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Social Supports are the perception and presence of a support network available to help if needed. People are social creatures, and our happiness is in part based on having supportive friends and family. The power of Social Supports extends to learning: A student's perception of the strength of the support they have, even if they do not end up calling upon their supports, is a key contributor to their academic success, including learning to read.
Key sources of Social Supports include parents, friends, classmates, teachers, and other school resources and staff. These sources offer different types of support to a student:
Social Supports can be beneficial even when students do not take advantage of the support. Rather it is important that students perceive that these Social Supports are available to them.
Unfortunately, children can experience traumatic events that erode their actual and/or perceived Social Supports. Situations that can erode their parent/guardian Social Supports include having parents/guardians who divorce or separate, pass away, go to jail, experience problems with substance abuse, or have a significant mental illness. Situations that can erode their friend and classmate Social Supports include being a victim of bullying, including cyberbullying, and moving to a new school.
Building positive relationships with other sources of Social Supports, such as with a teacher or family friend, can diminish the negative effects of this kind of trauma. In addition, positive relationships can diminish the negative effects of stress hormones released after others types of trauma.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students become storytellers by listening and questioning.
Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.
Free choice supports learner interests and allows more complex social interactions to develop.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
To promote acceptance of learning diversity, students explore learning tools and strategies to see how they work and why they and others might use them.
Literacy centers with reading games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex reading skills and social interactions.
Multiple display spaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
A parent evening meeting about how to support literacy at home with one follow-up meeting with each family has shown strong results for students' reading development.
Reading aloud allows students to hear and practice reading and fluency skills.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Students develop reading skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
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