I'm frustrated with the lack of progress of a few students in my class. Their reading levels are not improving. We do guided reading in class and they also have plenty of opportunities to read to themselves and with a buddy. I don't believe that they are actually reading at home. (we send plenty of books home in a book bag)
I send letters home periodically so that parents know how their children are performing. What else can I do?
Even after guided reading and extra intervention to focus on comprehension strategies, I have some students who do not do well on comprehension tests. Theses tests are on stories in our basal that we have read for at least 3 or more days. Here is my dilemma;if the students consistently fail the comprehension tests, should give them a chance to retake the tests? I have been making them take the tests again and actually read the answer choices out loud to me, and go back to text and find the correct answers. I feel like I need to do this to build up their confidence as well as prove to me that they can indeed read. I will then average the two tests for a grade. Next year, the second grade teachers will not do this and they tell me I "spoil" the students and parents by giving students a chance to retest. Any suggestions?
I find students are really motivated by graphing their performance.
For this year, I have a girl who has some speech issues that didn't get addressed until late Kindergarten. As such, she didn't develop basic phonics skills. Of course, no one told me this until November. Once I found out, I went back and created a couple different graphs for her. One was for letter/sound correspondence. Once a week we go through flashcards from all the letters and she needs to tell me the sound. We graphed this until she successfully completed 26/26 three weeks in a row.
Another graph we have is for nonsense words read correctly per minute. We sit down and review our phonemes and then I have her practice with a couple nonsense words. Then I set a timer for two minutes and she reads as many of the nonsense words as she can. She had a big issue with "guessing" which is why I'm using nonsense words with her. You could also use a list of CVC or CVCe words from your reading program.
A third graph is for sight words. She started with only 2 consistent (I, a) and now we're up to about 15. She loves seeing how each week she gets more. I allow her to color in the number she gets correct each week so that it's a fun and rewarding experience.
Look at your reading program and see if there are any intervention assessments or lessons. In the past, I administered the DRA for checking reading levels and I would use the intervention assessments that went with it for students below level. This allowed me to narrow down where the issue was (for example, vowel sounds vs. sight words vs. silent e, etc.) From there, I could put them into small groups and target specific skills.
Apologies if any of these are obvious, I don't know what your background is. Suggestions for teaching that will lead to growth:
-Do your guided reading lessons include rereading previous books for fluency/comprehension while you do a running record on one child on yesterday's book so you can analyze their mistakes, an intro to the new text that introduces any complicated vocabulary/concepts/grammar structures, each child reading their own text to themself in a whisper (not round-robin or choral reading), a quick comprehension discussion, and some kind of word work specific to what the group needs?
-Are the books their reading to themselves/buddies and the ones they bring home books either on their independent reading level, or something they've already been exposed to for instruction like their guided reading books or something similar? If they are too high, their processing systems will be overloaded and they won't benefit from the independent reading.
-Are you doing read-alouds daily so they're exposed to formal book language, modeling comprehension in a non-intrusive way (don't stop on every page and discuss or they will get frustrated and tune out)?
-Are you working on sight words? Do they recognize them both in isolation and embedded in text so they don't have to pause while reading?
-Do they know that reading is equal parts visual, context, and structural info? For instance, if they read, "The boy is jump..." they can think of what sounds right in English and make it sound right: "The boy is jumping," and check with their eyes to make sure the word looks right. Or if they read, "The caterpillar was h...." and the book is about a caterpillar who eats different things, they can use what makes sense to figure out the word hungry and then check to make sure the sounds match. Visual info (sounding out the word) is only a third of reading. If you need prompts for getting students to do this, I have a million.
-Can they blend on the run by putting sounds or parts together without stopping, or do they stop at tricky words and try to segment each sound? Definitely a skill that makes a huge difference in their fluency and understanding.
-Do they read with all the dimensions of fluency (pace, intonation, phrasing, stress)? Do they read up to punctuation and use it to pause?
