Two Tips for Tuesday – Struggling Readers

Happy Tuesday Everyone!  It’s time for another Two Tips for Tuesday for your struggling readers!   I know….you don’t have any of those.  But just in case you do in the future….ya know someday…….    Soooo….last week we said we’d start out sharing ideas for the learning behaviors that are so often issues for our struggling readers.  We started with attention difficulties last time.  This time we have a couple of tips for attention and memory  retention that also have to do with motivation and engagement.  These are biggies here in Washington with our new 5D teacher evaluation system, but more importantly are also big for some of our strugglers.  For various reasons, many just don’t “wanna” read or can’t seem to retain what they have read!  So here are two of my fave “it-works-for-me” strategies for those kiddos.  These are also great for your wiggly, unfocused sweetums!

Tip 1

Bring in an item they would love (Toys? YES, Candy? YES, Celery and Carrots?  Not-so-much) that relates to the story you are going to read. Tell the kiddles that it is a clue to help them predict what you are going to read about.  Now…it helps if it is a little abstract rather than an obvious match…and let them predict away!  Let’s try it!  See this goody…..predict what you think our book might be about!  

Good guesses….but…..we are going to read about “Night Workers.”

I then have the kiddles read and think about why I brought a police car….how does it connect to the story?  This REALLY gets my kiddos every time.  They are motivated to be “THE CHAMPIONS” of figuring out the connection – and- ..ding, ding, ding….. BONUS, all that thinking helps them “hook” their new learning to their memory and increase retention!  Yippee!    Of course we do the happy dance when they figure it out!  And I must say…our happy dance is pretty dang hilarious!  Just imagine the most ridiculous dance we could do and you’ve probably got it!  (Maybe I’ll film it someday……or maybe not!)  Motivating though?  You bet! 

Here are some other items to spark their thinking:  Lego…when you are reading about building something.  Smarties candy…when you are going to read about a wise character.

Tip 2

Okay…..I need to have true confessions time now and confess that I’m a fan of letting my kiddos whack things!  They alllll love it, and it is especially  motivating for the boys who are “too cool for school!”  Well….it does get their attention AND they love it AND they are highly engaged… they retain the learning! Woohoo!  What’s better than that?  So let’s get to the whacking….word whacking that is!

The Word Whack Game

For this game, you spread out a bunch of word cards that you would like the sweetums to learn or practice…translated:  REMEMBER!!!   (By the way….it also works fabulously well with math fact cards, shapes cards for the youngers, and lots of other things!)  Then you give them this fabulous tool!

Then you spread out the cards.  Next, you tell one student a word to find.  He or she must find the word and whack it.  If they whack the correct word, they get to keep it in their pile.  Then on to the next student and so on.  Another version is to give the student a clue for the word.  He or she not only has to think about the clue to determine the word, but must also read and find the word.  Proof that it is motivating?  This was a group of my 5th graders today practicing their Fry words!  They LOVED it!  By the way….if you would like a freebie of blank spider cards to write words on, like the ones in the picture, you can get them here.

So there ya go!  Hope these gave you some ideas or sparked some other new ideas!  Here’s to a great week!

Happy Teaching!

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