Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reading and Reasoning: Raison d'etre

Raison d'etre is French for "reason for being," and students who can’t read feel they have no reason for being in school. Students will start thinking school is a prison and will behave and act institutionalized towards teachers, peers and academics. Students get more cynical when the gold stars lose their luster, and teachers' mendacity about their performance start showing through the insight of their poor skills and inability to perform academic tasks.
It’s a small death suffered every day by these students, as they see their dreams crashed on the rocks of reality. We ask students to come to school daily and give 100% to what they believe is an intolerable humiliation, and we get angry when they don’t smile and take school more seriously. We scratch our heads, wondering what we can do when half of our kids drop out of school. If students can’t read, every thing else is moot. 

     Reading Boot Camp is not a twenty day miracle; it’s a way of being a teacher. My raison d’erte is to never let a student pass through my class without teaching them to read - period. Twenty days may not do the job; you may need forty or eighty to get the job done. We can use the One Star Fish analogy, but that sacrifices too many students to a devastating future. Students are not going to change unless we devise an effective way to change their outlook.
     The idea of doing nothing in class for twenty days except reading may appear bizarre, ludicrous, like child abuse, impossible, or asinine; yet, it works for my kids. Students see it as perfectly logical and 'buy in' almost immediately when they see their reading progress or realize they can actually read. Give a child the most complex video game and they will go without food, sleep, bathing, and talking with family to master the first level. They will spend the next day, week, and month with the singular preoccupation to master the game. 

Third-world students who receive the unesco XO laptop teach themselves to read and write without a teacher because of their incredible desire to learn. I just focus that same incredible drive and perseverance into Reading Boot Camp.

My Youtube Page
Reading Comprehension Page
Free Reading Intervention Page

Monday, August 23, 2010

Teacher Evaluations vs. Students Performance

Teacher Evaluations vs. Students Performance is in need of deeper examination when up to 95% of teachers in high poverty schools receive exemplary performance evaluations from their administrators, yet 90% of the students they serve can't meet basic performance standards when they graduate! The problems are not with teachers or the administrators, they are deeply rooted in US education reform culture. If we operated hospitals with these performance outcomes they would last a few weeks before the malpractice lawsuits shut them down. Your thoughts?

[PDF]examining the role of teacher evaluation in student achievement
 MARZANO'S SUITE FOR CONNECTING TEACHER GROWTH TO STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ..... The purpose of a teacher evaluation model is to measure teacher effectiveness and to advance teacher performance ......

[PDF]Research on the Use of Student Test Scores - Stanford Center for ...
from research about the effects of other approaches to teacher evaluation. This brief addresses both of these important concerns. Research on Value-Added Models of Teacher “Effectiveness”. Researchers have developed value-added methods for looking at gains in student achievement by using statistical methods that ...

[PDF]Measuring Teaching Matters (PDF) - U.S. Department of Education
most basic and historically most common view of measuring student performance: how many students“passed” the State test in a given year. A number of States now require an objective measure of studentgrowth to be part of teacher evaluations.1. States are using student growth measures to understandteacher ...

[PDF]Effects of Classroom Evaluation Strategies on Student Achievement ...
This study investigated the effects of teacher evaluation and the combination of teacher evaluation and student self-evaluation on student performance and attitudes. Participants in the study were 189 Latvian high school students and their six teachers. The six teachers were assigned to one of three treatment conditions: (a) ...

TEACHER EVALUATION: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERFORMANCE. EVALUATION RATINGS AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT by. Erin E. Alexander. Liberty University. A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment. Of the Requirements for the Degree. Doctor of Education. Liberty University. 2016 ...

The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal ...
EVIDENCE FROM LONGITUDINAL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT DATA OF MID-CAREER TEACHERS ... and after evaluation. Thoughtful consideration of performance evaluation is particularly timely for American public school teachers and their employers. In recent years ....

[PDF]Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness - Office of Higher Education
Why performance assessments are needed | 7 and prone to error. They note that observation-based teaching evaluations, espe- cially standards-based evaluations that carefully measure specific dimensions of teaching, have been found to be significantly related to student achievement gains.

[PDF]Using Student Achievement Data to Evaluate Teachers - Network for ...
 incorporate student achievement data into their teacher evaluation system is based on local policy. This document is ... Two common approaches for incorporating student achievement data into teacher evaluations are briefly summarized ..... ➢ For an ...

[PDF]Evaluating Teacher Evaluations - Darling-Hammond, et. al.
 when teacher evaluation results are tied to student test scores, the effects of emphasiz- ing “teaching to the test” at the expense of other kinds of learning, especially given the narrowness of most tests in the United States. 2. Teachers' value-added performance is affected by the students assigned to them. VAMs are ...

[PDF]Using Student Performance to Evaluate Teachers - RAND Corporation
 models to estimate teachers' impact on their students' standardized test performance. Such research has also shown that many current teacher evaluation systems, which rely mainly on supervisor judgments, do not adequately reflect variation in teachers' estimated ability to raise test scores. As a result, there is ...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Education Reform: Why Do Teachers Hate Change?

Why Do Teachers Hate Change? Answer: Top-down decision making based on bureaucratic nonsense! The endless top-down reform kills enthusiasm. 

Before I started my career as a teacher, I worked as a sales manager in a marketing organization (water purification). The mantra was results, results, results! Top producers in the organization set the pace, ran the sales meetings and mentored sales staff to help drive results no matter how tenured a salesman was. No one was ever above learning and improving skills. Everyone was reading Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, and Napoleon Hill to keep a positive mindset. Management actively searched for top producers to bring those skills, strategies, and beliefs to the entire sales organization. This results-oriented model (genuine students outcomes) is absent at many schools, the model in many schools is based on test outcomes, not students growth outcomes, and teachers operate in a curriculum vacuum with little knowledge of individual teacher skills in the classrooms around them. New curriculum initiatives and required teaching methods are usually top down due to a policy decision, mostly based on test results, budget, or administration whim. Teachers need to spend time in other teachers classroom and see what others are doing to be inspired and improve our teaching craft.

