Purposes 1) Launch students into the intensive and rich language immersion (oracy), Socratic inquiry, close reading, intensive writing, an d academic vocabulary program that is taught throughout the year: 2) Accelerate the closure of the language gap (vocabulary knowledge) and 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 (DOK 1, 2, 3 and 4 Language), respect, responsibility and rebuild a love of learning and reading ...

“The Reading Sage” Visited St. Joseph Catholic School in Round Lake 
"Round Lake, IL--St. Joseph Catholic School in Round Lake took their summer reading program to a new level by hosting a Preschool-grade 8 reading intervention program last week called The Reading Boot Camp. The program was developed by Sean Taylor, who built a reputation among educators as "The Reading Sage," and is sharing his innovative teaching methods with schools across the country.
A dyslexic reading teacher, Sean Taylor embarked on creating a program that would strengthen student reading and critical thinking skills in a fun, fast-paced way. This simulated summer camp experience creates an atmosphere of cooperation and team building while replacing poor academic habits with more positive ones. Taylor visited St. Joseph Catholic School to meet the teachers who were facilitating the program and encouraged best practices for engaging students while increasing reading growth."  http://www.chicagotribune.com
Sample Schedule of a Reading Boot Camp DAY!


“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” William A. Foster
READING BOOT CAMP is a FREE researched based RTI intervention program that uses best instructional practices with a qualification, teach to the very TOP, expose every student to grade level and above ELA concepts, lift all students using Socratic learning tactics, teach and treat all students as GIFTED, be flexible and have fun, set rigorous goals, and differentiate through scaffolding and cooperative learning. 

READING BOOT CAMP School and Student Success Rubric

"Courage is perseverance of the soul"



Investigating ideas, problems, themes, concepts, and feelings from multiple perspectives helps students make deeper learning connections. Using scientific reasoning that is engaging, deeply thought-provoking, and multisensory captivates a child's curiosity and passions. Teaching and learning about philosophy is literally creating a love of wisdom and learning. Teaching philosophical principals, SOCRATIC THINKING,  and analytical thinking techniques is transformative for students ACADEMIC SUCCESS. Using curiosity, DESIRE, novelty, ENGAGING dialogue, active empathetic-reflective-listening, and student interest is the key to creating modern philosophers!

INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING: Creating essential questions to promote and stimulate critical thinking and problem solving. Inquiry based learning creates wonder, curiosity, passion, FOCUS, ENGAGEMENT. and a real school community. Low-level questioning creates low LEVEL or ZERO thinking. The philosophical goal of teaching inquiry is to help students overcome and adapt to a rapidly changing world, to solve problems with logic and reason.

SOCRATIC SEMINARS AND ACADEMIC DISCOURSE: asking, discussing, CREATING, and answering HIGHER ORDER THINKING questions stimulate critical thinking and FLEXIBLE PROBLEM-SOLVING. Using Hess' Cognitive Rigor Matrix & Curricular Examples and Applying Webb's Depth-of-Knowledge Levels to Daily Lessons and Curriculum Development.

ACADEMIC DIALECTIC, DIALOGUE, DEBATE, AND DISCUSSION: collaborative, cooperative, competitive, sharing pf multiple perspectives, working towards acquiring new knowledge and a deeper understanding requires advanced dialectic skills that are practiced, rehearsed, scaffold and scripted. Learning the skills of 21st-century communication through noisy raucous structured engagement.
"CQ + PQ > IQ; where CQ is "curiosity quotient" and PQ is "passion quotient."


EXECUTIVE FUNCTION: attentional control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. I.E. SELF CONTROL and IMPULSE CONTROL!


SETTING S.M.A.R.T. GOALS that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and strategies to help students cope with or reverse maladaptive behaviors and habits or dysfunctional thoughts and feelings.

MINDFULNESS and somatic quieting to change, cope, quite, or transform dysfunctional thinking. Reversing the feelings of fear, anxiety, negative or self-defeating thoughts, and low self-esteem.


Developing the 16 Habits of Mind: The 16 Habits of Mind identified by Costa and Kallick include:

  • Persisting 
  • Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision 
  • Managing impulsivity 
  • Gathering data through all senses 
  • Listening with understanding and empathy 
  • Creating, imagining, innovating 
  • Thinking flexibly 
  • Responding with wonderment and awe 
  • Thinking about thinking (metacognition) 
  • Taking responsible risks 
  • Striving for accuracy 
  • Finding humor 
  • Questioning and posing problems 
  • Thinking interdependently 
  • Applying past knowledge to new situations 
  • Remaining open to continuous learning


INTELLIGENT, ANALYTICAL, and ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT TECHNIQUES that DEVELOPS ERUDITE ORACY and LITERACY. Objective! Developing advanced academic language and vocabulary to move students from beginning or average readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and thinkers to advanced analytical readers and thinkers. 

ACADEMIC LANGUAGE (vocabulary, dialogue, discourse, syntax) helps students learning ideas, skills, procedures, and task through reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking.







  • Pre reading strategies that ask essential questions and then seeks the answers 
  • Text coding/annotating text for the purpose of analytical reading 
  • Summarizing and paraphrasing 
  • Predicting, inferring, drawing conclusions, and reading comprehension 
  • Socratic Seminars 
  • Essential questions that grow your thinking 
  • Discussion questions frames, reading discussion scripts, and HOT question stems


RESPONSE to LITERATURE (fiction) developing opinions, statements, and questions about a character's traits, the setting, plot, theme, or theme/moral of the story. summarize, RESTATE, PREDICT, and SITE TEXT EVIDENCE. 


