Literacy Classroom: Strategies to Help Struggling Adolescent Readers

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Teaching Struggling Adolescent Readers How to Succeed in a Literacy Classroom

Jayme Swenson

A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements of
Lesley University
Sherrie Gammage, M. Ed
EDUC 6125: Dimensions of Learning and Teaching
| | |646 Hulbert Rd. W | |Bozeman, MT 59718 | | |406-539-8326 | | | | | |Sherrie Gammage, M.Ed. | | |Erika Dawes | |

August 2010

Intervention programs and strategies have different roles in the literacy classroom. Research reviewed suggests that teachers use direct and explicit instruction when teaching intervention programs and strategies to struggling adolescent readers. Direct and explicit instruction helps enhance a struggling adolescents' reading ability and, therefore, helps them to succeed in the literacy classroom. Struggling adolescent readers also need to be actively engaged and motivated in daily literacy activities. Strategies that help struggling readers improve their comprehension include reciprocal teaching, think-aloud, understanding and using knowledge of text structure, questioning practices, retellings, vocabulary development activities, cloze activities, and peer-facilitated activities. Research shows that it takes multiple approaches to help struggling adolescent become “proficient” readers, there is no specific program/strategy that will do so.

How does one teach struggling adolescent readers to succeed in the literacy classroom? Our school has recently adopted the Response to Intervention model (RTI). Based on my experience with RTI, I often wonder if strategies and/or intervention programs are the best way to teach struggling students how to read. Palumbo and Sanacore (2009) say that those who struggle with learning benefit from the use of direct instruction for language development, decoding, and comprehension when used in a contextual framework. If this is so, then which of the proven practice intervention programs truly offer the most benefit for struggling students? I have learned that there are five researched-based principles that should be used when evaluating the interventions for struggling adolescent readers (Fisher & Ivey, 2006). As a special education and Title I teacher for the past four years I am often asked what intervention programs and/or strategies are the best for struggling readers and I feel that I never have the right or a “good enough” educated answer to give. To attempt to answer this question I will examine studies and literature that have sought to determine what intervention programs and strategies are best to service the struggling student population. It is my intention to review literature related to struggling adolescent readers, reading intervention programs, and reading strategies. I want to research this topic so that I can better help service school districts and students. I want an overflowing backpack of knowledge with tools, techniques, advice, and comfort. I will provide a critical review of the literature on how to teach struggling adolescent readers to succeed in the literacy classroom that will include programs and/or strategies that will best service struggling readers. The visual map helps to layout what this critical review of the literature will...
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