Monday, February 27, 2012

Sensory Table Ideas For Preschoolers

Sensory tables can be found in virtually every preschool. These tables are comprised of either a large, commercial table or a shallow, plastic tub that is then filled with various items perfect for sifting, digging, sorting, squishing, and more. Following are numerous sensory table ideas that you can instill in your own classroom.

Ideas for Sensory Tables that Use Water

Literacy Health

Many sensory tables incorporate the use of water. A couple of great ideas include adding soap and plastic dishes so the students can practice washing dishes, adding rubber or plastic fish and nets so that the children can pretend to go fishing, and adding food coloring so that your students can play with mixing colors.

Sensory Table Ideas For Preschoolers

One great idea is to introduce one or two live goldfish to the water-filled table. Then, you can encourage your students to use a net to try to "catch" the fish. Of course, close supervision is required for this activity. After the fishing game is completed, you can add the goldfish to your classroom's fishbowl.

Turkey basters or long eyedroppers can be intriguing additions for preschoolers. You will most likely have to teach the students how to squeeze the bulb to pick up the water, and then you can let them enjoy their newfound tool.

Ideas for Tables that Use Sand

Sand is another popular factor to incorporate with sensory tables. You can set up a "treasure hunt" for your students by carefully burying plastic gems and different-sized dog bones under the sand. Then encourage the children to dig for their treasure. After the digging is completed, they can glue their findings onto a piece of construction paper to create the shape of a dinosaur or other shape.

A good preschool theme idea for the last week or month of school is a beach theme to celebrate the upcoming summer. For this theme, you can incorporate sand castle molds, shells, and other beach-themed items.

To add variation to your sensory table's sand, try adding plastic glitter to make shiny, reflective sand. You can also add colored sand so that the students can see what happens when they combine uncolored sand with the sand that has been colored. Incorporating water and ice is another great way to encourage discoveries.

Other Fun Ideas

No matter what type of sensory table you have, it can be fun to add some similar items such as magnifying glasses, colored paperclips, foam packing peanuts, dried pasta, soil, leaves, shaving cream, and shredded paper. Another great item to make for your table is ublek. Ublek is made with equal parts water and cornstarch. It has a firm consistency, but it melts when you hold it.

Clean up is very important when it comes to sensory tables. Always keep rags, towels, and a dustpan and handheld brush nearby for spills. Encourage your students to clean up their own messes. A great piece of advice is to require your students to wear smocks when they play with the sensory table.

Sensory Table Ideas For Preschoolers

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Are the Most Common Types of Community Service Opportunities?

Because community service is performed free of charge, almost any form of volunteerism can find a place within community service. From physicians that offer their services at free clinics to food pantry volunteers, community services are characterized by a passion for community betterment and not a particular skill set or educational background. However, if you would like to donate your time and you are looking for service areas that contain the most opportunities; below, we list and describe the four most common community services according to the University of California's 2008 Civic Engagement Module.

Community Outreach

Literacy Health

Community outreach refers to a service endeavor that "reaches out" to a community in need. In most cases, community outreach is targeted toward a particular need and therefore implies helping a certain group of people. For example, a medical clinic that focuses on helping AIDS victims may be set up in an impoverished country or particular area of a city. Conversely, a community outreach effort may focus on supplying a good and not a service, such as an outreach organization that provides winter clothing for the homeless. If you would like to help a community in a particular way, chances are that you can find an outreach effort that focuses on your interest.

What Are the Most Common Types of Community Service Opportunities?


Because community service opportunities depend as much on donated money as they do on donated time and goods, fundraising campaigns are constantly underway worldwide. Three types of fundraising efforts that typically support fundraising for community service are: door-to-door canvassing, outreach to businesses and corporations and, where a non-profit organization is involved, grant writing. As with community outreach, fundraising opportunities can be found in every conceivable area of service and welcome anyone that is willing to donate their time or skills to raising money.

Teaching or Educating

Teaching and educating opportunities include but are not limited to traditional classroom situations. For example, teaching and educating opportunities also focus on things such as: educating about communicable diseases, teaching a trade or a skill, money management and educating to improve literacy. In many cases, pursuing a teaching or educating opportunity does not require a teaching certificate or training certification. However, where teaching or educating efforts focus on finance or health, certain credentials or experience may be required.


Within teaching and educating opportunities lie tutoring opportunities, particularly where the focus is educating people in academic subjects that can enhance their standard of living by leading to increased job opportunities, such as English and Math. Tutoring can be performed in relation to a particular community service project or on a long-term basis through a community betterment organization. In many cases, volunteers find tutoring more rewarding than teaching or educating because it gives them a closer look at a student's progress.

What Are the Most Common Types of Community Service Opportunities?

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Health Words - Do You Know What They Mean?

Health care folks -- doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, physical therapists, health educators and writers -- use special words. You may know what their words mean or you may not. Not knowing what these words mean could be harmful to your health. This lack of understanding, or health literacy, is a big problem in the US, and the numbers are upsetting.

A National Adult Literacy Survey found that 44 million Americans are health illiterate -- they don't understand health words. According to the Center for Health Care Strategies, 66% of Americans, 60 years old and older, have poor health literacy skills. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says emergency room patients who lack health literacy skills are twice as likely to be hospitalized.

