My low students, just don't get to read!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by buck8teacher, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Oct 27, 2010

    Hi friends! This year I'm struggling with ideas for helping my lower students. I have many students who are BR(0) according to their SRI tests, late first grade on STAR, very below benchmark on Dibels, and have SEVERE decoding weaknesses.

    For whatever reason, these baby's former teachers didn't see them fit to begin RTI long ago, and are now in third grade without IEPs, and are well....struggling. Due to the nature of the RTI process, it will be months before an IEP is in place, and while I'm lucky enough to have an aide for much of my classroom instruction, I just can help but wonder if what I'm doing is really helping these kids.

    It's a proven fact that the more you read, the better reader you are. It takes these students a painfully long time to read our weekly story, we HAVE to use our basal program, and their weekly leveled reader. But then I have to teach them a comprehension skill on top of exerting, what is for some students all their mental stamina. We've been working in small groups round robin, but that's ineffective according to our reading specialist, and my graduate instructors....which I agree. These students just need to read, but they can't...they aren't in the room for self selected reading, they go to Title 1 Reading, and all their at school reading is WAY over their head.

    Most of these students are from low socioeconomic situations without a lot of parent support, so even though they are able to pick a book from school in their level to read at home on their reading logs, I can't guarantee that they read it!

    I'm just at a lost for how to help these kids. Even though I'm not a big fan of the basal, my average to high preforming kids a lot spend time reading with partners or independently to practice our focus skills, where my low friends really just struggle to get through the story, but yet somehow they need to understand main idea and detail, character traits, etc.......

    We've been doing choral readings in our small group, I read, they read back to me....but for some stories that just won't work. I often have them listen to the CD, and then we read together, but again...doesn't work for all stories.

    Any advice, suggestions, are greatly appreciated.

    I teach third grade, and the independent reading level of these 4 friends in question are mid to late first grade. A HUGE gap between them and their peers.

    We HAVE to use the basal and it's program components....and these students receive fluency inventions in addition to Title 1 reading small group instruction for about 35 mins a day.
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 27, 2010

    Due to the nature of the RTI process, it will be months before an IEP is in place

    The RTI process can be skipped and evaluations can be started ASAP, to get the ball rolling on the IEP process.
     
  4. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Even with IEPs, their day would not look much different. Since I am an inclusion teacher.
     
  5. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Is it really an LD issue? I think I would look at them carefully before jumping to get them an IEP. From how it sounds, it sounds like a lot of the problem might be that your school is not allowing true differentiation to happen. I am sure that both you and their previous teachers do the best they can to differentiate the story you are foreced to read with them weekly, but if the text is too hard, it's too hard, and they are going to have a lot of trouble learning those decoding strategies.

    I know it sounds like a lot of extra work, but do you think that they could work on the whole class story, and then when you pull them in a small group work on a text that is at their instructional level? I mean, if you are only covering one story in a whole week, they aren't getting a whole lot of exposure to text either. I know I cover 2-3 stories in a week with each of my groups. Jan Richardson has some great 20 minute lesson plans that hit all the skills that this group probably needs.

    Also, keep in mind their parental support at home. They (like my students) probably aren't reading at home. You need to try to give them as much time everyday to practice reading to guarantee that practice time. You can get guided reading books on Science and Social studies topics too, so that you can tie reading into that part of the day too!
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 28, 2010

    If you have to use the basal, can you get copies of what 1st Grade is using? This is why I hate scripted programs-there's no way to hit all levels of a class with one text. Maybe sign up for Reading A-Z and print readers for them to take home with them. If it's decoding skills they are struggling with-what specifically-blending, sound/letter correspondence? Those are the skills you could focus on building up in your small groups. That's what I do with my very low kids-we skip the guided reading and just do activities to focus on those skills in the small group instruction.

    You're right-having them read daily at a frustrational level is just not going to help them grow.
     
  7. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Kinder, it's everywhere. Blends, long vowels, short vowels. Because of my super's insistence on using the program, that is what I have to use. :( They do a lot of decoding work with on level readers at Title, but it's not enough.

    UVA, two of these friends have great support at home. I know they read with them, make them do their spelling homework, etc....but they still struggle. I teacher in a lower income school and I've never seen some friends struggle like this.

    I hate it because even if they get on IEP, our LD reading teacher doesn't really do a whole lot of modifying. So even time in her room wouldn't on their level. These kids just need to read, and read book they understand. Our morning work is planners and reading, so at least a part of the day, they can read their own selected books.

    I just feel horrible, because I've seen work avoidance from a few of them, probably because it's just to hard. :(
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    School is required to modify under IDEA if the student requires it.

    if the teacher is untrained in the modification of work, the school is obligated to pay for training for the teachers of the child.

    School would provide remediation, hopefully a good program like Wilson.

    Resource Room for reading might be best for them if they are currently unable to read
     
  9. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    I think it is ridiculous that you are required to teach from a basal. That goes against all the research about the benefits of differentiated instruction. They're learning nothing by staring at a book that they can't read the words, let alone comprehend. Do you have a literacy consultant or anyone you can talk to about this. I agree with another poster about getting the 1st grade basal. That being said, our students don't qualify for an IEP unless they are more than two grade levels behind. I'm guessing these students have always been right on the borderline and that is why they haven't qualified in the past.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    False.