Sean Taylor M. Ed.

My Results!
Reading and Language Percentile Results: READING (from 31.7% to 67.9%), 
LANGUAGE (from 38.8% to 72.3%), and stanine growth READING (3.8 stanines), 
and stanine growth LANGUAGE (3.5 stanines). This is for a population where 
86% of the students were SLL, SEI, LD, and at-risk.

Free E-books From
Mr. Taylor's Modern Eclectic Reader 3rd grade Sample
Mr. Taylor's Modern Eclectic Reader 4th grade Sample
Diary of a Reading Teacher: Reading Boot Camp 

Please share your thoughts!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Harry Potter Reading Lessons: Reading Comprehension

Harry Potter Reading and Writing Lessons: How to Build Reading Comprehension Using Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone By J.K. Rowling. Intermediate students that develop the response to literature or journaling and summarization skills process the reading fully.

Response to Literature and Journaling: Paired students or individual student work on one aspect of the writing process. BRAINSTORMING, PRE-WRITING, DRAFTING, REVISING, EDITING, AND PUBLISHING. Response to Literature or Journaling, as you read, is the most effective way of understanding a work of literature and strengthening understanding of the writing process at the same time. With journaling you integrate reading and writing instruction, students will relate to the story/text more completely, they will deepen their knowledge of the ideas, themes, opinions, conflicts, settings, images, conversations, characters, and interesting facts.

6th Grade Students Journal Entries: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone By J.K. Rowling

Chapter 11 Quidditch 

Vocabulary: Hogwarts, Witchcraft, Wizardry, Quidditch,

Setting: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, 

Characters: Harry Potter,  Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, 
and Professor Snape  


     Harry learns to play the exciting new team sport Quidditch. The New Quidditch season begins at Hogwarts, and Harry's first season is about to begin. Harry will play in his first match against his enemies Slytherin. To prepare, Harry and Hermione study Quidditch Through the Ages. The Quidditch match begins with Harry unsure of his ability on his new broom. Harry is the Seeker for the team, he must track down and capture a golden marble with wings called the Golden Snitch. The Golden Snitch buzzes Harry and darts off towards the fans. The Slytherin Seeker knocks past Harry and is penalized. Harry’s broom starts bucking wildly and flies around uncontrollably. Hermione sees Snape is doing magic with his wand towards Harry, chanting a spell and forcing Harry to dive and almost crash. The Weasley twins dart over to rescue Harry, Hermione runs to Professor Snape's bleachers and lights his robe on fire. The enchanted broom is back in Harry's control yet busted. Harry drops to the ground and crashes, and miraculously capturing the Golden Snitch. Luis 6th Grade

Harry Potter Reading Activities and Lessons

[PDF]Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Literary Plan Sample PDF
written the first Harry Potter book on scraps of paper in a local café while her infant .... The third and final writing assignment, introduced in Lesson Twenty, gives ...

[PDF]Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Teaching Unit - Prestwick House
Reading. Reading Informational Texts ... theme, foil, and tone, and find examples of each in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 2. define the ... 4. write character sketches of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Snape, Hagrid, and McGonagall. 5. discuss ...

[PDF]LT8-Harry Potter - Blake Education
n Activities to take students into the book, through the book and ... Blake Education – Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Literature Unit ... to take turns in writing down their group's ideas. ... Show students the book Harry Potter and the ...

[PDF]Harry Potter lesson arrangement | PDF-versie - Wikiwijs Maken
This lesson arrangement is based on the first film in the Harry Potter ... Write a dialogue between you and your best friend about why you agree or ... Together you choose one assignment to show, read out loud or act out in ...

[PDF]3rd-5th Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
William and Mary Navigator: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ... reading. All of the questions on pages 13 ~ 22 of the Navigator may be used for .... Use of spoken and written - Incorporates activities for writing and speaking that emphasize.
Harry Potter Reading Activities For Teachers! 

HARRY POTTER READING COMPREHENSION GAME, GOBSMACKED! Have your children stand or sit on their desk so they are facing the teacher. Start at either end of the room and give the first child a Harry Potter Reading Comprehension question. They answer the question with the who, what, where, when, why, or how with detail showing knowledge of the readings. When students cannot give an answer to a question they say “GOBSMACKED” and must sit down. Students that answer correctly get a Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and the game continues for that student. Continue the game until you are down to one child! The last child that has answered all the vocabulary gets a small bag of popcorn or other treats. Every child that answers a hard vocabulary question correctly gets a jelly bean plus a pretzel, stamp, or a sticker. The hard question includes academic reading vocabulary, plot, theme, wordplay, irony, antagonist, protagonist, imagery, and symbolism, etcetera. They love this activity and it's a great review of the literature and a great opportunity to teach complex literary concepts. We start with a mix of easy and hard questions to get the kids excited and ready to read the challenging books... I ask my students at the beginning of reviews if they want a hard, medium or easy question to give every child a bite of the Harry Potter apple!

Harry Potter Reading Party!

Chocoadia Del Hermione

  • Butterbeer
  • Hogwarts Popcorn
  • Halloween Feast
  • Harry Potter Trivia Sparkle
  • Rubeus Hagrid Scottish Tea Party
  • Design a Harry Potter Board Game
  • Create Your Own Spells Using Latin Word Roots
  • Interview Harry Potter
  • Reading by candlelight
  • your ideas...

