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    By T

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    I'm 5 years removed from teaching this curriculum but did it 3 years in inner city w/ low socio economic groups. The reason it worked for us is we did have reading groups of 20 and smaller and that although it is (gulp!) scripted, it makes use of very good teaching practices and tries to compensate for the fact that these students have little to no home support. It is critical the profession finds ways to accomodate the kids with no home support! After attending SFA conferences I also realized that there is time for teacher directed instruction outside the script - the script is merely to keep on task and to use language that the students will encounter again in other classes.

    The bottom line of course is results. I do think SFA is effective for populations of students that need a lot of direct instruction. I like the analogy of making a cake. Children that have support at home, are read to, and provided the tools for literacy are cake mix kids - add curriculum and they are bound to grow. Kids without this support require you to provide everything, get all the ingredients, mix and scaffold, and eventually come to the same result. It is a very different kind of teaching - demanding and heartbreaking. SFA can give you the support to actually meet these learners without going crazy.

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