People learn best from others, so we thought you’d like to hear from others who have used and support the SGM® Approach to teach reading comprehension and critical thinking.

“Scientists have long known that human beings are storytelling creatures. For centuries, we have told stories to transmit information, share histories, and teach important lessons. While stories often have a profound effect on us due to emotional content, recent research also shows that our brains are actually hard-wired to seek out a coherent narrative structure in the stories we hear and tell. This structure helps us absorb the information in a story, and connect it with our own experiences in the world.” Scientific Learning. (2012, June 14). Using Stories to Teach: How Narrative Structure Helps Students Learn [Blog post]. Retrieved from

12 Lessons to Begin Using the Story Grammar Marker®

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Tech Tuesday: Story-Form Directions and Play!

December 19, 2022

Where's Walrus book coverBeing told what to do is often no fun. But for many of us targeting language development objectives, we have to deal with our students’ potentially low scores on assessments such as the CELF-5s Following Directions subtest. Key to success on activities such as these are student’s listening skills and understanding of concepts related to time, space, number, and sequence, among others. The good news is that these concepts are everywhere and can be targeted through stories and play! One way I have been approaching this is through the Toca Life: World app, previously discussed here. The app is available for multiple platforms as you can see, and you can either purchase individual “Settings” (e.g. Toca Life: Vacation, which I like to refer to with colleagues as The White Lotus), or connect purchased apps through the World app. The World app also has mini-settings you can purchase for short money, for example, a ski resort. I have been using the book Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage with students recently (video here) (recall: using picture books on YouTube can work wonderfully with heavy use of the pause button)...

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Tech Tuesday: Teaching through the Thought Bubble

November 22, 2022

The Shapes Trilogy coversPicture books are one of our best and most engaging narrative teaching tools, and I love especially when I find a series to share with my students—and you! Series books allow for special opportunities to establish flow (both contextual and psychological) with similar character behaviors, narrative patterns, and themes. I have long been an admirer of author/illustrator Jon Klassen due to the power of his minimalist illustrations, which are beautiful but also witty, and establish character emotion primarily through exaggerated eye expressions. Recently I discovered he had illustrated a trilogy with Mac Burnett now called the Shape Trilogy, consisting of (in this order, which actually is important), Triangle, Square, and Circle. In these books, we can follow the antics of several shape characters as they interact with friends.

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HASKINS LABORATORIES at YALE UNIVERSITY used Braidy the StoryBraid® for the comprehension and expression module of a 4-year, US Office of Education Developmental Study on early literacy acquisition: “Students made an average of 1 year’s growth in reading skills after 45 hours of RtI instruction.” See Evidence-Based Research

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