Reading Strategies to Help Struggling Readers

Students who struggle to read at their literacy level are the ones that tend to fall behind. Struggling readers are the ones who not only defy reading, but they also test at a lower reading level. How can teachers help these struggling readers overcome their battles of literacy?

Numerous reading programs are already implemented in many schools. Yet, they are traditional platforms that offer nothing new to struggling readers. Many students who are already reading below grade level dislike reading altogether. Implementing reading programs that are rigorous and tedious makes struggling readers fall behind even further.

“...students who voluntarily read for their own pleasure improve their reading skills and their test scores at a much faster rate than those who do not.” Marie Carbo from Principal.

Engaged reading can help struggling readers.

As struggling readers continue on a fight to read, teachers who engage students to read more challenging stories are able to overcome their lack of fluency. It also helps them with their emotions and memory skills. Engaged reading improves their language skills and they are able to use their brains to remember and learn.

Engaged reading is the act by which a reader is reading because they enjoy the reading material. It is a time that struggling readers take part in enjoying answering comprehension questions and read out loud. It is a moment of victory when struggling readers can read by themselves.

Engaged reading helps struggling readers in several ways:

1). It focuses on changing the reading style not the learning disability.

2). Teachers can choose reading topics that will motivate them to learn.

3). Planning interactive activities keeps them motivated.

4). Scheduling learning activities enhances predictability to read.

5). Selecting challenging and fun stories are incentives to read.

6). Including movement into the classroom adds variety.

7). Adding music and audio books increases motivation to read.

Avoid building up anxiety if the fluency of reading is not met. Learn what works for struggling readers; not all reading programs may be effective for all readers.

Engaged reading can also be instructed when other peers model it, and when they listen to audio books and story time reading. Allowing struggling readers to listen to various audible stories can help them with their own phonetic awareness at their own pace.

Practicum teaching can also help struggling readers.

Teachers have been implementing traditional methods to help struggling readers. Yet, many teachers feel inadequate because they lack the reading materials and understanding on how to help struggling readers.

In a beginning teaching practicum, teachers with struggling readers can tutor them one on one. In this way, they are able to help and monitor the progress of each individual student. The teacher focuses on a particular task to help the student.

The beginning reading teacher benefits from a teaching practicum by developing new teaching literacy skills. The student teacher learns about how to select reading materials, methods on how to teach, and how to pace the instructional lessons.

Most lesson planning that is developed by beginning teachers has to include reading, writing, and phonics. More than literacy skills, teachers learn from other mentoring experienced teachers, interact during teaching, and obtain feedback from professionals.

This doesn’t just benefit the teacher. It is also advantageous for the struggling reader. The readers improve their reading pace, phonics, literacy, and writing. Instead of using rigorous reading programs that are ineffective to the readers that struggles, a practicum for beginning reading teachers can help them in future years.

Photograph courtesy of Flick Creative Commons

Barbara Mascareno

About Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is a bilingual teacher in Spanish, math, and science. She also offers her services as an educational consultant. She has science degrees and is working on her secondary education degree.

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