new teacher + Houghton Mifflin Reading

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by newbie1, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. newbie1

    newbie1 Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    I'm a first year special education teacher and I just got a job pulling students out and keeping them on class level or teaching my own curriculum. I am going to be pulling out a second grader and teaching him reading, using the houghton mifflin reading book. I looked in the teacher's edition and I'm feeling super overwhelmed, there is just so much!!! I don't know where to start. I am also only working with this kid 4 times a week, 1/2 hr each session.
    Any suggestions on where to begin?
    (btw, I've worked with many cognitive and developmental students before, but never students with learning disabilities)
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2012

    Which particular houghton mifflin series? Will you have access to any other curricula? Have you done an assessment yet, and if so what are your results?
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2012

    Start with an assessment of the student's skills (what is he able to do, what does he need to work on).

    Then I would probably look at the below and on level resources to see if these would fit the student's needs.
     
  5. newbie1

    newbie1 Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I have not actually met this student yet, but I will hopefully begin working with him some time this week. I've heard many mixed messages about him. To me, from what teachers have told me, it seems like he reads well (on level)and may have the most trouble with comprehension. It also seems like he's got behavior issues and one teacher refuses to work with him, which is why they're in such a hurry for me to start.
    I believe he's on theme5, HOme Sweet Home. As far as I know, I don't have access to any other curricula.

    ARe there specific assessments that you like using best when you meet students?
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I prefer a reading inventory of some kind. But if you don't have access to one, a running record with a retelling can be pretty good too.

    If the student struggles with comprehension, you may want to get yourself a copy of strategies that work and a cafe menu. This will give you a list of strategies that you can teach the child how to read and some examples of lessons. I would probably start with stories that lend themselves to strong visuals so that you can work on making a movie in your head and really describing the visual.
     
  7. newbie1

    newbie1 Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2012

    Thanks!
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2012

    Mostly seconding mopar's suggestions, I would recommend starting with DIBELS (free online) or similar assessment that gives you basic information on his reading fluency, accuracy, phonics, and phonemic awareness. DIBELS doesn't give you a whole lot of info on his comprehension, but EasyCBM (also free online) does have some good passages with comprehension questions at the end.

    Once you've administered those general outcomes measures, you can compare his scores against norms given with those measures (though not sure that EasyCBM has norms available for comprehension - they might, but not sure).

    If you notice a particular weakness in one area, you'd then follow up with more specific assessments in those particular areas. Typically, those assessments involve you presenting him with various skills and seeing how he does with those skills, all with the point of identifying which skills he has and doesn't have, so that you have an "inventory" (as mopar mentioned) of what he can/can't do, which you can use to identify a starting point in terms of material. So, if you identify that he's "on level" with fluency, phonics, & phonemic awareness, but struggling with comprehension, you might consider teaching explicit comprehension strategies. If your available curriculum seems to do this well, you could use that, but may need to supplement or rearrange material if it doesn't address his particular needs.

    More generally, I'd be very cautious about concluding that a second grader referring for reading problems only struggled with comprehension/vocab, and not at all with phonics, phonemic awareness, or fluency. Fluent and accurate reading are highly correlated with comprehension, especially at lower grades, and it's unlikely that so early on in his academic career there would have been such a large gap between comprehension and fluency. If there is, it's much more likely to be due to language comprehension more generally or various reading behaviors such as "attending to text" than it is to deficit in comprehension strategies specifically related to reading, as there just hasn't been a whole lot of advanced comprehension work at that point. If that's the case, it doesn't necessarily change your approach - you'd still do an assessment, etc., just be aware that issues with comprehension aren't necessarily related to reading, but processing information more broadly, from lack of background knowledge to problems with working memory, etc., which might involve activating strategies beyond those typically found in the realm of "reading comprehension."

    And finally, once you do the assessment, it may be helpful for you to come back here and post follow-up information - we could then help you problem-solve other directions of assessment or interventions.
     
  9. newbie1

    newbie1 Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2012

    You just gave me some great information! I had forgotten about DIBELS and EasyCBM and just reviewed them.
    Thanks for your help and I most probably will come back after I assess this student.
     
  10. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Nov 18, 2012

    It sounds like he is reading the first grade book. Theme 5 is "Home Sweet Home" in first grade. After you determine his skill level, look at the Theme planner in the front of the book. Skills that are tested have a target by them. You might choose to focus on those skills for that Theme, or focus on the skills that he needs to work on(which you determined in the assessment) within the Theme.
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 19, 2012

    Good luck!
     
  12. newbie1

    newbie1 Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I still have not met this student, but there has been a change of plans. Apparently this kid was just tested and did extremely well in areas of decoding and comprehension. Instead of doing reading with this student I am now going to be working on writing. I'm going to get the teacher's lesson plans and then help the student keep up with the class, if possible. The teacher tells me he's very smart and she can't seem to figure out where he is having problems. She thinks it's something to do with auditory processing. I've seen a worksheet that he did and he does very well with everything but some spelling. some words are missing letters, but other words are spelled perfectly. There isn't any consistency(that I can see) with his mistakes. I'm more confused now than ever, but I guess I'll have to wait to meet him. I'm feeling very much like a first year teacher!!
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 23, 2012

    I wouldn't stress too much over it at this point - once you start working with him, you can do an assessment and you'll have a lot more information.
     

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