All students, and predominantly those with special needs, are the fortunate beneficiaries of schools and school systems that invest in research-proven programs. Students that have mastered literacy skills become independent learners, decision makers, and contributors to society.

The keystone of all of the building blocks is the higher order thinking that is stimulated by the activities and behaviors of all the other building blocks. A powerful asset for student learning is found in the consistent application of common language, common strategies and routines across grade levels, across the curriculum and throughout a building.

Beverly Colombo, director of programs and development at Strategic Learning Center, explains, “If a routine is used often and the students see the utility of it, they see, ‘Gosh, this really helps me.’ They’ll want to use this in another class.”

Mary Black, associate principal at Riverbank High School, shares how this strategy worked at her school, “What we were hearing from students was that they liked the fact that it was repeated across all courses, and that once they learned how to do it they could take it home.”

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