Read Conmigo a Great Website of Bilingual Reading Materials

Looking for bilingual reading options? Visit Read Conmigo
The website has resources for parents, children, and teachers. You can even submit your story for potential publication.
Teacher can also print out resources and worksheets.
Signing up is free and you get access to 26 books and a report on a study they did on the use of tablets for reading bilingual books in the classroom.

You can also share with other bilingual families and educators via their social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, etc.

One book I just downloaded is called ” A Resolution for Maria La Mariposa”. When I clicked on the download it gave me the option to downloaded it to desktop/laptop, tablet, kindle, or you can view it as an e-book. The book was written in English and Spanish, the graphics were beautiful, and it was appropriate for younger readers through 3rd grade. Parents can read it to their child or if the child is an independent reader he or she can read it themselves. The book has activities that include a word search and en extensive list of comprehension questions. Remember parents– read it once your self, encourage co-reading, and encourage your child to read the last time — this will help build fluency in reading!

The kids portion of the website has several online and printable activities as well. They even have a “Community Events” option of resources for schools that want to have a literacy night at school. It LOOKS LIKE TEACHERS CAN REGISTER THEIR CLASS, although you will problably need to contact the directly for more specific instructions. I love it!

Visit them and promote them.

Benefits of Immersion Language Schools NECN Report

I am happy to share that Boston’s Channel 5 just ran a story on the growing number of language immersion preschools in MA and shared that story of Pine Village Preschools. Now in their 14th year across 8 centers Pine Village Preschools provides young children with an incredible opportunity to become bilingual and reap the benefits on brain development that have been identified in the research. I was also excited to be the former parent in the interview as I am their biggest supporter!!!. Immersion and dual language programs provide benefits all children and increases cultural responsiveness and creates natural global connections. To learn more about where to go from preschool to elementary immersion/dual language programs visit the Center for Applied Linguistics and for a wonderful example of an elementary school and high school click on the links below.

Center for Applied Linguistics

Hurley K-8 School, Dual Language Spanish/English Program, Boston MA

Margartia Muniz Academy, Dual Language High School, Boston, MA

If you would like to add the awareness of other schools please add those in the comments.

Does this English Learner have a Disability or a Language Difference?

How many times do teachers ask you how you differentiate between a learning disability and a language difference? Check out the most recent toolkit from the RTI Action Network and the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Proud to have co-authored this guide for all teachers working with struggling English language learners.

Implementing MTSS– A How to Book

Announcing “Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers: A Multi-tiered Instructional Approach Using Hi-lo Books” by Claudia Rinaldi, Ph.D. and Orla Higgins Averill, Ph.D.

After working with districts and schools for the last 6 years helping them to implement response to intervention (RTI) and multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), I am happy share the publication of our first book “Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers: A Multi-tiered Instructional Approach Using Hi-lo Books“. The book provides guidance on how RTI and MTSS works, how to structure it in your classrooms and school, how to use data for instructional planning and how to implement six research-based reading strategies as Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions. The book can now be purchased directly from the publisher Saddleback Publishing or directly from Amazon by clicking here.

The book is broken down into five chapters:

Chapter 1: What Is a Multi-Tiered System of Support?
Chapter 2: How Can I Teach the Variety of Learners in My Classroom When It’s Just Me?
Chapter 3: Instructional Interventions That Work
Chapter 4: Using Hi-Lo Books as Intervention Tools
Chapter 5: Common Pitfalls of a Multi-Tiered System of Support

My goal in writing this book was that any teacher can pick it up, know how to work with his or her peers to implement tiered instructional practices. We devote a whole chapter to explaining what to do with data you collect from students (reading comprehension scores, curriculum-based measurement, lexile scores, etc.) so that you can use it consistently to plan instruction. In another chapter, we help teachers think about which tier 2 and tier 3 interventions help students who are struggling in different areas of the reading process. Finally, we address throughout the book how to support English language learners and students with disabilities in this process, how fidelity of implementation can truly change the academic outcomes of students, and how progress monitoring can tell you how to be become a highly effective teacher. I would appreciate some reviews after you are read it and use it.

I would also like to thank my co-author and friend Orla Higgins Averill. She is a great professional, educator, writer, and leader. It has been my honor to work with her and I look forward to writing to more upcoming books and publications in this area with her as our professional trajectories continue.