ACADEMIC NOTE TAKING THAT DEVELOPS CRITICAL THINKING, REFLECTION, and READING COMPREHENSION. Teaching and demonstrating multiple Examples of 2-Column, 3-Column, and Cornell Note Taking and Strategies. 

  • Structural analysis notes – using structural analysis to understand unfamiliar words, context, and content of the subject
  • Conceptual analysis notes - analyzing the truth and significance of text by "breaking down" (i.e. analyzing) philosophical issues.
  • Dialectical discussion notes – seeking the truth by creating a series of essential questions to refine and shape an argument and opinion. Revising notes after discussions and listening to other people’s ideas, opinions, and arguments.




KAGAN COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRUCTURES: Positive interdependence, Face-to-face Positive Interaction, Individual and group accountability, Social skills, Group discovery and Group processing.
  • Group discovery, investigation, and intelligent collaboration 
  • Maximize student learning and connection 
  • Individual accountability is internalized 
  • Learning from others strengths and weaknesses 
  • Develop and use critical thinking and problem-solving skills as a team 
  • Promote positive relations and interdependence between students 
  • Implements peer-peer teaching, coaching, and formative feedback 
  • Establishes safe learning environments where academic risk taking and accomplishments are valued 
  • Cooperatively managed classrooms are less stressful for teachers and students
WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING using the latest neuroscience of motivation, engagement, and intrinsic happiness.

7 Basic Principles of Whole Brain Teaching
  1. Class!-Yes!
  2. The Five Rules with Character Education Values
  3. The Scoreboard “Game” (and more!)
  4. Hands and Eyes!
  5. Teach!-OK! Please!-OK!
  6. Mirror Words!
  7. Switch!
When students are learning something new? Follow the 10/2/24/7+ Rule. Teach a concept, review it after ten minutes, again 2 hours later, then yet again 24 hours later, yep again 7 days later, and periodically review, summarize, and retest to cement the memories. I use this for all critical academic concepts and all tier 2 and tier 3 academic reading vocabulary! Brain Rules by DR. John Medina
  • Exercise. Rule #1 : exercise boosts brain power --
  • Survival. Rule #2 : The human brain evolved, too --
  • Wiring. Rule #3 : Every brain is wired differently --
  • Attention. Rule #4 : We don't pay attention to boring things --
  • Short-term memory. Rule #5 : Repeat to remember --
  • Long-term memory. Rule #6 : Remember to repeat --
  • Sleep. Rule #7 : Sleep well, think well --
  • Stress. Rule #8 : Stressed brains don't learn the same way --
  • Sensory integration. Rule #9 : Stimulate more of the senses --
  • Vision. Rule #10 : Vision trumps all other senses --
  • Gender. Rule #11: Male and female brains are different --
  • Exploration. Rule #12 : We are powerful and natural explorers. Exercise --

WISDOM OF THE HANDS uses the vast area of the brain used for fine motor muscle memory and pairing or connecting that with academic learning and memory. HANDS, EYES, and MIND COORDINATION “DEVELOPING WISDOM OF THE HAND” 

FORMATIVE HANDICRAFT develops self-reliance, growth mindset, encourages moral behavior, improves discernment, mindfulness. perseverance, an understanding of quality, encourages students to internalize high standards and develops greater intelligence and industriousness. 



Please message me on FB and like my FB page for a free PDF copy of the Reading Boot Camp 2.0 Teachers Manual! This book is free for teachers that would like research and try Reading Boot Camp RTI at their schools. Available July 29th. 

Who should read this book?
This book is for reading teachers, parents that want to help their child thrive academically, and any teacher that loves teaching the language arts. And indeed for any teacher wishing to improve instructional practice using Socratic seminars and evidence-based engagement tactics that work in all academic domains.

I’m Sean Taylor, a dyslexic reading teacher that has built a reputation for finding innovative ways to successfully teach reading and critical thinking to students of all ages. Through the hands-on application of the techniques, methods, and protocols described in the pages that follow, I bring to bear 12 years experience of coaching some of the poorest performing classes in the country to become high performers.

This is an achievement of which I am immensely proud. As a child, literacy for me seemed like an unattainable dream. As a young dyslexic learner, I was unable to read, write, or decode words. The letters p, d, b and q all looked the same to me. I perceived written words as a jumbled collection of cuneiform squiggles that swam around the page. I was officially identified as dyslexic at the age of 9. Later, I was told that I was dysgraphic. I spent the next 6 years in special education programs trying to learn to read and write. These programs failed to acknowledge my creative capabilities and coping skills. They ignored the shame and humiliation I felt at being unable to read. Instead, they focused on ‘curing’ my learning disabilities with under-trained teachers! Many of these teachers assumed I would never read or write due to the severity of my dyslexia. This, of course, made me feel worthless.

I eventually learned to read all words by sight using the same method as learning Chinese. As you hopefully can tell, the teaching of reading is a life-long passion for me. If in reading this book, you end up sharing just a little of that passion, I would consider that as a mark of success.

