Monday, January 30, 2012

Reading Intervention for Struggling Middle School Readers

Question: What can teachers in the middle school do to help improve struggling readers’ achievement in reading?

Quote: “The first thing one has to realize about intervention and children in the middle grades is that there is virtually no research base upon which we can draw. As was noted by the National reading Panel (2000), almost all intervention research published to date has been done with children in grades K-5, and, in fact, most of this recent research focuses on intervention designs in grades K-1.” P,10.

Question: How many struggling readers are estimated to be found in middle schools?

Quote: “Probably the best evidence we have is the NAEP 8th-grade reading data. The most recent NAEP reading assessment reports that one-quarter of eighth-grade students perform below the basic level of proficiency. ) Basic readers are typically defined as those who, while not proficient, are able to accomplish some lower-level tasks with grade-level material.) But students working below this Basic level will find it difficult, if not impossible, to read grade-level materials with understanding. Therefore, at least one of every four middle school students will struggle mightily to learn grade-level content from the textbooks matched to the grade level of the students.” P. 10. 

Quote: “For reasons I don’t really understand, reading instruction largely ends after 4th or 5th grade.” P. 11.

Quote: “Again for reasons I fail to understand, many middle school intervention reading programs emphasize developing decoding skills. I say this because the research suggests that perhaps only 10% of older struggling readers have problems with decoding.: p. 11.

Quote: “I would go further and argue that many, if not most, middle school students are not provided with any effective reading instruction. Perhaps this phenomenon, more than anything else, accounts for the fact that the reading achievement of older readers remains largely the same as it was in 1971 when the national assessments of educational progress began.” P. 15.

Comment: So the article does not really answer the question, how can teachers help struggling readers in middle school? I say, begin with the directed reading assignment.

> Begin by asking students what they know about the topic of the reading assignment. Add information about the topic.

> Pre-teach unfamiliar vocabulary by emphasizing context and roots.

> Students read the title, sub-titles and bold-faced headings. Students read the first paragraph, the first sentence of each subsequent paragraph and the last paragraph.

> Either establish a purpose for students to read or have students raise questions they are going to read to answer.

 > Students read to answer the questions or fulfill the purpose established by the teacher.

> Students discuss what they have learned and then investigate the topic on selected Web-sites.

That’s a start, anyway. RayS.

Title: “Reading Intervention in the Middle Grades.” RL Allington. Voices from the Middle (December 2011), 10-16.

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