Finding Academic Success for
All Students
Margo Kinzer Courter, MBA, MA, CCC-SLP
Courter Communications, LLC
Speech, Language, & Learning
[email protected]
• Defines the knowledge and skills students
should have within their K-12 education
• Aligns K-12 with expectations in
English/language arts and math standards for
college and career success
• Consistent standards across all states
• Determined through evidence and research
based criteria
Facts from The ACT Report
• Needs to understand complex texts
• Critical thinking is NOT enough
• Complexity of college texts have
not decreased
• Decline in vocabulary complexity
• Word difficulty in scientific journals have
• Discrepancy in the complexity of texts from end
of high school to beginning of college
ACT Report continued
The clearest differentiator was students’ ability to
answer questions associated with complex texts
through understanding complex sentence
structure - NOT critical thinking skills.
In 2004-2005, only 51% of students taking the
ACT scored at the benchmark (C equivalency) for
understanding complex text needed for college
Learning to Read
PreK K 1
Reading to Learn
3 4 5 6 infinity
Children’s phonological awareness ability at preschool is a
powerful predictor of later reading and writing success
(Bradley and Bryant, 1980; Lundberg, Olofsson, and Wall,
1983; Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashotte, 1994).
Strong phonological awareness base:
– Phonemic awareness
– Rhyming
– Onset and Rime
– Segmenting
– Blending
– Manipulating
Great activities: www.phonological
Visual Phonics
Explicit instruction in the six common
spelling patterns, prefixes, suffixes, roots,
and word origins makes decoding and
figuring out meaning of words and
sentences easier for students.
Six Syllable Patterns
C = closed syllable as in "cat" (C)
L = consonant -le syllable as in "ta/ble" (L)
O = open syllable as in "we" (O)
V = vowel team syllable as in "read" (V)
E = vowel-consonant-e syllable as in "cake"
R = r-controlled syllable as in "barn" and
"bird" (R)
3rd Grade through High School
Peak Curiosity and Creativity
Multimodality Learning
Use consistent strategies across teachers and
grade levels
• Link to what the student knows
• Students who used visual aids
outperformed those using conventional
reading techniques on a reading
comprehension test.
• The benefit of using organizers does not
diminish based on the grade level.
Kim, A., & Vaughn, S. (2004). Graphic Organizers and Their Effects on the Reading
Comprehension of Students with LD: A Synthesis of Research. Journal of Learning
Disabilities, 37(2), 105-118. Retrieved December 6, 2010, from
• Fountas and Pinnell (2001) cite that when
content is illustrated with diagrams, the
information can be maintained by students
over a period of time.
• Students with learning difficulties need
strategies to help them achieve success in
academics. (Gagnon & Maccini, 2000).
What Strategy Will You Use?
Highlighting key
words in
Highlighting tape or
erasable highlighters
in textbooks
Cornell Notes
Venn Diagrams
Graph paper for
Checklist for math
story problems
Vocabulary strategy
Book report format
Following Written Directions or
Reading Paragraphs
• Highlighting (highlighter tape)
– Key words in directions
– Supporting detail for paragraphs and chapters
Read each sentence below. Circle the subject and underline
the verb. Then write a prepositional phrase on the line to
complete the sentence.
Read each sentence below. Circle the subject and underline
the verb. Then write a prepositional phrase on the line to
complete the sentence.
• Introduce Vocabulary
– Provide students with a description, explanation, or
example as opposed to a formal definition.
– Access Prior Knowledge: Build on Prior Knowledge
– Make the vocabulary relevant to the students
*** This is important for young students as well as they
are learning high frequency words. This will aid in
reading comprehension and retrieval***
Great Resource: Tennessee Department of Education
Vocabulary Cards
Outside top:
Number in the right upper corner
that corresponds to the number
on the vocabulary word
Outside bottom:
Vocabulary word
Example: saw
Inside top:
Use this space to draw a picture that
represents the meaning of the
word or use word finding
Inside bottom:
Definitions of the word. All
definitions to multimeaning
words should be written.
Example: 1. A tool used to cut
2. past tense of to see
Diane German (1998) and Dockrell (1998) state
that the prevalence word finding difficulties
are high among learners with specific
language impairment and learning disabilities.
Syllables: __Spe___ __cies___ _____ ____
Speed Cheese
 _Species___ _Species______Species____
Sentence: Lions are a species.
Relationship Building – Concept
Connection: Curriculum Based Meaning Common Language Usage
Common Use of the Word
Curriculum Based Use
A fact that contributes to a result
Numbers that divide evenly into another
Sentence Using Terms
General Use
The rain was a factor in mom’s decision to
not go.
Curriculum Use
2 is a factor of 4
 Same
X Different
Book Report Format
Main Characters
Conflict or Central Problem
Main Idea and 3 Details from Each Chapter
Resolution of the Conflict
Your Thoughts
Venn Diagrams
Compare and Contrast Making an
Apple Pie to Making a Mud Pie
Main Idea
Supporting Details
Webs for Organization &
Detail 1
Detail 2
Detail 3
Math Story Problems
Read the story problem
Reread and highlight key words
Match numbers to words
What are you solving for?
Example: Math Story Problem
Sam bought 8 ball caps, one for each of her eight
friends, for $8.95 each. The cashier charged her an
additional $12.07 in sales tax. She left the store
with a measly $6.28. How much money did Sam
start with?
Caps = 8
Cost= 8.95
x 8
Sales Tax = 12.07
$ Left = 6.28
+ 12.07
Answer: $89.95
+ 6.28
• Ebooks
On line Textbooks
– Audio, reading help, companion materials, study
skills, test taking strategies, self tests, quizzes,
additional practice
Audio Downloads
Reading help
Textbook companion
Study skills & Test taking strategies
Self tests & Quizzes
Additional Practice
Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
~Chinese Proverb
How lucky we are, as educators, to have the
opportunity to instill the love of learning for every
Margo Kinzer Courter, MBA, MA
[email protected]

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