The Common Core Standards were developed to prepare students for the demands of college and careers. The Common Core Standards provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core Standards. The Common Core Standards are for students in kindergarten through twelfth-grade. Some states are implementing these standards in the 2013-14 school year. Others will wait until the 2014-15 school year. English language arts and math were the subjects chosen for the Common Core Standards because they are as upon which students build skill sets which are used in other subjects.
Students will continue to read a diverse array of classic and contemporary literature as well as informational text in a wide range of subjects. In the past, literature has often been more dominant in schools especially in the primary grades. Now, an emphasis for more informational text especially in the primary grades will be emphasized to establish this “staircase” of increasing complexity in what students must be able to read.Fisher Hill’s six book series English Reading Comprehension for the Spanish Speaker contains many examples of informational text for students to read and enjoy. Following is an example of informational text from the fourth book in the series.
Did you know that dolphins live in the Amazon River? The Amazon River also has the largest watershed in the world and the most tributaries. The Amazon and its tributaries wind through the northern half of South America flowing through the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean 6,437 kilometers (4,000 miles) from the its headwaters high in the Andes mountains of Peru. This huge watershed includes the largest tropical rainforest in the world as well as areas of dry grassland.Many animals live in the Amazon. The Boto dolphins live in the Amazon. These dolphins are vulnerable because of the continued destruction of the rainforest environment. The major threats to their survival are pollution, deforestation, entanglement in fishing nets and competition for fish with human fishers. The carnivorous piranhas (fish) also live in the Amazon. They swim in large shoals or schools and may attack livestock and humans. In 1981 300 people were killed by a school of piranhas when their boat capsized. With their sharp teeth, piranhas can strip the flesh from bones in just a few minutes. But only a few species of piranhas attack humans, and many are solely fish-eaters, and do not swim in packs or schools. The Anaconda is the largest snake in the world and is found in shallow waters in the Amazon basin. It spends much of its time in the water with just its nostrils above the surface. Thousands of species of fish, crabs and turtles also live in the Amazon River.
The Amazon is home to a variety of Indian cultures that have a great deal of knowledge about the Amazon rainforest. As settlements bring changes to the forest, these cultural groups are also changing, and the lessons they have gained through thousands of years of living within the rainforest are in danger of being lost. Scientists are trying to learn from the native people of the Amazon about the rainforest plants and animals that may hold cures to many diseases.
Amazon River with its huge watershed includes the largest tropical rainforest in the world. The destruction of the forest as settlers clear the land for farming and companies harvest trees for lumber is believed to be contributing to the problem of global warming. It’s important to preserve the Amazon River and its huge watershed that includes the largest rainforest in the world!
The six book series English Reading Comprehension for the Spanish Speaker contains many examples of informational text for students to read and enjoy. Fisher Hill workbooks are bilingual to help facilitate and accelerate Spanish speakers in their development of English reading and writing. Fisher Hill workbooks are written for Spanish-speaking teens and adults.
Visit our website at www.Fisher-Hill.com to see all of our workbooks for Spanish-speaking teens and adults.
According to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, more than 90 million adults over the age of 16 in the United States (more than 40%) have low literacy skills. According to ProLiteracy (2013), 14% of the adults over the age of 16 read at or below a fifth-grade level, with only 29% reading at the eight-grade level. Seventy-five percent of state prison inmates and 59% of federal prison inmates have not graduated from high school or can be described as having low literacy skills. Twenty percent of adults have literacy skills that are considered inadequate for the workplace (Comings, Reder, &I Sum, 2001).
Learning to read or improving your reading skills can be a very daunting task, especially if it is not in your native language. Fisher Hill workbooks for Spanish-speaking teens and adults are an excellent resource for people who self-study (work on their own to improve their literacy skills) or attend a literacy course. Our workbooks use large print, do not progress too rapidly and include an answer key. Spanish-speaking teens and adults who have literacy skills in their native language will very much enjoy using the the four book series called English for the Spanish Speaker.
Many immigrants or migrants in the United States may have had little prior schooling in their home country and may only be able to read a few words in their native language. Our four workbook series: English Reading and Spelling for the Spanish Speaker, English Reading Comprehension for the Spanish Speaker, English Writing Composition for the Spanish Speaker, and English Vocabulary for the Spanish Speaker were written to help Spanish speakers develop reading and writing skills in English. The English Reading and Spelling for the Spanish Speaker workbook series helps students understand the alphabetic principle of reading and spelling. Many stories in the English Reading Comprehension for the Spanish Speaker series are non-fiction to help students increase their knowledge base in the area of science and social science.
