As a Grade 4 teacher I have witnessed dozens of students move from the primary to the junior division. For many 9-year-olds, this is a struggle that can be compounded by an inability to read. Standardized tests give an indication of the level at which a child is reading. Depending on the class, it is not unheard of to have half the class reading below level. For many, this is an easy fix, but for some, reading continues to be a chore and, for a few, a near impossibility.
What do we do with these students? How can we help them? Struggling Readers by Lori Jamison Rog provides a number of practical strategies for grades 3 through 9. She has provided lesson plans and guided reading plans that encourage reading, teach what good readers do, build fluency and offer word study.
Each chapter title begins with “Struggling Readers Need …” with corresponding information on what needs to be taught/learned. What is particularly helpful is that each chapter also includes lesson routines and frequently blackline masters. The lesson suggestions are practical and easy to implement.
The only small concern is that not all the lessons can be adapted to grades 3 through 9. For example, in the section on word study many of the lessons seem more appropriate for the older grades, such as the one on context clues. While we work consistently on determining meaning through context clues, students in grades 3 and 4 continue to find the whole concept problematic. The younger students, particularly the struggling readers, lack the reading experience to use this strategy. They often do not have the ability to transfer knowledge from one text to another. More scaffolding would be needed for this group of students.
All in all though, this book is highly recommended.
Terri Lyons is a member of the Thames Valley Teacher Local.