We explore Harry Potter books for magic spells, charms, and incantations to teach prefixes, suffixes and introduce Latin root words. Students use a basic Latin glossary to decode the spells from Harry Potter and make their own. 

A sample of my students invented spells using Latin Roots

Harry Potter Latin Root Words / Spells 
  • Comphotoposhous  It blinds your opponent for 10 minutes.
  • Donamorbrev  To make someone fall in love for a short time.
  • Liverphill  It gives a person free love.
  • Creadecadem  To create 10 clones of yourself.
  • Cosmdokeineiv  To teach people to be wise.
  • Viviodeca  It makes people live for 10 more years.
  • Chronacide  It kills very slowly.
  • Creacosmatic  You can make your own world.
  • Filaendo  Gives someone faith-belief.
  • Dynamgen  It makes you more powerful.
  • Anthropamor  Makes you fall in love with the first person you see.
  • Domindynam Gives power over all you command.
  • Pathymor  Suffer death instantly.
  • Zodynam A spell that can give animal power.

Why I Read Harry Potter Every Year!

I use great literature like Harry Potter as the cornerstone of my literacy program. Reading rich literature builds a love of reading and it exposes students to the ins and outs of literary elements which are the key components for the creation of any literary work WHY Harry Potter! Students that need to make the greatest gains in reading have a very limited reading vocabulary and are underexposed to complex quality literature. Traits of high-quality academic "analytical" reading and deep comprehension are underdeveloped or nonexistent in many at-risk students because of the large language and vocabulary gap. Using Harry Potter for daily read alouds gives me access to the books rich language and creates 1000's of teachable moments. Using the great Harry Potter movies as a hook, anticipatory set, or student activating activity gets students excited and engaged. Movie clips are a great tool to unpack all literary elements and frontload background knowledge. In short Harry Potter helps to make reading fun! I tell my kids, “If you don’t like reading Harry Potter, you are doing it wrong.”

Students will understand settings, characters, plot, theme, mood, antagonist, and protagonist quicker when you tie in a movie clip, theme music, or imagery to build background knowledge and understanding of literary ideas and elements. use great literature like Harry Potter as the cornerstone of my literacy program to build a love of reading and teach the ins and outs of literary elements in a kid-friendly way. WHY Harry Potter! Students that need to make the greatest gains in reading have a very limited reading vocabulary, and or underexposed to quality literature. Most traits of quality reading and comprehending are underdeveloped or nonexistent in at-risk students because of a large language and vocabulary gap. Using Harry Potter for book clubs gives me access to the books, but also the great movies, inspirational theme music, and characters with special appeal for kids that face daily adversity. In short Harry Potter helps to make reading fun! I tell my kids, “If the don’t like reading Harry Potter, you are doing it wrong.”

Students will understand settings, characters, plot, theme, mood, antagonist, and protagonist faster when you have a movie clip, or theme music to build background knowledge and understanding of literary elements. 

Students always have a stronger auditory or spoken vocabulary due in part to exposure to media. Using the student’s strengths to build connections to literary elements, in a format kids love, watching movies clips and listening to music makes building background knowledge fast, easy and fun for students. Using auditory knowledge to develop areas of vocabulary weakness is one method that helps my students become fluent, excited, erudite readers. Students will quickly transition from the cinematic elements to the literary elements using Harry Potter. Sean Taylor M.Ed

Create Your Own Adventure!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reading Program Reviews for Teachers and Parents

Reading Program Reviews for Teachers and Parents!
Please share your thoughts on "What Works or What Doesn't Work" using published programs or teacher made interventions! 
Effectiveness Ratings For Beginning Reading: Reading comprehension
Intervention Improvement Index Evidence Rating Extent Of Evidence

Kaplan SpellRead Small
Early Intervention in Reading (EIR)® Small
Start Making a Reader Today® (SMART®) Small
Reading Recovery® Small
Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS)© Small
Lexia Reading Small
Failure Free Reading Small
Ladders to Literacy Medium to Large
Success for All® Medium to Large
Corrective Reading Small
Wilson Reading Small
Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing (LiPS)® Small
Cooperative Integrated Reading and
Composition© (CIRC)
Medium to Large
Waterford Early Reading Program Small
Read, Write & Type!™ Small
Read Naturally® Small
Fast ForWord® Small
Accelerated Reader™ Medium to Large
Fluency Formula™ Small
Voyager Universal Literacy System® Small

Effectiveness Ratings For Adolescent Literacy: Reading comprehension
Intervention Improvement Index Evidence Rating Extent Of Evidence

Project CRISS® Medium to Large
SuccessMaker® Medium to Large
Read 180 Medium to Large
Accelerated Reader™ Medium to Large
Reading Apprenticeship® Small
Reading Mastery Small

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome To Reading-sage a place for straight talk on Reading Intervention

