Promoting Reading Development at All Levels

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Successful teachers provide support for students of all skill and ability levels. This lesson will provide strategies for promoting reading comprehension skills for all students and show how these strategies work in a classroom.

Reading Development for All

Lorie has a class full of students of varying reading skills and abilities. When she first started teaching, she would have used the same materials and methods to teach all her students. Now she knows that providing instruction for each student on specific ability levels increases success and learning. Using strategies that promote reading comprehension skills for students of every stage ensures all students make progress.

Educators like Lorie once thought reading development meant teaching students comprehension skills and they either got it or didn't. Now Lorie knows reading development means using strategies to help each student make progress in reading comprehension. How does this work? Let's take a look.

Determining Comprehension Needs

Before Lorie can begin giving her students instruction, she needs to first determine their needs. How does she do this? Lorie can use a few ways to figure out a student's reading level:

Screenings - Lorie can use screenings to determine a student's reading level. During these screenings, Lorie reads with the student, listens to him or her, and records reading accuracy and fluency. After the reading, she'll ask the student questions to assess comprehension. The text Lorie uses for these screenings is leveled so she can then place the student in an appropriate spot.

Teachers screen students by reading with them.
reading with students

Observations - Lorie reads and works with her students often. During these times, she watches her students closely and takes notes on what she sees. She uses these notes to assess her students' abilities to use and apply comprehension skills.

Lorie knows her students' reading levels are constantly evolving. With quality instruction, they make progress and move up to the next level. Keeping an eye on each student's reading level helps her provide quality reading strategies for all learners. She does this in three ways.

Whole Group Instruction

Many reading comprehension strategies are introduced, taught, and practiced as a whole class. To make sure she reaches all her students during reading instruction, Lorie:

  • Asks frequent questions
  • Has quality discussions
  • Checks for comprehension with techniques like 'thumbs up'
  • Takes frequent breaks and summarizes information

Teachers can work with students to ask questions.
students

During teaching, Lorie engages students by using interesting text and making students active participants. For example, when teaching her class how to make mental images while reading, Lorie has students draw their mental images in their reading notebooks. She checks in with students during this lesson to make sure they're on task, asking them to talk about their thinking and paying closer attention to students who need more help.

After teaching a lesson, Lorie offers students a chance to practice the skill independently, on their own level.

Small Group Learning

Lorie also promotes reading development at all levels by providing small group learning opportunities. She regularly meets with students in guided reading groups in two ways.

When grouping by reading level, she works with a group of 3-6 students all on the same reading level. This is called homogeneous grouping, or grouping by one requirement, in this case, grouping by reading level. Remember how she figured out reading level earlier? That's right; she gave a screening to determine initial levels and then used ongoing observations and screenings to monitor progress.

In leveled reading groups, Lorie works on skills necessary to improve student reading and comprehension skills using a book on the students' level. For example, when meeting with students in a level F group, they will read a text on that level and work on skills appropriate and necessary to promote reading development.

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