Reading Ranch Blog Archive


Sign up for Dr. Kim’s Literacy Blog

Sign up for Dr. Kim’s New Book

Early Literacy Intervention

Imagine you are leaving the house for work one morning. You put the key in the ignition, turn your car on, and immediately hear a faint clunking sound coming from under the hood. You know it wasn’t there the day before, but you chalk it up to the early morning chill in the air and go about your day.

What Has The Pandemic Done to Literacy Skills in 1 Year

Amplify(an educational testing and curriculum provider) just released a study involving 1.2 million elementary students across the United States on the student’s early literacy skills and the effects of the pandemic shutdowns. The results show the troubling effects our young children are experiencing and what this could mean to these children now and in the future. The learning losses are staggering…

Reading Practice Growth Factors

In this blog, I talk about reading growth factors that attribute to students reading scores and grades. Quality and diversity of reading materials, and effort. While these studies’ results are not surprising, they are so basic and vital to reading performance, that sometimes we tend to overlook them!.

Reading Practice – Zone of Proximal Development

Kids need more reading practice, I don’t think anyone would argue that fact. But, reading practice doesn’t just help struggling readers get on track for success; it helps all students! We would like to think that just sending our kids to school each day would be all that is needed to help them grow and excel in their reading…

Covid, Our Schools, and Teaching Reading

February 15, 2021 – While hard data regarding the effects of the nationwide shutdown of schools is sparse.  There is plenty of anecdotal data that shows the COVID shutdown has been devastating to many students and particularly to early elementary students learning basic reading and math.

Reading Engagement

This week, I continue my thoughts and research on the “mantra” of getting your kids to read more, not just for school but for the pure enjoyment and benefits they will accrue. At The Reading Ranch our motto is “We make reading FUN, we want our students to have fun and learn to love reading.

Reading Time – 15 minutes!

In my last post, I wrote about how the 5th-6th grade are key times when students start to read text that is well below their reading levels, and these times can be critical to the academic future of a student in the 5th-6th grade.

Sixth Grade Struggling Readers

As noted previously early elementary reading performance has a key role in high school graduation rates. Middle school reading performance is even more critical to graduation rates. A study by Balfanz and Herzog (2007) of almost 13,000 students found that only 12% of students who failed an English course in sixth grade graduated from high school, and the other 6% graduated late. 82% did not graduate!…

Third Grade Struggling Readers

The third grade is a critical time in a child’s academic and literacy development. In the following article, I will share with you some startling facts based on sound research that shows how reading levels in the third grade can help predict future academic success and results.

Super Simple Ways to Keep Your Child Reading over the Holidays

Learning and especially reading shouldn’t stop just because the kids are on holiday break. I think everyone is looking forward to saying “so long” to 2020, but we can still keep the kids reading. Keep the mood fun and simple and your kids will love it….

Dr. Kim’s tip -6 Minutes To Great Readers

We certainly wouldn’t want to try and run a marathon without training, neither should expect our children to become great readers without practice! The following statistics show the importance of reading practice and how it is essential to transform struggling readers into successful readers…

How Are Reading Ranch Teachers Trained?

So you’ve made the decision to work with a private tutor so that your child has the advantage of year-round literacy support, but how do you know which teacher or learning center is the best fit? While there are plenty of options to choose from, your search starts and ends with The Reading Ranch®.

Teaching Phonics

Is there anyone else out there old enough to remember the “Hooked on Phonics worked for me” commercial tagline? These educational materials are still popular and do a stellar job giving children a solid foundation of early literacy suppor…


Phonics and other Key Definitions

If you have a child at The Reading Ranch Tutorial Center, you probably have heard the term phonics thrown around quite a bit in conversations with our instructors, all of whom are eagerly trying to share with you your kiddo’s early literacy success stories. But what about other terms, like phonemes, phonemic awareness, and even phonetics?

Powerful and funny quotes about reading

We’ve written time and time again that having the ability to read at a very early age creates the basis of all education moving forward and even career success. But more importantly, reading is fun! I, for one, cannot imagine a world without books…

A Sneak Peek Into The Reading Ranch Writer’s Workshop

It has long been said that the best readers make the best writers, and the best writers are good readers. We couldn’t agree more with that statement. Like a lightbulb needs electricity to work…

Why Students Need to Master Critical Thinking Skills

The Reading Ranch® Tutorial Center announced recently that we are expanding our literacy program to include fifth and sixth graders. We are excited to make this transition, as the new approach will allow us to work with these kiddos through the end of elementary school – instead of just up to fourth grade – so they are better prepared for the road ahead.

How Reading & Writing Go Hand-In-Hand

You don’t need fancy statistics to understand the importance of helping a child improve his or her reading skills. The acts of reading and being read to improve a child’s vocabulary, communication and comprehension…

A Partnership With Parents, A Focus On Literacy

Dr. Kim Southwell didn’t come from money or the big city. She was raised in a small rural town, where her dad was a cattle buyer & farmer. Kim spent her free time at cattle sale barns, feedlots, and 4-H livestock fairs showing cattle, riding horses, and driving the tractor through pastures helping with chores.

Why Laser-Focus Tutorials Lead To Literacy Success

It occurred to me recently how rare our focus is here at The Reading Ranch®. Sure, we are like any tutoring center in that we take pride in improving a child’s skills in the classroom and life.

How Reading Bedtime Stories to Your Kids Helps Their Fluency

One of the vivid memories I have from childhood was of me snuggled next to my mom as she read me a bedtime story. After all these years, I still hear that soft voice and imagine her finger sliding across each word on the page. It didn’t matter what she was reading – I was hooked.

Summer is a Critical Time

Summer is a critical time when students leap ahead or fall behind. Don’t be a statistic, build a child’s reading and writing confidence this summer at The Reading Ranch.

Why the Reading Ranch?

The purpose of Reading Ranch is to provide children with enrichment and/or intervention in reading and writing while giving students the confidence and independence to be successful in literacy.


Improve fluency while reading bedtime stories to your kids

A common question parents ask me is, “how do I help my child read better?” Practice these easy steps to your parent/child story time which will help build fluency with an early reader.  The story time book will be read 3 different times:


Literacy Lenses

Are you concerned your child is having problems with reading or writing?  If so, speak with the teacher who will be able to tell you if your child is indeed falling behind.  An ongoing teacher assessment will give you an idea of your child’s reading level and what is expected at that stage.


Adult /Child Interactive Reading Tutoring Strategies

Reading Ranch provides reading tutoring in the Frisco and Plano Texas areas. We encourage all parents to become a supporter in their child’s early reading development. Below you will find a helpful guide when reading aloud with your child at home:


The Reading Ranch Writer’s Workshop

Reading Ranch provides an interactive writing program Writer’s Workshop model which focuses on building the writing process by developing a students’ ideas and transforming into a polished (publishable) writing piece.

Share This