Adolescent Literacy Tips for Struggling Readers
Beth Morrow wrote a helpful guest post for the ASCD blog titled Seven Considerations When Developing Adolescent Literacy.
Based on her experience in middle school classrooms that include students who struggle to read and write, Beth makes these suggestions:
- Start with a thorough assessment of literacy skills at the most basic level.
- Predetermine the focus of instruction: improve literacy or develop content-area knowledge.
- Incorporate picture books and simpler texts.
- Allow students to self-select reading materials without peer or adult judgment.
- Give students a safe place to read, write, and express themselves.
- Transparency must be a part of the instructional process (i.e., be honest about how students are doing).
- Use routine to improve focus and ease anxiety.
I suggest you read this short, easy-to-read piece for some helpful, overall suggestions for addressing the needs of older struggling readers in content classrooms.
Your statement about transparency being a part of the instructional process definitely hit home with me. After I administer Fountas and Pinnell’s Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), I show the students where they fell on the Instructional Level Expectations for Reading Chart. This gives them a better idea of where they stand, and where they need to be by mid and end of the year.