This article provides sample reading lessons in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension to support special education instructors, reading interventionists, and others working with students who struggle with reading.
All kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade teachers — as well as reading interventionists — should teach students to keep their eyes on the words on the page so that they do not have to later struggle with breaking a habit that hampers effective, efficient reading.
An almost universal habit that struggling readers exhibit is looking up from the words when reading. Learn the three primary reasons why students look up as they read, and then find out how to respond to each case in the most effective way.
Integrating high-frequency words into phonics lessons allows students to make sense of spelling patterns for these words. To do this, high-frequency words need to be categorized according to whether they are spelled entirely regularly or not. This article describes how to “rethink” teaching of high-frequency words.
Learning to read is a challenge for many kids, but most can become good readers if they get the right help. Parents have an important job in recognizing when a child is struggling and knowing how to find help. Here are some signs to look for and things to do if you suspect your child is having trouble reading.
Orton–Gillingham was the first teaching approach specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds. Many reading programs include Orton–Gillingham ideas, including a “multisensory” approach, which is considered highly effective for teaching students with dyslexia.
If you are planning to purchase a literacy program for instruction, get as much information as you can about a program's benefits and effectiveness. This article includes links to reputable review sources, where you can find basic comparative information about a range of commercially available literacy programs.
Learn some best practices in helping children with language processing issues learn to read in this Q&A with expert Nanci Bell, director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes. Find out what works with children who have weaknesses in concept imagery or symbol imagery.
The term “learning and attention issues” covers a wide range of challenges kids may face in school, at home and in the community. It includes all children who are struggling — whether their issues have been formally identified or not. Learning and attention issues are brain-based difficulties, and they often run in families. Find resources that can help kids be successful in school and in life!
Four strategies and practices are common to effective reading instruction programs: multi-tiered systems of support; universal screening, progress monitoring, and collaboration between special education and general education. This article provides links to tools that support implementation in each area.
Similar to comic books, graphic novels weave rich, lively visuals with a limited amount of text to drive the narrative. They can be especially appealing to young readers who are reluctant to pick up a more traditional book. Graphic novels are a great way to help struggling readers strengthen vocabulary, build reading confidence and stamina, and develop a deeper appreciation of storytelling.
Audiobooks are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audiobooks also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Here, you’ll find guidance on what to look for in choosing audiobooks as well as listening tips.
For children with print-based reading disabilities, accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. Learn about the different kinds of accessible formats, including digital talking books, enlarged text, electronic publications, and more.
Graphic novels for elementary and middle grade children have become enormously popular and widely accepted by parents, teachers, and librarians. In this resource section, learn more about this highly visual form of storytelling and how it can be used in the classroom, meet some writers and illustrators of graphic novels, and browse the "best of" booklists.
High/low books offer highly engaging age-appropriate subject matter at a low reading level for struggling readers. High/low books can help build reading fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge, and interest in reading. Learn more about where to find quality high/low books.
A veteran reading teacher shares takeaways from her 'Teachers as Readers' learning group. What teachers need: enough time to teach language arts, well-stocked classroom libraries, student input, and meaningful professional development.
Children's picture books about autism can be a valuable resource for teachers in inclusive classrooms attempting to teach awareness, empathy, and acceptance among students. This article provides instructional tips for educators and offers suggestions for using children's picture books about autism to encourage positive, inclusive instruction.
Teaching children with autism to comprehend text can be challenging. Here are some strategies educators can incorporate into daily lessons to meet the literacy needs of their students.
In many states, third graders who cannot read proficiently are required to repeat that year. This policy, known as mandatory retention, can greatly impact students' emotional and cognitive development. In an effort to reconcile the academic and social needs of young learners, this article addresses the pros and cons of mandatory retention, global treatment of the problem, and possible solutions.
Dr. Lynn Fuchs, Professor of Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, answers questions about fluency, progress monitoring, reading intervention, and more.
Most kids love stories, but not all love to read. Discover 10 creative ways to encourage active kids who would rather run than read, to enjoy digging into books.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities in acquiring background knowledge and vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and making connections between reading and writing.
Read and discuss poetry with nature imagery with students. Take students on a poetry walk around the school, neighborhood, or community to observe and collect sensory images from direct experience with nature: the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of things outdoors. Students can take a poetry journal with them to write down words as they observe, listen, smell, and touch things outside the classroom.
Get the basic facts about what it takes for a young child to learn to read, best practices in teaching reading, the importance of oral language in literacy development, why so many children struggle, and more in this overview.
