An Introduction: Learning the Dance of Reading with Friends on the Block
I want to introduce you to the early reading program, Friends on the Block, with a brief analogy. Imagine an amazing dance. You might think back to the elegance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or a modern sensation like Maddie Ziegler. What all dancers have in common is they learn the steps and then they dance. Fortunately, particularly for those of us who may struggle as we learn to dance, you don't have to know every dance step before you can enjoy dancing. Learning to read with Friends on the Block is something like that. We teach students a few reading "steps" immediately providing them with a book carefully written so they can practice those steps with the help of a friend and quickly begin to enjoy reading. We gradually add more steps and books until reading becomes independent. All along the way our goal is to be a helpful friend, providing you with guidance and support.
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Summary of Friends on the Block
Friends on the Block is a text-centered literacy curriculum. Our books are at the heart of the curriculum. They are carefully designed books that are both meaningful and provide extensive practice of high-frequency words, including high-frequency decodable words (e.g., dad) and high-frequency irregular words (e.g., was). Of course, the books are appropriate to be read by any early readers, but we have also developed explicit and systematic instructional lessons and reinforcement activities that target critical skills. The books and lessons can be used to supplement existing instruction or as a stand-alone early literacy curriculum.
Friends on the Block is designed for students who are struggling to learn to read and require intensive intervention. It is appropriate for students with disabilities, including those who have a learning disability, dyslexia, or intellectual disability.
Friends on the Block is comprehensive and follows research-based principles of effective instruction. It provides explicit and systematic instruction across all key early literacy skills, with opportunities to develop listening and reading comprehension, extensive cumulative review, and explicit instruction in the transfer and application of skills to text. It has been demonstrated to be effective in improving word recognition for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.