Effective Literacy in Preschool

What should literacy instruction look like in a preschool classroom? As high-stakes testing puts more pressure on teachers and students, the spotlight is shifting to evaluate how we are preparing students in the years before kindergarten. Expectations for our early learners are going up. Many districts are struggling with how to help more children enter kindergarten ready and on a path to academic success. While it may be tempting to transform preschool classrooms to look more like kindergarten, the research shows that there are two literacy strategies that are proven to be developmentally appropriate and massively impactful for future reading success.

This graphic from the U.S. Department of Education illustrates these two practices in action. Based on the findings of What Works Clearinghouse, phonological awareness training and interactive and dialogic reading are effective strategies to put preschoolers on the path to reading success. 

Read More

College Bound from Birth

The language gap between rich and poor children begins at birth.  In fact, Stanford University research found that 2-year-old children of lower income families may already be 6 months behind in language development.  Early learning gives the strongest return on investment, providing a clear path to a college education and career success.

Footsteps2Brilliance is excited to announce our partnership with College Bound from Birth. Designed and delivered by the early childhood education experts at Collaborative for Children, College Bound from Birth is a three-year quality improvement program offered at no cost in selected neighborhoods throughout Texas.  Program components aim to improve the quality of early learning, leading to kindergarten readiness.  Nobel Prize winning economist, James Heckman, whose research has proven the economic benefits of quality early learning, serves on the Collaborative for Children’s Advisory Board.

Read More

Announcing New Data Dashboards

We are thrilled to announce the release of our brand new data dashboards!

Based on extensive collaboration between our education and engineering teams, the new dashboards leverage big data solutions to provide just-in-time, actionable data for teachers and administrators. Best of all, the data dashboards are easy to interpret and appealing for early-grade teachers to work with. Teachers can easily answer:

  • Who is falling behind?
  • What are students' strengths and weaknesses?
  • How can I group students to best serve individual needs?
  • Are students making progress?
  • Which books are students reading?
  • Are students developing as writers?

And, of course, the new dashboards make it easier than ever to virtually take attendance and monitor student activity.

With data dashboards, we completely rethought what proficiency data looks like. No more endless charts and tables. Instead, we’ve created a tool that teachers will enjoy coming back to again and again, to find new ways to help their students excel.

To get started exploring your data, simply click Dashboards when you log in on myf2b.com

 

The Challenge of Online Learning for Young Children

The COVID pandemic is affecting how we educate our students. Remote instruction has not only become necessary, it’s requiring schools to meet new standards that often tie directly to funding. The fact is that online learning has created new challenges for our general population of students and creates even more challenges for our most vulnerable students.

 

Read More

Serving the Next Generation of Scientists

We are excited to announce a new book series to inspire your budding scientists! The new Physical Science & Engineering series can be found in Level 3 of the Footsteps2Brilliance app. This series encourages students’ curiosity by explaining sophisticated concepts using simple language--bringing science to life in English and Spanish.

 

 

Developed in close alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards, this series encourages your students' curiosity, including books that cover both concepts and procedures. Each book also develops critical literacy skills and includes quiz games to practice comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar.

Read More

A Brand New Book Series Will Develop Super Phonics!

Super Sounds Phonics Book Covers

We are excited to introduce a whole new book series in Red Level 1 that enriches systematic and explicit phonics instruction—particularly in dual language classrooms. With 30 interactive books, the Super Sounds Book Series teaches the common sound for each alphabet letter along with a few of the common digraphs. In Spanish, we've even included an extra book that introduces the important skill of segmenting sílabas (syllables).

 

In order to read, children need to understand the alphabetic principle—the idea that written letters represent the sounds of spoken language. When children learn the relationships between sounds and letters, they have the keys to become proficient readers. Super Sounds books are carefully designed to make the relationship between sounds and letters easily understood.

Read More

We’re Leveling Up Language Skills!

We are thrilled to announce four brand new games to strengthen students' language skills. Take a look in the Language Skills series for these new titles:

  1. Noun Nebula (Yellow Level): sort cards to learn that a noun is a person, place, thing, or animal.
  2. Verb Village (Yellow Level): identify a verb as a word that shows action.
  3. Prefix Presents (Blue Level): add a prefix to change the meaning of a word.
  4. Suffix Search (Blue Level): identify which word with a suffix has the target meaning.

Read More

Celebrating Our Spanish-Speaking Students and Families

We are excited to announce a whole new book series in Level 1 that celebrates our Spanish-speaking students and families.  Presented in their native Spanish with a delightful English translation, the Traditional Spanish Songbooks series provides a wonderful opportunity to enrich students’ oral language.

Leveraging music and rhythm, the Traditional Spanish Songbooks are designed to develop our youngest students’ oral language. Our brains are wired to learn through music. The rhythm and rhyme in songs and nursery rhymes has a powerful effect on cognition—enabling children to develop fluent oral language and awareness of sounds long before they are able to read. By singing along, children enrich their vocabulary and create a foundation for future reading success.

Read More

Welcome, Wheeler the Whale!

We are excited to welcome Wheeler the Whale to our Mega Mouth 2 Decoder series in Level 2. The Mega Mouth Decoders teach English phonics, and Wheeler is our new character for the “wh” digraph. As always, we dug into the research to determine the best way to pronounce Wheeler’s phoneme.

 

While English speakers often pronounce “wh” the same as “w” (listen for your own pronunciation of which and witch), speech pathologists and reading specialists recommend associating the “wh” digraph with the /hw/ sound.

The /hw/ sound is unvoiced like /h/, but the lips are pursed to direct air forward in the shape of /w/.  You might have children explore their mouth position by pretending they are blowing out a candle. To emphasize the position of the mouth, have the children try to “blow out a candle” by making the /h/ sound or the /w/ sound alone. Neither sound is effective for directing air to the candle. Then have children combine the sounds to make /hw/.

Read More

Transform the Summer Slide into the Summer Climb

Summer is right around the corner and we are so proud to have contributed to student achievement this school year. Did you know that Footsteps2Brilliance can also be part of your strategy to combat the "Summer Slide?" Whether you are organizing summer school, or creating take-home packets for your parents, or even planning a school-wide reading challenge, we have resources to help you make summer a time to climb. Here are a few strategies to help students soar this summer:

  1. Use the 4 weeks of intensive reading lessons in  Summer ClimbTM for your summer school
  2. Send home Reading Race progress charts and set a class, school, or district-wide reading challenge
  3. Announce a lofty reading goal and prepare to celebrate success

Read More