Dear Reader,
You’re probably disheartened and discouraged after observing students pass through your class who can’t read, won’t read or don't like reading and it seems nothing will ever change! Reading Boot Camp is twenty; high-intensity days of reading and writing that can be used classwide at any grade level or system-wide to transform students into competent readers. By the end of twenty days, your students will gain everything they lost over the summer and make up to +2.50 years reading progress! You might be saying that’s impossible and it can’t be done! Reading Boot Camp is not a canned program and it costs nothing except your time and effort. Believing the impossible; believing in your ability and your students' ability; and finding your own reading miracle will be a demanding journey. Alice could not slay the jabberwocky until she believed the impossible and found her muchness (courage). Muchness is easy to lose and hard to find -- and some may never find it. Do you believe it’s impossible to learn how to read in 20 days? Do you believe it’s impossible to learn how to write in 20 days? Do you believe it’s impossible to learn 2,000 new words in twenty days? Do you believe it’s impossible to read a half a million words in twenty days? Do you believe it’s impossible to get 100% of your class to read and write all day, everyday for twenty days and have fun doing it? Do you believe it’s impossible to find great classic literature that all your kids will love for twenty days? My students have accomplished the "impossible" for four years. I just never told them it was "impossible." They found their muchness on the journey they took with me through great literature. Reading Boot Camp incorporates incredible children's fairytales, poetry, fables, and award-winning books to stir their imagination, desire, curiosity, and wonderment. The Diary of a Reading Teacher “Reading Boot Camp” my free Ebook explains how students found their reading voice: 70% reading at grade level -- up from 30%; 95% passing on state exams -- up from 60%; +1.50 year's growth in reading -- up from + 0.50; ELL students acquiring English in two terms with 95% passing state reading and writing exams; and the absolutely most important result is students who can read to learn. The greatest gift you can give a child is the gift of reading. I love to tell my students that, “Reading is the keys to the fairy land kingdom.” They never get the maxim at first but awaken as they travel to all the magic lands throughout the year. Reading programs have become a billion dollar industry and they promise a failing district an average +0.50 extra reading growth in one year. Your district just has to spend $75,000 for a school license, teacher training, and materials and you get +.50 year's progress. My students have achieved the "impossible" for four years and they improved +1.50 AVERAGE in just twenty days. Reading Boot Camp serves one objective -- to teach students that to fail in reading is impossible. We refuse to let failure happen. It is time to slay your doubts and let your students do the 'impossible.' It is time to slay the jabberwocky. No gimmicks, no flash, just rigorous instruction and high goals will do. This is not the next silver bullet that will fix all the academic reading problems in your school or class. I do not have your solution. I just have what I have done, and maybe from my examples you will find your solution. We live in a time with extensive expertise in the field of reading, and almost-unlimited access to literature. Yet, we have more and more kids who can’t read or refuse to read. Why? We have transformed reading into so much boring dribble that kids can’t wait to blow it off, or they never get interested in reading to begin with. Students can learn to read in twenty days when they have an incredible desire to learn and great children’s literature. Thank you for reading my story and my students' stories. Sean

Free RTI Reading Intervention Program

Free Common Core RTI Reading Programs | Free RTI Reading Intervention Program

Purposes 1) Launch students into the rigorous and intensive reading and writing program that is taught throughout the year: 2) Accelerate the closure of the academic achievement gap in lowest quartile students; and 3) Teach the students cooperative learning structures (peers teaching peers), social emotional intelligence, school etiquette, classroom manners, academic listening, questioning and speaking skills (Socratic Seminar), critical and strategic thinking, respect, responsibility and rebuild a love of learning and reading ...

We Learn.... 

10% of what we read 
20% of what we hear 
30% of what we see 
50% of what we both see and hear 
70 % of what is discussed with others 
80% of what is experienced personally 
95 % of what we teach to someone else. 

William Glasser 

College and Career Ready Standards are tougher and demand the very best from your students. Reading success is the goal, is Reading Boot Camp your students' Answer?

Sample Schedule of a Reading Boot Camp DAY!

Why is Reading Boot Camp 20 Days?
Students that are failing to read or struggle to read, start shutting down and dropping out of school mentally as early as 1st grade. Reading Boot Camp shakes things up in a fast paced, novel way that is fun for all students. Reading Boot Camp uses fun summer camp ideas that create an atmosphere of cooperation and team building. The learning structures or camp activities are designed to replace bad academic habits with positive academic habits. The fun, intense and rigorous cooperative learning structures used in the program are designed to maximize learning, academic listening and speaking, reduce behavior problems, and replaces poor academic habits with positive achievement. The kids have fun playing games, competing, exploring ideas, collaborating and truly having a camp experience while learning to be amazing readers and thinkers. Children thrive in the positive learning environment that is created, and after 20 days the positive behaviors are habit. Students learn to build social emotional intelligence, Socratic inquiry, positive interdependence and amazing academic achievement in a unique way that is reproducible in any classroom.

My 2009 Reading Boot Camp PPT "reading fluency"! 

The Power of Students as Teachers that can Think Critically! 

Students need Curriculum that develops Theory of Mind, Executive Function, Creativity, Socratic Inquiry, Curiosity, Social Emotional Intelligence, Background knowledge and Cooperative Learning Skills! Curriculum should inspire students and teachers to reach for the highest levels of understanding. Curriculum is not the published textbooks, even if published curriculum is exemplary it is just a supplement to the teachers’ rigorous expectations, expertise, knowledge, insight, and enthusiasm they model in classroom lessons.

Students must model and practice cooperative learning structures and strategies designed to help enhance academic focus, team building, active listening and critical thinking skills. Practice and model active listening to strengthen memory, auditory processing and deepen critical thinking ability. Repeat all declarative and procedural information to enhance memory; repeat to remember, remember to repeat and build sustainable cognitive ability. We think, we learn, we thrive! 

If you want at-risk students to succeed you need to teach them critical thinking!   

Sample Schedule of a Reading Boot Camp DAY!   

Why implement Reading Boot Camp? The real answer is kids love playing, enrichment activities, being creative, genuine reading and learning! The administrative answer is, 95% of all students that attend Reading Boot Camp make over a years growth in reading and language arts. 90% of all students including NES, ESL/ELL, and special education students pass state reading test in some of the poorest Title I schools! Reading Boot Camp is the same Education model that is used in Finland, with amazing results and positive student outcomes!

Make Reading an Event!

A key reason Reading Boot Camp helps at-risk students pass State Reading and ELA test is the focus on critical / higher order thinking, exposure to complex literature, and strategic reasoning activities that include tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary games! The games, fluency practice, word work, close reading, music and lyrics, poetry, journaling "Close Writing/Response to Literature", dramatic plays, and fiction and non-fiction are intertwined with advanced academic concepts in a fast, fun, inspiring, and spiraling way. Blooms and Webb's question Stems and academic vocabulary are posted in the classroom for me and my students to keep the higher order thinking going.