    Academic performance is not a factor in getting tested for an IEP.

    I got 80s/90s all through HS. Does that mean that I shouldn't have had an IEP?
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I suggest your school get on board with Richard Allington (http://www.teachersread.net/ )...He's dynamic...Read his research on RTI and struggling readers...if you embrace what he has to say (research based!!) it could change your school paradigm of what 'really matters' for kids.
     
  12. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Thanks for the above link, czacza. It's just frustrating because I KNOW what works best for kids, and what we do isn't it. But yet our district's big push is fidelity to district purchased programs. I can tell you why 8 of our schools didn't meet AYP....but that's neither here, nor there. I'm just grasping for straws as to who to make this work now. Even our leveled readers that go with our series are way to high for two of my students. While they have made some nice progress in areas, I'm just frustrated as to why these kiddos have gone through three years at my school, and nothings been done until now. They haven't benchmarked in Dibels, nor anywhere close, and their SRIs have been stagnant at BR O for the same amount of time.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sometimes schools do not like to acknowledge problems in reading, and just pass the kid onto the next grade, thinking that they'll be better when they are more mature in the next grade
     
  14. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Oct 29, 2010

    bros,
    This is not the case in my school. We do try to service our kids, but for MOST of our kids, having a private evaluation for a learning disability is not an option. As district, we are bleeding and red, and my two kids in question are from low income families. While they may want the best for their kids, they can't afford expensive evaluations like suggested.

    Until I can get them the intensive supports they need, I'll continue to modify, try new things, makes changes based on their needs daily. However, my resources are a bit limited due conflicting philosophies between myself and my administration as the programs that we have to use.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The low kids need work in decoding. More than likely they need work in other areas such as phonemic awareness as well.

    Having them continually attempt to read above their ability to decode will not make them read better. You are misapplying a principle - the more one reads the better they get. This does not apply giving a student a book that they couldn't possibly read. It has the opposite outcome. The reader continues to be frustrated, starts to guess, particularly if encouraged to do so using picture cues or context cues and develops poor compensation skills instead of reading skills.

    These kids need back to basics phonemic awareness and decoding skills. Work on comprehension orally if necessary and teach them to follow along with a pencil eraser or their finger when someone is reading out loud.

    Move them into decodable text for them. All words must be readable.

    By avoiding the underlying issue you are actually prolonging the reading difficulties. By trying to have them "reading" it is actually worse for them because their skills aren't to the ability of the text you are giving.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Schools is obligated to pay for an evaluation. If the parent does not feel it is enough, the school is obligated to pay for an independent educational evaluation unless the school can defend their evaluations and evaluators and claim that there is no problem whatsoever with the testing (Most of the problem, they cannot)
     
  17. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    How long is this time? Maybe you could try to pull a small group of them at this time and do a quick guided reading group. As I mentioned before, Jan Richardson has some great 20 minute lessons that hit a lot of essential skills for those low readers. She even has a 10 minute intervention plan. Any time that you can squeeze in doing some guided reading with them of a text at their instructional level (rather than frustrational level) is better than nothing! Even if you just get to them twice a week... it's still more than they are getting now.
     
  18. MelissainGA

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    buck8,

    I wish I could provide a magic wand for you to smack the admin with to make them wake up and realize that they aren't doing what is best for the children. I also have children that are below level (5 of them are at least 1 to 3 levels below where they should be). I do not have to use the basal with them. In fact since I do not feel that the basal is worth the use for the majority of the students (out of my 19, I might choose to use it with maybe my top 5 or 6 and then only certain stories from it). I have been able to pull whatever I felt was necessary (national geographic readers, reading a-z stories, edhelper stories, or scholastic chapter books). Using these methods I have seen progress in all but 1 student. That student has finally gotten through the RTI program far enough that she is about to be tested for special education services (in my opinion it should have been done long before now but oh well at least maybe this year the kid might actually have accommodations with testing). I know it's frustrating.
     
  19. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    It's really scary, because it seems like my district is eliminating all teacher creativity from every subject. They are piloting a new scripted writing program, they want us to follow Treasures to the T, and keep us on a strict calendar in math, causing me to freak out if I'm a day behind, even though it's the best for my kids.

    I was talking to my reading coach about it, but she's just as frustrated. Even the below level readers that go with our stories are too advanced for most of our low kids. However, she didn't have a lot of helpful advice to go off of.

    UVA, my morning work time is about 15 minutes, and end of that time, two of my students that would benefit are pulled for decoding interventions.
     
  20. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    buck8teacher, I understand your frustration. We are expected to follow the curriculum to the T as well. It is rather difficult to differentiate and provide options to the students. I also feel that the students are losing creativity and a love of learning because of this curriculum mandated policy.

    However, I also know that all students are receiving an equal education in my school because no one can do anything different.

    It does worry me because what I loved in school has been all but eliminated!
     
  21. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    15 minutes is still enough time to do some guided reading! Take advantage of this time. It will also help when you go through the eligibility process... this can be your documented intervention that you have tried. That way you can show that you are doing these interventions, and they are still not progressing at the expected rate. The stronger you present your case, the more likely it is that the child will be identified. You can't just say that they aren't progressing, you need to show what you are doing to help them. I don't know how your district works, but here even if they are being pulled for reading help, the classroom teacher still needs to put interventions in place in the classroom.
     

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