Sean Taylor M.Ed

Reading Boot Camp Introduction

What is Reading Boot Camp (RBC)?
Reading Boot Camp is a free, evidence-based RTI accelerated reading intervention program of 20 day’s duration. The system uses best instructional practices which:
  • Presumes that all children are gifted!
  • Expects that all children will become exceptional readers!
  • Grows students' curiosity, imagination, resilience, PASSION, and creativity
  • Expose ELA concepts to every student at grade level and above
  • Improve the performance all students through the use of Socratic Learning Methods
  • Teaches and treats all students as gifted!
  • Are both flexible and fun
  • Set rigorous goals
  • Differentiate through scaffolding and cooperative learning
What does Reading Boot Camp (RBC) achieve?
Reading Boot Camp:
  1. Changes student’s academic habits and futures!
  2. Creates attentive, curious lovers of learning
  3. Generates an exemplary work ethic and develops a susses mindset
  4. Internalizes high standards
  5. Encourages attendees to thrive academically, through attentive listening and effective essential questioning
  6. Encourages active participation and engagement in learning
  7. Helps students achieve challenging performance-based goals with thoughtful effort and crazy fun practice
  8. Creates students that take responsibility for their learning
  9. Steers students from teacher-lead learning and questioning to student-led learning and questioning, academic discourse and problem-based learning
  10. Shows students how to have fun while pushing through and learning from academic challenges, failures, and mistakes

This teaching philosophy is not universally accepted. Some detractors consider it to be pedagogically unsound, including many teachers that try to ability-group based on a few data points and or differentiate for up to 7 grade levels in one class. Yet RBC enjoys a 15-year record of proven results. The RTI reading intervention has been shown to improve reading test scores by one full grade level, in 20 days! Today, Reading Boot Camp is used in hundreds of classrooms as a well established, school-wide classroom turnaround program.

The Inception of Reading Boot Camp 18 Years Ago!
My First Reading Teacher! Yvette, My Amazing 2nd Grader that taught me anything is possible!

Yvette was an absolute darling who could melt your heart with her infectious smile. She was so excited the first day of school, she had only one thing on her mind, she was going to learn how to read Clifford the Big Red Dog to her mom. Yvette had a new, stuffed Clifford held tightly under one arm and a tattered Clifford book under the other and of course her adorable smile. She adored Clifford and wanted to share his adventures with her mom. 

Yvette shared that her mom couldn't read to her so she wanted to learn how to read to her mom. This little girl had a mighty passion that would not be tamed or extinguished. Her giant smile was my introduction to teaching a Special Education Cross Categorical Classroom! Yevette had the heart, desire, curiosity, passion, resilience and a love of learning that was contagious, she changed my life as a teacher.

She was so eager to learn how to read and couldn't wait to start that she was expecting me to start teaching her that moment, I was taken aback at her persistence. She spent the year with this giant smile and her giggly, infectious enthusiasm. She was excited every moment of every day, sounding out words, reading sight words, and listening intently to all read-aloud stories with her giant smile, four-plus hours a day of reading instruction, never complaining or getting tired. The school used two 90 minute reading blocks for all students, not at grade level including my self-contained classroom. The only thing that would make her pause was the need for an impromptu hug or when she learned something new, hugs were in order. She amazed and taught me more in that year than I ever taught her.

Yvette’s Marvelous Method

Yvette never caught on to Phonics, the 44 phonemic sounds and or any phonemic rules. With her "learning disability" and the complexity of learning English she was lost for most instructional practices. I was a bit lost being a first-year teacher teaching in a cross-category, self-contained special-education class. I didn’t know how to teach reading let alone how to help a student, who was classified mentally retarded. I wanted to help her meet her goal that she shared with me the first day of school, so we tried what worked with me when phonics failed. We treated every word as a sight word and just practiced and practiced. We worked on the Dolch sight word list first and made over seven hundred flash cards that year for all the words and phrases in her favorite Clifford books, great fairy tales, songs, and nursery rhymes. She loved her flash cards with all the smiley faces and stickers for learning the word or phrase. She seemed to associate reading success with how many flashcards we made. We read stories sang songs, drilled the sight words and Fry Instant Phrases over and over with hugs and stickers celebrating every success. We spent three and even four hours a day reading words, writing words aloud in the air, and reading Clifford stories "over and over" to meet her Clifford reading goal. When you spend that much time on one goal there is no option but a reading miracle.

She was the teacher who taught me to think outside the box, and to teach students using any method that works. Always following the school or the district curriculum can lead to failure for many students. At the end of the year, her mom came in and Yvette was so proud to sit and read Clifford to her, mom. Yvette’s mom was in tears as she listened to her daughter read. It was a miracle!

Yvette was diagnosed MIMR (mildly mentally retarded) and according to her IEP (Individual Education Program) would have never learned to read. Yvette’s IEP goals and objectives were disheartening. Her only goal for the year was to learn thirteen letters of the alphabet -- nothing else. It was her great desire and trying something different that made all the difference. It can’t be done, she can’t do it, it’s impossible, she’s retarded, they will never read, the books to hard, or all the other nonsense that I have heard the last ten years that prevent teachers from believing. Yvette’s courage has kept me from ever saying they can’t or they won’t. A second grade mentally retarded student that learns to read in one year will set your attitude and expectations as a teacher. We spent the year laughing, smiling, hugging, and learning to read and reading to learn. Yvette taught me what believing in high expectations really means for student outcomes.

Why 20 Days?
The short answer is that psychologists tell us that we take 20 days to internalize positive change in academic habits. But here’s a sobering thought: Mentally, students failing to read or struggling with the academic aspects of reading can bring down the shutters as early as first grade. Though physically present, psychologically, such students have already dropped out.

Reading Boot Camp (RBC) addresses the associated issues, in a fun, fast-paced, intense and innovative way — it is designed to actively and engagingly replace poor academic habits with exceptional ones. This book is packed with strategies that boost positive change and growth.

