What causes the achievement gap? Although there are many factors that can contribute to a student falling behind (lack of parental support, poor nutrition, and low teacher expectations to name a few), research tells us that gaps form when support is not given as tasks and texts become more challenging.

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Understanding and responding appropriately to a timed writing situation is key to students' success. As is the case with any writing task, students must recognize what they are being asked to do and quickly orient themselves to the expectations that are associated with the task.

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When students sit down to take tests this spring, there are two decisions that can help them raise their scores from last year: build prior knowledge and read with purpose. During the exam, students should use the texts and the questions to gain knowledge about the topic and how to read the passage.

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This eCoach is our official Test Ready kickoff for the 2015-2016 school year and will focus on LiteracyTA's “I can!” heart. LiteracyTA wants students and teachers to know that doing well in school and in life requires an “I can” mindset. Too often we allow “I can’t” to interfere in our lives: we make excuses, shy away from challenges, or give up too soon.

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As a teacher who cares deeply about helping students develop into strong writers, I have spent over a decade perfecting a daily writing routine I call the “J.” I have taken the practice of daily journal writing and added more structure and a few new expectations of my own.

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