In essence, SIM is about promoting effective teaching and learning of critical content in schools. We advocate teaching a little less content but teaching it better. It is a comprehensive approach to adolescent literacy that addresses the need of students to be able to read and understand large volumes of complex materials as well as their need to be able to express themselves effectively in writing.
Our work is especially relevant today:
• Eight million adolescents have failed to master the reading skills they need to succeed in school or compete for jobs.
• Schools are under increasing pressures from numerous forces to meet ever-higher goals for student performance.
Closing the gap between what these students are expected to do and what they are able to do is a daunting task.
The challenge will not be addressed through token efforts. The solution requires significant changes, investments, and leadership.
For more than 30 years, we have worked directly with classroom teachers to develop materials that improve the learning experience for students and the teaching experience for teachers. As a result, we have the research, the success stories, and the proven track record to help schools succeed in meeting the needs of their students.
Underlying our research and all components of SIM, we adhere to four philosophical principles:
1. Most low-achieving adolescents can learn to function independently in general education settings.
2. The role of the support-class teacher is to teach low-achieving adolescents strategies that will enable them to be independent learners and performers.
3. The role of the content teacher is to promote strategic behavior and to deliver subject-matter information in a manner that can be understood and remembered by low-achieving adolescents.
4. Adolescents should have a major voice in decisions about what strategies they are to learn and how fast they are to learn these strategies.