Supporting all learners
When students struggle with reading or writing at any grade level, it is important to identify the specific area in which support is needed. Screeners, writing samples, listening to students read aloud and and other formative assessments can be helpful. Sometimes, bolstering activities that are already built into the ELA curriculum can be enough. At other times, especially for students in upper grades, you may need to use supplemental programs. Here are some resources.
Middle and high school students
- Implementing high-leverage practices in secondary schools (webinar)
Anita Archer, the leading scholarly voice on adolescent literacy, presents this webinar in which she models strategies to improve student engagement.
- Supporting Secondary Struggling Readers (Language Magazine)
As Archer states, "There is no reading strategy powerful enough to compensate for the fact that you can't read the words." This piece, although originally targeted at readers during the pandemic, presents clear, accessible ideas for secondary teachers.
- Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices (U.S. Department of Education, 2008)
This practice guide presents evidence-based recommendations for improving literacy in grades 4 and above.
- Tackling the Adolescent Literacy Problem: Decoding Strategies for Success (Really Great Reading)
A research-based look at decoding and accuracy as a means to fluency and comprehension in reading.
- Decoding and Fluency: Foundation Skills for Struggling Older Readers (Archer)
Directed at classroom teachers, this piece by Anita Archer explains three approaches for instruction in decoding.
Students with disabilities
- National Center on Intensive Intervention
- Special education resources from the UFT
English language learners
Research supports explicit instruction for ELLs in the literacy components of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing.
- Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English
- Educating English Language Learners: A Review of the Latest Research
Teaching linguistically diverse students requires the use of supports and scaffolds to help them acquire the foundational skills and academic language required for comprehension.
- Reading 101 for English Language Learners
This popular article on the Colorin Colorado website includes components of reading instruction for ELLs.
- Linguistically Diverse Learners and the NYS Next Generation P-12 Learning Standards
NYSED has created a series of literacy briefs to complement and support the Next Generation Learning Standards in settings serving linguistically diverse learners.
- Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School
Resources for parents
- Questions and Answers about Literacy and Dyslexia (Advocates for Children of New York)
- The Advocate: Special edition on literacy (Advocates for Children of New York)
- Is My Kid Learning How to Read?
In this YouTube video, a parent demonstrates some things to be aware of during reading instruction.
The DOE uses several reading intervention programs that have been validated by independent research.
A short-term intervention program for struggling readers in grades 4-12 who read at or above a 3rd-grade level. Designed by Dr. Anita Archer, a leading expert in adolescent reading, REWARDS teaches students to decode multisyllabic words and to identify and understand prefixes and suffixes. The program builds fluency and academic vocabulary, leading to improved comprehension. Instruction is teacher-delivered, explicit, and fast-paced.
A “comprehensive and multisensory reading intervention and instructional program that integrates phonological awareness, phonics, handwriting, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension in an instructional design that is based upon how struggling readers learn.” SPIRE lessons have 10 carefully timed and scripted steps. Teachers receive a kit with all the materials needed to deliver the program. SPIRE is fun, engaging and fast-paced. It has been used by centrally funded IEP and intervention teachers in elementary schools for several years.
- Really Great Reading Phonics Boost and Phonics Blitz
Phonics Boost is geared to students in grades 3-12 with “significant and severe decoding weaknesses.” Lessons focus on phonemic awareness, phonics, and word attack skills. Like other interventions, it is delivered in a small group. There are multiple entry points for the program. Phonics Blitz is for students in grades 4-12 who struggle with complex text. It is a fast-paced program with materials that are appropriate and engaging for older students. The focus is on helping students read multisyllabic words and words with advanced vowel patterns. Teachers using Boost and Blast have access to a free grouping matrix to help identify the level of students’ decoding difficulties, select appropriate lessons and determine the maximum group size.