Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Making a Difference Around the World

On this blog, I strive to provide helpful information that teachers can apply in the classroom and use to enhance their own scholarship. Once in awhile, I feel the urge to share information that inspires, which I hope motivates others--as it does me--to continue to do our best in our own corners of the world to educate and inspire.

Lately, my heart has been probed as I ponder one of my greatest passions in life: concern for the welfare of my fellowmen, both domestically and abroad. I have had my share of opportunities to travel the world and associate with my fellowmen and hopefully contribute in a small way to their well-being. But I realize that the world is a big place, and it requires the help of so many. I recognize that there are many individuals and organizations in the world who are engaged in great causes that help provide sustainability and individual empowerment.

With it being the week of Thanksgiving, I thought I would highlight just a few organizations I know about personally that I am grateful for. Their efforts to contribute to the well-being of their fellowmen serve as an inspiration to me and motivate me to continue to do my best to educate, serve, inspire, and love. (I've also included a link to a video of each organization so you can get a feel for the great work they do.)

Rising Star Outreach is a non-profit organization in India that has a three-fold mission to provide: 1) micro-lending; 2) medical care; and 3) complete education for children. (Watch a video on the organization here. And I'm warning you: you'll fall in love with the children at RSO if you click here.)

The Tipping Bucket strives to raise funds, $1 at a time, to help fund projects that promote self-reliance around the world. (Watch a video on their organization here.)

Brigham Young University and Empower Playgrounds, Inc. created a merry-go-round that generates electricity for a village in Ghana to light their schools and their homes. (Watch a video on the project here.)

Thank you to everyone who makes their own contributions to improve the well-being of others, no matter how simple. I realize that you don't have to leave your home country or home town to make a difference. I'm grateful for the millions of people who make a difference in their own classrooms, neighborhoods, and homes everyday. Your efforts are equally inspiring...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ideas for Teaching Sight Words for ELLs/ESL Students

Why Teach Sight Words?
One effective approach to teaching reading to low-level readers is to teach sight words. Sight words are words that occur so often in a text that readers should be able to read them by sight without having to decode them. Sight words also consist of words that cannot be decoded and must be memorized by sight. Knowing these high-frequency words and being able to recognize non-decodable words by sight are extremely important skills for developing reading fluency.

In order to read well, students need to read sight words very quickly. They need to memorize them. Students should memorize a few sight words at a time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Videos that Demonstrate the Need for Adult Literacy Training

My company (Reading Horizons) just launched a series of new videos that showcase individuals' first-hand experiences with reading difficulties. The video series is called "In Your Own Backyard," demonstrating that there are people all around us--"in our own backyard"--who struggle with reading. They could be our friends or our loved ones. I thought it would be worth sharing this link on this blog to remind us of the opportunities that surround us to help build literacy skills.

I also wanted to share another video that demonstrates the painful reality of illiteracy. I sometimes share this video at the beginning of my presentations at professional literacy conferences to establish commonality among those in attendance. I often observe attendees nodding their heads as they watch this video because of their familiarity with this reality. This video can be accessed below.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Handout for Five Free Technology Tools for ELL/ESL Teachers and Students

A couple posts ago, I shared some information about educational technology tools that can be used in the classroom. I received a link to a handout for the presentation that introduced these classroom technology tools, and I thought I'd share it here.

Thank you to Ben McMurry for his work on this handout and for delivering this presentation.