Fisher Hill workbooks are bilingual to help facilitate and accelerate Spanish speakers in their development of English reading and writing. Visit our website at www.Fisher-Hill.com to see all of our workbooks for Spanish-speaking teens and adults.
Paul Farmer. Have you ever heard of him?
I come from a family of volunteers. Volunteering provides a worthwhile service and a wonderful opportunity for the volunteer. My parents volunteered at the hospital and church when they both retired. My oldest son began volunteering the summer after his freshman year in college. I told him he could not sit around the house all summer doing nothing. He had to find a job or volunteer. So the next day he went out and came home with a volunteer job at Shipley’s Nature Center. Every morning he got up at eight and was at the Nature Center by nine o’clock. After two weeks, they hired him! The following summers until he graduated, he volunteered at the science lab at his college. Now, he has received a $200,000 grant from the government to do at PH.D program in chemistry.
I have volunteered at camps and children’s homes starting at the age of fourteen. Room and board was provided and I loved doing the work. I’ve always loved to travel and this was a way I could do that. One children’s home was in Appalachia and another was in Colombia, South America. One camp was in Arizona and another was in Hawaii. I did receive a minimal stipend at several places. In Colombia I received $12 a month and at the summer camps I received from $25 to $50 a month.
Where do you find these volunteer jobs? Back then it was the library. In January, I would head for the library, find the addresses and in February or March send out my applications for a summer position. In Appalachia, I enjoyed the summer so much, that I asked about an overseas job and was referred to the home in Colombia. Now this information can me found on the Internet. Bill Clinton has a Volunteer program.
As a teacher, I have wonderful parent and grandparent volunteers in my classroom. These parents provide an excellent service to the children. Many libraries provide literacy programs where volunteers teach teens and adults how to read. Literacy programs have used my series English Reading and Spelling for the Spanish Speaker. This series provides a very systematic, structured and explicit approach to teaching reading and spelling. The two series: English Comprehension for the Spanish Speaker and English Writing Composition for the Spanish Speaker follow this first series English Reading and Spelling for the Spanish Speaker. English Vocabulary for the Spanish Speaker series reinforces the vocabulary presented in the first three series. You can find out more information about these workbooks on my website www.Fisher-Hill.com.
Did you know that 15 to 20% of the population has signs of dyslexia? What is dyslexia? “Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. This can mean slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up of similar words. Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. People who are very bright can be dyslexic. Some people are identified as dyslexic early in their lives, but for others, their dyslexia goes unidentified until they get older. Needless to say, these language difficulties can lead to problems in school, in the workplace, and in relating to other people. Dyslexia can affect a person’s self-image. Students with dyslexia can feel “dumb” and less capable than they actually are.” International Dyslexia Association.
I have been a member of the International Dyslexia Association for close to twenty years. I joined when my two boys had difficulty learning to read. Why would they have difficulty with this skill? I read to them constantly when they were little: stories before nap time, stories before bedtime; story time at the library, books in the house. They loved listening to stories, but they had difficulty learning to read. My youngest at the age of four or five had no interests in learning the ABCs. My older boy was identified with a reading difficulty in second grade and began to receive extra help in third grade. My younger son had a 504 plan but did not receive as much extra help in school as his brother. They both had great difficulty with spelling and writing.
Never fear! Both boys received a lot of help from their dad and me! Now, the oldest, who was in RSP (Resource Specialist Program, part of Special Ed), is starting a Ph.D. program in Chemistry; and the younger one has been working at Twitter since he was twenty-two.
Some people say dyslexia can be a gift: many dyslexics think outside the box or excel in specific areas. My younger boy always loved computers and my older boy got an A in organic chemistry! Having dyslexia can make school life very difficult but that’s a whole other Blog.
Fisher Hill workbooks are developed for Spanish-speaking teens and adults and for people who might have difficulty learning to read. The books present a systematic and explicit approach to learning to read and write with a great deal of structured practice. Fisher Hill has four series to help Spanish-speaking teens and adults learn to read and write. The first series is English Reading and Spelling for the Spanish Speaker. You might say, “What’s with those covers!” Half the series has one type of cover and the other half has a different cover. I am in the process of changing the covers.