RBC changes student’s futures!
  • Creating exemplary work ethic
  • Develop Active Listening, Questioning and Speaking 
  • Developing Critical and Strategic Thinking
  • Building Cooperative Learning Skills
  • Building Academic Listening and Speaking Skill
  • Building Social and Emotional Intelligence
  • Developing greater Theory of Mind and Executive Function
  • Thriving academically and curious students
  • Participating actively and engaged in the learning
  • Attaining challenging goals with precise effort and practice
  • Taking responsibility for ones own learning
  • Having fun pushing through academic challenges
  • Building Emotional Intelligence
Reading Boot Camp is a teaching philosophy that uses collaborative teaching, cooperative learning structures, active student listening, academic questioning, speaking and learning, and teacher made curriculum that has many levels, structures, and strategies designed to meet the needs of individual children and classrooms.

Student need to PLAY fun strategic board games and higher order thinking games daily to help build "Socratic Inquiry Skills"! 

Reading Boot Camp takes a teacher with vision and competence to implement, administer, and fully utilize the curriculum framework, structures and strategies. An understanding of Tier 1, 2, and 3 academic vocabulary, cooperative word work, fluency drills, setting rigorous goals and objectives, cooperative learning structures (Kagan) are all important to speed and maximize learning. Teachers must be flexible and willing to develop specific curriculum to meet the desires of their students. Students will find a love of reading when they get to read and learn in a novel and fun environment.

Reading Boot Camp does not come in a box or on a CD\DVD!

When you present truncated disingenuous ELA reading programs to students, you get what you put in. No root, no fruit! Many of CCSS ELA reading programs take up 10 hours of scripted instruction time per week, yet they only have one hour of on task reading allotted and no substantive Webb's DOK or Bloom's HOT question or question stems to engage students in academic dialogue? Most of the so called new CCSS ELA curriculum is just republished rehashed worksheets or re-purposed materials designed to keep students busy! The secret to Reading Boot Camp is students spend most of the day reading genuine literature with deep introspective concepts that lend themselves to teachable moments. Reading books like Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone lends itself to active student participation. collaborative dialogue, and Socratic inquiry because in covers every literary element, human condition, and creates thousands of teachable moments!

All Curriculum Materials Are Shared Openly With Other Teachers ! Sean

Fun Word Work Games!
RBC Core Academic Content
1. Cooperative Learning Structures
2. Reading Fluency Drills
3. Reading Quality/Vigorous Literature
4. Learning Poetry and Lyrics 
5. Tier 2 and 3 Vocabulary games
6. Word Work | Word Study
7. Close Reading
8. Developing Quality Writing Strategies
9. Academic Listening and Speaking 
10. Mentor text and structured graphic organizers, outlines and strategies to enhance reading comprehension   

RBC Core Social Emotional Intelligence Content and Critical and Strategic Thinking
1. Energizing Brain Breaks
2. Teaching Social and Emotional Intelligence
3. Repeat all declarative lessons!
4. Use the 75/25 rule 75% Academic/25% Enrichment
5. Classic Strategy Board Games with a Twist

Things to Think About?
1. How rigorous is your curriculum i.e. your teaching expertise, knowledge and or skills?
2. What resources do you use to insure all students are learning at high levels?
3. What is the quality of the professional development being used in your school to develop curriculum i.e. teaching expertise, knowledge or skills?
4. How many rigorous learning characteristics do you see in your classroom? examples: Higher/deeper levels of thinking (non-routine),  collaborative learning; constructing knowledge, problem-solving, teaching to others, 21st century communication skills  i.e. convey critical content ideas in multiple formats | speaking, writing, role-playing/modeling, incorporating knowledge from other content areas.

The Reason Reading Boot Camp Is Successful!

1. Language and reading is a function of auditory learning, students learn 6 times faster when listening, reading orally, and speaking. Language and vocabulary are mastered with repetition and modeling. When a reading teacher relies too heavily on individual student silent reading and silent writing activities, the speed of auditory learning is lost. By finding cooperative, creative and effective ways to provide more listening, oral reading, and speaking activities, you can give all learners in your reading class an accelerated chance to develop their literacy skills. During all Reading Boot Camp literacy activities the students are ether reading text or listening to text being modeled the within a cooperative learning or team structure. The repetition of seeing, hearing, and speaking vocabulary daily in fun and novel ways builds pathways exponentially, the further you get into the program the greater the automaticity. By day twenty, the brain pathways are automatic, automaticity has been achieved, the kids had fun learning the 800-2350 most used words and are ready to use them.

2. Reading Boot Camp is just that, camp, with camp counselors (teacher) providing highly focused fast, rigorous, cooperative, enriching, active, challenging, and fun, and yes reading activities all day long.

3. Students as teachers, using cooperative learning structures or peer partners for 90% of the activities builds accountability for the teams, and creates personal and interdependent learning that fosters greater success faster. Students are trained to work as cooperative learners, sages, bosses, scribes, secretaries, praisers, and teachers with the ability to run all Reading Boot Camp cooperative learning structures and activities with little assistance from the teacher. Students know all expected learning outcomes and work to meet individual goals and team goals. Students as teachers multiplies the effectiveness of on task behavior and helps student monitor individual progress and partners progress (Force Multiplier).

