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Three More Reading Strategies for New K-6 Teachers, Part II.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Sep 27, 2011 10:35:00 AM

classroom reading strategiesAs a continuation of our discussion on Reading Strategies for new teachers, here are three more ways to prepare students for reading success. No matter what grade level or subject area you teach, we can’t emphasize enough that students must have a strong reading foundation–which includes a variety of comprehension strategies– to serve them well in middle and high school, and onward to higher education. These strategies are great for the new teacher, as well as the seasoned pro.

1) Assessment: It is important to assess students in their general reading abilities on a regular basis.  Even if you do not see your students for the subject of reading, consider using the assessment strategies as outlined in the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) one to three-minute assessment tests created by Ruth A. Kaminski, Ph.D. and Roland H. Good, Ph.D. of the Dynamic Measurement Group. Their work on DIBELS is based on previous work on Curriculum-Based Measurement conducted by Dr. Stan Deno and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, which began in the 1970s, and continues today. You can gain free access at

Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) offers Reading 510, a dynamic, case study-based course which will take Elementary and Secondary teachers through the process of learning how to use these screening instruments effectively, and what to do with the results.This distinctive course, tailored to meet the State of Michigan Reading Requirement for Professional Teaching Certificates, will provide teachers from every state with crucial information to help identify the problems of struggling readers and offer possible solutions.

2) Collaboration: Talk with your fellow teachers on a regular basis to share ideas about teaching reading.  They may be able to provide new material that covers any number of specific topics, including comprehension strategies.  If you are struggling to find strategies that pertain specifically to your unique content area, consult the Internet.  Many teachers post their ideas on discussion boards, forums, and lesson-submitting sites. Check the right-hand column of our Marygrove MAT website for content-specific information.

3) Reflection: It is important to reflect on your curriculum, specific lessons, and students' progress on a regular basis. If you don't find yourself doing this naturally, remind yourself to do it by scheduling time for it. You’ll be glad you did, and before long it will become second-nature. MAT Academic Director Diane Brown sets an alarm on her cell phone to ensure her daily reflection time. “I have an alarm that goes off every day at 2:05,” she says. “This is my ‘get your act together, you have three hours left in the day’ alarm…it started as an accident, but has proved to be incredibly valuable in getting me to fit everything in the day.”

For more ways to boost your students’ reading comprehension levels, download our Free K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices Guide.

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B


Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks

Tags: reading comprehension, reading strategies, reading across disciplines, comprehension strategies, Collaboration, Reading, Assessment, Reflection, Reading 510

Three Reading Strategies for New K-6 Teachers, Part I

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Sep 23, 2011 4:24:00 PM

Marygrove MAT reading strategies for the new teachersNo matter what grade level or subject area you teach, reading is an essential component that crosses all disciplines.  Preparing a student properly is a big responsibility. Students must be armed with a strong reading repertoire–which includes a variety of reading comprehension strategies– to serve them well in middle school, all the way through higher education. Here are some key reading strategies for new teachers to use, in particular. However, these will serve as helpful refreshers for veteran teachers, too.

1) Direct word analysis instruction: Students need explicit instruction to build their word knowledge and expand their skills and strategies for word analysis, which includes phonemic awareness, structural analysis, and context clues.  Students can obtain these skills and strategies through word walls, word sorts, songs, rhymes, and more. Consider subject areas and age levels when selecting strategies for your students. Marygrove College offers an excellent guide on explicit word analysis instruction for teachers.

2) Literacy rich environment: In order for students to start developing and then further grow their comprehension strategies, they must be exposed to a wide variety of literature on a regular basis. Give your students exposure to many different types of books, magazines, newspapers and web resources. Provide reading opportunities during structured and non-structured times.

Teachers can get inexpensive books at garage sales, church book sales, second-hand bookseller clearance tables, and a really great resource we heard about called Paperback Swap. Also, you can appeal to your student’s families for donating age-appropriate books for your class.

It helps, too, if you can sort your classroom books into levels for multiple intelligences. Fountas and Pinnell is a good resource. But if you need some good, free lists, these will get you started. You can keep your leveled books organized by color with color-coded stickers on the book spines, then sorted into sturdy dishpans of the same color. Presto! A leveled library for students to help themselves!

The best way we know to preserve a classroom library is to buy hardbacks whenever possible (check out those garage sales!), and cover paperbacks in clear contact paper. Stamp your name on each book, or place a bookplate inside each one. 

3) Integration: Reading is an essential component of all subject areas. No matter what you teach, reading will play a prominent role in the curriculum. For elementary teachers who cover a wide variety of subjects, consider how you will incorporate reading across your curriculum. Integration methods can include, but are not limited to, thematic units, peer conferencing, research projects, and author's chair. 

Give students the opportunity to use knowledge from content areas, such as social studies and science, in relation to specific comprehension strategies or reading skills. Literature Circles in content areas are an effective way to do this. In our Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT)Teacher as Hero course, we champion Harvey “Smokey” Daniels’ peer-led book discussion groups. Laura Candler is a helpful resource on setting up literature circles in your classroom.

For more ways to boost your students’ reading comprehension levels, download our Free K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices Guide.


 Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B



Tags: reading strategies, Classroom Reading Strategies, reading across disciplines, comprehension strategies, new teachers

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