Truly Transformative
Reading Boot Camp draws extensively on familiar summer camp activities that we all remember as fun and which create an atmosphere of cooperation and team building.
Transformative learning structures and activities introduce and reinforce new academic habits, such as:
  • Attentive listening
  • Effective questioning
  • Socratic thinking
The organized, cooperative and structured learning discussed in this book maximize engagement and accelerate learning through effective academic listening, questioning, and speaking.

When students actively engage in activities they enjoy, the chances of behavioral problems arising are greatly diminished and positive achievement replaces academic apathy.

Students at camp enjoy playing games, competing, exploring ideas, collaborating and having an unforgettable experience, thriving in the positive learning environment, and all the while becoming amazing readers and thinkers.

After 20 days, positive behaviors become habitual. Students learn to build social-emotional intelligence, engage in Socratic inquiry, experience and practice positive interdependence and amazing academic achievement in a unique way that is reproducible in any classroom.

Reading Boot Camp Objectives
  1. To introduce students to, and engage them in the ongoing rigorous and intensive reading and writing program taught throughout the year.
  2. To accelerate the closure of the academic achievement gap in the lowest quartile students using brain based best teaching and learning practices. 
  3. To teach students:
  • Cooperative learning structures and strategies (peers teaching peers)
  • Social-emotional intelligence and the 16 habits of mind
  • School etiquette and classroom manners
  • Academic listening, reading, speaking, and writing 
  • Effective questioning and speaking skills (Socratic Seminar and academic oracy)
  • Critical and strategic thinking (DOK 1, 2, 3 and 4 Task Practice )
  • Respect, responsibility and the re-kindling of a love of learning and reading
  • CALPS Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)
Why adopt a new RTI Reading PROGRAM?
Why bother with Reading Boot Camp IDEAS and Engagement Stratagems? One answer is that kids love having fun, playing games, feeling smart, learning and—yes—reading!

The administrative answer is that 95% of all students attending Reading Boot Camp gain more than a year’s growth in reading. 90% of all students including NES, ESL, and special education students pass state reading test in some of the poorest ‘Title I’ schools!

Reading Boot Camp uses the same education model as Finland— with the same amazing results.

Finnish schools are known worldwide for top PISA scores, innovative teaching, true educational equity and very successful happy students! Why? They don't ignore students interest, talents, and real passions! The true sages of sustainable academic achievement are the Finnish teachers, real success that is NOT based on arbitrary external experimental standards and top-down reforms. Finnish schools, according to all reports have the happiest children, and that in my opinion, is more important than Finland's high PISA scores.

Reading Boot Camp CORE Essentials
Reading Boot Camp Quick Overview
Making best practice fun to teach and learn

Sustained engagement with energetic reading activities to develop fluency, automaticity and academic word knowledge
1. Repeated fluency practice
2. Read great literature ALOUD, daily!
3. Repeated exposure to tier 1, 2 and 3 academic vocabulary concepts (Through the use of novel activities.)
4. Study reading structures and comprehension strategies
5. "Close reading" using genuine literature
6. Repetition of all declarative lessons!
7.Ongoing Progress Monitoring of Oral Reading Fluency

Social Emotional Intelligence Development, Wisdom of the hand and mind. (Developing a growth mindset)
1. Play, Dance, Sing, Imagine
2 Handicraft, Learn Fun Lyrics
3. Learn Dance Moves, Play Board Games
4. Make Joyful Emotional Connections!
5. Use your imagination to create art, plays, dances, and stories

Informational, Inferential, reflective, perceptive, affective, listening, questioning and thinking development

“Higher Order Thinking”
1. Develop reading activities that incorporate Bloom's and Webb's DOK and BLOOM'S question STEMS
2. Paired students focus on academic dialogue, effective questioning, and active listening through engaging reading protocols
3. Teacher and Students Model Socratic Inquiry using a variety of Socratic Seminars
COOPERATIVE LEARNING AND WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES 1. Proactive use of cooperative learning structures and strategies
2. Proactive use of whole brain and power teaching strategies
2. Be Flexible: No script. No set schedule.
3. Try one game, reading engagement protocol (quick check), or one Socratic seminar every week.

The 7 RBC Topics I Cover in The Teachers Manual!

1.Vocabulary Knowledge and Word study

Tier 1, 2, 3 academic vocabulary word-study is spread-out and spiraled over the 20-day camp. Repeated word exposure through:
  • Teacher read-alouds 
  • Teacher think-alouds 
  • Targeted vocabulary micro-lectures 
  • Vocabulary games 
Reference – Key features of the spiral curriculum based on Jerome Bruner's( 1960) work are: (1) The student revisits a topic, theme or subject several times throughout their school career; (2) The complexity of the topic or theme increases with each revisit; and (3) New learning has a relationship with old learning and is put in context with the old information. The benefits ascribed to the spiral curriculum by its advocates are: (1) The information is reinforced and solidified each time the student revisits the subject matter; (2) The spiral curriculum also allows a logical progression from simplistic ideas too complicated ideas; and (3) Students are encouraged to apply the early knowledge to later course objectives.

Reference – Teacher read-alouds using Socratic methods power up reading comprehension, imagination, curiosity, academic vocabulary acquisition, auditory discrimination, syntax, and oral language development with adroit read-aloud strategies.

Reference – Think-alouds a teaching and learning strategy, teachers put into words the logical thinking processes used to analyze and understand an academic concept, work of literature, or new vocabulary. The think aloud or talk out describes the cognitive strategies used to make connections between the new information and prior knowledge.

