How to help struggling readers

My mother, Mrs. Karle, who wrote this program, was a reading specialist.  She taught for 25 years and many people called her the reading doctor.  If first through third grade students were struggling with reading, they would assign those students to her.  The students would go to her classroom for 1/2 hour each day and she would work with them to help improve their reading.  The students would see such success that they would actually surpass their peers in ability to read by the end of the year.  She had many English as a second language students, many students with dyslexia, but, no matter the reason, she was able to help them succeed.  After she retired, she wrote the Sight and Sound Reading program.  I discovered it when I wanted to teach my daughter to read and she pulled out books and book and books out of the basement -all of which she wrote.  It was so easy to teach my daughter to read that I decided to put the entire program online so others could help their own children and students.  Today I wanted to talk about how to help struggling readers: more specifically, how to help a classroom of struggling readers.

Sight and Sound Reading Review from Facebook

In many ways, my answer is the same whether you are trying to help an individual student, or a classroom of struggling readers, but if you are looking to help an individual who is struggling to read, please seem my post:  Help for Struggling Readers.

Help a classroom of struggling readers learn to read better.

How to help struggling readers (in a classroom)

You likely already have a reading program that your school uses.  In addition to whatever reading program you are using, I suggest following along with our learn to read free program.  You can do this by watching the videos/using the worksheets, or you can get our entirely word for word scripted teachers manual found in our premium membership.    Here is how I would then supplement our program within a classroom.

Teaching Reading Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help your Child Learn to ReadTeaching Reading Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help your Child Learn to ReadSight and Sound Reading: Daily Reading Workbook: Color EditionSight and Sound Reading: Daily Reading Workbook: Color EditionSight and Sound Reading: Daily Reading Workbook - black and white copySight and Sound Reading: Daily Reading Workbook – black and white copy

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1)  Do Day 1 of our program.  (Sign up for the email to get Day 1 sent to you-OR, you can see Day 1 in the app)… In Day 1 we teach the students the words “good” and “morning”.  It does not matter if many of your students already know these words.  We want your students to feel confident in what they are reading.  A student who is confident with what the are reading likes to read so we want to start the program at a point where all students are confident with what the are reading.  (You could start later in the program too – just make sure everyone is confient.  We suggest that you chorally (read out loud with your students reading along) the Day 1 worksheet.  Have them shout it out, have them whisper it, have them say it fast, have them say it slow.  Have fun with it.

2)  The next day review Day 1 and then do Day 2.  We do not learn any new words.  Read the reading out loud chorally again.  The readers who are really good at reading will bring the struggling readers up.  Read it a few times – fast, slow, loud, soft, etc.  Make sure you are using a pointer and modeling as you read.  When you are finished with Day 2, give the students the Day 1 handout/worksheet.  Have them read the worksheet to themselves and circle all the words they know.  When they circle all the words they know, this shows them that they know the words and it helps to build confidence.  Then, have the students take home Day 1 and read it to their parents, or siblings, or grandparents, or their dog or stuffed animal.  Tell them to read it at least 3 times to someone who will listen.  Have them bring back their worksheet the next day to keep in a folder for them.

3)  On Day 3, do the same thing:  Review by reading Day 2, then learn new words and concepts and read Day 3 together.  Then, have the children circle the words they know from Day 2 and take it home to practice.

4)  On Day 4, do the same thing:  Review by reading Day 3, then learn new words and concepts and ready Day 4 together.  Then, have the children circle the words they know from Day 2 and take it home to practice…

You could do this is small reading groups, or with the entire classroom.  Then, we suggest when you get to around Day 15 to 20, you can start explicitly doing our word families and our phonics program.  It is great to start with the word families/word ladders because children learn the patterns and rhyming quickly.  So, spend time doing the daily reading worksheets, as described above, and then spend some time each day doing a word ladder exercise.  Each word family has 3 days of teach materials so there is a lot of review and a lot explicit learning of vocabulary and a lot of writing together to practice writing and spelling skills.

The phonics videos and worksheets are great because they are slow and repetitive, and are great for teaching phonics, spelling, and writing.  Add in a worksheet a day where you chorally go through each one (like Mrs Karle does).  Student need this direct, explicit, slow, repetitive instruction.  The children that know how to read and do these things will pull up the struggling ones and become leaders.  You can even have each student come up and lead the class and help each day.

This is essentially how Mrs. Karle ran her classroom each day.  She would take the students who were struggling in a regular classroom and follow this routine and then send them back each day.  By mid year, the struggling readers were surpassing their peers.   The free videos show you exactly what to do but the teacher’s manual says word for word what to say and do to help with fluency, comprehension, sight word, phonics….  reading!  We have had several classroom teachers use the program with great success.  Reviews can be found here.  All of the materials for this program can be found for free here on our site…(just sign up for the free reading program and we send you the info)…OR, they are found in our premium membership.   If you want to save on printing costs for our free worksheets, you can purchase the book on amazon.  We also have word for word teachers manual on amazon as well…Regardless -if you ever have any questions about a student/students or just want help with something -email me!  [email protected]

Teaching Reading Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help your Child Learn to ReadTeaching Reading Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help your Child Learn to ReadSight and Sound Reading:  Daily Reading Workbook: Color EditionSight and Sound Reading:  Daily Reading Workbook: Color EditionSight and Sound Reading:  Daily Reading Workbook - black and white copySight and Sound Reading:  Daily Reading Workbook – black and white copy

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If you liked this article, you will like:

Help for Struggling Readers.
Kindergarten Lesson Plan with Modifications
Sight Word Football Game
Kindergarten Teaching Ideas

2 Comments

    1. Hi there, I would love to add you to my boards. I do not have a Special Education Community one that I am a leader on….but, I do have a Lesson Plan for Kindergarten and a Preschool Kindergarten Activities board… would either of those interest you? Feel free to email me at [email protected] too 🙂

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