Part Eight of a 12-part video series showing the flaws of common word reading strategies taught in schools– Moral: Do not teach struggling readers to guess!
Asking a friend for help it really isn’t a reading strategy. Young and struggling readers do need the instructional support of adults and peers as they gain greater independence as readers, but this is really more of a strategy to help the teacher than to help the student. If there is a large gap between the text difficulty level and the reader’s skill the reader will naturally need help in reading the text. But asking the struggling reader to reach out for help each time they come to an unfamiliar word is not only impractical, but also unlikely to build the reader’s confidence or skill.
We want readers to feel empowered while they are trying to read an unknown word. We want to support a growth mindset, i.e.) “working hard to apply what I have learned is the best way to succeed.” A child is given tools to read and spell with greater accuracy and insight from day one when s/he is taught to read through a Structured Literacy approach.
In 2004, Jennifer joined Teach for America as a special educator where she taught kindergarten through fifth grade. Her passion for reading instruction led her to be trained in a program based on the Orton-Gillingham method. After achieving significant results with her students, she began conducting trainings to help strengthen other teachers’ reading instruction. “My motivation as a teacher is to share my love of learning, and my gift has been working with struggling readers. There is no better feeling than to help someone become a strong reader and independent learner.” Jennifer earned a B.A. in Global studies University of California Santa Barbara and M.S. in Special Education from Lehman College.