Seeing Straight

I’ve been teaching students who struggle with reading for the past six years and I have to say that each case is unique. There are some similarities between the different readers, but there is a uniqueness to each of their situations that warrants an individual intervention plan. 

One of the common problems I see is that struggling readers often know and understand what is expected of them in the context of classroom reading. They know what they are supposed to look like and so if they can’t solve the problems they are having with semantics or decoding, then they can at least solve the problem of looking like a reader. 

In these learned reading behaviors, there is an understanding among students when you get to a certain level, you are supposed to be able to read without tracking or running your fingers underneath the lines. So often struggling readers will imitate this behavior and further complicate their battle to understand what they are reading. 

I often used reading strips in my classroom, which I had on my desk and during reading conferences, I would just ask a student to try using it. They are a great size because they look like a bookmark, but they actually puts a transparent strip around the line the reader is reading while blocking out the lines above and below. 

It’s a simple intervention strategy that has worked wonders in my classroom.