Focus on Foundation Skills

Foundational Skills in reading are the basis for fluency and comprehension. Lumos Learning addresses these skills with practice online workbooks and assessments. Lessons are designed to separately review the standard objectives relative to long term learning relating to all reading genre. The lessons are divided into 5 major sections in the teacher and student portals. These include: Literature, Informational Text, Writing, Language, and Listening and Speaking. In each section subsections pinpoint the exact substandard for that particular grade level.

Once a teacher has taught from his/her core curriculum, Lumos Learning online supplements the content with specific lesson review. It is here, also, that remediation drop-down can occur based on student and class deficiencies. For example, the following screenshot shows a student’s deep remedial lesson to help the student become proficient in the area of “inference”. This type of practice helps to solidify student learning and raise reading levels.

Vocabulary Lists

As more and more students come to our schools with little or no dominant language, increasing vocabulary becomes an essential part of the teaching process. Recent immigrants may not even be fluent in their home language much less understand or speak fluent English. The teacher and school become the primary resource for language acquisition. Lumos Learning lessons and reading passages along with the EdSearch tool offer multiple outlets for teachers to create custom lessons, share videos, and engage students in opportunities to improve their understanding and use of our language.

One popular way to review vocabulary for the elementary grades is to greet each student daily with a vocabulary review card. As students enter the class, the teacher holds up a vocabulary card and each student reads the word and/or gives a definition or sentence using the word. For those lower level students, the teacher gives cues or choices to help reinforce the learning.

When a teacher is giving instruction on a particular word choice or grammar rule, the Reading Passage portion of the Lumos Learning online program will not only help with vocabulary but will assist with showing which types of words are used in the selection. Of course, to insure lifelong learning occurs, the teacher must model the correct use of any new or review vocabulary.

Mind Maps

Research has proven that the most effective way to gather and organize thoughts is through a system of notetaking or planning process.

One such effective technique is the use of mind maps. In the Lumos Learning printed tedBooks and in the online version, mind maps are included as a precursor to reading and writing passages.

Students can write down their thoughts, main ideas, characters, events, etc. pertaining to the selection to help them not only remember important details, but to help form predictions, inferences, and gather information.

This then becomes a reference tool for the student to use in answering questions. Notetaking and planning are excellent strategies to improve reading comprehension and writing cohesive essays.

Research-based best practices resulting in raising student reading levels and comprehension.

The following is a list of the research-based instructional strategies intertwined within the Lumos Learning Online Program (Lumos StepUp).

1. Setting Objectives, Setting goals or objectives (Lipset & Wilson 1993, Teacher clarity (learning goals, expectations, content delivery, assessment results, etc.)

Lumos Learning uses common core standards for instruction and assessment.  Our content is written by expert teachers in the field and is updated based upon state’s current objectives. We utilize technology enhanced question types and assessment tools. Assessments are given that can be used for pre-testing students’ levels of achievement and content then assigned automatically or as deemed necessary by the teacher. Later in the school year additional assessments may then be assigned prior to state assessments to determine any additional objectives to be mastered.

Teachers can add additional content and questions to suit their curriculum purposes.

Data is shown for teachers, students, parents, and administrators to show student growth or remediation needs.  Graphs, correct/incorrect answers, percentile rankings, and proficiency levels are given by student, and class.

By use of our program, teachers are not only held accountable for the students’ learning, but have documentation of the efforts, as well.

2. Reinforcing Effort/Providing Recognition, Learning feedback that is detailed and specific (Hattie & Temperly 2007), Providing clear and effective learning feedback.

Students know immediately how well they performed on the assignment and are given further lessons to work if they do not meet proficiency levels.

Students have access to their learning results and accomplishments. The results can also be used by the teacher for small group, individual instruction, or for documentation for remediation/referral to special programs.

3. Questioning techniques- Question-Answer Relationship (QAR) (Raphael 1982), Promoting student metacognition, Higher-level questioning (Redfield & Rousseau 1981), KWL Chart (Ogle 1986)

Student questions are given that support higher-level questioning, promote metacognition, and relate to prior knowledge.  The relationships can be seen in the way questions are designed around the text or content given.

Summarizing & Note Taking- Students are encouraged to take notes on a separate page or within the program when writing essay responses. In most US states students are required to write as a part of their state assessment. The Lumos Learning online program has practice for writing research-based essays. Students read 2-3 selections based on the same topics but with different opinions. They are posed with several questions relating to each selection and posed with questions comparing or contrasting the passages. Then a writing prompt is given whereby the students must address a point of view and give evidence to support their stance.

Identifying Similarities and Differences-Questions are posed to students to note similarities and differences in content.

Technology enhanced questions are given for practice in order that students master those types of questions on the state assessment.

4. Generating & Testing Hypotheses (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001)

The program allows students the opportunities to determine questioning strategies, developing and testing hypothesis through research and comparisons of ideas.

5. Positive outcomes of assigning homework. Older students show improvements in student motivation and work habits, which affect achievement (Cosden, Morrison, Albanese, and Macias 2001; James-Burdumy et al. 2005).

Teachers can assign lessons to be completed as homework.  The program works anywhere there is an internet connection and can be used on multiple technology devices.

6. Scaffolding Instruction-Alibali (2006) suggests that as students’ progress through a task, faculty can use a variety of scaffolds to accommodate students’ different levels of knowledge.

Teachers use the content to teach and build on the students’ prior knowledge and future standards.  Assignments can be made for the entire class, small group and individual students. After teaching and modeling activities found in EdSearch, students then attempt the assignment based on teacher direction.

7. Provide opportunities for student practice (NCTM)-

Assessments and lessons provide multiple opportunities for student mastery.  Remedial and deep remedial lessons that are automatically assigned provide additional practice and tutorials through videos and teacher developed resource kits.

8. Individualized Instruction (Jim Martin, Laura Huber Marshall, Laurie Maxson, & Patty Jerman)-

By working independently, research shows that students are more apt to strive for higher achievement. In the Lumos program, students work independently on assignments deemed necessary by the teacher. Each student can see their own progress and achievements.

9. Inquiry-Based Learning-(Alberta Education, 2010) This research notes that students in today’s world learn best when questions are posed to them.

In this manner, Lumos students are posed with inquiry- based questions when doing research writing/ math assignments. They make comparisons and use context to determine quality responses on their own.

11. Developing high expectations for each student-(Rosenthal 1964).  

The teacher has the capability of determining levels of proficiencies for each student, for small groups, or for the entire class. Our programs are developed to aim for the highest assessment standards.


Bonnie McRae