Hi everyone! Hope your week is off to a great start. Here’s a Tip for Tuesday. Well, actually, it’s a reminder of something you probably already know. You see, with the CCSS and the push for text complexity, we see more and more that children are being placed into reading materials that are very difficult for them to access. It worries me. A lot. Not that working through complex text is a bad thing; it’s not at all. It’s just that we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and spend so much time working through complex text, that we limit the amount of “just right” reading that students are doing each day. Students need to be able to have lots and lots of practice with text that they can read…”just right” or “high success” reading…every single day, to make the maximum growth possible. Even more time than what they spend on almost every other reading activity. This is especially crucial for students who are below grade level. Oodles and oodles of research supports this. (See What Works For Struggling Readers by Richard Allington for a good look into the research.) In his book, Allington says, “The key point here is that the research has well demonstrated the need for students to have instructional texts that they can read accurately, fluently, and with good comprehension if we hope to foster academic achievement” (pg 47). When he came and spoke to our district, he explained that everything in your room counts. Books, charts on the wall, Scholastic News, handouts….everything counts towards daily reading. He said that most of these things are too difficult and are not high success reading for our struggling students. So, while on-grade-level students get benefit from reading these things, struggling readers do not. They simply cannot access them without a great deal of help and scaffolding, and so continue to fall behind.
So what’s the reminder? Make absolutely everything you possibly can, a “high success” reading opportunity for ALL of your students, and especially for your struggling readers. Take a hard look at your classroom. Fix all that you can. Fix your charts to make them readable for all. (I’m always surprised at the number of charts on walls that students can’t read. Yikes.) Choose books that students can actually read with high success. Well….you get the idea. Anywho, if we want children to improve in their reading, we have to give them things that they can read. Pretty simple really.
One more reminder…..in case no one has told you how amazing your are lately, let me do it. Teachers are THE most amazing people of all….and that means you, my friend! Thank you for all the hard work you do every day to help the kiddles! Have a great week!