Health Literacy

The American Medical Association (AMA) found that 90 million Americans do not understand what their doctor tells them. Worse, 42 percent of Americans do not understand the words on prescription medicine bottles. So you can see why the AMA and the AMA Alliance are working together to improve health literacy. What is it?

Health Words - Do You Know What They Mean?

The AMA Council of Scientific Affairs defines health literacy as "the ability to read and comprehend prescription bottles, appointment slips, and the other essential health-related materials required to successfully function as a patient." In other words, you can read, understand, and use health information.

Even if you know lots of health words there are probably some you do not know, words that affect your health. What can you do? The Partnership for Clear Health Communication says you should ask three key questions:

1. What is my main problem?

2. What do I need to do?

3 Why is important for me to do this?

Do not be afraid to ask more questions if you do not understand your health problem or treatment plan.
You may also request a brochure, pamphlet, reminder card, or diagram. Your medical center may have a medical library and you may find additional information there. Take advantage of the free courses offered by the center.

Sign up for a course about fixing heart healthy meals, managing pain, using sports equipment safely, breast self-examination, preparing for surgery, and life after major surgery. Be cautious about health information posted on the Internet. You will find a wealth of information there, but make sure the information is reliable before you use it. Who is providing this information? What is their reputation? Can you find reviews of the website?

The AMA and AMA Alliance are training health professionals and volunteers in health literacy. Your doctor may ask you to repeat directions, for example. He or she is not doing this to make you feel bad, your doctor is doing this to make sure things were explained right. Your doctor may give you a chart indicating when you should take your medicine.

Being health literate will help you manage your health and prolong your life.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson

Health Words - Do You Know What They Mean?

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Simple Adult Dyslexia Test - How to Know if You Have Dyslexia

Dyslexia is now becoming a common problem. The number of identified cases of dyslexia can be higher nowadays not because there are just too many dyslexic adult in this generation, but because people are now more aware of the condition and they are openly subjecting themselves to adult dyslexia test and treatments.

In the past decades, people were not so familiar about dyslexia. Many people suffering from the condition grew up untreated, while others fortunately outgrew the problem naturally. Now that dyslexia is openly identified as a serious condition, you should immediately seek professional help once you suspect that you have dyslexia.

Health Literacy

There are many ways how you could tell if you are suffering from dyslexia. You should be very observant. There are several signs you might exhibit that can be observed naturally. But if you have dyslexia, there are several signs that would indicate that you are in a serious condition.

Simple Adult Dyslexia Test - How to Know if You Have Dyslexia

As a responsible person, it would be your task to identify if you have dyslexia through proper adult dyslexia test. And it is your utmost duty to handle the situation very well. You should immediately seek professional attention and help so you could effectively get the necessary treatment.

You should immediately determine if you have dyslexia so you could abruptly seek medical and expert help. Here are simple adult dyslexia test that would indicate clearly if you have dyslexia:

-One adult dyslexia test you could do is let someone run a test spelling skills with you. Dyslexics have difficulty spelling out simple and troublesome words. Even simple, common and short words are often misspelled. Examples of those words are: friend, enough, they, because, island, any, said and many. Other words are misspelled in a way that the spelling goes with how the words sound. Examples are: journey/jerney, does/dus, knock/nock, search/serch and please/plese.

- You are confused to distinguish left from right. Run a simple test so you could tell if you are having a problem recognizing left and right. Use a simple adult dyslexia test by asking someone to give you instruction to use your left finger to point to your right foot. That simple test would create a commotion on your part.

- Another simple adult dyslexia test is asking someone to help you evaluate if you have problems understanding math lessons. Dyslexics are usually finding it hard to conceptualize sequences.

- Dyslexic people are extremely disorganized. Surely, people get disorganized, but you could tell that a dyslexic person disorganization problem is much worse.

-You would not be able to write down what you feel on paper.

- There is a comprehension problem. A simple adult dyslexia test is to evaluate your comprehension ability. You would find it hard to retain what is said to you. You would also not be able to repeat the words said to you.

- Another simple adult dyslexia test is to evaluate if you have difficulty following instructions. Dyslexics find it hard to follow specific instructions. This is true especially if the instructions involve multiple sequences, or there are three or more procedures that you have do.

Once you suspect the presence of dyslexia after running a simple adult dyslexia test, it would be better if you would maintain your composure and immediately seek expert help for further evaluation. Dyslexia can be a serious condition but it sure is not that complicated and serious if you would immediately address the problem.

Simple Adult Dyslexia Test - How to Know if You Have Dyslexia

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Covert Stuttering

Covert stuttering can be defined as a condition where the person who stutters tries to hide his stuttering problem by avoiding it or by masking a few words. This attempt to conceal their problem by the stutterers is an effect of the treatment meted out to them by the society. If a stutterer had been subjected to mockery during his childhood, he would feel the pressure to hide his stuttering from others so as to avoid being the most ridiculed. Sometimes this type of covert nature is triggered in stuttering children because of the parents' refusal to accept the problem in their children.

Covert stuttering is more prominent and most probable only among mild stutterers as it is not possible to conceal a severe stutter. Most stutterers use filler words to do so; words like 'ummm' or 'I think' precede their sentences to give the listener the impression that they are just thinking and taking their time to speak rather than stuttering. Some others avoid from using certain words and substitute them with their synonyms so that they do not have to stutter on the difficult word. Most of the times, the avoidance extends to their speech too. Stutterers tend to speak less in a crowded environment and eventually avoid speaking much.

