Make Reading Fun for Struggling Students
There are many reading strategies for struggling readers that can pay huge dividends. The following three reading strategies for struggling readers can be easily adapted into what you are already doing in your classroom to reap great rewards.
Word Work...with a Twist. Although there are many ways to help a student learn and master the basic skills of word analysis; the practice of segmenting, blending, and decoding is often the most beneficial. However, if the approach is always the same, students may become disengaged with the activity, therefore not maximizing instructional time. A few simple changes can make this activity as fun as it is beneficial. Think about different materials you could use; letter cards, dry erase boards, sticky notes, chalkboards, anything that provides enough of a change to keep the child engaged in a routine activity. Many teachers have had students write with shaving cream, directly on their desks! The smell is generally pleasant, the shaving cream cleans the desks, and kids get a tactile experience.
An effective method for segmenting, blending and decoding can be found through Words Their Way. Here is a link you might find helpful http://www.literacyconnections.com/WordsTheirWay.php.
If you are focusing on a certain phonetic pattern or sound family, adding a simple "word search" through a teacher-selected text will reinforce basic word work skills. Students also like to monitor what they've learned and which skills they've mastered. Consider keeping a record of each word work skill the child has mastered on a spreadsheet and refer to it during each word work lesson to show growth and maintain excitement about the routine practice.
Readers Theater for All. Research has proven that Readers Theater, performed in groups, is beneficial to improving reading fluency due to practice, confidence and the focus on rate, expression, and phrasing. Sometimes struggling readers are left out of Readers Theater practice because teachers find that emerging or simple scripts are often hard to come by. We’ve found quite a few leveled, free Readers Theater scripts such as http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/index.html. By practicing and participating in Readers Theater, struggling readers will gain confidence in their reading abilities.
Add Words to Wordless Picture Books. There are many high quality wordless picture books that can be used to support reading strategies for struggling readers - the “Carl” the dog books by Alexandra Day are a great example. All of the books are mostly wordless, relying on the details of the illustrations to tell the stories. Give a struggling reader the chance to inspect and study the wordless book and discuss with the child how the story can be told using illustrations. After the student has a grasp of what the storyline may be, have her dictate the story to you, a parent, or an older “reading buddy.”If you use a computer to record the story, you can print out the dictation and cut it to match the book's illustrations. A few paper clips on the bottom of each page and you've turned a wordless picture book into a book a struggling reader can read! Here’s a great link for wordless picture books: http://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/816.cfm.
For more interesting ways to engage readers in the classroom, download our Free Guide on Explicit Word Analysis, and boost reading comprehension for every student at every level!