Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reading Rockets: Helping Struggling Readers

Reading Rockets is a fantastic resource for parents and teachers for the area of reading. Below is an article I found under struggling readers. Please take a moment to take a look and check out some of the links.

Helping Struggling Readers

Did you know that learning to read is a challenge for almost 40 percent of kids? The good news is that with early help, most reading problems can be prevented. The bad news is that 44 percent of parents who notice their child having trouble wait a year or more before getting help.
Unfortunately, the older a child is, the more difficult it is to teach him or her to read. The window of opportunity closes early for most kids. If a child can't read well by the end of third grade, odds are that he or she will never catch up. And the effects of falling behind and feeling like a failure can be devastating.
Click below to find information on:
  • FAQs – Find answers to real questions from real parents about reading and learning disabilities
  • Q&A with nationally known experts – A new monthly feature covering topics such as assessment, cognition and learning, and educational technology
  • Why They Struggle – Learn why some kids struggle with reading
  • Target the Problem! – Pinpoint the problem a struggling reader is having and discover ways to help
  • Assessment Process – Find out how to get your child evaluated
  • Parent as Advocate – Why you need to toughen up and stand up for your child
  • Finding Help – Where to get extra help for your struggling reader
  • Self-Esteem and Reading Difficulties – What else suffers when kids struggle in school and what they can do to help themselves
  • Struggling Readers – Find more Reading Rockets resources, including inside the classroom video, webcasts, articles, and related research
Early identification is crucial. Please, if you suspect a problem, don't hesitate. Learn about reading difficulties, get your child assessed, find out what you can do to help your struggling reader, and don't give up!

Related articles

Parents are often the first to suspect their child has a reading problem. An expert alerts parents to some of the earliest indicators of a reading difficulty.
Children come to our classrooms from so many different ability levels and backgrounds. As a teacher, it's important to recognize and know what to do to help a struggling reader.
Reading difficulties likely occur on a continuum, meaning that there is a wide range of students who experience reading difficulties. There are those students who are diagnosed with a learning disability. There is also an even larger group of students who do not have diagnoses but who need targeted reading assistance.
A look at three pivotal longitudinal studies that clearly show: Late bloomers are rare; skill deficits are almost always what prevent children from blooming as readers.
What should you do if you think your child is having trouble with reading? Sometimes children just need more time, but sometimes they need extra help. Trust your instincts! You know your child best. If you think there's a problem, there probably is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


This is a newsletter that I signed up for and love to read about RTI.  Take a moment to check it out.  The link is located at the bottom if you wish to sign up.

Greetings from "The RTI Guy"!
It has been a while since I have answered your email questions in my newsletter so I thought I would take a little time this week to do just that!
Barbara writes...
"You say in your book and newsletter that Tier Three is delivered by special education staff.  Our district does not do that.  What's up?"
Nothing is up Barbara, just different semantics.  Some schools use a three-tier model of RTI and others use a four or even five-tier model.  Usually the top tier is special education, but in some schools they consider all of the tiers as "pre-special education".  In other words, all of the tiers must happen before a student is considered for special education.
In the end, it is all semantics.  Tier One is almost always what is happening in the full classroom.  After that we switch to small group interventions.  As you go up in tiers, the groups get smaller and the interventions get more intense.
The most important thing to keep in mind is not the words that you use.  What you want to keep in mind is "Do your interventions actually involve instruction?" and "Are you measuring to see if your interventions are actually working?"
Next Question:
Mike emails this question...
"How do I get my teachers to do Progress Monitoring?  They complain that it is extra work!"
Great question Mike!  Progress monitoring is new for many teachers, and sometimes is extra work.

The first teaching you must do is to teach why the chapter tests are not progress monitoring.  Each chapter test measure a different skill set.  Progress monitoring measures the SAME skill set repeatedly so that you can see a student's growth over time.

Then you must equip teachers will a simple progress monitoring tool.  At the elementary level this is usually an Oral Reading Fluency test like DIBELS or a reading comprehension test like the STAR reading test from Renaissance Learning.

Teachers should be expected to monitor the progress of specific students (who were identified with the Universal Screener) at least once each week and graph the results.

This is the only way that a teacher will know if their classroom instruction is working.
Hope this helps!
Eric writes:
"How are ELL (English Language Learners) students handled in RTI?"
This is an issue many schools struggle with.  The key is to apply the same principles that we do with all students within RTI: Try, Measure, Try Again!

First you have them experience full class instruction.  Progress monitor to see if they are learning during this.  If they are, keep it up!

If full class instruction is not being effective, try small group instruction in addition to full class instruction.  Progress monitor to see if they are learning during this.  If they are, keep it up!

If small group instruction is not being effective, keep trying smaller groups and more minutes of instruction.

The pattern is the same with ELL students as it is with non-ELL students:

Try something, measure, adjust.

Most importantly, DON'T keep doing something that is not working.  We don't have the time or money to waste.
Finally, a question from Monica:
"How do students with IEPs fit in RTI?"
Some schools will say that they don't fit in RTI...they already have an IEP so just do what is written in the IEP.
Other schools apply the core RTI concepts we keep talking about. 
First, make sure the intervention recommended by the IEP is research validated.
Second, use a valid progress monitoring tool to measure whether the student is learning or not.
After a period of time (usually 6-12 weeks) if the student is not making progress (as measured by your valid progress monitoring tool) you should change the intervention to one with greater intensity.
That is the core of RTI:  try something, measure, and if it is not working try something else.
It still works with IEP students.
Keep those questions coming...I would love to hear the specific issues you are dealing with at your school!
Looking for good interventions?  Don't forget to visit our new intervention review site by going to www.TotalRTI.com and clicking on "Intervention Reviews".
Have a great week!
-Pat Quinn
"The RTI Guy"