Health Literacy

This denies the stutterers an opportunity to speak themselves out; it is something which they do to themselves and due to this they suffer emotionally. The fear of being exposed to the world as a stutterer looms large and this causes a great deal of emotional stress to the stutterers. In the process of hiding their disability, they speak less and sooner or later end up restraining themselves from achieving better results. Constant fear coupled with the inability to accept their problem forces them to withdraw from the social scene making them susceptible to loneliness.

Covert Stuttering

In order to avoid stutterers from being covert about their problem, they must be treated rightly in their surroundings. Parents must never encourage their children to practice covert stuttering as it will not only affect them emotionally but will also serve as a deterrent to any chance of recovery that the child may have. Instead of practicing it as a way of life, stutterers must use it only under necessary circumstances so that it boosts their confidence. But it must be remembered that it always better to accept one's disability than having to run away from it.

Covert Stuttering

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Is the 'Your Baby Can Read' Program Being Investigated by the Federal Trade Commission?

Within our current education system we are often so focused on 'child based learning' and on constructivism (an established theory of knowing and learning rather than a theory of teaching) and teachers often do not realise that there is a serious lack of supporting evidence for its effectiveness in teaching children to read. Unfortunately this 'method' of teaching reading- the 'whole-language' approach to teaching and learning - reflects this philosophy of learning, and has been the predominant approach for early literacy teaching and learning throughout English - speaking countries (Pearson, 2000; Westwood, 1999, 2004). This approach assumes that children are inherently active, self-regulating learners who construct knowledge for themselves, with teachers needing to give little or no explicit decoding instruction.

While this may be ok for many children there are around 20 - 30% who will fail. In Queensland (Australia) for example there are estimated to be around 20% of children who aren't reading to the expected level by the age of 10 according to NAPLAN testing. This group of around 20 - 30% of our children also include those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds who often do not have rich phonological knowledge and phonemic awareness upon which to base new learning. Being taught using this 'whole language' method has the effect of compounding their disadvantage once they begin school. This is particularly the case for children from non-English speaking backgrounds, including Indigenous children where English may be their second or third language. So why do so many people advocate their method- and use it? Results show over and over again that this does not facilitate literacy development and achievement for ALL children.

Health Literacy

The 'Your Baby Can Read' product is based on this method of teaching reading. It is advertised around the world with their video series having been run on cable television for years. Recently however the Federal Trade Commission received a complaint arguing that the product amounts to deceptive marketing.

Why Is the 'Your Baby Can Read' Program Being Investigated by the Federal Trade Commission?

On a basic level the Federal Trade Commission will look to the program name- and it's promise 'Your Baby Can Read!'

According to the World English Dictionary- 'baby' - means ' a newborn or recently born child; infant ' Most would describe a baby as a child under the age of one- and a toddler thereafter- generally when they start to 'toddler' around on their feet. So it is not developmentally possible for a 'baby' to 'read'.

The program also does not appear to clearly define what they consider 'to read' to actually mean.

Teaching very young children, who are already talking (ie older than 'babies') to recognise whole words is not something new. Even very young brains have the capacity to memorize whole words - as is the main component within the 'Your Baby Can Read' (YBCR) program, and to link them with meaning ie see 'wave' and do the action. However this does not directly correlate with learning to 'read' and certainly not to develop the skills required to 'spell' words which is interlined with literacy development. It could do more harm than good for many if parents are encouraged to push children into something they are developmentally not ready for. We don't expect them to start running at the age of 6 months- so it would be laughable to buy trainers and start manually moving their legs back and forth quickly in a quest to develop an Olympic runner. Moving legs back and forth in the air quickly isn't running- and memorizing words isn't 'reading'.

Children need to learn to speak before learning to read- ie our spoken word recorded on paper in text. Babies begin to develop language/ speech at different rates however when young enough to be called 'babies' they are not yet talking. They are developmentally unable to say the words on the 'YBCR' flash cards. The name of the product is being investigated for deceptive advertising, and a recommendation will probably be that the name be changed to more accurately convey what is achievable ie indicating that the product may help toddlers to memorize the shapes of words.

According to the National Institute of Child Health Human Development: only 5% of children learn to read effortlessly, 20 - 30% of children learn to read relatively easily once exposed to formal instruction, and for the remaining 60% of children, learning to read represents a considerable challenge. For at least 20 - 30%, learning to read is one of the most difficult tasks they will ever encounter during their school years. 74% of the children who have reading problems in the 3rd grade, continue with the problems into the 9th grade.

According to National Assessment of Educational Progress, approximately one-third of all poor performers in fourth grade have college-educated parents. Fortunately, 90% - 95% of poor readers can greatly increase reading skills through prevention and early intervention programs that focus predominantly on teaching children about the alphabet code using synthetic phonics. We must teach these children explicitly and directly using (synthetic) phonics if we are to help them before they completely 'switch off'. The problem is that many don't recognise who these children are until already failing- with 'phonics' being used as some type of remedial program. Why not just teach all to 'de-code'- and to develop phonological awareness from the very beginning? This is something that is not included within the 'YBCR' program.

