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Anyone who chooses to become a teacher and devotes years to an undergraduate or graduate degree in education deserves to be taught evidence-based instruction with adequate mentoring and support.
Annual Reports: 2020 – 2023
For educators interested in nurturing students’ reading skills, here’s a wonderful opportunity to enhance your teaching toolkit.
Recent articles on the science of reading and reports on the latest research.
A list of the best literacy conferences to check out for educators passionate about literacy education.
Assessment expert Dr. Melissa Farrall explains how assessment helps us understand why children do what they do, and maps out how we can better meet their unique needs.
A generous grant from M&T Bank ensures more students will receive vital education services and support.
Reading is a complex skill we learn through explicit instruction and deliberate practice. Here are four ways to support reading success!
Thanks to the generous support of visionary donors, we’re welcoming learners and their families, teachers and school leaders to a new Stern Center website.
Effective literacy instruction in schools is our most powerful tool to advance equity of educational outcomes. Together, we can ensure that every child can read, write, learn, and thrive.
Testing helps us understand how a child learns best, giving us a full profile of their strengths and needs.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects language, reading, and writing. Learn more about what dyslexia is and how to help people with it.
A long-running debate about the best way to teach children to read centers on two main approaches: whole language and structured literacy.
Strategies from reading experts about choosing books for early reading include reviewing challenging words on a page, focusing on accuracy, and making it fun!
The science of reading draws on decades of research in neuroscience, cognitive psychology, education, and linguistics that seeks to understand how children learn to read.
As some of you may know, every October people around the world celebrate two very important causes: Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and Dyslexia Awareness Month.
Early literacy games to play at home that focus on building awareness about speech to print: how what we say can be written down.
Besides being a great way to connect with your child, reading and talking about books are keys to helping your child develop language, build comprehension and learn more about print.
Activities to help with early reading that are fun and not overwhelming, and leave children asking for more.
Being aware of syllables helps us learn new vocabulary, sound out words, and spell.
People are motivated to read and write because we know that print contains a message. We also know that anything we say can be put into print.
Besides being a great way to connect with your child, reading and talking about books are keys to helping your children develop language, build comprehension, and learn more about print.
When children and teens struggle in school, families often don’t know what to do or where to turn. Michelle Szabo, the Stern Center’s Director of Instruction, offers some advice to help students who are falling behind.
A terrific resource guide full of games and activities that will help kids learn important social-emotional skills, written by the Stern Center’s Director of Social Learning and Communication, Julie Erdelyi, M.A.
Learn more about our terms and conditions for courses and workshops, including policies concerning payments, graduate credits, attendance, and withdrawals.
Dr. Laurie Quinn, President of the Stern Center, Speaks with Ric Cengeri, Host of Vermont Viewpoint, on WDEV Radio
On May 11, Ric Cengeri, host of WDEV’s Vermont Viewpoint, interviewed Dr. Laurie Quinn, President of the Stern Center for Language and Learning. In this conversation, Laurie and Ric discuss the variety of services the Stern Center offers that positively impact students and educators.
This paper will address what can be done in middle school for the adolescent literacy learner, identified in the research as beginning in grade 4, in order to benefit from the opportunities that literacy affords.
At different times in all our lives we wonder, “How did I wind up here?” Life sometimes takes us into directions we might not have imagined for ourselves. Considering this question in relationship to my job —teaching people who have autism spectrum disorders—my emphatic answer is, “I’m here of my own choosing!”
Learn more about our terms and conditions for webinars, including policies concerning payments, graduate credits, attendance, and withdrawals.
Confidence is earned, not learned.
When a child lacks confidence, academic and social-emotional skills suffer. Lacking confidence, a child drifts through school like a sailboat on a calm day—bobbing on the surface, needing wind.
Learn more about our terms and conditions for the MindPlay Comprehensive Reading Course, including policies concerning payments, graduate credits, and withdrawals.
It’s human nature: we want our children to grow and learn in healthy ways and at healthy rates. If a child isn’t growing, we worry. If a child doesn’t appear to be learning at expected rates, we worry even more.
For many parents of young children with language or speech articulation problems, the day your child meets their goals and is discharged from services is cause for celebration.
What do you think happens when a child can’t figure out how to pronounce that word? Take a moment to recall a time when you struggled with an activity and couldn’t figure it out, then imagine having the added stress of being watched closely by your teacher, parent or friends while the pressure builds for you to “just get it.” We get anxious. We then try to avoid it altogether.
