Let’s face it – there are tons of issues facing teachers today when it comes to working with students and helping them improve their literacy abilities. These issues are complex and complicated, and there are no simple solutions or one size fits all approaches.
Yeah – you knew that.
But still, you have to show up Monday morning and do something about it, right?
Enter the new Monday column called What You Can Do Right Now. It’s meant to give you practical tips you can implement right now, today, with very little effort. But don’t think that just because they require little effort that they are not going to do much. I present tips that are based in classroom research and that can help you get a good bang for your buck.
I’m a little late today, but in future weeks this will not be the case.
So…if you want to start to make an impact with your struggling readers here’s this week’s tip:
Over the next week, identify five students who you consider to be struggling readers. Take time to talk to them individually and ask them:
(a) to share what they read with you
(b) for ideas on what to read in class
(c) what they want to improve on
Why do this? While none of these things will necessarily help struggling readers improve immediately, they lay an important foundation. If you want to work with your struggling readers, if you really want to make a difference, then you have to take the time to know them as readers. This means listening to them and seeing them as more than students who lack skills.
Your students will appreciate you taking the time to have this discussion with you. In my own work with adolescents, I have learned that struggling readers desperately want to be heard by their teachers. Taking the time to talk to them, even for just five minutes, matters. Such conversations show you are interested in their well-being and can start laying the base for change.