Parents should not despair- they can help their children themselves for free, and potentially help them far more in the short and long term. Parents can start listening for sounds in words very early on with children- alongside their individual language development. When they can say the word 'cat' they can also learn to hear the sounds in cat ie c+a+t (sounds not letter names) Start looking for the pictures of those sounds in their environment and in words when sharing books- ie the picture of the sound 'buh' looks like this b (focus on lower case) In the early years children need to learn that we read words from left to right, and that the sounds in the words correspond with the sounds we make with our mouths when saying them aloud. Listen for how many sounds there are in words- and what phonemes/ digraphs etc are used to represent them.

Ask children listen to words 'sounded out' slowly (ie blending) and we manipulate sounds. (what word would be say if we took the 'r' out of 'frog' etc. ) Basically developing phonological awareness- teaching using synthetic phonics- amd making it meaningful as it relates to the words they are speaking. So (other than their name) the first words parents could teach are words that they can de-code- using a small number of sounds. Within the Jolly Phonics program for example the sounds ''s,i,n,p, a, t' are introduced because the children can learn to reading and spell numerous words using those sounds. It doesn't have to be those sounds though. What is important here is that the child is learning at his own pace- and that is it fun. Yes, I have taught many very young children to read and spell- based on learning the 'code'. Teaching and learning strategies need to be developmentally appropriate - and not at the cost of other types of learning.

What is 'reading' and 'spelling'?

We could perhaps describe the main concepts being:
* that the words we speak are made up of sounds.
* that these sounds can be represented on paper - and together become 'words'. Words can then be used to form sentences and so on- with the text used for a number of reasons- to tell a story, to record information etc
* that sounds are represented on paper from left to right
* that we form pictures of sounds/ letters on paper in ways that makes writing easier (and will be quicker and neater) - ie from top to bottom and flowing across the page
* that some sounds in spoken language can be represented using more than one letter, and in different ways ('f' could be ph, ff etc)
* that some sounds on paper can be spoken in different ways depending on the other sounds in the word - eg 'ow' as in cow or as in 'tow'
* that some words can't be de-coded and must be learnt (eg yacht)

If children learn 'the code' then they don't need to rely on memory, as happens within the 'YBCR' program. Children can therefore learn to not only be confident, fluent readers but also proficient when spelling nonsense and unfamiliar words. In fact this is recognised as being so important that 'non words' are now included within the UK, within National Curriculum spelling tests. In the early stages learning to read and spell words actually has far more to do with the mechanics of the alphabet code than the meaning of the words. Ensuring that 'nonsense' words are included sends the message that synthetic phonics is important. Children taught using a whole language approach - as in YBCR- will struggle as they haven't had chance to learn the words. Children taught using phonics can read and spell any word that is de-codable- which is most of the English language. It would seem far more logical - and helpful-to give them those skills instead.

Yes, some children will learn to read using sight words-combined with other skills- ie the whole language approach put forward within YBCR however if they can learn in this way then they can learn in any way and won't have difficulties later on. Studies show that children can start to learn to read and spell later on and still be at the same level as others. In many countries with excellent academic standards children don't even start school until the age of seven. The Cambridge Primary Review is the biggest review of primary education for more than 40 years. Within the review formal schooling is not recommended until at least six years of age. There is no 'window of opportunity' for learning to read, as there is for learning language - as the creator of the program claims. My approach is to start early and instill a love of learning - and to create an effective partnership with child, parent and then teacher. The confidence that comes with early achievement is far more likely to help that child continue to do well in school.

Good early years educators start developing phonological awareness and a love of the written word early on- being careful to make sure they are working at the child's level, that learning is meaningful, and that he is having FUN. They offer play opportunities to create learning. The focus is on helping children to become effective and motivated learners- however they are also aware that learning to read is something most children need to actually be taught explicitly. Parents don't necessarily trust that their child is going to have fantastic teachers, so why not teach them to read and spell even before school if ready? And this is why so many turn probably to the 'YBCR' program. They don't see this as pushing their child but more as a preventative measure. They do have a valid concern that not all teachers have the knowledge they need, in order to teach ALL of the children in their class to read and spell with confidence.

Literacy is different to most subjects - the children who will find it difficult need direct, explicit instruction in the alphabet code. However trying to do this as early as possible isn't the answer. We need to teach parents what they can do- and also how to know if their child is ready. The children who will struggle in school won't 'just pick it up' - they won't 'just catch' up. If this was the case literacy achievement wouldn't be so poor in so many schools and in so many countries.

What is worrying for society is that delinquency and poor literacy achievement are known to be so interlinked; with several US prisons actually predicting future intake on year 3 and 4 reading scores! We are failing too many children, even though we know that if we use a preventative approach and teach children directly and explicitly in the early years, with a focus on phonological awareness, then we could change this. So we need to arm parents with the best information. My concern with this program is that it doesn't send out the best information- especially if they have a child who is going to have phonological processing difficulties and poor phonological awareness.

Of course there are benefits to using the 'YBCR' product as it encourages parents to become actively involved in their child's learning. Many children will love the attention they get when adults cheer and clap their 'success'. And many may develop a love of the written word because of this positive attention- if, of course, they succeed. The reality though is that YBCR can not only confuse many children but give them the wrong message about what reading and spelling is. It sends out the wrong message to parents who are only looking for ways to help their children- and can inadvertently do just the opposite.