How Do You get Your District Started with Multi-tier System of Supports (RTi & PBIS)?

Here is a great small collection of readings and websites that district leaders can explore and disseminate to the district and school staff as they get ready to role out MTSS (RTI and PBIS).
Getting the Vision of the MTSS model in your district is key! Think about an internal and external presence and engage parents from the start. Here are a few links to the parent guide for RTI from the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the Florida MTSS homepage for parents and ideas on developing the message. ( please note it can be downloaded into PDF if you prefer to read it this way).

Video for parents about MTSS in Florida (may help in drafting MPS’s preview video in addition to the one we sent from Boston Public Schools)

Get your district reading and building a common understanding of MTSS with these articles and websites:
1. Common Core State Standards and Diverse Urban Students: Using Multi-tiered Systems of Support (2012) a report by the Council for Great City Schools.
2. Introduction to Response to Intervention: What, Why, and How valid is it (2009) by Fuchs and Fuchs, New Directions in Education Journal.
3. Multi-tiered System of Supports by Rinaldi and Higgins (2011) article published in District Administrator magazine
4. The Campus Principal and RTI Implementation (2010) by Hamilton for the National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal

Websites and Links for staff: FREE Professional Development
1. Getting started:
2. Here is the link to the Florida MTSS State webpage with resources for educators and parents-
3. Tools and Interventions Summary Charts
4. Free online professional development module for teachers and administrators on RTI implementation

Top 15 Reasons Why You Should Use Peer Mediated Learning in All Classes

In the past I have posted about one of my favorite education strategies to increase fluency and comprehension. Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University ( is an educational strategy that was developed to support fluency and comprehension in grades K-12th (of course, it looks different across the grades). I have been supporting schools in the implementation of PALS and I know from the data and observation that is one of the most effective strategies with the most versatility to adopt and embed in regular education classrooms, dual language two way programs, and special education programs. Reading Rockets is non-profit organization that disseminates strategies in reading has just posted a great summary of one of the aspects of PALS and I wanted to share it with my readers. Here is the link to their summary and resources surrounding it. So click here If you are curious of the whole approach Vanderbilt university also has online professional development modules that are wonderful and provide you with all the research, how-to, resources and student handouts to adopt this strategy in English and Spanish.

Fro K and 1st grade click here
For 2nd to 6th grade click here
For Secondary grades click here

Here are the top 15 reasons as to why I feel is so highly effective!!!
1. It engages students in ACTIVE LEARNING vs passive learning.
2. It enriches your core or basic reading instruction.
3. It embeds differentiate instruction as a default of how the strategy is implemented.
4. It is a strategy that uses real books!
5. It is a strategy that can be used in dual language programs because the students can use the strategy in English and Spanish (or any another language).
6. It addresses the 6th area of effective literacy instruction – oral language development!! (August and Shannahan, 2006).
7. It can be used as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention if you are doing Response to Intervention (RTI) or Multi-tier System of Support (MTSS)
8. It is easy to monitor progress and complexity as the students use the strategy.
9. It can use fiction and non-fiction texts so that you can address Common Core State Standards in your classroom.
10. It requires students to use multiple modalities- oral, visual, tactile, kinesthetic,
11. It encourages students to work as teams!
12. It encourages social interaction for English language learners in the use of interpersonal and academic language.
13. Students Love it!!!
14. It encourages the teachers to facilitate learning rather than stand in the front of the classroom and lecture.
15. Allows teachers to capitalize on time and work with students who may need extra help while others are actively engaged in learning!!!
16. It uses principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Its a win-win for teachers and students!

Free webinar April 30 at 2 pm of Learning in Two Languages in Early Childhood

My colleague Mileidis Gort will be presenting a free webinar on Learning in two languages and what every educator should know. Below find a description
“In this webinar, you will learn about the language development process of young bilinguals, or dual language learners, including different types of dual language learners and pathways to bilingualism, stages of dual language learning for simultaneous and sequential bilinguals, oral language acquisition strategies used by dual language learners, contextual and individual factors influencing the dual language development process, and typical and atypical markers of dual language development”.
To sign up click here

Being Leaders versus Managers in Education

In reading a short article on the differences between leaders and managers, it made me think that the story is not so different in education. Principal leaders versus principal managers or even teacher leaders versus teacher managers . In my opinion the difference lies in engagement, purpose, individualization, and passion/enthusiasm.