4. The 2000 most used English words (Tier 1 Words), Tier 2 and 3 academic words, and the Dolch sight words are modeled, read, written, acted, recited, or spoken 20-60 times per day during Reading Boot Camp. Students are exposed to 10,000-20,000 new vocabulary words during the course of reading a vast collection of literature that includes poems, plays, fairy tales, parables, fables, jokes, short stories and chapter books. Students build a fast auditory knowledge of the English language using simple yet fun enrichment activates. Teaching idioms, cognates, definitions, academic vocabulary, and any kind of words in a boring format will kill the learning and desired retention of any concept. Students interact with all the vocabulary in a fun nonthreatening way in the form of games or cooperative learning word work.

5. All Reading Boot Camp activities are Brain Based to enhance working memory, executive function and long term memory of materials.

80-90% of Reading Boot Camp activities use cooperative learning strategies and structures.
80-90% of Reading Boot Camp activities are done to maximize auditory learning or build language.
100% of Reading Boot Camp activities are literacy based.
70% of Reading Boot Camp activities are 5-15 minutes in length.

Students need Curriculum  Equity that develops Theory of Mind, Executive Function, Creativity, Socratic Inquiry, Curiosity, Social Emotional Intelligence and Cooperative Learning

Harvard Preparatory | Ivy League Education?

World class college preparatory experience in failing schools? Students and parents may not expect much from public school these days, Reading Boot Camp classes are the exception. Students receive a world class college preparatory experience from the rigorous demanding curriculum and Socratic inquiry to the high academic expectations. Meticulous manners and politeness are strengthened (theory of mind and executive functions), not with obedience but with emotional intelligence and cooperative learning structures.

Manners and Respect!
We practice and model social etiquette, manners, cooperative learning, and academic dialogue on day one! We start with students learning to work cooperative and build teams that facilitate academic and social and emotional interdependence. We practice and model daily all desired behaviors and outcome even standing up and greeting visiting dignitaries (parents or teachers), cordial teacher and student dialog, and teacher-student colloquy. Students giggle at first shaking hands and learning to greet and be greeted, but they soon feel empowered with the new found skills of manners. Students are looking for direction, guidance, structure, and a positive purpose in life! Learning cooperation, positive academic interdependence, social etiquette, manners, and pride in showing executive function gives students a sense of honor and virtue. Sorry for the florid verbiage I tend to go on but we are talking old school decorum. Students who shine and take to the cooperative learning structures, superior manners are given the job of class prefect or class models to help other students acquire the positive skill needed in school to succeed.

Teaching student’s cooperation
Teach students cooperation, trust, imagination, school etiquette, classroom manners, honesty, perseverance, discipline and responsibility or any other important life skill during your literacy block with fun interactive modeling, play acting, or the sharing of great literary tales of happiness and perseverance.

Learning Social Emotional Intelligence
Students begin their day with stories of high adventure, perseverance, duty, courage, sacrifice, within minutes of entering my class. They learn very early in school that learning to read, write and do math is important, but cooperation, character, manners, and empathy are more important if students want to thrive in school. The first four weeks of Reading Boot Camp are dedicated to teaching reading and writing and the process associated with language, yet the kids would never know that because they are having fun.

Are you Ready for Reading Boot Camp?

Before you begin your search for a reading solution for your school, you will need to take time for deep introspection on why you are seeking a reading intervention. Test results never played into my thinking when implementing new methods. I was only concerned that I could never let 70% of my students pass through my class with out learning to read and love literature. Spending 20 days of high intensity, literary immersion, is not for the faint of heart. You will have total support from your students who struggle with reading. They will see your mindful wisdom and join the journey with passion. Parents who desire an education for their children will love the idea and support you fully. In a perfect world, you will have love and support from your administrator, parents, fellow teachers, and students.

Reading Boot Camp was originally designed for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.
Reading Boot Camp is being tested in even more primary grades this year around the world!
1st, 2nd and 3rd grade programs are available!

Reading/ELA Success Taxonomy
Making Literacy and Critical Thinking Work!    
Academic Dialogue "Active Listening, Questioning and Speaking" (Developing Socratic Inquiry to develop and build knowledge)
  1. Model reading comprehension strategies with the use of Bloom's and Webb's DOK question STEMS with tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary
  2. Students focus on developing academic dialogue and inquiry with cooperative learning groups and teacher modeling using mentor text, my Favorite is Harry Potter
  3. Model Socratic Inquiry "higher order thinking" with Socratic seminars and critical think-alouds that demonstrate metacognition 
  4. Read genuine quality literature daily and ask deep introspective questions that stir critical thinking! Read vigorous challenging literature with all students and differentiate with expository dialogue and word work
  5. Play strategic board games (Chess/RISK/Go) with Socratic Inquiry and critical thinking modeled 
Sustained Engagement with Rigorous ELA Curriculum (Reading quality literature that inspires rich dialogue, questioning and thinking)
  1. Read genuine quality literature daily with  deep introspective concepts! 
  2. Repeated exposure to tier 1, 2 and 3 vocabulary concepts (repeat to remember)
  3. Examine literary elements, poetic devices and text structures plus reading comprehension strategies continuously "close reading with Socratic seminars" Always with genuine literature and mento texts
  4. Repeat all declarative lessons! 
Social Emotional Intelligence and Character Development (Developing Presence of Mind, Executive Function and Build Cooperative Learning Structures and Strategies Skills)
  1. Use cooperative learning structures and strategies that build problem based learning skills, critical thinking and develop character
  2. Incorporate Educational Sloyd "formative enrichment" based on the Finnish model of education 
  3. Model and Role Play Social Emotional Intelligence, Character, and active academic communication 
Critical, Strategic, Inquiry, Higher Order Thinking and Mind Development
  1. Play, Play, Play, Role PLAY! | Learn Lyrics, Learn Dance Moves, Play Board Games, Create and Imagine,  Then Create and Imagine some MORE! 
  2. Use complex games and learning simulations to develop Socratic inquiry
  3. Model Critical, Strategic, and Higher Order thinking with think-alouds 

Quick Look

Reading Vocabulary Word Walls
Academic Vocabulary Word Walls
Vocabulary Flash Cards
Open Source Speller 
Open Source Reader
Poetry Reading
Buddy Reading
Endurance Reading
Music and Lyrics
Chapter Books
Whiteboard E-books and Librivox Audio Books
Fluency Drills
Comprehension Building Games 
Vocabulary Sparkle
American Juku
Alphabetics for Kinder and some primary students
Close Reading
Peer Tutoring | Cooperative Learning Structures
Book Clubs/Literature Circles
Great Class Reading Sets ( Your Class Library!)
Reading Masters By Grade Competition
Reading Journals

Students don't come with academic deficits they come with instructional deficits!  
Make Reading an Adventure!  

