Menu

Struggling readers

Teaching vocabulary

A few weeks ago I blogged about a kindergarten lesson where the students were confused by the word pause, thinking the teacher meant applause or paws. I promised that teacher I'd send her some materials about vocabulary development with second language learners. I thought I'd share some of the resources I like.

Dyslexia: A primer

I love the Florida Center for Reading Research. The center is directed by Barbara Foorman and Joe Torgesen. And no one that works there must need sleep! They're always cranking out really good reports and publications. It's one of the first places I go when researching something.

Darn hard work: Working with struggling readers

Working with struggling readers is darn hard work. Progress is slow, and it takes an enormous amount of effort. Really concerted, dedicated, sustained effort. The students I work with usually make me want to bang my head against a wall out of frustration and leap across the room for joy, and that's within a 45 minute tutoring session!

Nonsense, as in nonsense words

Mog.
Fim.
Phum.
Sote.
Pagbo.

Just a few examples of the types of words students are asked to read on a Nonsense Word assessment. Some assessments are timed (how many nonsense words can you read in one minute?), and some assessments use a ceiling (stop when the student incorrectly reads 5 in a row).

23 words per minute

I have the pleasure of working one-on-one with several beginning readers, my own and a handful of others. There's nothing more amazing than sitting beside a new reader and listening to them as they "get" reading. It's something that you hear — their reading goes from word to word, choppy, and staccato-sounding to more phrasal, intonated, and just plain faster. But, how fast?

Words Correct per Minute (WCPM) is one way to determine a student's reading fluency. Quick probes based on carefully selected passages can help teachers screen, diagnose, and monitor students' progress.

I bet she'll catch on by then

Rebecca commented on my last post:

How should the parent respond if the teacher says this: "Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Let's watch and see how she does through the holidays. I'm betting she'll catch on by then."

Great question, Rebecca. Thank you for commenting!

In some cases, that teacher might be right. The student might catch up and do just fine. In other cases, the teacher might be wrong, and a whole bunch of valuable time will have been lost.

Is it ever too early to worry?

We get lots of questions through our Ask the Expert service. Occasionally I'll post a question here in hopes of reaching a wider audience. Feel free to chime in with your own additions to my answer! If you're like me, you'll find yourself wanting to write a dissertation for each one.

Summer Reading: Loss and Finds

The May 2007 issue of The Reading Teacher includes a timely article on Summer Reading Loss. In our school district, there are 13 days left of school (!) so our summer reading time is fast approaching.

As parents and teachers, there's good reason to think about summer reading loss. The term "summer reading loss" refers to the decline in reading development that can occur during summer vacation when children aren't in school, and are (perhaps) not reading as much, if at all.

Three years growth in a few months? Don't buy it.

Every week headlines from newspapers around the world tout "reading interventions" that claim fantastic results.

Singing software that "boosts students' reading skills by more than a grade level in nine weeks" or a physical education program during which students "did reading exercises and gym activities at the same time" and after the 2 1/2-month study, students increased three grade levels in reading.

Wouldn't it be nice?

Pages

"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo