Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Help Struggling Readers

**Today's post is based on a presentation by Kylene Beers. It was an eye-opening experience and impacted me greatly. If you would like a copy of the entire Powerpoint presentation I created, feel free to email me.

So let's just jump right in…. Read the slide to yourself. Out loud if you like. Then see if you can answer the questions below the passage.

I bet you can answer them can’t you?

How many students do this… they pick out the answers to the questions but still don’t have a clue what it means?


What if I told you what just ONE word meant?
Think it would be that big of a difference?

Let’s try it.

What if I told you that Marsden = birthday? Try reading it again.

Were you able to use context clues to figure out more words?
How does this apply to teaching vocabulary in your content area?

How about another one….

Do you know what these words mean?

Heard the words before?

Try reading this….

Here’s the point…

Anyone can struggle given the right text.

The struggle isn’t the issue.

The issue is what the reader does when the text gets tough.

The KEY PREDICTOR of reading success is the student’s background knowledge.

The brain searches for familiar patterns in new information.

The brain only pays attention to meaningless information for a short time; if it cannot make sense out of it, it will not process the information further.

Try it...

How’d you do?

What did your background experience tell you that needed to go in the blanks? (The answers are at the end of the post)

How to help students…

Below is some information sent to me by one of our district's Chief Academic Officers, Cindy Adams:

Kylene Beers and Bob Propst, respected secondary literacy leaders in the country, recently completed a survey across the US.  They found that 75% of secondary students are assigned less than 30 minutes a week of reading per week and that 85% report reading for 10 minutes or less a day (either in the classroom or outside the classroom).  I think today was the first day they released the results of the survey. One of her conclusions was that the US will never be a “nation of readers” if we don’t give students time to read.   

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