Vocabulary games and engaging cooperative learning structures are an excellent way to consolidate learning. Distributed re-practice of a complex-cognitive-concept like tier 3 academic vocabularies must be reviewed within two hours. Have students pause and do a self-quiz before summarizing with a partner. The teacher can use an engagement reading protocol to gauge learning.

Preschool, Kinder, and First Grade
  • Repeated hourly exposure to Fry's Sight Word Phrases 
  • Dolch sight words 
  • Sound-letter correspondence, 
  • Bounced and stretched letter sounds 
  • Practice hearing the 44 English phonemes, the individual sounds in words 
2. Reading Fluency: Cold and Hot

One minute reading fluency drills are modeled, rehearsed, and practiced every hour using the same reading passage up to 20 times in a single day! Ongoing Progress Monitoring of Oral Reading Fluency is a Key to Reading Success.

Cold Reading
  • Set a goal for the fluency drill. 
  • Students read the passage with a buddy that records the CWPM 
  • The buddy reader takes their turn reading 
  • The teacher reads the passage and demonstrates the perfect technique, expression, feeling, intonation, phrasing and syntax and models tracking with eyes and a finger. 
  • The teacher front loads all relevant information associated with the passage using a micro-lecture think-pair-share format. 
Reference – Cold Reading Strategy: Students read an unseen and unpracticed "cold read" text at grade level with a stated grade level goal.
  • I CAN read a grade-level text with fluency and expression at 95% accuracy. 
  • I will read a 2nd-grade level text at 107 words correct per minute. 

Warm and Hot Reading
  • Set a new reading fluency goal for the fluency drill of at least 5 more correct words per minute CWPM. 
  • Students repeat the buddy reading steps, this time mirroring what the teacher did with perfect reading technique. Students practice and re-practice up to 5 rotations, trying to improve their technique every time. 
  • Oral reading fluency practice that includes reading passages at or above grade level is spread-out and spiraled over the 20 days. 
  • Repeated oral reading fluency practice, goal setting, friendly competition and cooperative learning structures are an excellent way to triple or quadruple reading fluency rates. 
  • Distributed daily re-practice of the same fluency drill shows the student that repeated practice dramatically improves fluency. Have students celebrate and praise each other’s amazing reading fluency growth. 
Reference – Hot Reading Strategy: Students read a familiar text that they have rehearsed and practiced many times"hot read". With a stated goal of improving their reading fluency rate. Repeated readings of increases students' oral reading fluency.
  • I CAN read a grade-level text with fluency and expression at 95% accuracy or better, and answer reading comprehensions questions with a 90% accuracy. 
  • I can read 150-180 Correct Words Per Minute with a greater than 95% accuracy.
3. Assessment: formative vs. summation?

All “testing“ is stress-free and formative during Reading Boot Camp. Whenever possible a game format is used during the 20 days. Teacher initiated testing using equity-sticks and cold-calls is only done after students have a chance to do a self-test and discuss the concepts with a partner.

RBC Student Self Evaluation, Reflection on Learning, and Concepts Review:
  • Use flash-cards.
  • Cornell two column notes: During lectures or reading, students take notes using two columns. The left-side contains terms or questions. The right-contains the answers or denotations. Students cover either side and check their understanding. 
  • Use Quizlet Quizzes if students have access to technology 
  • Use Hot-Dots digital flash-cards 
  • Use Vocabulary Games 
  • Lotus Notes, Charts, and Diagrams offer an analytical graphic organizer that breaks down terms, topics, ideas, and information. These can be used to organize new ideas and prioritize new information for additional study. The note taking technique helps students or groups to prioritize and determine key concepts as well as all the elements of the whole. 
4. Socratic Seminars and Effective Questions 

Creating new knowledge and connecting it to prior knowledge is the primary goal of questioning and Socratic Seminars. Preschoolers to graduate students are curious by nature or should be if modern-schooling has not squished it out of them.

Students are always asking why. They want meaningful explanations for why they are here, and how they fit into the world around them. Students and teachers that participate in Socratic seminars learn to attentively listen to others and elaborate on the ideas of their peers. Students build on prior knowledge, modify and strengthen background knowledge, and learn different ways of thinking. Students need to learn and use academic interrogation to get to ‘why?’

When students discuss, elaborate, summarize, explain and re-elaborate on the whys and wherefores of a topic, before providing a peer with a learnable explanation they cement Socratic thinking skills. Teachers should add new Socratic seminar protocols to their K-12 teaching techniques.

Why not try a new Socratic Seminar technique once a week? Or even twice a month if you have reservations about learning something new.

Creating New Philosophers | Micro Socratic Seminars for Primary Grades 

Socratic Seminars and Effective Questions for Primary Grades

Teacher Read aloud with Story Maps, think pair shares, prediction discussions, and modified Socratic seminars. The amazing literary elements of a story are brought to life with Socratic read aloud.
  • Why are stories so much fun?
  • What can Dr. Seuss Teach Us?
  • Why are the Star Bellied Sneetches….?
  • Poems are prettier with Why! Why did the poet use….?
5. Engagement Protocols and Brain Breaks

No flat-butt learning. RBC’s goal is to create a “crazy” fun flow! Brain breaks, dance breaks, recess, quick-checks, quick-quizzes, variety, novelty, alternative seating, cooperative learning, micro-lectures, singing songs, playing games, exercise, aerobics, lateral movement kinesthetic brain breaks, and the teacher’s kitchen sink.
Brain Breaks are a fast, fun way to improve students focus and task engagement. ‘The numb-er your students’ brain, the dumber your students’ brain’. Physical movement and singing create a sense of emotional well-being through amazing brain chemistry. This same brain chemistry acts like a powerful glue, helping the brain strengthen knowledge and commit it to long term memory. Students that are distractible, over-energized or always on the go can use brain breaks to burn off some energy. Others will be stimulated and pump up their focus and energy. Research shows brain breaks improve students’ focus and concentration, relieve stress, and add to students’ enjoyment of school.

