Helping Struggling Readers
While most students entering secondary school are expected to read on a secondary level, effective classroom teachers recognize that some secondary students are lagging in reading skills. This week, we provide suggestions for improving instruction for struggling readers.
This Week's Tips
Offer a Wide Range of Reading Materials (Monday)
Organize a wide range of reading materials for each unit of study in your classroom. Typically, a secondary classroom relies on the textbook as the primary source of information, but standard textbooks are sometimes not enough for remedial or reluctant readers. An article from a periodical, a primary source document, ancillary textbook program materials, or an online source might intrigue the reluctant or remedial reader.
Use Pre-Reading Techniques (Tuesday)
First, teach students the structure of the textbook. Usually, the paragraphs in a textbook begin with the main idea, subsequent sentences are details, and the final sentence is a summary. Teachers who repeatedly model the structure of the text for students give them access to the text.
Incorporate Large-Print Materials (Wednesday)
Whenever possible, use large-print materials. Reluctant and remedial readers are often intimidated by small print; subconsciously they feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of words on the page.
Engage Multiple Modalities (Thursday)
Involve varying modalities in reading assignments. Careful observation of a reluctant or remedial reader will reveal his or her most effective learning modality. Some students who are baffled when asked to read an assignment silently reveal remarkable comprehension when they listen to the same passage.
Teach Important Vocabulary (Friday)
Be sure reluctant readers understand essential vocabulary. Struggling readers are accustomed to experiencing frustration when reading, and some of this frustration is relieved when students do not have to decode the same words repeatedly during a reading assignment.