Hey everyone.. I just accepted a position as a Reading Spec. in a primary building. It is only second year of teaching and I'm a bit nervous and overwhelmed. I was wondering if anyone had any tips of suggestions for things for the classroom or resource books to buy to prepare myself. I'd appreciate any help. Thanks!
Before I can offer advice, what are the parameters of your job? Are you mainly working with the teachers or the students? Are you in charging of testing (ex. DIBELS)? Reading Specialists have different duties in different parts of the countries, so give me an idea of what you will be doing & then I can give you a few hints.
I will be pulling small groups of kids (1st/2nd gr.), I have my own classroom.. they don't really have a specific amount of assessments like DIBELS or anything...YET. We will be using the intervention reading series for Treasures as well... so just small group reading intervention basically..
Do you know how the students you will be working with will be identified for placement into your groups? Is this a program you are beginning from scratch or are you coming into a program that has already been established? Are there other Reading Specialists in the building or are you the only one? (I am the only one in my building, but there are 2 others in my district. They can be a big help and support.) Are you under any sort of guidelines, for example I am funded through a reading improvement grant whereby I have to follow state guidelines for students identification with nationally normed tests, pretesting and posttesting scores reported to the state for determination on whether improvement was shown, use of "research-based best practive" materials, etc. I would like to help, however just as "Reading Coach" suggested, this job can entail so many different things. If you could provide more details, it would help guide any advice others can pass on.
Although I am not a reading teacher, I do manage a reading/language resource room for students with reading disabilities. Here are some great resource books that every teacher should have no matter what their specialty is. Hope this helps:
Small Group Reading Instruction: A Differentiated Teaching Model for Beginning and Struggling Readers by Beverly Tyner -- describes the different stages of readers and instructional strategies & activities for each
Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller -- Great book for teaching comprehension strategies. Has a chapter for each comp. strategy along with picture books you can use for lessons.
Guided Reading by Fountas and Pinnell -- Good resource for when you pull small groups for GR. Has lesson examples, assessments, forms, etc.
Growing Readers by Kathy Collins -- this book is one of my favorites for teaching reading. Like Debbie Miller's book it is based on the workshop model, but you can still use her mini-lesson ideas for small groups. She writes in a way that's easy to understand and has a good flow too. She describes the parts of a mini-lesson, how to plan them, and how to assess along the way. She has a great chapter titled, Readers Use Strategies to Figure out Words. In it, she gives you great examples for what do say during your mini-lessons and books to use.
I don't have much advice, since I'm in the same position myself (only it's my 3rd year teaching, and we will be using the Voyager Passport intervention program for the older kids). I just wanted to say Good Luck!
I know I've tried to get my hands on as much information related to the programs I have to use (Waterford ERP and Voyager Passport) as I can, in order to learn as much about them as possible in advance. My theory is that if I'm not comfortable administering the programs, it will show (and not in a good way)!
If your district has other Reading Specialists, or a Specialist Team in your building, I would definitely solicit their support and advice. I work in a tiny district (only 1 elem school) and I am the first certified teacher to be in charge of these programs, in the past it has been done by aides! :-/ So, I'm jealous of any in-school or in-district support you might have, but I certainly hope it's there for you.
Thanks everyone! I start tomorrow, eek! But i guess i don't start pulling kids for a week or so (need to do assessments, meet with principal about groups, etc) Does anyone conduct Parent nights just regarding reading...strategies...etc? I think I will be doing a few this year... not sure where to start!
Our district is going to do a district-wide Literacy Night, and we give out goody bags (thanks to Barnes & Noble!), and we also include handouts with information pertaining to helping their children do well in school. We have a separate bag for the elementary kids and the jr/sr high schoolers, and I'd like to include some sort of handout about reading strategies, tips, etc.
Any ideas on really helpful/key things to include, from the perspective of the reading specialist? TIA!