6. The Wisdom of the Hand
Formative Handicraft, AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE Signs

Using the wisdom of the hand or kinesthetic learning is a creative way to strengthen, deepen and speed up learning pathways for improved language development. Using your hands while talking and listening is not just something some people do, it's something your students should be doing while you lecture.

TALKING WITH YOUR HANDS, connects your physical muscle memory with you cognitive lexicon memory!! Students learn to gesture and or use basic sign language symbols while the teacher’s present ideas. Learning basic sign language is an amazing way to help all students develop deep language skills. Special education teachers use air spelling, ASL finger spelling, basic sign language symbols, table writing, sandpaper spelling, word syllable knuckle chunking, and even writing on students’ backs. Get your students hands involved with learning and add a new team mate to the learning game.

Formative handicraft instruction moves:
  • From the easy to the hard 
  • From the known problem to the unknown problem 
  • From undemanding standards to very high standards 
  • From the fast completion of simple projects to the meticulous completion of complex projects 
  • From the concrete to the abstract 
HANDICRAFT Products should be practical in nature and build on the relationship between home and school. The 200-year-old tradition of teaching formative handicraft uses the wisdom of the hand to:
  • Instils resilience, responsibility, perseverance, and self-reliance 
  • Encourage moral behavior and improve judgment 
  • Develops Personal Principles, Standards, and Expectations
  • Give an understanding of quality 
  • Encourage students to internalize high standards 
  • Develop greater intelligence and industriousness 
  • Creates a ‘right is right’, and ‘No Opt Out’ mindset!
  • Gives meaning to Principles, Standards, and Expectations
7. Cooperative Learning Structures, Strategies, and Whole Brain Teaching

Example 90 Minute Reading Block | 

Essential and HOT QUESTIONS ARE Allways POSTED!
 Buddy Reading, Fluency Drills, & Mini Socratic Seminar
10 minutes Reading Fluency Practice: Paired Buddy Reading, Fluency Drills, and Reading Comprehension | Students do a ONE minute timed fluency drill with partners and record the CWPM. After both partners have read they do a Mini Socratic Seminar (Students take 2-3 minutes to converse, summarize and elaborate on keys ideas found in their reading fluency drills) THIS is only done for Hot and Warm reads never a Cold or first-time fluency drill!

Mini Socratic Seminar Student Lead Question Stems:
Why did the author write this text?
What is the theme/main or big idea of the passage?
Can you define or summarize the important vocabulary the author used?
What effective questions would you use to quiz your partner?
The Pacing, Order of activities, Time on task, and all ELA activities are very flexible and left to the teacher's judgment. The critical parts and must do parts of READING BOOT CAMP, reading fluency, tier 1, 2, and 3-word work, and reading comprehension activities that are revisited every 45 minutes or at a minimum every 90 minutes.
3 minutes Mini-Lesson-Lecture Tier 2 Vocabulary ReviewTier 2 Target Vocabulary (compare and contrast) Whole Group WORD WORK Instruction, contextual exemplars and application of the word using target questions. 

3 minutes Mini-Lesson-Lecture Tier 3 Vocabulary Review: Tier 3 Target Vocabulary (protagonist and antagonist)

Engagement Protocols: Think-Pair-Share, Student Self-quiz, Glass-Bugs-Mud and or Red Card Green Card!
3-5 Minute Brain Break
Whole Group Instruction Socratic Read-Aloud: Start
10 minutes "Read-along Read-Alouds that teaches “Metacognitive Thinking Strategies"  Socratic Read-Aloud | This can be done with a short passage, picture book, poem, or chapter book.
WHY and the "5ws" Interrogational Socratic Question Stems:

What is your point of view,….are their people with other points of view?
How would you summarize the,…?
How would you elaborate further…?
Tell me why…and …are alike/different.
Tell me why … felt/discovered/believed when ….?
Why is…significant/interesting/confusing…. ?
Why is this opinion …true/false?
Why do you think … felt when (or about) _____?

Engagement Protocols: Think-Pair-Share, Student Self-quiz, Glass-Bugs-Mud or Red Card Green Card, equity-sticks and cold-calls!
15 Minutes Small Cooperative learning Groups | ELA Learning Centers: audio book listening station, word sorts, phonics station, flash card games, word family station, book club   center, haiku poetry center, book illustration art center, buddy reading fluency station, poetry listening station, Mad-Libs, journaling station and writing center (IWE, Writers Workshop), science articles station, social studies articles station, READ AND WRITE   WITH YOUR TEACHER!
TEAM 1: Vocabulary Games (Interleaved Reading and Vocabulary Practice)

TEAM 2: Writing Station and Journaling (IWE, Writers Workshop)

TEAM 3: Socratic Read-Aloud Audio Book (Listening and Speaking Station)

TEAM 4: Buddy Reading Fluency Station

TEAM 5: Book Illustration and Art Station: Reading Comprehension, (Imagination and imagery, Elaboration, Summarizing) Students read a book passage and use their imagination to make an illustration (pictorial summation  and embellishment of the passage)!