When you have questions about assessment, finding the answers should be easy. “All About Tests & Assessments,” co-authored by the Stern Center’s Director of Evaluations, Melissa Farrall, is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, and therapists looking to understand how to use tests and assessments to identify students’ challenges and to guide them developing a customized learning plan.
A 2012 study, Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation makes explicit that high school graduation rates are dramatically impacted by reading level at the end of third grade, an effect compounded by poverty. That study and dozens since then prompt parents to […]
Chloe was referred to the Stern Center for a comprehensive evaluation in response to concerns regarding math and spelling. While she has had no difficulty with math concepts or reasoning and is good at spatial thinking and 3-D challenges, her math facts are not yet automatic.
The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a direct and explicit, language-based, and multisensory approach to teaching reading, writing, and spelling. Initially developed in the 1930s by Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist, the Orton-Gillingham (OG) Approach is the underlying foundation of all multisensory structured language instruction, inspiring many creative OG-based programs such as Wilson Language Training®.
Literacy, Financial literacy, Social literacy, Consumer literacy, Digital literacy – What is literacy? It seems we are encouraged to take any adjective and place “literacy” as the noun, thereby creating a new concept open to wide ranging definition, interpretation, and application.
In this video, Michelle Szabo, Program Manager for Instruction at the Stern Center for Language and Learning, discusses executive function skills and what they mean for your child at home and for your student in the classroom.
In the Unites States, summer break is an important time for children to rejuvenate, to just be kids, and to spend time with family. However, summer also has the potential for widening the achievement gap and, as much as we don’t like to acknowledge it, the “summer slide” is very real. Luckily, there are ways during the summer to engage and invigorate our children’s growing minds that don’t involve sitting in a classroom, filling out worksheets, or writing essays.
Holidays are a time to come together with friends and family, celebrate, and relax. However, for some families, attending gatherings can be stressful and require extensive preplanning regardless of how exciting it is to spend time with loved ones.
I know Charlie, and I bet you do also. He’s thirteen, carries a lacrosse stick pretty much everywhere. Wears one earbud umbilical to his phone. But he’s not a great student. He’s affable until threatened by reading or writing demands which will inevitably reveal weaknesses he spends too much energy concealing from teachers, family, and friends.
A 2016 study reveals that book readers live longer than non-book readers (Bavishi, Slade, Levy; PubMed.gov of the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health)! “After adjusting for relevant covariates including age, sex, race, education, comorbidities, self-rated health, wealth, marital status, and depression,” the study found that “book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines.”
If you didn’t already know, May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Speech and language pathologists who work with children and adults to improve their capacity for communication highlight the importance of human communication during this month. Our ability to communicate impacts well-being and happiness – in other words, our quality of life, and one of the most important aspects of this communication is discourse.
“Autism” has its root in the Greek word “autos,” which means “self.” It describes conditions in which a person is removed from social interaction. “De minimis” is a Latin expression meaning “about minimal things.” It describes the lowest applicable standards applied in legal distinctions. Put those together and you have the foundation for a unanimous recent Supreme Court ruling regarding a student with autism.
I read a lot; always have. Fifty novels a year. Various weekly and monthly publications. Regular professional articles and occasional books. Encountering a new word used to lead me to the dictionary, which meant getting up and walking to my reference shelf, but now I just use my iPod to google the vocabulary interloper and then hope to claim it as my own
We all know the phrase “all things in moderation” well and practice it in a variety of areas of our lives. When it comes to parenting, moderation is more often the rule than the exception. However, applying moderation is sometimes harder than it seems when you don’t know quite as much as you’d like about what you are attempting to monitor.
Language matters to me. Among my earliest memories are playing word games with my parents and siblings on those interminable family vacation trips. Fast on the heels of that (thanks to the elasticity of memory to a 62-year-old) is my delight, thought suspect by my 7th grade peers, in the daily etymology lessons in middle school English classes.
Without question, one of the best ways to help your child develop early literacy skills is by reading with/to them and by giving them access to reading materials around the house, in the car, and in public spaces. But did you know that there are other activities, besides explicitly reading to them, that can help them become strong readers? Let’s explore some together!
