting

Many educators use the SMART Method to create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, improving reading comprehension skills is a vague student goal. Using the SMART Method, the improved goal could be that by the end of the school year, the student can answer at least 8 out of 10 multiple choice reading comprehension questions correctly, given a nonfiction passage that is on grade level. Now imagine setting and monitoring these goals for 30 students!

Teachers are using ReadTheory to make goal-setting student-centered and more manageable. Kimberly Crawford, a 5th-grade ELA and Social Studies Teacher at Plato Academy Trinity in Florida has her students use data folders to track their own ReadTheory progress, set goals, and use bar graphs to record their current grade level. As an incentive for reaching weekly goals, she has a treasure box and comfy flexible seating options. 

By providing students with instructions for setting goals based on their ReadTheory results, students have a clear purpose for completing assignments and working towards the next level. They can each work on specific goals and monitor their progress within the A.I.-driven software while you simultaneously track it. 

4. Engagement

You will have difficulty reaching students if they aren’t engaged in your lesson. There are endless ways to make a lesson fun and creative, but the lesson may still not be a good fit for all students. These students may choose not to try out of fear of failing. 

Emeritus Laureate Professor John Hattie says, “We need to think of engagement as being turned onto the challenge of learning.” We must continue to get students talking, taking chances, and feeling comfortable making mistakes.

Nancee Taylor from Rodriguez Middle School in Texas says it’s important to help students believe in themselves and their abilities. She likes to incorporate healthy classroom ReadTheory competitions to keep engagement high. 

With ReadTheory, students become engaged with the individualized reading passages and the focus on the learning process. They get automatic positive reinforcement and aren’t forced to dwell on scores. Assigning different passages to students opens up opportunities for discussion, often leading to students sharing their real-world experiences. 

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Teachers, we salute you for all of your hard work. You continue to amaze us with all the ways you are incorporating ReadTheory into your classroom culture. If you’d like to tell us about other exciting things you are doing with ReadTheory to support students in your school or district, please reply below!

Carolyn Vento, Marketing Engagement Manager
Written by Carolyn Vento, Marketing Engagement Manager

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