Secrets of Successful Urban Teachers
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Teaching Strategies 1: Some Intensified Accelerated™ Teaching Strategies

SYNONYM TRIPLETS uses intensified, culture-centered, explicit teaching practices to accelerate the understanding and memorization of a significant number of synonyms in order to enhance students’ speaking and writing vocabulary. Students take an active part in exploring the meanings of words important to their curriculum—in both the language arts and the subject areas. Mastering the meanings of three synonymous words at the same time, in contrast to the usual two, gives this strategy additional power for accelerating learning.

PRONOUN BOXES™ (Including Possessive and Demonstrative Adjectives) Incorrect or incomplete reasoning and reflection are often connected with anaphoric relationships of various kinds. These factors can negatively impact reading comprehension skills. “Pronoun Boxes” (including “Pronoun-Like Adjectives”) focus mainly on the types of anaphora associated with pronouns and some adjectives. Their intensified, culture-centered approach provides explicit teaching and practice aimed at the accelerated acquisition of the habit of immediately identifying the antecedents of pronouns, and of the nouns described by some adjectives as one reads narrative and expository texts.

GOOD AND BETTER Rhythmic repetition and performance are used, in a sophisticated manner, to introduce students to short passages of published writing that include excellent descriptive language. This strategy contrasts these passages to examples of writing that use the same sentence structure and content, but are void of the descriptive language that would have provided details, precision, and interest. As these examples are internalized, they become references for students and help accelerate writing skill development.

PANEL BOOKS Panel books are tools—formats—that teachers and students can use in teaching, learning, and practicing a wide variety of literacy skills, especially those related to comprehension and writing. They are used to enhance the analysis of authors’ writing, textbook organization, and the study and practice of various other literacy skills. A panel book can be an entire book, or a section, chapter, or unit of a book whose pages (panels) have been either copied, or if it is a discarded text, torn out and taped together in horizontal rows so that the whole text can be seen at once. Many times the taped pages are glued to small or large colored poster boards to make a more permanent and attractive tool that can be used for multiple years.

PUNCTUATION MARKS RECITATIONS As teachers know all too well, the reading comprehension of underperforming students suffers when punctuation marks are ignored or incorrectly interpreted. This can be tested during oral reading. Too many students race past periods, fail to pause at commas, blandly read sentences that end with exclamation points, don't express a questioning attitude when encountering a question mark, and fail to adopt the persona of the speaker when reading a quotation. Punctuation Marks Recitations is a strategy that addresses these basic reading skills. It uses culture-centered orality in the study of five common punctuation marks, and the appropriate voice expression when reading each of them.

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Augusta Mann with phonics chart

Photo credit: Mark Skalny

Teachers' Comments

"What was most meaningful to me was the Intensified Accelerated decoding and fluency with Augusta. Highly Recurring Phonic Elements — great! "

— Teacher, Albany, NY

Featured VideoPhonic Pattern Hopscotch

From our new instructional DVD workshop, Touching the Spirit Teaching Strategies: watch as teachers learn and have fun with this unique way of teaching decoding.

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