If you are planning to purchase an intervention program for instruction, get as much information as you can about a program's benefits and effectiveness. This article provides basic comparative information about a range of commercially available intervention programs.
The struggling second and third graders in this study increased their reading comprehension after a 10-week Readers Theatre podcasting project. Podcasting made the students aware of a wider audience, which enhanced the authenticity and social nature of the strategy, and made their performances permanent so they could be stored and conveniently retrieved for later listening and evaluation.
Using students' questions as a basis for investigations in science education is an effective teaching strategy. Not only do students pose questions they would like answered, but they are asked to find ways to answer them. This article also recommends nonfiction science books that use a question and answer format to find information and model how to communicate what you know.
One motivating, engaging, and inexpensive way to help build the foundational reading skills of students is through the use of closed-captioned and subtitled television shows and movies. These supports can help boost foundational reading skills, such as phonics, word recognition, and fluency.
The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a little less scary and a little more productive.
Homework is important, but helping children with homework isn't always easy. Here are some ways you can make homework easier for everyone!
Find out how it benefits all students to read challenging texts. Rather than avoiding any use of more difficult texts, teachers can use instructional support to help students gain access to a more challenging reading experience. Learn how to make shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading more powerful and effective in your classrooms.
The summer is a time to unwind and relax for parents and kids alike, but learning should not come to a halt. By focusing on your child's interests, involving the family, and setting goals, you can motivate even the most reluctant learners
Reading comprehension is often a concern for the teachers of students with autism. The comprehension strategies described in this article may help some students gain comprehension skills and improve their ability to read and communicate about written material.
Some students identified with autism can participate successfully in whole-class rich literacy experiences, with the right kind of support. Learn about strategies for designing lessons that are appropriate, engaging, and challenging for every learner in the inclusive classroom.
Knowing how to engage in signature scientific acts, such as formulating questions and using evidence in arguments is an important part of science learning. This InfoBrief from the National Center for Technology Innovation offers more information about using technology to support struggling students.
Some parents are reluctant to contact their child's teacher. Don't be! A quick conversation or email exchange can solve simple misunderstandings, or make it clear that a longer, more formal conversation is needed. Here are three situations where parent contact is appropriate and even encouraged.
If your child has a learning disability, he or she may benefit from assistive technology tools that play to their strengths and work around their challenges.
Additional and explicit instruction in phonological awareness is a critical component in helping fourth grade readers who struggle with phonological deficits. The exercises can be used as a warm-up prior to reading, spelling, or vocabulary instruction.
Research-based information and advice for sizing up reading programs and finding the right one for your child with a learning disability.
Tutors can play very important roles in the lives of the children they work with. Learn about these roles and the types of tutoring programs that are available to provide young readers with one-on-one support.
Technology tools and supports can be an excellent way to help struggling students engage with social studies texts in a meaningful way, and build deeper understanding through guided inquiry.
We all use strategies throughout our day to remember the variety of facts and ideas we need to retain. It is valuable for teachers, therapists, and parents to understand the memory process in order to become better equipped to help our students understand and use strategies.
Researchers have identified three kinds of developmental reading disabilities that often overlap but that can be separate and distinct: (1) phonological deficit, (2) processing speed/orthographic processing deficit, and (3) comprehension deficit.
Answers to frequently asked questions on how to help children with communication disorders, particularly in regards to speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Find out more about the different types of learning disabilities, how they're identified, and what types of instruction support students with LD.
Teachers do their best to improve students' fluency, but sometimes the information they have to work with is incomplete and, therefore, leads them down the wrong path. For example, silent reading or 'Round Robin' reading seem like good ways to improve fluency. But, in fact, increasing fluency requires more practice, more support, and more guided oral reading than either of these strategies can deliver.
What should fluency instruction look like? And, what can teachers do to help students whose fluency is far behind their peers'? This article can help practitioners effectively use fluency-based assessments and select instructional practices.
How do parents know if their child's reading delay is a real problem or simply a "developmental lag?" How long should parents wait before seeking help if their child is struggling with reading? Susan Hall answers these questions.
As we head towards September and a new school year, here's advice from special education expert Rick Lavoie that may be helpful as you attempt to make special needs kids in your class feel warm, welcome, and wanted. Using the word SEPTEMBER, he shares nine concepts that can help you in this effort.
Here are some ways parents can help relieve test anxiety, stress, and pressure, as well as a guide to interpreting your child's test results.
Using Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) or practices to encourage engagement, educators can advance the breadth and depth of students' reading by explicitly and systematically nourishing students' motivations as readers.
