Planning a Successful Phonics Intervention


3 Helpful Reading Strategies For Your Struggling Readers


Do you need some specific reading strategies for struggling readers? There are three key ways you start supporting these students today so that they can experience more success in reaching their reading goals. 



1 – Identify Specific Gaps


The first thing you will need to know to help your struggling readers is what specific kind of gaps they have right now. Are the gaps in vocabulary or comprehension? Or is it more an issue of decoding or fluency? They might even need some help with phonics and phonemic awareness. Identifying the specific skills they need to practice is the key to being able to close that gap. 

If you don’t know what skills a student is lacking, you may be wasting your instructional time too. You may run into this if you’re trying to teach a skill like comprehension when a student really needs to work on decoding skills. The best place to start with assessing students is to “take their temperature” with a fluency assessment. 

When you discover that a student is on track for their grade level benchmarks, it’s important to provide that student with vocabulary and comprehension practice. If a student is not meeting their benchmarks, then you will need to back up and assess. Do they need help with fluency, phonics, or phonemic awareness?  If you are interested in diving a little deeper in learning how to motivate a struggling reader, you can check out this training too. 



2 – Provide Targeted Intervention


One of the other important reading strategies for struggling readers is providing students with specific interventions to fill those gaps. It is important that this intervention takes place daily. This may require you to get a little more creative in carving out an extra twenty to twenty-five minutes a day. But doing so will ensure students are getting this practice. 

Targeted, intensive instruction that carries a sense of urgency will do the work of closing a reading gap. This becomes increasingly more important with students in the upper-grade levels. Students need to be able to access the reading material in other subject areas. 

Another important note about grade-level content is that even when students are not on grade level, it’s still important for them to work on higher-level skills. For example, they should be working on skills like breaking down multisyllabic words. Their intervention time will just be focused on their targeted skills.



3 – Allow Enough Time for Mastery


Lastly, we must be purposeful in our planning interventions and not skip ahead to new skills too quickly. In addition to carving out the time, we also have to provide students with enough opportunity for skill practice. 

For example, if students are working to fill a phonics gap, are you providing them with reading material that is targeted towards that skill? Well-planned out interventions are only successful when they are partnered with sufficient practice that specific skill in text. 



Which one of these reading strategies for struggling readers is something you’re ready to implement this week? Many times teachers are already supporting their students so well in their intervention time. It may just be that these tips will help you be a little more strategic with those precious instructional minutes. 




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