Reading Boot Camp is Fun and Academically Enriching! Students learn that reading is a magical sojourn that takes you away to distant lands and adventures!

Imagine how fast kids learn difficult concepts like protagonist, antagonist, plot, drama, and so many other literary ideas when they get to act them out.

Areas of Continuing Education and Teacher Collaboration that is Needed in All Schools that Serve At-Risk Students!
  1. Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures and Active Engagement Strategies
  2. Educational Käsityö | Formative Handicraft Principles in Schools 
  3. Fine Arts Enrichment  
  4. Positive Behavior Support and or Restorative Practices Principles in Schools
  5. Theory of Mind and Executive Function Development
  6. Critical and Strategic Thinking Development
  7. Inquiry Based Learning Practices
  8. Project Based Learning Practices
  9. Problem Based Learning
  10. Reading and Writing Best Practices
  11. Math, Science and STEM Best Practices 
Free RBC Reading and Literacy Games!

Steampunk Board Game | Reading Comprehension Board Game 

"The Legendary Lands" Steampunk Airship Board Game and Literary Adventure Game!
In this RISK style “word domination game“ Steampunk board game of reading comprehension and reading strategies you are battling to conquer the world of literacy, writing elements, plot, text structures, literary elements, poetry and academic vocabulary. To win, you must launch daring adventures, assemble teams of scholars, resolve the quest set before you, build floating sky fortresses of learning (Sky Libraries), seek knowledge on all fronts, and sweep across vast literary lands with boldness and cunning. But remember, the dangers, as well as the rewards, are high. Just when the world of knowledge is within your grasp, your antagonist opponent might strike and take it all away!

The Legendary Lands Rules
The Game can be played using modified Risk rules or used as a teaching aide or simulation, replacing the dice rolls with the students knowledge to determine the outcome.

The Set Up | Cooperative Learning Groups

The “Boss” may assign students at the table the jobs of ‘banker, scribe, geographer, meteorologist and or chronologist’ or students playing in small groups can change jobs before each new round. The banker will make sure all vocabulary cards, character pieces, glass beads, florins (money); dice are accounted for and will make certain that players vocabulary cards are in good condition before the start of the game.

Draft ideas for new Character Cards for, "The Legendary Lands!"

Lady Alice Amelia Wonderland

All players roll for highest dice to start the game and determine initial board placement. The player with the highest roll of the dice will deploy 5 scholars and one professor to any 5 florin territories as well as become the first player to start the game. Play will proceed clockwise once the starting game player has been determined. If a  tie  for  the highest roll exists,  the  involved players will roll again until a starting player is determined.
Students start with One Main Character (Professor|Mentor) and Five Companions (Scholars|Apprentice), 200 Gold Florin coins and vocabulary cards or dice depending on the lesson or academic level.


You and your students can make Steampunk characters or use literary characters like Alice in Wonderland.
  • Lady Alice Amelia Wonderland |  Airship Designer and Captain
  • Lord Jack “The Bean” Quick | Steampunk Mechanic and Engineer
  • Mr. Wolf | Sky Pirate 
  • Miss Red  R. Hood | Wolf Hunter, Geographer and Cartographer   
  • Mr. P. N. Boots | Ships Captain Retired 
  • Kate "Bonnier" Crackernuts | Restaurateur, Airship Caterer and Chef
  • Baron Von Rum Pelstiltskin | Time Bandit and Part Time Gold Weaver
  • Mr. Harry "Mad" Hatter | Tea Monger and Clockwork Engineer
  • Count Harry Beast | Barrister of Enchantments and Curses
Chronology of “The Legendary Lands”
1.      Placement and hiring of Main Characters and Companions, and movement and or hiring a conveyance
2.      Exploring an unoccupied territory, invading or migrating into an occupied territory. Migration is a good way to make allies.
3.      Knowledge phase, attack resolution for invaders and defenders, occupying new lands resolution. All knowledge phase activities use the vocabulary cards to determine completion of migration, invasion, or migration action. Dice are used for knowledge ties, high roll wins the battle.
4.      Payment and Reinforcements
When a player is ending his/her turn they should:
1. State the intent to end turn
2. Decide to execute or not to execute the allowed movement and act accordingly based on that decision
3. Take the Florins if earned for completion of knowledge phase
If a player has not conquered a new Territory during the course of his/her turn then that player is not entitled to receive a Florin payment. If the non conquering  attacker  chooses  to  end  his/her  turn without  overtaking  another  territory then they should:
1. State the intent to hire a conveyance or to end turn
 See Movement

A turn consists of the following actions:
1. If hiring scholars is warranted a player begins by paying the banker 25 florins for each new scholar or 200 florin for a professor. Five scholars and one professor is the maximum reinforce allowance during the reinforcement part of a players turn. New scholars must be deployed to occupied territories immediately. Scholars are deployed, moved or reinforced.
2. You, as the invader or migrant, clearly express the territory you will invade as well as the territory you are defending, you can only invade a territory with a professor and any of his/her accompanying scholars. If a preference exists to answer level 5, 15 or 30 Florin question this must be stated during the attack. If no preference is stated the defender can ask any level question from any vocabulary card.