Teachers: How do you convince your principal, fellow teachers, and other school staff to help the student in your class who has a learning disability? Rick Lavoie, world-renowned expert, speaker, and author on teaching children with LD, tells you how to get your voice heard. Learn how to handle common road blocks and become a proactive and successful advocate in the hallways, the teacher's lounge, and the administrative suite.
Many of the adults in your child's life are unfamiliar with learning disorders in general, or your child's unique pattern of strengths and limitations. Developing a one- to three-page dossier that provides useful information about your child can help their babysitters, coaches, teachers, bus drivers, school support staff, neighbors, and relatives understand their limitations.
Do you think your child or student might have dyslexia? This fact sheet provides a definition of dyslexia, symptoms, prevalence, signs, and effects, as well as ways to help your child.
If your child cannot read their textbooks, they need digital copies of their books. Schools now can use National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) to get e-text. Learn the details that will help you advocate for your child so they can use NIMAS. And learn where to find the publishers and producers that provide e-text.
Here are a dozen simple strategies to help your children keep the academic skills they learned during the school year. Support them as they read. Give them material that is motivating — and some of it should be easy. Help them enjoy books and feel pleasure — not pressure — from reading. The summer should be a relaxed time where their love of learning can flower.
Did you know that kids whose parents are involved in their education have better grades, a better attitude toward school, and more appropriate school behavior than those with less involved parents? Consider trying a few of these tips — and make a big difference!
If you're thinking of hiring a private specialist to test your child for a learning disability, here are some key questions to ask yourself and the prospective evaluator.
Tutoring offers kids the special one-on-one attention that busy teachers often can't provide. From simplehomework help to intensive work on basic skills, tutoring can offer just the boost your childneeds to succeed.
Get the basics on the benefits, challenges and costs of different kinds of tutoring services: private, tutoring centers, online tutors, and free Title I supplemental services.
Professional school counselors can be more effective in their work with parents of students with disabilities — as well as with the students themselves, their teachers, and other students — if they understand parent perspectives. Parents' areas of concern are described, and implications for school counselors are discussed.
Here are 15 tactics that may help children enhance attention and manage attention problems.
How can you tell when a student has a language-learning disability and when he or she is merely in the normal process of acquiring a second language?
Named "One of America's Top Doctors," Dr. Shaywitz is professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine and author of the bestseller Overcoming Dyslexia. On January 27, 2005, Reading Rockets hosted an online discussion with Dr. Shaywitz, who answered questions about dyslexia and other reading difficulties and responded to parents' concerns.
The purpose of this National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) report is to examine the concepts, potential benefits, practical issues, and unanswered questions associated with responsiveness to intervention (RTI) and learning disabilities (LD). A brief overview of the approach is provided, including attributes, characteristics, and promising features, as well as issues, concerns, unanswered questions, and research needs.
About 10 million children have difficulties learning to read. The good news is that more than 90 percent of struggling readers can overcome their difficulties if they receive appropriate treatment at early ages.
The specific signs of dyslexia, both weaknesses and strengths, vary widely. Problems with oral language, decoding, fluency, spelling, and handwriting are addressed, as well as strengths in higher order thinking skills.
The earliest clues involve mostly spoken language. The very first clue to a language (and reading) problem may be delayed language. Once the child begins to speak, look for difficulties with rhyming, phonemic awareness, and the ability to read common one-syllable words.
A look at three pivotal longitudinal studies that clearly show: Late bloomers are rare; skill deficits are almost always what prevent children from blooming as readers.
Early intervention works. Because it is also expensive, it's important to be able to identify the kids who are most at risk of reading failure. Thanks to a new generation of screening assessments, we can identify these students as early as kindergarten — and then invest in interventions for them.
Teachers are often asked to modify instruction to accommodate special needs students. In fact, all students will benefit from the following good teaching practices. The following article takes the mystery out of adapting materials and strategies for curriculum areas.
There are many beliefs and a great deal of dogma associated with reading acquisition, and people are often reluctant to let go of their beliefs despite contradictory research evidence. Here are 10 of the most popular and most potentially pernicious myths that influence reading education.
What should you do if you think your child is having trouble with reading? Sometimes children just need more time, but sometimes they need extra help. Trust your instincts! You know your child best. If you think there's a problem, there probably is.
The U.S. Department of Education developed this brief guide for reading tutors. It lists ways that tutoring helps both the learner and the tutor, and provides practical tips that can help tutors be more effective in their work.
