Special Education is a Service

Your child or students may be receiving special education services.

I want to emphasize:

Special education is a service. Special education does not refer to a place, and it does not refer to a person.

These services may be offered in a variety of settings ranging from the least restrictive, in the general education classroom, to more restrictive, such as a separate classroom. Some students flourish in a more restrictive environment, and some students flourish in a less restrictive environment; it is highly individualized.

As a rule:

The environment should best meet the needs of the student in the least restrictive environment (LRE).


Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

I have always loved this quote. Some ideas and projects can feel overwhelming–but at some point, you just need to start. Breaking large tasks and assignments into smaller chunks is an effective way to handle this.

It is good to do this in teaching as well. I like to keep a portfolio with work samples for each of my students. At the end of the year, I show them how much progress they have made. They love seeing the growth! You can emphasize the proverb, “Slow and steady wins the race” as well.

Free CVCe Word List!

Here is a FREE CVCe word list download!

I have had requests for a consonant-vowel-consonant-silent e word list.

Remember to teach the rule: the e at the end of the word is silent and makes the previous vowel a long vowel sound. Some teachers call it the “magic e” because it makes the previous vowel say its name (see my other posts on CVCe words for teaching tips).

I hope this helps!

Click here to download:  CVCe Word List

The Benefits of Oral Rereading

There are many benefits to having your child/students orally reread stories.

The texts should be at an independent reading level (meaning the student should be able to independently read the text with about 95% accuracy). The student’s reading should be supervised by an adult, older sibling, etc. It is fine to model reading the story first.

Oral rereading of texts improves:

  • fluency
  • comprehension
  • reading confidence

Time your child’s initial reading of a passage, then the second and third re-reading–you will be surprised by how much he or she improves!

A good goal for which to aim is to have your child/student reread a familiar text three to four times.

Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

Signs of Spring!

We had snow last Tuesday, the next day the snow melted, and then this, two days later!

There is something so wonderful about the early bloom of spring, especially after what seems a long winter.

Read this quote by Walt Disney, founder of Disneyland:

The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.”

Sometimes our goals and dreams can be a long time in coming. But eventually, winter turns to spring.

If you have a dream or a goal, make-up your mind to not quit. After all, it could be just around the corner.

Parts of a Narrative

Here are two FREE graphic organizers for teaching the parts of a narrative/story.

Your child/students will benefit from practicing identifying the parts of a narrative. This will help:

  • improve reading comprehension
  • teach story genre
  • lay the foundation for writing a story

Download: Parts of a Story Bear   Parts of a Story Flow Chart

Understanding Lexile Numbers

A Lexile number is a number assigned to a text/book/periodical to indicate the reading demand of the text in terms of vocabulary difficulty and sentence complexity.

Lexile numbers range from 99 Lexiles and below/”BR” (Beginning Reader) to the 1700s (college level).

It is very useful to know your child/students’ Lexile reading number because it will help match them with the right book at the right level.

If your child has been assigned a Lexile number by his/her school, this number is your child’s instructional reading level, meaning he or she should be able to read these books with about 75% comprehension. Your child’s independent reading level is about 100-250 Lexiles below his or her Lexile number.

For independent reading for your child, choose a book level that is enjoyable–not at an instructional level. This will help build fluency, confidence, and a love or reading. For example, if your child is in second grade and has been given a reading Lexile number of 500, choose a book at a Lexile level of around 300. Use common sense too!

All 50 states use Lexile numbers. Most school and local libraries will also have book’s Lexile number. To find books at the right Lexile level, you can look at “Find a Book” at www.Lexile.com. This official website has a plethora of information, but there are no reading tests at the website. (Did you know you can even look up Lexile numbers at Barnes and Noble?!)

If you don’t know your child’s reading level, check with his or her school. If you are homeschooling, you can go to the San Diego Quick under this website’s Reading Navbar; administer the simple test. It will give you a rough idea of your child’s reading level, but it does not test comprehension.

Target Lexile Ranges:

Grade 1:  200-400

Grade 2:  300-600

Grade 3:  500-800

Grade 4:  600-900

Grade 5:  700-1000

Grade 6:  800-1050

Grade 7:  850-1100

Grade 8:  900-1150

Grade 9:  1000-1200

Grade 10: 1025-1250

Grade 11: 1050-1300

Grade 12: 1075-1350

Monthly Book Recommendation: Carly’s Voice

Monthly Book Recommendation:

Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism

Written by: Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

I could not more highly recommend a book. This is a true story about a girl (now woman) named Carly who is on the autism spectrum and is nonverbal. I see this book as two separate stories:

  • the parents’ story (including Carly’s teachers)
  • Carly’s story

I am particularly drawn to books about autism that are told from the perspective of family members, and especially from the person with autism her/himself.

Carly learns to type at the age of ten, and is finally able to express her needs/wants–and witty personality (not a spoiler–it’s on the back cover of the book). One is able to read a first-hand account explaining many of the behaviors Carly exhibits and how it feels to be Carly with autism. It is significant, because this is all from a person who was presumed to have low intellectual functioning.

If you read this book, you will grow in both compassion and understanding. It is excellent.