Steampunk Airship | Steampunk Sky Pirates
3. Attack begins and evaluation of scholars knowledge commences, a win or loss for both sides is determined via  the answer to the vocabulary questions. The invader decides  to continue with  the attack cycle  until  all  desired  goals  of  the  attack  have  been  met or retreat is needed to stay in the game.  The attacker chooses when  to  stop  the  attack  cycle. The attacker should state that his turn is ending when attacks for his/her turn are finished.
4. When  attacks  have  been  completed  the  defender   has  the  option  to execute a reinforcement or movement from adjacent territory to fortify his/her position.

Rules for movement are as follows: 
A. Scholars/Professors can move to any adjacent territory on the board that is contiguous without a conveyance. Players are not allowed to move across water without an airship, clipper, steamship or ferry!
B.  minimum  of  one scholar must remain on a Territory at all times to show who is in possession of that territory.
C. You may opt not to execute movement.
D. If exploring  a new territory a player will take his/her scholar question to see if they can stay in the new territory.  
Conveyance Movement | Dice Mechanics | Natural Disasters Chart |
Time Bandits, Sky Pirates, Sea Pirates Probability Charts

Legendary Lands Conveyance
Natural Disasters
Lose half your scholars
Sky Pirates, Time Bandits, Sea Pirates
Lose half your money or lose 2 turns
6 territories
10 Scholars
Roll 3 or higher
Roll 1
Steam Train
3 territories
30 Scholars
Roll a Six
Roll 1
3 Atlantis Miles
5 Scholars
Roll 4 or higher
Roll odd
6 Atlantis Miles
30 Scholars
Roll a Six
Roll 1
Ferry Crossing
30 Scholars

Teach Reading and Writing the Fun Way!
Trade in Values
Scholars 25 Florin
Professors 200 Florin or 4 scholars 

Dice Rolling Rules
Same as Risk 

End of the Game | Students can write their own Plot ideas or stories on cards and play or use the three bellow. Having the students write their own plot is a great tool to teach writing.

Scenario Ideas | Limited Rounds 3, 5 or 7 Rounds
When a player has successfully taken control of more territory at the end of the agreed number of rounds  and or his/her   and territory is more than all other players you have won the game! You may lose if a player has fewer territories but more points from airships, trains and florins. Congratulation! You have reached the end of the game.

Scenario and Plot Ideas | Sky Ship Port Control
When a player has successfully taken control of all 4 Sky Ship Ports they are also the winner! Congratulation! You have reached the end of the game.

Steampunk Airship | Steampunk Sky Library
Scenario and Plot Ideas | Building a Sky Library

When a player has successfully built a Sky Library at a cost of 5000 florin they are the winner! Congratulation! You have reached the end of the game.

A Sample of a Vocabulary Flash Card used with Board Games or "The Legendary Lands" A student reads the definition and a student must provide the term, or read the term to the player and they must give a student friendly example, denotation or connotation.

Student can also use test prep reading passages and multiple choice answers but this slows down the play. Read the Passage and answer the question: Get it correct or lose your turn or lose your playing piece! 

Sample Reading Passages

solar cell (also called a photovoltaic cell) is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. It is a form of photoelectric cell that when exposed to light can generate and support an electric current without being attached to any external voltage source. The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek meaning "light", and from "Volt", the unit of electro-motive force, the volt, which in turn comes from the last name of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery (electrochemical cell). The term "photo-voltaic" has been in use in English since 1849.  Words 128 reading Level High School
If answered correctly Move 6 or win the Battle

Student Made Boards 
"The Legendary Lands"

Which of theses statement is correct?

  1. solar cell generates electricity using heat.
  2. The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Italian meaning "light"
  3. photo-voltaic cell works without an outside power source.
Read the Passage and answer the question:
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn has a large ring system that consists of nine continuous main rings and three discontinuous arcs, composed mostly of ice particles with a smaller amount of rocky debris and dust. Sixty-two known moons orbit the planet; fifty-three are officially named. This does not include the hundreds of "moonlets" within the rings. Titan, Saturn's largest and the Solar System's second largest moon is larger than the planet Mercury and is the only moon in the Solar System to retain a substantial atmosphere. Saturn is a gas giant with an average radius about nine times that of Earth. While only one-eighth the average density of Earth, with its larger volume Saturn is just over 95 times more 
massive than Earth. Reading Level Middle School

Which of these statements is not true?
Reading Questions
"The Legendary Lands"

  1. Saturn is the largest planet in the solar system and has nine large rings.
  2. Saturn is named after the Greek god Saturn.
  3. Titan, Saturn’s moon is larger than all others moons in the solar system except one.

To receive a free digital copy of “The Legendary Lands” board game we ask that you submit 5 grade level CCSS ELA test questions. They can be multiple choice or extended response ela questions.  All Test questions will be added to the blog and shared with teachers free of charge. 

The reason I put so much time, research, thought, and effort into developing Reading Boot Camp! 

I have Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, I never passed a single reading test, writing test, spelling test or State Standardized test in my public school life. I dropped out of High School, or I should say, I was pushed out of High school because my failing academics. I went on to graduate from the U of A, and NAU with the highest honors, I did graduate studies in multicultural education in Sweden. The only thing I got from all the testing, bad grades and failed standardized test in public schools was low self esteem, low self worth and a sense that I was stupid. I hated school and the "curriculum" was worthless at meeting my literacy needs. Sean D. Taylor M.Ed 

Reading Boot Camp White Board Slides!