Teaching Tips for Struggling Readers
Many of us don’t recall what it was like learning how to read. However, our current reading skills may be traceable to those early primary grades and the way we were taught how to read. Struggling readers require assistance but how exactly can you provide reading intervention and still keep all students on track? We all learn at different speeds, don’t we? Well, here are some suggestions that involve proven techniques that can help not just K-3 students. These methods are also effective when used with older students. The important take away is that students need a variety of instructional models. Educators all over have used these teaching tips for struggling readers!
1 – Use Visual Aides as an Instructional Strategy.
Who doesn’t like pictures? With the age of the young struggling readers considered, what better way to help classify concepts than with some visual aids? We’re not just talking pretty pictures here, either. Maps, graphs and charts can all become teaching aids and although the amount of text is reduced, these tools can have a huge impact on learning. Using visual aides helps students also learn to recognize text features.
2 – The Text Monitor- Using Self Monitoring Strategies
This is sort of verification in favor of using pictures and other graphics. One way to truly see what level of comprehension it being achieved (or maintained) is through regular monitoring of what a student is reading and how much of it is being absorbed. One way to look at it is to put yourself in the reading situation. But instead of you reading about flowers and friends and happy stories, you are reading a legal document written by a lawyer with an extremely high IQ. You are going to find the pages upon pages of text dry and hard to figure out. The same principle applies to your young readers. What some of them are reading they just don’t fully understand. This is why you need to make adjustments along the way. These adjustments can include re-reading a section, sentence or paragraph, breaking the text down, providing instructional level materials, scaffolded reading support or changing the reading speed so that each word and sentence is fully understood.
3 – Provide Clear Answers
How do you gain extra knowledge about something? You probably ask questions. This also works well as a form of elementary reading intervention. The questions from reading students can also be valuable gauges to you on what they understand about the text they are reading. By providing time to answer their question before, during and after reading you will not only help in reinforcing what is being read, you will be able to help clear up small misunderstandings of more than just the students who spoke up with the questions.
4 – Good Readers ask Questions
You had to see this coming. If you are going to answer questions to help struggling readers, why not ask them some question as well? Your questioning can take place before, during and after reading and can be directed primarily at the text being read. What do you think this means? What did they mean by saying that? If you engage your students in regular participation with their reading activities they will be more likely to open up and give you indication of where their reading skills need help. Teach students that good readers always ask questions while they read.
5 – Painting The Bigger Picture
Every story contains a plot. Every plot contains characters and activities. Showing students the basics of story structure (plots, characters, etc.) it assists them in putting together the reasoning behind a chain of events and why certain things happen. Even if all they are doing is reading a story. Jack and Jill went up the hill for a purpose. They weren’t just floating around with no real reason. When young readers grasp the mechanics behind story structure it not only gets them excited about reading, it helps to fuel their individual imaginations. They soon begin telling their own stories with improved structural construction. But before any of this can happen, they need to understand that there is a much grander scheme at work in the text they are reading.
6 – What Did You Learn Today?
The final step in elementary reading intervention is a review of all the reading skills taught. After reading activities have completed and questions have been answered, the best way to gauge the understanding of the text that was read is through a review. A summary of the key points will help to put together the dots in some of the minds of struggling readers. We know Jack and Jill were in need of water. They knew where the well was and they both went to it together. A mishap occurred and well, you get the picture. When you are able to summarize the key points the storyline, with plot points, is revealed. Even if the students don’t completely connect the actions as plot elements, they will understand that they are an important part of the storyline. The important fact here is that students have the chance to practice what they’ve learned during reading intervention.
And If These Tips Don’t Work…
Not every student will reach the same reading level at the same time but by implementation of these six tips, you stand a better chance at catching struggling readers early. In fact, early reading intervention activities will result in greater success. However, there are going to be a few readers who will require additional assistance. This means one-on-one instruction. One on one instruction may sound intimidating, but the right tools make it SO much easier. It may also involve constant one-on-one instruction away from the classroom as well. This means getting parents and older siblings involved where possible. Screening assessments carried out in individual school districts will provide verifiable proof of where some students will require additional reading support. It is with this data that one-on-one instruction should focus on as an effort to correct reading difficulties. Reading in a group with students learning and sharing together is also another valuable teaching tool in the classroom. By grade 3, students should be able to read fluently with comprehension of what they are reading. This marks the completion of the learning to read phase of their schooling. In grade 4 the shift is to reading to learn. Thanks to several proven reading intervention techniques and instructional strategies, struggling readers have the support they need to bring their reading skills up to that of their peers. Using a intention reading intervention plan will aide you with ensuring that your students make progress!
Using these teaching tips to help your struggling readers, students will start to pick up the pace in reading soon!