So here is a summary of the list of how leaders are different than managers:

Leaders are:
1. Visionary – principals know where they need to support every teacher so that every teacher knows where they are taking every student;
2. Inspirational – principals build expectations for teachers and students;
3. Purposeful – principals know what to use to move forward whether that may be instructional strategies or professional development and coaching support;
4. Innovative – principals keep up with latest research and evidenced-based practices and how implementation can occur based on the teacher and student population in your school and classrooms;
5. Long-range thinkers – principals focus on where teachers need to grow for capacity building and sustainability; focus on where we want our students to be when they leave us for their next journey versus focus on the results of one test or one number;
6. Risk takers – principals try out new strategies and practices; the status quo is not enough to support the learners we have in front of us today;
7. Passionate/Enthusiastic – principals instill a feeling that you can move mountains!!!
8. Focused on individuals and their growth – principals invest on all of the above for each teacher; not only do you make a happy employee that will stay long-term, but they will model this for their students – happy people don’t leave! (of course unless they have to move!)

Managers focus on:
1. Maximizing efficiency – although needed, do our students get what they need? This is what happens when we take money away from successful (level 1) schools and ask them to get the same results with less;
2. Delegating authority – as principals you are the instructional leaders and as teachers you are the giver and facilitator of knowledge aren’t you?
3. Maintaining order – is it about classroom management or is it about academic and social engagement and learning? Teachers and students who are happy, work hard – really hard!

4. Supporting existing structures – some of the structures may be good and you should keep, but do you have the same teachers and students you had 1, 5, 10 years ago? We have been sitting students in rows for how long? Yes, way too long, thinking outside the box is KEY!
5. Avoiding risk – so, is it ok for your teachers and students to feel like failure? Do you want them to continue to have low expectations because you are not willing to grow and try innovative strategies – the world doesn’t sit still and neither should our schools or classrooms; is it ok to have the excuse of poverty, race, etc. rather than ACT NOW!
6. Short-term thinking and solutions – this is the manager that is solely focused on the state testing results;
7. Focused on the bottom line – public education is not about saving money, it is about getting students ready to be the future (college and career ready)!
8. Objective – not all teachers are made the same, not all your students come with the same skills, its about fairness, “fairness” that is defined by what each individual needs to move forward, not the “fairness” that means everyone gets the same thing because otherwise someone might say something…
9. Attention to detail – stop micromanaging teachers or students! That doesn’t increase productivity or engagement. Trust that your hiring practices and the rest of the skills you have as a leader (described above) will pay off;
10. Egotistical – (this one I added) it is not about you and how important you are, it is about each and every student you have and will encounter in your professional career;

Although their is merit on all of these leading descriptors, or at minimum a combination, I can’t help but think that the leadership list will get every teacher and every students moving and help you be a true success!

Can we also substitute here Principals for District leaders– my gut feeling says yes!

Original article came from the following site:

MTSS/RTI: Towards a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Appropriate Model for ELLs

Here is the link to my most recent webinar on how to implement Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and components of a Response to Intervention Model (RTI). My colleague Julie and I provide a background on the research methodologies and how to being implementation. The website has the option to listen to the webinar, download the presentation, and download materials. Here is the official summary from the webinar website.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support that deliver high-quality, research-based instruction and interventions can support the growing English language learner population in general and in special education. On this Bridge Webinar, Claudia Rinaldi, Assistant Director of the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative at EDC, and Julie Esparza-Brown, Assistant Professor and Project Director for Portland State University’s Bilingual/Special Education Program, present research on a culturally and linguistically appropriate model for MTSS and provide examples of instructional planning, assessment, and intervention across the tiers. Rinaldi and Esparza-Brown present concrete examples of preventive assessment measures, collaboration structures, data-informed problem solving, and instruction and intervention planning and delivery to support ELLs. The presenters highlight the importance of collaboration and joint responsibility among ELL, special education, and general education educators in meeting the needs of all English language learners, including those with disabilities.

Click here to access the webinar and materials