January 11, 2018

3 Steps for helping Struggling Readers

3 Steps for helping Struggling Readers - Using notes from a workshop with Jan Richardson and my experiences, this is a plan for helping students.
A little while ago I was fortunate enough to hear Jan Richardson speak about helping readers...AGAIN. It is such a pleasure to listen to someone so passionate and knowledgable about reading. I find myself scribbling notes as quickly as I can. This particular day she laid out a plan for helping struggling readers and who doesn't want ideas for that? Here is her outline with ideas from both of us.

Analyze the Student

3 Steps for helping Struggling Readers - Using notes from a workshop with Jan Richardson and my experiences, this is a plan for helping students.
Sounds easy, but it's complex. We know reading is problem, but what is the problem with reading? What are their particular errors? What is specifically holding them back? We have to use our assessments to pinpoint the area of concern. If we don't know EXACTLY what the problem is, we can't fix it. If you take your car in for repairs, you don't just say, "Something's wrong. Please fix it." You need to tell the mechanic what's going on. Is it the tires? Is it making noises? Is a light on? We have to be the mechanic. We have to look for the specifics. If the problem is accuracy, what types of errors are they making? We have to analyze the running records for meaning, structure or visual (M, S, V). If the problem is comprehension, can we determine what type of questions are causing difficulties? If the problem is fluency, we need to determine what aspect of fluency? We also need to look at all aspects of reading: reading, writing, and word study. What are common threads?

Analyze YOUR Teaching

3 Steps for helping Struggling Readers - Using notes from a workshop with Jan Richardson and my experiences, this is a plan for helping students.
Yep, what are you doing? What are you not doing? We have to provide the students with reliable assessments. If you are using running records, you need to make sure you are doing them correctly. Many teachers have created a routine for running records that decreases the validity of the assessment. I have had more than one discussion with teachers who use running records on a multiple read text, don't analyze the errors, or only use cold reads for running records. All of these examples create results that are, honestly, useless. We need to make sure we are using appropriate texts. Just because we've used this specific book for the last 10 years, is there a better book to represent that level? Is there a book we can use to help with specific problems? Is there a book we can use that is high interest for the learners? Are we planning lessons to help with their errors? Although we can plan lessons a week ahead of time, we need to ready to make necessary adjustments to the lessons as the problems reveal themselves. Too many times I have had teachers tell me their students can't move on to a level because comprehension isn't successful at a higher level, but lessons for the student contains practice with accuracy or within the text comprehension. We must address what the student needs in our lessons.

Develop a Plan

3 Steps for helping Struggling Readers - Using notes from a workshop with Jan Richardson and my experiences, this is a plan for helping students.
Once we have looked at the student and at ourselves, we need to make a plan. The plan needs to be crafted for that student. Consulting with colleagues can provide new opportunities or ideas for lessons. We should make a goal for the student and monitor that goal. Finally, we need to make sure what we are missing from the student is provided in lessons and practice.

Jan's new book, The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading is amazing. She provides details for levels, student lessons, and plans. She also has videos available with the purchase. I love videos, because I think we learn so much was watching instead of just talking. I highly recommend this book (and I'm not getting an affiliate fee for saying it). I hope this post gives you a plan for developing lessons that are targeted and in the best interest for the student.


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3 Steps for helping Struggling Readers - Using notes from a workshop with Jan Richardson and my experiences, this is a plan for helping students.

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