513 – Working with Struggling Readers and Writers

Hello everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

In this week’s reading, Flint ch. 12, the author explores what it means to be a struggling reader and/or writer.  Of course, as teachers, we recognize that these students are 1 or more years behind grade level, but there is much more to their situation.  There are many different ways in which students struggle with reading and writing.  Some have difficulties with cognitive processing while others have problems with motivation and attention.  It is our responsibility to find the source of these students’ difficulty and cater our instruction to meet the students’ needs.

This concept is clearly apparent in my placement classroom.  Almost a third of the students in our class would be described as struggling readers, and they definitely have varying issues when it comes to literacy.  My CT and I try to identify the students’ needs and create guided reading lessons to speak to some of these.  Also, the reading specialist and the ESL teacher both pull students out to work on reading and writing skills.  But there are still other issues that cannot be addressed with these methods. 

Thankfully, this chapter provided quite a few examples of classroom strategies for struggling readers and writers.  Some of them I recognized from my own classroom, and I hadn’t even realized their beneficial purpose!  We do numerous read alouds each day, and I never realized how beneficial these are for struggling readers.  My class does not use the buddy reading system on a regular basis, but I wish they did.  I think my CT has tried it, but with little success.  It probably depends greatly on the individual students in your class.  It is a great idea, though, and I would like to maybe try it again next semester during my full-time teaching. 

This chapter also discussed the four popular reading intervention programs, which were interesting to see fleshed out, especially the Four Blocks program.  I also enjoyed looking at the analyses with my case study in mind.  I recognize that his motivation often lags because he is slower at completing tasks than his classmates.  This discourages him from pushing harder to succeed.

I have really enjoyed these posts.  They have made me think critically about the Flint text and how it is applied to “real-life” in real classrooms.



Filed under EDUC 513 - Teaching Language Arts and Reading

4 responses to “513 – Working with Struggling Readers and Writers

  1. Hi Katie!

    Hope your Thanksgiving was great! My class does partner read, where the students are in pairs and take turns reading to each other. They are paired up with someone of a similar reading level. When the class first started doing this, about 2 months into the school year, I was shocked. I am in Kindergarten and I did not see this being very beneficial in the classroom. The first few weeks that we did were tough and we constantly had to remind the students to stay on task, read to each other, etc. I really didn’t see any benefit in doing it. However, as the week progressed the kids got better and better at it and I am so impressed every time I go into the classroom and they are doing it. It did take some work, but I really think that with time, something like this could be really be beneficial in any classroom, and especially one with many struggling readers!

    See you soon!


  2. alexearl

    The way that Flint fleshed out the different ways in which learners struggle with literacy made for very interesting reading. Determining how our students struggle is a major part of our job as teachers. Right now, that charge seems rather intimidating (to me, at least). But, with time, I’m sure we’ll be able to see the underlying causes of our students’ difficulties much more easily.

    Though this chapter was about the challenges that students face with literacy, Flint really made me think a lot about the challenges that teachers will face. Your post made me think about this again. Your CT sounds like a great teacher who really knows what’s best for her students and can read their situations really well. What I found really encouraging about the way that your CT runs her classroom is the number of read alouds she does throughout the day. It is amazing how easy it is to sneak literacy practices in to make the students time at school (even the “easy” stuff, like listening to a story) worthwhile for their literacy development.

  3. caraknight

    As teachers we need to acknowledge that our students are struggling, but then also acknowledge that we need to find a way to teach them. In many cases we as teachers could continue to help the students, but until we look at what the students are struggling with and then look at their interests to help them learn we are not going to make a difference. As teachers we need to help our students with activities and assignments that interest them. If a student is not interested in the topic then they are not going to want to learn. We know that not one child is alike and we need to make sure our classroom is made for all our individual students.

  4. lmcneely

    So far in my second grade classroom, I haven’t seen any buddy reading either and I agree that it looks like a worthwhile practice. I think that teachers can probably take away a lot from listening in on the conversations that the students would have with each other. I liked your phrasing when you said that it is our responsibility to cater our instruction to our student’s needs. If I were to create a list of the major things that I learned this semester in this course, that sentence would be towards the top. I believe that statement and want to make it real in my classroom!

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