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Phyllisk5 02-25-2018 03:58 PM

How can I make RTI interesting for upper elementary grades?!
I teach K-5 RTI tier 3 reading. I am having a little trouble with my 5th graders. They don't really like anything we do. We are in class for 45 minutes and it is just hard to keep their attention. Whether I use chapter books or just stories, it doesn't seem to matter. If we have a good week and get all of the work done that I have planned for the week, on Friday I let them get on our Ipads and do reading activities on Reading Eggs or Epic. Does anyone have any ideas of activities that might make them want to learn? Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Phyllis

WGReading 02-26-2018 06:41 AM

How many students are in your group? Are there specific skill deficits you are addressing?

45 minutes is a long time for Tier 3 intervention, so I'm assuming you have a small group that is well below grade level.

Our 5th grade struggling readers are VERY difficult to motivate. They've spent years falling further and further behind and are used to failure, so their willingness to put themselves out there is very limited. With our students who see me for Tier 3 (in my school, I see Tier 3 students 1:1 or 1:2 for 10-15 minutes/day above and beyond their classroom reading and small group times), I try to get to know them and figure out what might motivate them, what they would consider a reward, and work towards student goal setting.

My students are given reading diagnostic inventory and we work on the most basic skill area they are missing. Sometimes that means phonemic awareness in 5th grade, or CVC words. My students actually like using word cards for rapid auto naming/speed decoding practice. We review the phonics skill they are missing, then they have a card stack with words of that pattern/skill. We set a goal for cards/minute or time to read all cards, and they work towards meeting that goal. That taps in to a sense of competition but it's against themselves and set so it is something they can do. When they show mastery of that skill, I move them on - no time to hang out working on something they know!!

Depending on what the goals are for your group, another plan I use to increase engagement with those upper elementary struggling readers is to do a group novel study BUT I offer 3-5 choices (that are instructional level), do a book talk on each and let the group choose their book. For the first novel, I do almost nothing explicitly academic with it. We read together and then I check in to monitor comprehension and explain things they may have missed (difficult vocab, character motivation, obvious foreshadowing). No homework, no tests, no note taking, etc. If I make a good match between book and group, usually about halfway into the book, the students start asking to take it home to keep reading, which I let them do but don't require. My goal is to show these students that reading can be fun, and to help them develop the skills to read a novel (I've had many 5th graders in these groups who don't understand how chapters and page numbers work sometimes - like why doesn't that page have a # on the bottom? what page is that?). It is supported in group work, so they successfully read their book and are doing the things they see their peers doing. As we go on, I continue offering choices and start building in more comprehension instruction but always authentically within the discussion of the text. I obviously offer book choices that I think the students will like, but I will also set up the choice to encourage trying new text types - like I might offer 4 choices and all of them are information text so that we read nonfiction as well.

I hope this helps!

it'sjustme 04-05-2018 11:17 AM

I use a lot of reader's theaters in my groups. They love them.

Haley23 04-05-2018 04:59 PM

I only work with K-3 now, but my job used to be K-6 and I also saw students in 45 minutes group. Many of my older students had behavior issues. I let them earn 5 minutes of free i pad time at the end of every day if they followed my rules for the first 40 minutes. Waiting until Friday for a reward is too long for kids with major issues, IMO.

Yes, it was a "waste" of 5 instructional minutes daily, but IMO it was worth it to give that up in a favor of 40 minutes of solid instruction with minimal disruptions first. I'm sure if I added up all of the time I was correcting behavior, restating rules, and dealing with severe issues prior to this, it was way more than 5 minutes per day!

I picked some simple rules that were paramount to keeping the group on task- I'm going back almost 5 years now, but I think it was something like voices off, stay in your own space, do your work. I put out one of our PBIS tickets with each student's name on it on the table, and put 3 unifix cubes on top. Each time the student wasn't following one of the basic rules, I simply took a cube away. Since I didn't even have to say anything, this cut out the kid arguing with me and meant I didn't have to stop teaching to correct behavior.

If students had at least 2 blocks left at the end of the 40 minutes, they got to keep the pbis ticket and 5 minutes of i pad time. One block left earned them the 5 minutes of i pad time. If they had 0 blocks left, they wrote sentences about what they would do differently the next day while everyone else got the i pad time.

In my groups with less severe issues, I'll have students earn an academic game at the end instead of free i pad time. I still get the benefit of keeping the kids on track, and really the last 5 minutes is still instructional, just in a slightly more "fun" activity. For example, word bingo, around the world with sight words, or SNAP! This works for many of my groups, but back when I taught 6th grade I needed the reward to be bigger in order to motivate students.

IMO, I don't think you'll find many (any?) reading activities that they'll actually enjoy. They're there because reading is extremely hard for them, and by this point they're probably pretty embarrassed by this as well. I would focus on helping them experience success (IME, my kids are most motivated and well behaved when they feel successful, even with the most "boring" of activities) and finding a reward/consequence system that works to manage behavior rather than focusing on trying to find reading activities that are supposedly more fun/interesting.

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