What is a dream? A chance in life to pursue your passion, an opportunity to use your creativity to produce an aesthetic experience, an artistic journey to identify your purpose in life. On a recent visit with Andrew Pearce, we heard his story and learned about his entrepreneurial endeavor to create wooden bowls
A lot happens for children from birth to age eight. We have all heard the amazing reports about how experiences early in life impact brain development. Babies’ brains make 700 neural connections every second during the first three years of life! By six months of age, babies encode the sounds of the language they hear and watch the mouths of people who talk to them so they can do likewise.
Here it is a couple days before Halloween and your children still haven’t figured out how they want to dress up. They’ve gone through the usual characters but nothing is “cool” enough, or their friend is already dressing up as that character and – Gasp! – It is a total fashion no-no to dress as the same thing “Duh, Mom!”
Last week, we talked about the struggle some parents face when deciding whether to start their child’s school year off with an instructor/tutor or not. Stern Center Program Manager of Instruction Michelle Szabo gave some tips on how to make this decision a little easier.
Summer is almost over and sun-filled family activities such as barbecuing, camping, swimming, and biking are coming to an end. Now it is time for both parent and child to switch gears and start preparing for the school year. This also means parents need to start making some decisions on how best to help their children start the school year off right.
If your child has trouble reading, it can impact a lot more than schoolwork. It can also affect their self-esteem and social life, which is why we encourage parents to ask questions as soon as they sense their child may be struggling. We hope you will find the following signs helpful in beginning the conversation with your child’s caregiver, teacher, or pediatrician as well as seeking additional assistance when necessary.
Imagine this: You’re in a foreign country and you walk around listening to the locals talk to one another in their native tongue. They all act like it’s easy and like they actually enjoy it! You just stand there….dumbfounded….. overwhelmed…. and lost. Then they try to talk to you! They want you to engage with this language too? Oh no, not going to happen. You get that “deer in the headlights” look, you start to sweat, and you feel so embarrassed and uncomfortable because you can’t understand what you’re hearing.
High school can be an intricate maze of assignments, responsibilities, and deadlines and navigating it can often be very challenging. We all know the feeling of having a “to do” list a mile long and not even knowing where to begin. Learning how to tackle one’s schedule in an organized and efficient way can seem daunting, but if equipped with strategies one can successfully conquer the calendar chaos.
It’s already back-to-school time again and with that comes all the preparation and excitement for the new school year. Decisions around the house will once again revolve around choosing between schoolwork versus video games, getting homework done amidst a fully scheduled calendar and deciding whether to prepare lunches the night before or in the morning
There is so much information that comes at you as a parent as to why reading with your child is so important. Reading aloud increases vocabulary, it improves listening skills and imagination, and it sets your child on the road to greater success at school. All of this pressure to read to your child can be very overwhelming.
I am so fortunate to have a profession I love. As a speech-language pathologist (SLP), I provide services in areas not often heard of before. Most people furrow their brow as I list my skills and interests—speech, language, swallowing/feeding disorders, post-stroke treatment, cognitive-communication skills, social-emotional skills, autism, voice disorders, fluency disorders—and the list goes on.
Summertime brings with it long lazy days at the beach, hot fudge sundaes and ice cream cones, baseball games and BBQs. Forgotten are the days of getting up early, studying for tests, writing papers, and for many children, reading. As books and writing settle naturally to the back of children’s minds over vacation, so too does their education
The value of reading to infants and toddlers has been well documented by recent research studies. Reading aloud with young children, talking about the pictures on a page or even paraphrasing words expands children’s imaginations and encourages language development. Reading aloud allows infants and young children to hear the sounds of our language combined in words and sentences.
Bedtime stories are a long-standing family tradition in my family. Growing up I was read to every night before bed, a chapter here, a story there, and now do the same for my two boys who are three and five. Each night after brushing their teeth, my boys pick a couple of books off the bookshelf and the three of us hunker down in one of the big beanbag chairs we have sitting on the floor.
When a child is born the world is full of possibilities. When a child is diagnosed with autism, for some families, the world closes in. However, Tracey Bowen of Arlington, VT, a self-described “autism mom,” and author Stephen Shore have a different perspective.
The “not learning to read thing” kind of creeps up on you slowly. For my son and me, it was like this:
We loved to read together. Well, actually, I read to him, and he loved his books.
Our shelves were overflowing with books. “Will you read to me?” I would ask him. “No, I like it when you read to me,” he would answer. “That’s ok,” I would think. Then I would tell him, “I’ll read to you. I like to read to you and soon you will be in Kindergarten and you will be reading on your own.”
