Working with struggling readers can be quite the task. We worry about these kids the most and spend so much time trying to figure out what can be done to help them succeed in our classrooms. If you’re looking for new ideas, keep reading for 5 ways to help your struggling readers.
Have your flash cards ready to go. I put mine on rings in order to make sure they don’t get mixed up. I also copy them on different colored paper. This way, I can easily get my students to help me sort them out when needed. The colored paper also helps my students find the ones that they need quickly.
Keep your reading intervention tools organized. I keep mine in a basket close to my desk. They are always close to me and ready to go.
Use technology. I always have my reading intervention binder handy. However, along with my binder, I save all my PDF files on my iPad. This way, I have two options. Just like with manipulatives, novelty is the key for intervention activities! Kids who are motivated with technology will love this option 😉
Keep a list of students you want to work with. I keep a list in the pocket of my binder cover. That way, it’s easily accessible. It’s nothing fancy. Just a class list, where I write down the reading level of each child and the date we worked together. I keep more detailed information on my guided reading pages (at the end of this post).
10-15 minutes tops! The goal is to keep them engaged and get them to want to come back soon. In order to make that happen, you will need to make your short sessions fun and positive.
Choose students who are both reading fluently AND are good helpers. You want to make sure your struggling readers are working with peers that are both able to read at a higher level than they are and have the ability to be a good role model. These will be your go-to students when you need to pair up your readers for an independent reading session (independent: that will not be led by you).
When do I do this? As often as I can! As soon as I have a moment where I notice that a “helper student” and a struggling reader have a few extra minutes, I pair them up and give them a short task. Sometimes, I give them a book and have them do a “read to someone” activity. Sometimes, I give them my reading intervention binder and have them practice their sounds. I try, as much as possible, to give them a choice in order to give them some control over what they are working on.
Don’t forget to reward BOTH students when they work well together, not just the helper. Rewarding your helper student is great because it will motivate him/her to keep helping in your classroom. However, it’s equally important to reward the struggling reader because this student is working extra hard to learn to read. What do I use to reward my student? I use silly things, really. Stickers and finger lights are a favorite in my class.
Volunteers are precious people! Get them. Don’t be afraid to invite parents into your classroom. Sometimes, having volunteers can feel overwhelming but this feeling usually goes away when you are prepared for them. Best way to be prepared? Have a basket and student list ready for them. This way, when they arrive you won’t need to stop what you’re doing. They will already know where to grab the materials they need and which students they need to work with.
Some parents may offer to bring in their own device. If they download your PDF files on their tablet, they will not need access to the school wifi when they come to you. They will be prepared and ready to go as soon as they arrive!
It’s SO important that you end each session on a positive note. Go back to something your reader did well on the first try and have them practice that skill one last time. This will empower your student and give him/her the confidence they need to be more successful in school. Ending your reading intervention session well will encourage your students to want to come back next time.
You can use simple flash cards or leveled readers that are already in your classroom. However, if you want something that is ready to use and not much prep, you may want to take a look at my reading intervention pack. It is a “print and go” set of pages that can be printed and put in a binder for easy access. The flashcards are low prep. This means that they are all in black & white and can be printed on colored paper. No color ink is needed. I don’t laminate these cards because they don’t tend to get ruined in my reading intervention basket. If you plan to use them in a center, you might want to consider laminating them 😉
How do I keep it all organized? I put each page in a plastic sheet protector and I keep dry erase markers in my basket. I put my student list in the cover pocket for easy access and fit them all in one binder.
Want to see more? You can download a 14 page preview HERE!
Need a few forms to get you started? The download below is what I use for my guided reading groups. They can be used for reading interventions groups too!