How, as adult readers, do we 'read' unfamiliar words. As these are not words you use daily you will go back to your ability to 'de-code'. You will start from left to right and sound out the word- looking for 'sounds' or smaller words- and putting them together. For example in the word 'multitudinously' you would probably read 'multi' first and then sound out the rest- tu (chew) or tud followed by 'in and then 'ously' (as in enormously) You may have done it differently. If asked to spell the word 'fasorta' you will realise there are more than 10 ways you could 'spell' this word based on your knowledge of the alphabet code. If having to learn whole words you would not know how to spell this word as you hadn't be taught it specifically.

Bottom line, children deserve to be taught in ways that will work for the highest number. Teaching them to recognise whole words - the crux of this product- - is not something that will work for all children and will actually confuse them as to what reading and spelling actually is. Why risk starting out on the wrong foot? Parents can prevent reading difficulties by helping their children in the early years- but should be doing so in ways that are supported by modern research and empirical studies and more likely to help the greatest number of children. 'Synthetic phonics' is possibly our best weapon in the fight against literacy difficulties and anything does not use this at the centre of their teaching should be carefully reviewed and ultimately discarded.

There has been considerable research into early literacy development over the past few decades, and this has been cited within government reports such as the Rose Report (UK) and the AU Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. All recommending that early programs focus primarily on systematic, explicit and direct teaching in phonics. The YBCR includes no phonics work (the development of phonological awareness and the link to our alphabet code) So in addition to 'babies' being developmentally unable to read using any method, there are also valid issues relating to whether the 'Your baby Can Read' program can be effective for older children. As a result this investigation by the Federal Trade Commission is highly likely to be upheld.

Why Is the 'Your Baby Can Read' Program Being Investigated by the Federal Trade Commission?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reading Strategies Good Readers Use

A few years ago, educational researchers David Pearson and Nell Duke asked the question, "What kind of thinking happens when proficient readers read?" This question led to ground breaking research results that have changed the way teachers teach children to read.

They discovered seven key strategies that good readers use during the reading process. Innovative teachers teach the strategies directly using metacognitive thinking (thinking out loud about your thinking) by modeling their own thinking out loud during the reading process. Students apply the new strategies by practicing their own thinking orally and in writing. Books like Mosaic of Thought by Zimmerman and Keene, Strategies that Work by Harvey and Goudvis, and Reading with Meaning by Miller explore these ideas in great depth and apply best teaching practices to teaching reading strategies.

Health Literacy

Strategy One: Making Connections

Reading Strategies Good Readers Use

Readers bring their own experiences and background knowledge to the text. They make personal connections, they connect one text with another, and make connections with the world. These connections enrich the text and helps the reader to understand the text at a higher level of meaning. Teachers teach these connections directly: text to self connections, text to text connections, and text to world connections.

Strategy Two: Visualizing or Envisioning

Readers see pictures in their minds when they read. The best part of reading is watching the "movie in your head." Good readers experience seeing strong visual images. Children can be taught to visualize as they read. Often poor readers do not "see" when they read. We live in a visual world, yet it's the visuals that many readers lack when they read.

Strategy Three: Questioning

Readers are constantly questioning, predicting, confirming their thinking, and adjusting their thinking. Good readers have a purpose for continuing to read. The purpose lies within their ability to question and predict throughout the reading of the text. The adjustments made helps readers to understand the text at a deeper level. Their basic and deeper comprehension soars when their minds are constantly making meaning through questioning.

Strategy Four: Inferring

Good readers read between the lines. The answers are not always black and white, and good readers are able to infer meaning based on background knowledge and text clues. When a reader is inferring they are thinking, predicting, adjusting, and confirming. This leads to deeper understanding of the text.

Strategy Five: Determining Importance

Good readers understand the main ideas of a text and can determine what is important. Readers are answering questions, determining key points, and stretching their thinking as they connect the important ideas with their own knowledge.

Strategy Six: Synthesizing

Good readers are able to synthesize their reading and produce their own ideas or products from their knowledge. Synthesizing is a higher order thinking skill that requires you to reach beyond basic knowledge and create new thinking.

Strategy Seven: Fix-Up Strategies

Good readers know how to tackle difficult text. If they run across a word they don't know they chunk the word and use context clues to determine the meaning. If the just finished a paragraph and don't have a clue as to what they just read, they reread the paragraph and focus on thinking about its' meaning. They identify what they don't understand and read back or ahead to try and clarify meaning. They look at pictures or other text features (like graphs or sidebars) to help them understand the concepts or ideas. Fix-up strategies can be directly taught to help students break down a piece of text and find its' meaning.

These strategies are often taught separately, but they must be integrated and automated in the reader's mind. Once students are aware of these strategies and learn to apply them during their own reading process they begin to become an automatic part of their thinking. The strategies help readers to understand text and gain meaning by applying their own background knowledge or schema, as well as understanding the author's message.

Reading Strategies Good Readers Use

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Five Stages Of Reading Development

Learning to read doesn't just happen. It has to be taught through systematic, organized instruction. Reading is a skill which is built upon through stages and is an ongoing process.

If a stage of reading development has not been learned, students will flounder in their reading ability, which also affects their writing skills. It is imperative that teachers make certain students fully understand each stage of the reading/writing process before they move on to the next level.

