Struggling Readers

I often hear on the news and in discussions with other educators that we are approaching a reading crisis among our young students in America… or maybe the crisis is already here! I recently read an article from the National Center for Education Statistics that said in 2013 sixty-five percent of fourth graders in the United States read at or below the basic reading level and that almost fifty percent of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students read below the basic level. This same article also emphasized that “summer is a critical time when students either leap ahead or fall behind.” I fear the fall behind group is the larger of the two and if we do not take care of this problem now, it will only get worse.

I feel that a great need for a business / program, would be a non-profit group that works with underprivileged children K – 3 that struggle with reading. Schools have pull out groups for reading, but some of the things that they read in these groups are boring or don’t make sense to a struggling reader. I would like to develop a business that focuses on the needs of these struggling readers and provides them multiple resources to help develop a love for reading.

This program would be especially beneficial during the summer when school is out. I would have a different approach with it though. Rather than having them think of it as school, I would turn it around and make it fun. For example, I would have them read a book that is also a movie. Once the book is completed we could either go to the movies and watch it or have a movie day at the facility where this program will take place. I would also deck the facility out with character clothing and a small stage so that students could act out the stories they read.

I also think it’s important to read aloud to the kids. Even my middle school students still love the idea of being read to and per Karen Tangersley, in her book, Literacy Strategies for Grades K-8, children who were read to when they were younger have visually seen and heard more words than students who were not as fortunate to have someone read to them.

“It is certainly no surprise, given their years of frustration, that struggling readers typically are anxious about school (Tangersley, 2005). They tend not to be very motivated, and often lack self-confidence regarding their ability to read (Kos, 1991).” Motivation is a big part of the process that these struggling students lack and if I can help motivate them, I can help possibly turn things around for them.

I feel that this program would have to have multiple varieties of books, computers, tablets for audiobooks. I also believe some students are turned off because they can’t read the books of their choice. That wouldn’t be a requirement for me. These children would pick what they want to read without feeling the pressure of a classroom reading class. It would be a pure learning / development environment, but a learning environment that lacks the focus of testing. I feel that a program like this would be beneficial to all counties and could help decrease the gap for these struggling students.

 Works Cited
Tankersley, Karen. Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12 Reinforcing the Threads of Reading. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005. Print.

Jann G Haynes is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Jann  is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Education Special Education (Gifted, Creative, and Innovative Education) at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Jann G Haynes.

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