Professional Development: Blog

The Science of Learning

May 28, 2020
Slowing and Stopping the COVID Slide: Part 1

Educators are concerned that the current restrictions on in-person instruction necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly decrease academic gains among a large swath of children in the United States. Given that current U.S. government data indicate only one-third of fourth-graders have the reading skills considered proficient, the "COVID slide" could result in a further decline in literacy skills, especially among our most vulnerable students. Why will the COVID slide occur and what can educators do to combat it?

May 20, 2020
The Social-Emotional Impact of School Closures on Teachers and Students

COVID-19, without question, has left a permanent impact on the lives of many educators and students around the world. Millions of teachers have altered their traditional classroom routines through remote instruction to finish out the 2019-2020 school year. The lack of peer interaction, the absence of proper guidance and expectations, and the additional stress caused by the global pandemic itself have led to emotional distress among many students and teachers. Their social-emotional needs will need to be met when they return to the classroom. What are the major ways in which school closures have impacted students’ and teachers’ social-emotional well-being and quality of learning?

May 13, 2020
New Research Shows Accelerated Reading Growth in Boone County, KY

A “gold standard” research study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Fast ForWord program on improving language and literacy skills. In the 2018-2019 school year, eighty-eight students in grades 3-8 from two Boone County Schools in KY participated in a randomized controlled trial. Students who used Fast ForWord jumped from the 37th percentile to the 54th percentile and made gains of 8 months in just 7.5 weeks.

May 7, 2020
You, Unplugged: Finding Balance with Extended Reading, Writing, and Thinking Time

After years of experts warning about excessive screen time, we find ourselves in front of screens all day during the coronavirus lockdown. We're not necessarily doing anything wrong—this is just life in the new COVID-19 world. But we should consciously unplug when and how we can. Read why unplugging is important for our brains and a key suggestion you can try today!

April 28, 2020
Introducing Fast ForWord Literacy for Secondary Students

We are proud to introduce Fast ForWord Literacy, the new secondary program from Scientific Learning. In a recent webinar, Dr. Martha S. Burns, Director of Neuroscience Education, and Wendy Mathieu, VP of Product Management, explain the science and research behind Fast ForWord Literacy and its unique features. Below is a brief summary of the webinar.

April 16, 2020
Six Research-Backed Strategies for Remote Teaching

As remote learning continues during COVID-19 school closures, educators have shared a plethora of creative and useful ideas for effective distance learning. In addition to these resources, educators might also be interested in what researchers have learned through systematic studies. In an EdWeek article, Brown University professor Suzanne Loeb briefly summarizes research on K-12 online learning. The bad news is that there aren’t very many studies that use the scientific “gold standard” of randomized control methods to learn what works and what doesn’t. The good news is that there are plenty of studies about online learning that can still inform best practices for the hundreds of thousands of teachers across the country who find themselves in emergency remote teaching mode. So, in the spirit of the science of learning, here are six research-backed strategies for elementary, middle, and high school teachers who are teaching remotely. Involve Parents, Especially by Strengthening Academic Expectations One of the best ways to ensure students stay on track during periods of remote learning is to increase parents’ or guardians’ involvement. For decades, research has shown that when parents are involved in their children’s education, students achieve at higher levels, regardless of racial background, socio-economic status (SES), or their parents’ level of education. However, recent research suggests that specific types of parental involvement have a greater impact on children’s academic achievement, varying by SES. One meta-analysis (Tan, 2019) on peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2017 found that, while students from all SES backgrounds benefit from many aspects of parental involvement, such as parent-child academic discussions and parent-child reading, parental academic expectations had the largest impact on the academic achievement of children from lower-SES families. Teachers, especially those who are mindful of their students from low-SES homes, should encourage parental involvement by helping them set high […]

April 8, 2020
The Science of Reading: The Basics and Beyond

What should educators and parents know about the science of reading? Here is a basic summary, plus two important beyond-basic facts to inform educators’ choices of reading programs.

March 19, 2020
Remote Unity: Building a Sense of Community during School Closures

As schools transition to remote learning, or at-home learning, educators might consider ways to foster a sense of school community, even when social distancing means that “school” is spread out across individual homes. Teachers and those familiar with social-emotional learning already know: strong relationships are a key component of successful learning. So how can teachers build a strong sense of community during this period when “distance” has become necessary?

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