Health Literacy

Jean Chall, world renowned reading expert and psychologist for fifty years, and past professor emeritus at Harvard University cites her five stages of reading development below:

Five Stages Of Reading Development

Stage 0:

Pre-reading Stage:

Unsystematic accumulation of understandings about reading between pre-school and kindergarten.

Stage 1:

Initial Reading or Decoding Stage (grades 1-2; Ages 6-7 )

Student's central task is learning arbitrary letters and associating them with corresponding parts of spoken words. Learner acquires knowledge about reading. Phonics.

Stage 2:

Confirmation, Fluency, Ungluing from Print, Automaticity Stage (grades 2-3; Ages 7-8)

Consolidation of what was learned in Stage 1. Requires reading many easy and familiar books for developmental reading. Gradual increase in functional and recreational reading. Common use of the basal readers. Functional reading important - content area texts - here's where we fail in our attempts to prepare our students. Range of possible recreational reading increases.

Stage 3:

Reading for Learning the New Stage: A First Step (Grades 4-8; ages 9-13)

Readers need to bring prior knowledge to their reading. Children acquire facts.

Stage 4:

Multiple Viewpoints Stage: (High School; Ages 14-18)

Should include instruction in reading/study skills, and reading strategies for success.

Stage 5:

Construction & Reconstruction Stage: College; Ages 18 & up)

Adult literacy should stress acquisition of skills useful to the participants and the ability to apply those skills.

These are the stair steps of reading development. They are built upon and climbed, as students grow in their literacy development. Sometimes students get stuck in one of the stages. It's my job as a literacy specialist to "unstick" them so they can move on to the next phase and beyond, empowering them to become enthuiastic readers and writers.

Copyright © 2006 by Pamela Beers. All rights reserved.

Five Stages Of Reading Development

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Gardening is Good Therapy

Many of us garden just for the sheer joy of it. But did you know that all over the country the healing aspects of gardening are being used as therapy or as an adjunct to therapy?

Although this might sound like a new concept, garden therapy has been around for decades. For example, the Garden Therapy Program at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, and in regional hospitals in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Rome, Thomasville and Savannah, has been helping people for over 40 years through gardening activities known as social and therapeutic horticulture.

Health Literacy

So what exactly is social and therapeutic horticulture (or garden therapy)?

According to the article "Your future starts here: practitioners determine the way ahead" from Growth Point (1999) volume 79, pages 4-5, horticultural therapy is the use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals may be met. "...Therapeutic horticulture is the process by which individuals may develop well-being using plans and horticulture. This is achieved by active or passive involvement."

Although the physical benefits of garden therapy have not yet been fully realized through research, the overall benefits are almost overwhelming. For starters, gardening therapy programs result in increased elf-esteem and self-confidence for all participants.

Social and therapeutic horticulture also develops social and work skills, literacy and numeric skills, an increased sense of general well-being and the opportunity for social interaction and the development of independence. In some instances it can also lead to employment or further training or education. Obviously different groups will achieve different results.

Groups recovering from major illness or injury, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health problems, older people, offenders and those who misuse drugs or alcohol, can all benefit from the therapeutic aspects of gardening as presented through specific therapy related programs. In most cases, those that experience the biggest impact are vulnerable or socially excluded individuals or groups, including the ill, the elderly, and those kept in secure locations, such as hospitals or prisons.

One important benefit to using social and therapeutic horticulture is that traditional forms of communication aren't always required. This is particularly important for stroke patients, car accident victims, those with cerebral palsy, aphasia or other illnesses or accidents that hinder verbal communication. Gardening activities lend themselves easily to communicative disabled individuals. This in turn builds teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence, while encouraging social interaction.

Another group that clearly benefits from social and therapeutic horticulture are those that misuse alcohol or substances and those in prison. Teaching horticulture not only becomes a life skill for these individuals, but also develops a wide range of additional benefits.

Social and therapeutic horticultures gives these individuals a chance to participate in a meaningful activity, which produces food, in addition to creating skills relating to responsibility, social skills and work ethic.

The same is true for juvenile offenders. Gardening therapy, as vocational horticulture curriculum, can be a tool to improve social bonding in addition to developing improved attitudes about personal success and a new awareness of personal job preparedness.

The mental benefits don't end there. Increased abilities in decision-making and self-control are common themes reported by staff in secure psychiatric hospitals. Reports of increased confidence, self-esteem and hope are also common in this environment.

Prison staff have also noticed that gardening therapy improves the social interaction of the inmates, in addition to improving mutual understanding between project staff and prisoners who shared outdoor conditions of work.

It's interesting that studies in both hospitals and prisons consistently list improving relationships between participants, integrating with the community, life skills and ownership as being some of the real benefits to participants.

But in addition to creating a myriad of emotional and social benefits, the health benefits of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air and doing physical work cannot be overlooked. In most studies, participants noted that fresh air, fitness and weight control where prime benefits that couldn't be overlooked.

Although unable to pin down a solid reason, studies have shown that human being posses an innate attraction to nature. What we do know, is that being outdoors creates feelings of appreciation, tranquility, spirituality and peace. So it would seem, that just being in a garden setting is in itself restorative. Active gardening only heightens those feelings.