This article discusses current research-supported instructional practices in reading and writing. It also reviews alternatives to ability-achievement discrepancy in identifying students for special education services, as well as introduces the idea that ability-achievement discrepancies should be based on specific cognitive factors that are relevant to specific kinds of learning disabilities rather than Full Scale IQ.
Audiobooks have traditionally been used with second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders. In many cases, audiobooks have proven successful in helping these students to access literature and enjoy books. But they have not been widely used with average, avid, or gifted readers. This article lists the benefits of audiobooks for all students.
Motivation is key to school success. Just as the actor asks a director, "What is my motivation, for this scene?," the child turns to teachers, parents, and peers to discover the "why" of learning. Motivation is often defined as a need or drive that energizes behavior toward a goal.
Many professionals are involved in the diagnosis of LD: psychologists, educational specialists, and other professionals who work in specialized fields such as speech and language. This article identifies licensure requirements and who can diagnose LD and/or ADHD.
The International Dyslexia Association prepared this fact sheet describing reasonable accommodations involving materials, interactive instruction, and student performance to help children with learning problems in general education and special education classrooms.
Get an overview of the characteristics associated with reading problems as well as the planning and implementation of effective interventions. Fundamental components of teaching such as scaffolding, connecting to prior knowledge, motivating, and providing opportunities to practice skills should be implemented.
We asked the parents and teachers who frequent our web site for their ideas about how to encourage kids, especially those who aren't excited about books, to do more reading. Thanks to all you tip-sters out there, we received tons of advice, which we've summarized in the seven tips below.
You may have a child in your life who isn't as successful with reading as you think he or she could be. The challenge is that not all reading difficulties look the same, and not all reading difficulties should be addressed in the same way.
One of the keys to helping struggling readers is to provide them with books that they can and want to read. Fiction for struggling readers must have realistic characters, readable and convincing text, and a sense of the readers' interests and needs. Non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, even comic books can hook students on reading.
Review well-established scientific findings about reading and their practical implications, for children with and without reading disabilities. In addition, consider some broader ways that science may be useful to educators and get suggestions for individual teachers interested in becoming more familiar with scientific research on reading.
When a child is having a language or reading problem, he just may need more time to learn language skills. Some children might have trouble seeing, hearing, or speaking, while others may have a learning disability. If you suspect a problem, it's important to get help quickly.
Children may struggle with reading for a variety of reasons, including limited experience with books, speech and hearing problems, and poor phonemic awareness.
Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.
Parents are often the best educational advocates for their children, especially children with a learning disability. Discover nine tips to help you be a strong champion for your child.
Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of Lindamood-Bell, a promising reading intervention program evaluated by the American Federation of Teachers in their series “Building on the Best, Learning from What Works.”
Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of Early Steps, a promising reading intervention program evaluated by the American Federation of Teachers in their series “Building on the Best, Learning from What Works.”
Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction (ECRI), a promising reading intervention program evaluated by the American Federation of Teachers in their series “Building on the Best, Learning from What Works.”
Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of Direct Instruction, a promising reading intervention program evaluated by the American Federation of Teachers in their series “Building on the Best, Learning from What Works.”
There are certain characteristics of groups and individual children that increase their likelihood of struggling with reading. Find out how to use knowledge of these risk factors to help prevent reading problems for these children.
This influential 1998 report was developed by The Committee for the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, established by the National Academy of Sciences to study the comparative effectiveness of interventions for young children who are at risk of having problems learning to read. The primary goal of the project was to translate the research findings about reading into advice and guidance for parents, educators, and others involved in the literacy development of young children.
Children from a variety of backgrounds struggle with learning to read. However, as described in this article, research points to one common reason they struggle, and common strategies to help them succeed.
Recent research has provided a clearer picture about reading difficulties and how to prevent them. This position paper of the International Dyslexia Association argues for reform in teacher preparation to reflect these research-based understandings.
When schools screen large numbers of students, they may under- or over-identify students with disabilities. Find out how school-based screening can be used effectively.
Does summer reading really work? Can simply giving books to children actually help close the achievement gap? This article shares what we know and what we are still learning about summer reading.
Peer tutoring, cross-age tutoring, and small learning groups have been shown by research to be effective for teaching reading to students with and without learning disabilities. This articles affirms that using a variety of grouping formats is preferable to whole class instruction or ability grouping.
Helping kids learn to read is a great goal for community groups. An important step for all groups is to not only define how to help, but also to identify the children in the community who could must benefit from what you do. This article provides tips for finding and serving these children.
While the ability to read words accurately is a necessary skill in learning to read, the speed at which this is done becomes a critical factor in ensuring that children understand what they read.