Many students with learning disabilities struggle with reading. Among children with learning disabilities, 80% are thought to have reading difficulties. We must intervene on behalf of these students because literacy is so essential. Problems with reading can negatively impact the education of young students in many ways.
Fortunately, reading challenges are not easy to hide – especially over time. Parents, teachers, and other educational professionals may intervene with strategies to make reading more accessible and enjoyable.
The following reading intervention strategies will effectively help you reach your struggling learner.
The Big 5 Reading Skills
These are the five essential components of reading. For every child, with or without a learning disability, these are the skills they need in order to read fluently and confidently. Although the child with learning disabilities may struggle to master one or more of these, these reading skills will give you some guidance.
Phonetics is the process of connecting sounds with letters. It’s the beginning of reading and the first reading skill children learn. If this skill is not learned, there are usually problems later. Readers must recognize the connection between the letters in words and the sounds we speak. You don’t have to be a professional to teach phonetics. It’s possible to provide this instruction at home, although a reading specialist is also a great option.
Phonemic awareness means to hear, identify, and manipulate the smaller units of sounds known as phonemes. This skill is fundamental to reading and can be developed from a relatively young age, as children listen to parents read to them, play rhyming games, word games, and language play.
The broader a child’s spoken vocabulary, the more words they can learn to read and write. The two best ways to enrich their vocabulary is:
- Read to them often from a wide range of books.
- Teach them sight words. These should consist of high-frequency words like ‘I,’ ‘she,’ ‘the,’ ‘and,’ etc. The first 100 sight words (i.e., the Dolch word list) make up more than 50% of words used in reading. Learning sight words also increases their reading fluency.
Fluency develops as a result of good decoding skills, an extensive bank of sight words, and the amount of time the student spends reading. Speed and accuracy in reading come from time spent with books and lots of practice. Over time students can become so apt at decoding that it is nearly effortless. Even when they encounter new words, they are easily able to decode and derive meaning.
Great readers understand what they are reading. Not only do they have a comprehension of the words, but of the meaning and subtleties of storytelling. The entire reading experience is richer for students who can fully engage with the text and the ideas behind it. Comprehension is the end goal of all reading instruction.
Following are reading strategies to turn any student into a happy reader.
Is your child struggling with reading? Don’t worry – we can help. Contact Be Alright Tutoring today!
Strategy 1: Read Often
To build any skill requires lots of practice, and this is also true of reading. In fact, the number one way to improve reading skills is by reading often. Of course, we don’t want to rob children of the joy of reading by requiring that they treat it like a job, but rather that they read as much as possible – happily. Encourage reading alone, reading with others, reading at home, reading at school, and make reading a reward. Just let it be as enjoyable as possible, as often as possible.
Strategy 2: Read Aloud
Read aloud to students. This provides them with a model of good reading – fluency, decoding tricky words, asking questions as we read, thinking ahead, and incorporating reading comprehension strategies.
Strategy 3: Read Real Books
Read real books with students as opposed to reading passages and extracts. The latter is great, but children also need to experience real books. Children have a greater sense of accomplishment when they read real books, so they engage more with them.
Strategy 4: Independent and Instructional Levels
There are three levels of reading:
- Independent – where students can read with 95% to 100% accuracy.
- Instructional – where students can read with 90% to 94% accuracy.
- Frustrational – where students can read with 89% accuracy or below.
It’s important that when reading on their own, children have an ample supply of independent level reading books. These are books they enjoy reading and books that will foster a greater love of reading. When a student is reading with a parent or teacher they can read instructional books. These books help them to grow as readers. Frustrational level books are where students do not achieve success and grow to dislike reading or develop aversions to reading.
Strategy 5: Student Choice & Teacher Assigned
The books students read should be a healthy mix of those they choose and those that are teacher-assigned. Both are important. When students choose their own books, they have higher engagement, more motivation to read, and they feel ownership over the process. In addition, students also need to read what is assigned to them. A teacher can find enjoyable books and also help the student to grow in their reading.
Strategy 6: Opportunities for success
When students experience success in reading, they’re much more motivated to continue. So they should be given as many opportunities to achieve success as possible. Although some degree of challenge is good, a student who only feels challenged will eventually feel defeated and stop trying. This is not the goal.
Strategy 7: Short Chunks
Some students may have difficulty staying focused for lengthy reading periods. In this case, it may be helpful to break up reading lessons into shorter chunks of time.
Strategy 8: Routine
Developing a reading routine will help children anticipate, as well as achieve what is expected of them. Children thrive on routine, and so do we.
Strategy 9: Games
Games can make reading an enjoyable learning experience. There are many ways to incorporate games into reading lessons, so be imaginative. Let students’ natural sense of competition motivate them to do well and become better readers in the process.
Strategy 10: Rewards
While we don’t want children only reading for a sticker or small toy, there is a place in reading for rewards. These extrinsic rewards will eventually be unnecessary as students develop their own love for reading – but until then, a little reward can be motivating.
Being a good reader is a skill that rewards us for a lifetime. So we must do all that we can to make it a joyful and rewarding experience for young students.
Is your child stressed or lacking confidence at school? We have the qualifications and experience to be a strong and encouraging voice supporting families to grow happy, confident children. Visit Be Alright Tutoring today.