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Learning Gives you a Break
Almost everyday, it seems, a new student is admitted into our school. They transfer from other districts in other cities, states, even countries. They make new friends; adjust to the new scenery. But these children are also forced to start over in a curriculum that may prove worlds apart from the ones in which they were previously immersed. You, as the teacher, have to deal with all of these changes along with the ones caused by the addition of a student in the classroom. This can prove difficult, though. How can you find the time to discover the level on which the child is reading when you need to teach the rest of class on their levels and incorporate this child into the everyday dealings of this class? It's an ongoing process that can sometimes start over once every other week while more and more students transfer into already overcrowded classrooms. What can you do?
You are not on your own. There are companies that can help. Several Teachnet readers give high marks for Advantage Learning Systems, which offers two programs that prove almost essential when placing students, either at the beginning of the year or when new students enter the classroom. One, called the Standardized Test for Assessment of Reading (S.T.A.R.), determines the students appropriate reading level by a computerized program. The other, Accelerated Reader (AR), is a computer-based program that tests reading comprehension.
S.T.A.R. gives an accurate assessment of a student's reading level in the no more than ten minutes it takes them to complete the computer test. The actual program is loaded in less than ten minutes and then ready to go for your students to take the tests. Although only one student can take the test at a time, some teachers have quoted the test time as only three minutes, allowing many students to test in a short amount of time. When you begin, the questions are fairly simple. For example, fill in this blank:
The dog _______ through the yard. barked ran dug fell
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