With so many positive benefits to gardening, isn't it time you got outside and started tending to your garden? Next time you are kneeling in fresh dirt to pull weeds or plant a new variety of a vegetable or flower, think about the tranquility you feel while being outdoors in your garden. Let the act of gardening sooth and revitalize you. Soak up the positive benefits of tending to your own garden.

If you have someone in your life that could benefit from garden therapy, contact your local health unit to find out more about programs in your area. Not only will the enjoyment of gardening help bond you together, but it will also create numerous positive mental and physical benefits for both of you.

So get gardening today for both your physical and mental health. You'll enjoy the experience so much that you'll immediately thank yourself.

Gardening is Good Therapy

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Free Medical Transcription Training - Several Great Tips

There are some medical transcription training programs that are free of charge. These programs are for people who don't have the means to pay for courses. Many of the courses offer free mentoring as well.

There are now career schools or groups that offer free training either at home or online. These benevolent organizations develop a training program that will enable an individual to be more valuable in the employment market place. The trainees that are able to get into the program will be assisted in gaining information that is helpful in transcribing as well as guidance on how to do it well. Skills not only in transcription but also in computer literacy and speed will be taught. The training programs will also be an avenue from which proficiency and productivity improvement will be gained. This is possible through feedback that will be given to trainees objectively and positively. Aside from career guidance, the training program also aids in the confidence building of trainees.

Health Literacy

Once you enter a training program that is free of charge, there will be a personal trainer who will be designated to help you. This personal trainer will be the one to make a program that is suited for you. The program will be suited to your experience, abilities, training and background. A personal website will also be created solely for you, from which your personal trainer could convey messages to you while you are working.

Along with this hands on training in medical transcription, your personal trainer will provide evaluations concerning your progress. Based on your progress and on the areas which still nees work, your trainer may also allow you to take other courses for free. A course will normally cost a regular paying student an estimated 0. But, as you are getting these courses for free, the only investment that you will make in taking these courses will be on your textbooks, which you will cost between 20 and 50 dollars

After training you will have the skills to work as a medical transcriptionist at home or in the work place. You can do this job full time or as an additional job to your regular paying one.

Free Medical Transcription Training - Several Great Tips

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

The History of Nursing Research

The history of nursing research began with the famous British Nurse Florence Nightingale. It is the nursing research which decides and manages the fundamentals of the nursing practice in common. It is said that when a nurse makes a medical assessment he or she makes a judgment which is supported by and feature the existing tendency in nursing research.

If by chance a nurse does not perform in agreement with the nursing research he or she may be held responsible of medical negligence. Quantative and Qualitive Research are the two main areas of research which are applicable to the nursing professional. Quantitive Research centers on the results in nursing which is noticeably by the exercise of testing controlled trial settings. Quantity Research centers on the quality issue of the result as experienced by the patient.

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The Association of American Nurses is an organization that serves as a network and helps to promote a positive image of nursing all over the country. There are totally 54 organizations of these association and almost three million registered nurses within the United States represent their country.

This group was initially started in the year 1911 by a group from Canada which officially became the American Nurses Association. Therefore the history of nursing research American was commenced in the 19th century. Recently, this organization has extended its branches to all the corners of the country.

The nurses work to help their working conditions and also improve the conditions and treatment of the patient. This group of American nurses present and promote nursing values through the net and also publish newsletters. All the way through education, strength and support, this remarkable group has developed into a figure of great value of nurses in the country of United States.

The History of Nursing Research

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Early Recognition of Learning Difficulties - The Key Component

Babies grow at an incredible rate. Parents watch in amazement as their beautiful infant baby suddenly becomes a toddler, then a pre-schooler, and so on. Suddenly the one little develops from the point of needing consistent attention for satisfaction of their needs to the self-sufficient child who wants to do everything for him/herself. Babies and young children are different and develop their skills at varying rates. However through the study of child growth and development, there are established times in which one expects certain physical, cognitive, and behavioral developments to occur. Early identification of developmental delays is critical to the remediation of any affected area of delay.

One area of need in early identification of problem is that of literacy - the skills of reading and writing. Children begin acquiring the skills for literacy very young, well before any parent even thinks about a potential problem in their child's ability to read and write. Emergent literacy actually begins at birth and continues through the years prior to beginning school! It is during the years of speech and language development that young brains are networking the understanding and expression of their language systems - the systems of organizing and relating ideas, thoughts, and communication needs into a multi-sensory environment. One may be surprised that the foundations of reading and writing begin so early, however the truth is that children begin making impressions of written information very young as they watch and monitor their environment.

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According to the regulations for Public Law (P.L.) 101-476 which is entitled The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the definition of Learning Disability is "a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations." The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 4.6 million people in the United States have some type of learning disability. A learning disability may manifest itself with one or more of the following diagnoses: Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Visual Processing Disorder, Dysgraphia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Deficit (ADHD), Reading Comprehension Disorder, Alexia, or Sensory Integration Disorder (SID).

