Readers come in all shapes and sizes, and the struggles readers encounter run the gamut too. Approaching struggling readers with a one-size-fits-all solution can lead to increased frustration and pushback. Rather than solving the problem, students can turn to other distracting measures to pull the focus from their academic struggles.
Sometimes the reading switch can be turned on by finding the right book for a reluctant reader. When the struggles run deeper than sparking an interest, it’s important for teachers to have a variety of strategies to help students find success. Grant Wiggins, a pioneer in education, delved into these struggles and stressed the importance of pinpointing the unique stumbling blocks of struggling readers in this Teach Thought article. With so many possibilities creating reading roadblocks, this collection of resources allows teachers to explore a variety of support measures.
Early Learners- This collection from Reading Rockets offers a variety of strategies pinpointed for before, during, and after reading. The strategies are accompanied by downloadable templates, instructions, suggested reads, and supporting research. A nice resource to bookmark for easy reference.
Strategies for Any Content Area- Offering a variety of strategies is important for reaching all learners. This infographic and list of ideas from Teach Thought is a reminder of 25 strategies that work in any content area. The key here is to introduce and model a variety of strategies and then let students develop an understanding of which strategies work best for them. When teachers choose how students must tackle a text, the ability to meet the needs of all the struggling readers in the classroom are diminished.
Graphic Organizers- As students explore a text, having the ability to put their thoughts on paper can be a key component to aiding comprehension. These 16 graphic organizers from Teacher Printables are ready made information gatherers. The Questioning Tower will help students stay focused on the text at all points of the reading process, and using the Story Map will allow students to get the big picture all in one place. These organizers also offer a great formative assessment to allow teachers to offer feedback and get struggling readers back on track.
Reading Guide Strips- For students that are having trouble eliminating distractions or continually losing their place on the page, a reading support tool like these E.Z.C. reading strips sold by Really Cool Stuff may help keep them on track. While the strips narrow the focus of the text, it’s important to make sure students still view the page as a whole to take in any graphics, charts, or other non-text features that contribute to the overall meaning.
App Collection- Struggling readers can come to us at any grade level. Meeting the needs of young learners at the phonetic level and older learners at a fluency and comprehension level will look very different. Time shares 10 Tech Hacks for parents with struggling readers, but these tools can be equally beneficial in the classroom. From working with letters and sounds to helping students understand and cope with dyslexia, these apps bring reading help via portable electronics.
Adding more strategies to a reading toolkit or a new app to the queue may be the key to overcoming the hurdles faced by a struggling reader. By pinpointing specific struggles and identifying the strategies that make sense for a student’s individual needs, teachers can help students shine a new light on the text and awaken new levels of understanding.