Reading Research

Going through saved files on my computer can be pretty interesting.  Along the way I have saved lots of quotes and notes  and insightful articles.   I came across a couple I just wanted to share with you!


I always loved finding effective, simple ways to explain and advocate for play.  If children don’t develop essential skills like self regulation, active engagement and motivation to learn – all of our direct instruction, whether in small groups or circle time, is pretty useless.  Even one or two children who struggle with keeping their hands and feet to themselves, or constantly shouting out, or serious attention issues can be so disruptive that even a thoughtful, playful lesson can fall apart.  Valuing and allowing time for play, and being a good play mentor can help children develop these important skills.

Another great article I saved contains lots of clear information about emergent literacy.  That is where I found this chart – that was really developed for parents, but I thought it was helpful in my classroom too.

Here is a copy of the great article:

reading research

I love reading articles that emphasize the importance of the classroom climate to learning.  First and most importantly children need to feel comfortable and safe before we can expect them to learn.

One time I was in a book study group in our district using the book Improving Literacy in America by Morrison, Bachman, Connor.  I made notes as I read and through our discussions – if you are interested in the “Cliff Notes” of this book I am happy to share!

Improving Literacy in America

Teachers are required to be life long learners.  Daily practice must reflect current research.  Everything we do with children should be based on thoughtful decisions.  Of course we rely on past experience, and what we inherently know works.  But today’s teachers face challenges that didn’t exist 20 years ago when I started teaching.  Things like technology, escalating numbers of students who struggle with self regulation, and the emphasis on individualized assessment have added to these changes.  Every year brings new challenges, and we are always looking for new ideas to help every child be successful.  CAT scans and MRI’s have provided so much information about how the brain works, and brain research overflows on the internet and on college campuses.  It can be a little overwhelming trying to keep up with so many evolving ideas and practices.

Hey – maybe the new slogan should be No Teacher Left Behind!!!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wendy Sullivan
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:16:10

    I would love to make the Observation Survey available on my (upcoming) website. Is that possible? I don’t want to share anything without asking, or infringe on copyrights. THANKS!


  2. Jen Whiffin
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:24:08

    I am very interested in developing effective routines along this research. I am teaching a K-1 split this year (full day) for the first time. Just to have SOMETHING going, I established an open 15 minute parent-child reading time every morning and I have a post-lunch quiet reading routine that involves children looking at and “reading” books individually, with partners, and with a small group of big buddies that come over to help from the grade 5 class. The behavioural challenges in the group are noticeable, particularly with my ones. They are simply not ready for direct instruction.
    Any suggestions for routines that I can establish that really target those building blocks of reading?
    (Continued thanks for your wonderful blog, by the way. It has been so helpful to me!)


    • dbsenk
      Sep 26, 2011 @ 17:24:46

      Thanks for the nice comment Jen.I think one of the best ways to encourage children to read is to find real life reasons for them to practice reading.I started to give you some ideas here – but decided I could do a post on it – please look for it soon!I love hearing what you are trying, and I'd love to help you think of a few new ideas!Good luck!


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