TEAM 6: READ AND WRITE WITH YOUR TEACHER! (Response to Literature) 
15 Minute Recess
Whole Group Instruction: Socratic Read-Aloud Continued
15 minutes "Read-along Read-Alouds that teaches “Metacognitive Thinking Strategies"  Socratic Read-Aloud | Teachers need to model Socratic Thinking! First asking the HOT questions and   answering the questions. Modeling metacognition at the beginning using a think aloud format. After repeated exposure to the Socratic thinking process student will be able to engage fully!
The "5ws" of Interrogational Socratic Questions:

DOK LEVEL 2 Question Stems:

  1. How would you summarize the,…?
  2. How would you elaborate further…?
  3. Tell me why…and …are alike/different.
  4. Tell me why … felt/discovered/believed when ….?
  5. Why is…significant/interesting/confusing…. ?
  6. Why is this opinion …true/false?
  7. Why do you think … felt when (or about) _____?

DOK LEVEL 3 Question Stems:

  1. Why did the author write this text…, how would you elaborate on the ideas presented in the text…?
  2. What is the theme/main or big idea of the passage,….what is a text with a similar theme?
  3. Can you define or summarize the important vocabulary the author used…., why did the author chose the vocabulary?
  4. What effective questions would you use to quiz yourself and your partner, ….?

Engagement Protocols: Think-Pair-Share, Student Self-quiz, Glass-Bugs-Mud or Red Card Green Card, equity-sticks and cold-calls!
3 minutes Mini-Lesson-Lecture and Sparkle Vocabulary Game:  Tier 2 Target Vocabulary (New Words: cause and effect) (Quick Review: compare and contrast ) Whole Group WORD WORK Instruction, contextual exemplars and application of the word using target questions. 

3 minutes Mini-Lesson-Lecture Tier 3 Target Vocabulary: (New Words: tall tale and fable )  (Quick Review protagonist and antagonist)

Engagement Protocols: Sparkle Vocabulary Game, Think-Pair-Share-Listen-Repeat, Student Self-quiz, Glass-Bugs-Mud and or Red Card Green Card!

10 minute Alternative Tier 1 Word Work: Weekly spelling words, basal reading vocabulary or the National Reading Vocabulary. Buddies read the list of weekly vocabulary words to practice fluency, then students take turns using the word in a kid friendly sentence. After a buddy uses the word in a sentence their partner has to repeat the sentence to show they are listening.

10 minute Sparkle Vocabulary Game: Game words, cause, effect, compare, contrast, protagonist, antagonist, tall tale, and fable

3-5 Minute Brain Break
Response to Literature and Self-Reflection
10 Minutes Paired Learning Groups ELA Writing Stations: Students are paired and start, work on or complete a writing product. Keyword Outline, Story Map, Response to Socratic Seminar   Readings, Self-Quiz  Questions, Review Flashcards, Writers Workshop, Flashcards, Keyword Outline Sentence or Paragraph.
Paired Students: READ AND WRITE WITH YOUR TEACHER! (Response to Literature using Cornell Notes)

Paired students or individual student work on one aspect of the writing process. BRAINSTORMING, PRE-WRITING, DRAFTING, REVISING, EDITING, AND PUBLISHING.

90 Minute Reading Block Must Do's 

NO FLAT BUTT LEARNING! Standing, alternative seating, dynamic active cooperative learning, and FUN!

Reading Fluency: The ability to read with accuracy, automaticity, and with satisfactory rate to comprehend the text(speed), expression and phrasing

Word Work, Vocabulary, Word Analyses: The knowledge of words, their denotations, and connotations, their parts prefix-suffix-roots. and their contextual meaning. The understanding the meaning of words in a text is the foundation for reading comprehension.

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.

Interleaved Reading Practice (ELA GAMES!): Mixed practice literacy games that stretch students knowledge using fun engaging literacy activities.

Socratic Learning and Thinking: Tactics and Strategies: "Read-along Read-Alouds that teaches “Metacognitive Thinking Strategies" Socratic Read-Aloud | This can be done with a short passage, picture book, poem, or chapter book.

Differentiated Literacy Stations: Self-guided “Independent” reading activities and learning stations provide opportunities for students to practice newly learned tasks, review concepts, summarize new information, reflect and self-evaluate what they’ve learned or what they are not clear on. They use five of the most powerful mind-tools for learning new information. Demonstrate mastery of previously taught skills. When students are released to work in small groups or pairs students build soft skills like cooperation, academic conversation, active listening and speaking.

Listening, Speaking and Effective Question: Embedding language skills in all reading lessons are critical to learning, students learn the fastest when they are using all their language skills to have discussions and teach other peers.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness: The conscious awareness that words are made up of segments of our own speech that are represented with letters. Phonological Awareness is a more encompassing term than phoneme awareness Phonics: The relationship between letters and the sounds they represent

Reading Boot Camp Objectives! 
Use "research supported" best instructional practices and strategies to teach tier 1, 2, and 3 academic vocabularies, cooperative learning strategies, increasing reading fluency, active listening, effective questioning, Socratic thinking, and actively instilling a proactive/growth mindset. RBC uses brain-based learning research to increase students engagement, accelerate learning and develop compensatory and corrective academic habits that close the achievement gap. 

Targeting Specific Reading Skills, Domains Will Help Your Students Reading Ability Soar!

Why implement Reading Boot Camp? The genuine answer is kids love having fun, playing games, feeling smart, learning and yes reading! The administrative answer is, 95% of all students that attend Reading Boot Camp make over a years growth in reading. 90% of all students including NES, ESL, and special education students pass high-stakes state reading test in some of the poorest Title I schools! Reading Boot Camp uses the same Education model that is used in Finland with amazingly the same results!   

