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.

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