It is important to know that learning with disabilities is possible. Critical to this is identification of potential learning difficulties at an early stage in the development process. Attacking deficits early can aid significantly to the child's ability to establish the foundations needed for reading and writing. If a child begins school without these baseline functions, the abilities to keep with the learning requirements over time will be difficult for the child. Some of the early warning signs of possible learning problems recorded in the literature are as follows:

- Late talkers based on developmental scales and limited vocabulary knowledge and expression.
- Delayed in motor developments such as walking, standing, pulling up, or holding/manipulating objects.
- Lack of interest in books and in nursery rhymes or understanding rhyming words.
- Difficulty in remembering names of letters and relating them to their sounds.
- Problems in saying the alphabet or counting.
- Inability to understand simple directions and remember routines.
- Difficulty in paying attention and being easily distracted.
- Comprehension problems for basic language information.

Learning is like constructing a building: in order for the building to have strength and stability, a firm foundation must first be laid. Without this foundation, the building will not support continued upward growth. As a Speech/Language Pathologist of many years and one who specializes in processing and learning disorders, I understand the frustrations parents have when their children are identified with learning disabilities or problems after attending school for two, three, or more years. Every school grade is a building process of learning and without a firm foundation, children cannot comprehend and learn more advanced material content. For children identified late, filling in the gap becomes extremely difficult or sometimes impossible. The answer to this problem is helping the child before they even begin pre-K for the developmental foundations that are necessary to learn basic academic skills. Simple learning activities and learning strategies can be incorporated into a child's normal, exploratory day to encourage development of neural networking patterns necessary for learning success.

In summary, success can most effectively be gained for children at risk for learning problems and disabilities by early identification of delay. Developmental and incremental physical, cognitive, and language acquisitions are foundational for learning. It is essential that the underlying root cause of a problem be uncovered and remedied for the building blocks of learning to successfully take place. With early and correct diagnosis, children dealing with the affects of learning disorders can achieve more productively and effectively in their pursuit of personal life goals and ambitions.

Early Recognition of Learning Difficulties - The Key Component

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

XXX Adult Videos - A Review of the Nina Hartley Series

People often view xxx adult videos solely in the light of pornography. However, there is an emerging genre of xxx adult videos that falls under the class of sexual health. What makes these xxx adult videos so provocative is that in addition to their instructional qualities, they still maintain a highly charged, visually erotic, sexually stimulating atmosphere. Nina Hartley, porn star legend, has created a series of educational xxx adult videos that have house-wives everywhere singing her praises.

The fact is Nina Hartley is more than just an Adult film star. She is also a registered nurse who graduated magna cum laude from San Francisco State University. Needless to say, having made over 475 xxx adult movies gives her extensive knowledge of sexuality and sex education. Nina Hartley's xxx adult videos are filled with captivating, imaginative and quality instructions.

Health Literacy

Even better, these how-to guides are tantalizing and sensuously appealing, definitely arousing the libido of any couple seeking to enhance their sexual literacy. Nina Hartley's series of xxx adult videos leaves no topic untouched. She has videos that cover topics from bondage, oral sex to lap dancing. These step-by-step instructional videos also include spanking, domination and swinging.

Nina Hartley's xxx adult videos demonstrate advanced sexual techniques that can be explored by any man or woman. The videos are deliciously explicit and highly graphical in detail. She explains each technique and adds tips from her very own work experiences.

And that's not all, the collection comes complete with dozens of erotic techniques to explore and experiment within the privacy of your own home. If you're seeking a rewarding sex life, then Nina Hartley's instructional xxx adult videos are packed with creative techniques that shows you how to have the best heart-pounding sex of your life. Join other couples on their journey to sexual literacy and explore steamy lovemaking techniques.

Best of all, Nina Hartley's educational xxx adult videos will help to make your wildest fantasies a reality. YOU deserve to have incredible orgasms and mind-blowing sex. So, find out for'll be glad you did!

XXX Adult Videos - A Review of the Nina Hartley Series

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Employability Skills - The Advantages For You

Employability skills are very useful things to have, especially if you are not employed and want to be. If you are in the process of choosing a career, then thinking about undertaking a skills programme may be a good move too. It's all about making yourself more likely to be employed. It's about putting yourself in a position before employers where they are forced to see that you have the necessary skills for the job. It's about empowering yourself!

We all need to pay the inevitable bills that we generate from everyday use of the necessary things for life. In order to get the money to pay the bills, we usually need to have a job. Employers and managers of businesses are not usually predisposed to employing just anyone. They want the right person for the job, someone with the right qualifications. In other words, they want someone with employability skills.

Health Literacy

The right kind of skill can vary a lot, depending on the particular job. For some situations it can be very simple and easy to get, for others it can involve many years of hard training. For most situations it is something in between. Employability is not just about knowing how to do the actual things that a job requires. It can also be about having the right attitude at interview level. You have to be presentable in the right way for a prospective employer to want you. Even if you have everything right on paper, if you don't perform right on the day of the interview, someone else may walk away with the prize.

Gaining employability skills generally means training of some kind you can study for. There are many government training courses available, especially for young people, and especially for those not currently in employment, and there can be grants available too that will help you pay for the kind of training you need. If you require work experience at any point, this might me something that can also be arranged through a skills programme.

Wanting to progress and improve in life is a natural desire for most people. You may be reasonably content in the job you currently have, but perhaps you have set your eye on something a bit higher up the ladder. It is likely to be something that will pay better and possibly give you a little more prestige too. This is where your employability skills, or the lack of them, come into play. If you aren't already employable, perhaps it's time to do something about it.

Employability Skills - The Advantages For You

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