I’ve been teaching school for 24 years. For the first ten years, it was 4th or 5th grade bilingual. Then for ten years I stayed home to start a family. I’ve been back now for fourteen years teaching first grade and kindergarten. Kindergarten is a fascinating grade. (Really, I’ve enjoyed all the grades I’ve taught.) I would have never thought to teach kindergarten, but when our school lost four teachers, I had the lowest seniority so I was the one moved to kindergarten since that’s where we needed a teacher. I love kindergarten! The kids are so enthusiastic! “Today, children, we are going to do writing.” “Yay!” they respond. “Now, we’re going to do math.” “Yay!” they respond.
On their first day of kindergarten, some children are a little leery. Who’s to blame them? This may be their first time leaving home. I tell the parents to stay as long as they’d like. I definitely believe in a strong teacher-parent partnership! As I said in my previous blog, I am fortunate to have such wonderful parent and grandparent volunteers.
The following are some things parents should know about kindergarten:
- If your child does not know how to tie shoes, don’t send him to school with lace shoes. Velcro is wonderful! My husband and I tried and tried to teach our boys to tie. Tying shoes is a difficult skill for many kids. My two boys wore Velcro shoes for many years. I don’t know when they finally learned to tie. I do know they went to college wearing tied shoes.
- Many kindergarten children have been to pre-school. Many children come to kindergarten knowing their ABCs. They not only know the names of the ABCs they also know the letter sounds. Some even come to kindergarten reading.
- Many come to kindergarten knowing how to count to thirty.
- If your child comes to kindergarten not knowing how to tie his shoes, or his ABCs or counting to thirty, that’s fine. What all parents do need to do is monitor how their children are doing in school. Look at the papers that come home in your child’s backpack. Then make sure your child can really do what’s on the papers!
- Some parents will just need to monitor their children, making sure their children can do the classroom work. Other parents, whose children may have difficulty, will need to give their children help and the necessary practice.
- What do parents do who have to work full time and their children need help at home with their schoolwork? For kindergartners, it’s best if you can give them five to fifteen minutes a day. Don’t expect to help them just one day a week. Their attention span may not be longer than five to ten minutes.
- Read to your children. Go to the public library and get picture books. Ask the librarian where these books are. They’re beautiful books. Reading to your children will increase their vocabulary and listening comprehension. Ask your children when, why, where, what, and how questions about the story.
- Research shows that parents who attend teacher conferences and other school functions, their children do better in school.
- Bottom line is to enjoy your children! They’re just starting kindergarten. You have a long haul a head. Pace yourself.
If you know a parent or grandparent who doesn’t know English but would like to learn, our series: English for the Spanish Speaker is an excellent workbook series for them. The pace is not too fast and the large print helps to make the workbooks user friendly. On each page the directions are in Spanish; and there’s an Answer Key at the end of each lesson. See all our workbooks at www.Fisher-Hill.com.
I am writing Fisher Hill’s first blog ever! Who am I? I am the owner of Fisher Hill Publishers. I am Kathleen Fisher, a sixty-year-old woman. Before writing this first blog, I had to look up, What exactly is a blog? The Blogger says, “A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules. In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.” That’s wonderful! I can write about anything. Maybe, people will even comment. (That could be good or not.)
For my first blog, I will write about my company. A friend and I started this company twenty-six years ago. We were both bilingual teachers. She had just retired because of age and I had just retired to start a family. “Let’s start a business!” we said. We decided to write bilingual educational materials. As bilingual teachers, we had found that there were not many bilingual textbooks so we decide to write our own bilingual workbooks. Our first and last series as partners was English for the Spanish Speaker. After that series, our partnership broke up. But I continued the business under a new name, Fisher Hill Publishers.
The workbooks are geared toward Spanish-speaking teens and adults. The books are written in large print and progress at a modest pace for people who want or need to learn Spanish. The books are easy to use with an Answer Key at the end of each lesson or at the back of the book. Directions are in Spanish, with English translations at the back of the book. The workbooks can be used in a classroom or by individuals.
I’ve just written my first blog! That wasn’t so painful. I’ve been told I need to write one blog a week and they should be from 300 to 700 words. Wow! That’s a lot of blogs! Before writing this blog, my goal was 300 words. But this one has turned out to be over 400! What will my next blog be about? One of my favorite subjects, Dyslexia! So until next time, as Ellen DeGeneres says at the end of her show, “Be kind to one another.”