Reading Boot Camp

Sustained Engagement with Energetic Reading Activities to Develop Reading Fluency, Automaticity and Academic Word Knowledge
1. Repeated fluency practice
2. Read ALOUD wonderful literature daily! 
3. Repeated exposure to tier 1, 2 and 3 academic vocabulary concepts using fun novel activities
4. Study reading structures and comprehension strategies "close reading" using genuine literature
5. Repeat all declarative lessons! 

Social Emotional Intelligence Development, Wisdom of the hand and mind. (Developing A Growth Mindset) 
1. Have Fun, Play, Dance, Sing, and Imagine!
2. Sing Songs, Do Handicraft, Learn Fun Lyrics! 3. Learn Dance Moves, Play Board Games!
4. Make Joyful Emotional Connections!
5. Use your imagination, exercise your imagination by creating art, plays, dances, and stories and then imagine some MORE! 

Informational, Inferential, reflective, perceptive, affective, listening, questioning and thinking development
“Higher Order Thinking”

1. Use and develop reading activity that incorporates Bloom's and Webb's DOK question STEMS 
2. Paired students focus on academic dialogue, effective questing, and active listening by using engaging reading protocols
3. Teacher and Students Model Socratic Inquiry  Using a Variety of Socratic Seminars
1. Use cooperative learning structures and strategies whenever possible 
2. Use Whole Brain Teaching and Power Teaching strategies whenever possible 
2. Be Flexible, no script, no set schedule, try one game, reading engagement protocol (quick check), or one Socratic seminar every week.

Example 90 Minute Reading Block RTI READING BOOT CAMP

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 

First Things First! Is our over analysis of reading tasks and reading readiness a mistake? YES!

1. Reading Readiness | auditory discrimination, phonemic awareness, decoding/encoding skills, visual discrimination, tracking, sequencing, visual perception, visual and spatial memory, visual sequencing, working memory, auditory sequential memory, visual sequential memory, phoneme transposition, isolate and sequence phonemes. perceptual organization (visual attention), syntax and pattern recognition

2, Phonemic/Phonological Awareness | the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning, awareness of the phonological structure, or sound structure, of words.

3. Syntax and Diction | arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences (ideas) in the text,
that convey meaning. Writers use syntax and diction to create meaning, mood, tone etc.

4. Word analysis | meanings and spellings of prefixes, root words, and suffixes.

5. Visual Word Recognition | orthographic processing, knowing words by sight

6. Spelling and Writing Readiness | auditory discrimination, sequencing memory, visual perception, visual and spatial memory, letter grapheme orientation, visual sequencing, working memory, decoding/encoding skills, visual discrimination

7. Speech Pathology | speech (reading) production: phonation, producing sound; resonance; fluency; intonation, the variance of pitch; and voice, aeromechanical components of respiration.

8. Auditory processing and speaking | brain processes auditory information

9. Listening vocabulary and comprehension | Listening vocabulary refers to the words a person knows (can understand) when they hear them in spoken English. Listening vocabulary is always greater-than visual vocabulary,  what they see in written English.

10. Oral reading rate | Reading Fluency

11. Reading vocabulary knowledge | tier 1, 2 and 3 Academic Vocabulary

Reading Boot Camp 2.0 Coming August 7th, 2016

Grade 1 & 2 Eclectic Phonetic Speller Based on a revised McGuffey Speller Grade 1 Lessons, plus tier 2 and Tier 3 Academic Vocabulary that spirals! You will be shocked at the vocabulary level expected in 1850 frontier America!  Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fry's Sight Word Phrases, Dolch sight words, sound-letter correspondence, bounced and stretched letters sounds, and or practice auditory discriminating, hearing the individual sounds “44 phonemes” of the English language.

RBC 2.0 Lessons Samples Reading and Writing | 
Grade 4-8 Inference and Drawing Conclusion Reading Lesson with Mentor Text and Vocabulary
Grade 4-6 Sample Poetry Reading Lesson with Mentor Text and Vocabulary Review
1st Grade Weekly Word Wall 

College and Career Ready Standards are tougher and demand the very best from your students and you. Reading success is your goal, is Reading Boot Camp your students' Answer? Be a leader and arouse a desire and love of learning in your students. 

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 Critical Thinking, Theory of Mind, Executive Function, Creativity, Socratic Inquiry, Curiosity, Social Emotional Intelligence, Background knowledge and Cooperative Learning Skills! The curriculum should inspire students and teachers to reach the highest levels of understanding. The 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, art enrichment activities, being creative, genuine reading and learning! Not endless testing and threats of failure. 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 EOG/EOC test is the focus on critical higher order thinking, exposure to complex literature, and strategic reasoning activities in the form of games that incorporate tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary words! 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 habits and futures!
  • Build students strengths with heuristic problem-solving
  • 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 one's 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.

Students should PLAY fun strategic board games and learn games like chess that teach higher order thinking skills 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 basal 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, the 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 ensure 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 either 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 build 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 non-threatening 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. The Best Whole Brain Teaching and methods are from Chris Biffle. https://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisBiffle

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 cooperatively 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 without 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!

“arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.” ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
The Dale Carnegie book "How to Win Freinds" is a must read for any classroom teacher that wants to inspire and create a classroom full of critical thinkers. 

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-aloud 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 mentor 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-aloud 

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 nonconquering  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 florins 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 a 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 florins 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.

Students 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

A 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. A solar cell generates electricity using heat.
  2. The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Italian meaning "light"
  3. A 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 standardized testing was bad grades , 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!