-To the person doing comprehension tests, I wouldn't be concerned about those in the least. I used to give those as a mandate and they drove me nuts. I want to know if a child can read a book on their independent reading level, summarize it, and talk to me about it. The basal tests are probably appropriate for less than 1/3 of the class - Kids at higher reading levels will find them too easy, at lower levels will find them frustrating. Book conversations in guided reading groups are my indication of whether students comprehend text on their level. I ended up using the tests to teach test-taking skills: Read the question twice, read the option, decide if it's valid, X if it's not, read the next option, etc. I modeled this orally weekly on the tests for the first half of first grade then weaned them off the support.
If you need clarification on any of this, just ask! Teaching reading is tricky
Last edited by LastMinute123; 01-24-2017 at 04:51 AM..
Thanks for the detailed replies everyone! I appreciate you taking your time out to be so thorough. I do have many years of experience so I do most of the things mentioned. It's actually nice to hear that I am doing the right things!!!
The books that they take home are on their independent level and they've been read and practiced in class. When they read with a buddy, they typically are reading big books that we've used for shared reading or poems that we've read.
Do they know that reading is equal parts visual, context, and structural info?
This is what we'll continue to focus on during guided reading. I haven't been doing a running record daily so I may have to step it up in that area. Thanks for the tips!
I like the idea of having an older student come in to listen to them read. That is a great idea.
these students? You cannot do it alone! I have an amazing resource teacher/principal this year and she has a specific sequencial program she does with my students...what progress I am seeing. It takes a team.
I HIGHLY recommend small group shared reading! I went to the Teacher's College Reading Institute and Kathy Collins presented on how beneficial "intense" shared reading can be when guided reading isn't having the desired effects. I try to keep these small groups to 3-4 kids and gather them in front of a big book. I try to pick a book at an instructional level, or the expected level for the time of year. So, in February of first grade, I would pick a level G or H text. We usually follow this plan;
day 1- Taking a "sneak peak" of the book; Reading it through with 4-5 words covered up with post-its. When you get to covered word, first ask, "What word would make sense here?" Kids will call out guesses. Then, uncover just the first letter. This taps into visual cues. Kids can revise their guesses to make sure their guess makes sense AND starts with that letter. Then, uncover the whole post-it and have kids to a "triple check"- does it make sense? does it look right? does it sound right? They love it! After the first reading, we also practice retelling.
day 2- Read it again! Depending on the group, I might take another day to focus on decoding strategies like chunking, check the picture, etc, while we read. Later in the year, kids are better word solvers and I use day 2 for fluency. With a pointer, I "scoop up" 3-4 words at a time as kids read with me. This helps them to read in phrases instead of word by word. I might have kids act out dialogue parts with expression, etc.
day 3- Read it again! Before reading, kids will retell the story again. Then, as we read, my focus is on inferential comprehension. Mostly using "stop and think" after a couple pages and modeling think alouds. We also make it fun by adding post-it note "thought bubbles" or "speech bubbles" of what the character might be thinking/saying. I also try to highlight vocabulary words on this day too. At the end, we often talk about how the character changed or a lesson, etc.
Other things you can do in shared reading small groups, depending on what your kids need:
-Make word study a focus on one day. If the book has lots of VCE words, have kids practice making them with magnetic letters, etc.
- Shared writing: write an alternate ending, complete a story map, etc.
- Sight word work: do a sight word hunt. Highlight them with wiki sticks or highlighting tape.
When a group isn't moving, this is my go-to and it's usually effective. Sometimes I will do a week of shared reading and then go back to guided reading, and continue alternating. One year, I trained my para to do this. She watched me for a few weeks, and then took over. Another year, I had a parent do the same and she did it. Mostly, I do it myself, though, and it's always one of my favorite parts of the day!
LastMinute123, you gave such good advice! I'm wondering if you have more advice on blending. You said that when a student has to stop and segment sounds in a tricky word, it really slows them down. That's the problem I'm having with a few students. What can I do to make their blending a little faster? These kids know their sounds and their phonics. It's just that they are slow at blending. Thanks!