Doubt creeps in at an early age… perhaps it starts in kindergarten, when some children are able to read with ease while for others it feels like running in sand. Maybe it is in second grade, when a child can spell a word one day, but that word is a stranger the next.
You have made the decision to have your child evaluated. Maybe your child has a learning style difference, which includes being a gifted learner; maybe a learning disability is suspected; perhaps your child has attention difficulties; concerns around adaptive behavioral problems, including autism, may be the issue, or maybe your child is struggling with a neurological handicapping condition.
I always find that at the turn of the new year I have grand goals for myself. These goals are usually really big like writing a novel and running a marathon. These are not necessarily realistic accomplishments over the course of just one year’s time, especially considering I am not doing anything towards either at the moment
Reading aloud with your children is one of the best ways to prepare them for future reading success. Shared Book Reading helps your child develop language, build comprehension and learn more about print (see our Top 10 List of Books to Read Aloud with Your Young Child through Shared Book Reading).
Do we all have “attention deficits”? Or is there something else going on? Let’s try this little experiment, conceived by Simons and Chabris for their classic study on sustained inattentional blindness (1999).
I wish I would have known what was going on when my eldest daughter, Madeline, started learning to read. She hated it. She loved all of her other subjects but reading was painful. She used to hide under the table to avoid it. The most frustrating thing about this was that the school kept telling me that Madeline was fine.
Ted Talk: Nancy Kanwisher: A Neural Portrait of the Human Mind. Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose “machinery.” Another surprise: There’s so much left to learn
This one has caused a lot of debate! What do you think?
Take a new test aimed at the world’s English Language Learners. Wondering how your English skills stack up? Try the sample questions at the end of the article on testing ELL students and see how you would fare. Do you agree or disagree with the answers?
Forty to fifty percent of Vermont’s children are not ready for kindergarten. Why are so many of our kids unprepared for school? Science points to the earliest years. Modern research tells us that the most critical time for a child’s development is the first five years.
Our Building Blocks coordinator, Brenda Buzzell, has compiled a list of books that are not only fun to read with young children, but also helpful in promoting the three focus areas of the Building Blocks program: Shared Book Reading, Phonological Awareness and the Speech-to-Print connection.
It’s already back-to-school time again and with that comes all the preparation and excitement for the new year. Decisions around the house will once again revolve around choosing between schoolwork versus video games, getting homework done amidst a fully scheduled calendar and deciding whether to prepare lunches the night before or in the morning.
Do you get frustrated while reading aloud with your toddler? You pick out the perfect book. You get your child all comfortable on your lap. After one, maybe two, pages your little one tries to eat the book, hops off your lap and starts playing with a different toy, starts climbing all over you and in general seems completely uninterested in the story you are reading?
How-To: “Help Get Your Child Ready to Read- Games”, is a four-part series of how-to videos for parents, and early child care providers and educators that shows you different games you can play with your children to help get them ready to read in kindergarten. This week’s How-To is all about rhyming and showcases a great game to play while driving in the car, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or while grocery shopping.
This week’s How-To is a strategy to teach kids about syllable awareness and how words are made up of different parts and sounds. Children progress from simpler to more complex tasks when working with syllables:
This week’s How-To focuses on the sounds of letters. This is important because the ability to think about the individual sounds in a word is one of the strongest indicators of future reading success.
This week’s “How-To” focuses on vocabulary. Did you know that children from middle to high-income families have heard 30-million more words than their peers from low-income families by the time they are four? Unfortunately, this gap keeps widening as kids move through school.
When your child is diagnosed with a learning disability it can be very overwhelming. Concern about school, worry about how your child is fitting in with others and questions about the future arise.
Have you ever had a student who did not know their letters and sounds coming into first grade? Who could not segment or blend sounds?
Bedtime stories are a long-standing family tradition in my family. Growing up I was read to every night before bed, a chapter here, a story there, and now do the same for my two boys who are two-and-a-half and nine months old.
The early years of childhood are a wonderful time to help your children develop vocabulary skills that will greatly benefit their later reading comprehension skills.
Distractions have crept their way into our lifestyles for better or for worse. And as great as they are in connecting us with the world at large they can present challenges when it comes to study habits for our teen population.
Depending on family dynamics, you might become aware of any academic difficulties your child is experiencing over family dinner, while driving to soccer practice or in those quiet conversations just before bed.