Will they ever reach grade level?

I don’t know if you ever ask yourself this question.  "Will these 5 kids EVER get to grade level?"  "How can I help?" "I have tried everything!"  {Cue melodramatic soap opera music}. 

This year I have a few little souls who just need so so so so much from me, and it’s never enough.  But I have learned a few little tricks that have been Ahhhhh-mazing. 

I have 3 comprehension tips for you today!

Use your Fall curriculum at the Guided Reading table in the Spring. Do this with your struggling readers:
 We are reading the stories in “small group” that we read “whole group” in August.  I have to tell you the kids are thrilled beyond measure with themselves. The last time the class was interacting with this material it was way too hard for them. Now it’s just right! 

That feels so good to them! Never mind that it is far below grade level. They could be reading a far below grade level “little reader” book and feel terrible about themselves. Instead, they can “see” how much they have grown and they are beaming! They are flying through the stories. I mean FLYING, and we all know that success breeds more success.  We are reading about 2 stories a week, maybe 3, and have moved on to the second anthology!

Breaking it down: 
Do they really have to eat the whole banana in one bite? Of course not, but as simple as it sounds these kids have a hard time trying things bite by bite. They “think” they can’t do hard things, so often they won’t even take the first step or the first bite.We have to cut it up for them, like babies until they build confidence. I am hoping that someday they will be avid readers, and that when they look back on first grade they remember being proud of themselves at my reading table.

Helping them read accurately and build rich mental images: 
I created some pages on making mental images/following directions, and it really helped my kids in Trimester 2. This is one that I did with my whole class in January. They read and interact with the text in order to learn to focus and to build richer and more detailed metal images.   These pages will also tell you really quickly who is not reading carefully.
The "following directions" poster is helping students throughout the whole day! I see them access the poster in math as well as English Language Arts.  The unit grows in complexity ever so slowly over the course of 35 school days. There are 35 half sheet activities and a test.   I hope this unit helps your students shine! It has made a world of difference in my classroom.

Click tpt


  1. This looks great. It is in my cart! What a great resource and I feel the same way you do right now about my little babies that are a little slower at the big picture!

  2. Love these ideas! This will be a great resource for me since I'm a future teacher! :) Thanks for sharing.

    Recess and Beyond

  3. This pack looks amazing! I too start worrying near the end of the year. We all have those babies who struggle and just need that extra attention. It is so difficult at times! But I love this and have put it on my wish list! Come over and check out my blog!

    Polka Dots, Checks and Stripes

  4. I love this post Katie! It's so true, I'm tutoring a little girl on modified Wed. just on my own time of course to try and get her to grade level...she's SOOO close. We work so hard - and it looks like your cute little packet would be helpful too. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Wednesday. Modified Day for me so I { heart } Wednesdays. <3
    Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After

  5. So many great ideas! I hadn't thought of going back to beginning of the year materials, that is a great way to build their confidence!

    Sweet Tea and Second Grade

  6. Going back to the beginning of the year stuff was a good idea! It would even be nice to try and compare (for yourself) the difference in their reading from then and now!
    Third Grade Tidbits

  7. I love this idea. Such a great way to practice directions... I can see this as a nice way to start the day!

  8. This looks really good so I added it to my wish list. I already bought some of your items and really like them. I also have 4 out of 34 I guess isn't too bad for first. Yes, 34 and its too crazy. After 16 years in first I do think I need a grade level change. It's too much! I stress way too much!


Comments Welcome! Due to spam comments, I must approve your comment before it will appear.