Reading is an essential skill that forms the foundation for success in life. For young children, learning to read can be a challenging task that requires patience, practice, and effective teaching strategies. Fortunately, reading intervention strategies exist that can help children overcome their reading difficulties so they grow into confident, proficient readers.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective reading strategies to help struggling readers succeed and keep students engaged.
Proven Reading Intervention Strategies for teaching students to improve reading skills
Reading intervention refers to the targeted instruction techniques available to help struggling readers. These interventions provide help for students who are struggling with word recognition and comprehension. When done well, early intervention can help struggling readers make significant progress in a short amount of time, ultimately boosting a student’s skills so they can continue reading at their grade level ... and often beyond.
The Importance of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Skills
Phonemic awareness and phonics skills are two components of reading instruction. Phonemic awareness refers to a student’s ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. Phonics skills, on the other hand, involve the relationship between letters and sounds. These skills are critical for young readers to develop because they help students read words accurately and with fluency.
Tips for Teaching Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Skills
Provide students with silly ways to improve their reading skills. Rhyming games, songs, and other student activities can help children to identify and manipulate sounds...
Use tiles or magnetic letters to expose students to letter-sound correspondences.
Model how to blend sounds to form words.
Have students practice reading words with common spelling patterns.
Provide explicit instruction in phonics skills.
The Role of Sight Word Recognition in Reading Instruction
Sight words are common words students must learn to recognize without sounding them out. Typically, these words do not follow the rules of phonics, meaning students must memorize them if they are to improve fluency.
Teaching Sight Words to Struggling Readers
Use flash cards to help students learn new words.
Encourage children to practice reading sight words in context.
Play games to improve student engagement.
Provide frequent opportunities for students to read aloud and practice sight word recognition.
Improving Comprehension Skills with Explicit Instruction
Comprehension instruction involves teaching students how to understand what they read. This includes strategies for predicting, questioning, clarifying, summarizing, and making connections. Instruction in reading comprehension strategies is crucial for struggling readers because it helps them develop a deeper understanding of the text.
Strategies for Comprehension Instruction
Comprehension instruction is an essential aspect of reading intervention strategies for young readers. Here are some effective strategies for improving the reading comprehension performance in struggling readers:
Teach Students to VISUALIZE
When possible, encourage students to create mental images while reading. This can help them better understand the text and remember details. For example, when reading a story about a beach, ask students to imagine the sound of the waves and the feel of the sand between their toes.
Use Graphic Organizers
Venn diagrams and story maps can help students organize their thoughts and better understand the structure of a story. This can be especially helpful for struggling readers with a learning disability.
Help kids make connections
Encourage students to connect what they’re reading to their own experiences and the world around them. This can help them better understand the text and retain information.
Talk about it
Ask students about their independent reading assignments. When children slow down to discuss what they have read, it helps them to better understand the text and develop critical thinking skills.
Some questions you can ask include:
What was the main idea of the story?
What was the author’s purpose?
How did the main character change?
What do you think will happen next?
Provide opportunities for discussion during small group instruction
Discussion often helps students to better understand the text and develop critical thinking skills. Encourage children to share their thoughts and ideas about the text with their classmates after silent reading blocks in class.
Use explicit instruction
This is an intervention strategy that involves breaking down complex reading skills into smaller, more manageable steps. This can be especially helpful for struggling readers.
For example, explicitly teach students how to use context clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. Some students won’t think about doing this on their own without a push.
Monitor student reading performance
Regular assessments can help teachers track student progress and determine if their reading intervention strategies have been effective in helping students develop reading skills at their grade level.
Use what you find to make adjustments to your teaching plan and identify children who may need more intensive instruction.
Don't forget, measuring a student's lexile level is a great way to determine how they are doing.
Strategies for the teaching phonics
Phonics instruction will always be an important part of reading intervention strategies used to help young readers.
Here are some effective strategies for teaching phonics skills:
Teach letter-sound correspondences
Teach students the sounds that each letter of the alphabet makes, as well as common letter combinations such as ch and th.
Use decodable texts
Decodable texts are those designed to include only the phonics skills that students have already learned. This can help students build confidence and develop their decoding skills and fluency levels.
Provide student practice opportunities
Teachers must give students the chance to practice their phonics skills if they’re to become proficient readers. Use games and other interactive activities to help make practice fun and engaging.
Teach sight words
Sight words are high-frequency words that students should learn to recognize without the need to sound them out. Teaching sight words can help students become more confident, fluent readers.
Use choral reading
Choral reading involves oral reading as a group or class. This can help students develop their fluency and phonics skills, too.
Vocabulary Development Strategies
Children with a limited vocabulary may struggle with comprehension because they don’t understand the words on the page.
Here are some effective ways to boost vocabulary:
Read aloud to children and ask them to repeat and define new words.
Create a word wall with visual cues to spark a better understanding of the words listed. This helps children to remember words and expand their vocabulary.
Encourage the use of context clues
Remind kids they can use the text around words to identify their meaning.
Reading Strategies to Improve Comprehension
Poor reading comprehension is when a child has a hard time understanding what they’ve read. Luckily, there are ways to help...
Before reading a book, ask your child to make predictions about what they think the story is about based on the title, cover, and blurb.
Encourage kids to create mental images of what they’re reading. This helps struggling readers to better understand and remember the story.
Ask questions when students have finished with their independent reading to assess how well they understand the material.
Implementing Reading Intervention Strategies
Once you have a good understanding of the reading challenges your students face and have identified effective reading intervention strategies, it’s time to create a supportive environment. Here are some classroom reading nook ideas to get you started. After all, if you’re going to make reading fun, kids will need a comfortable space with lots of books where you can enjoy reading together.
Additionally, teachers and parents should work together to make sure teaching strategies are consistent. Be sure to share ways parents can motivate reluctant readers at home.
What age group do reading intervention strategies apply to?
We can employ reading intervention strategies for children of all ages who are struggling with reading.
How long does it take to see results from reading intervention strategies?
The time it takes to see results from reading intervention strategies depends on the child’s reading challenges and the effectiveness of the strategies being used. It’s important to be patient and consistent in implementing strategies.
Are reading intervention strategies only for children with diagnosed reading difficulties?
No, reading intervention strategies can be helpful for all children.
Reading intervention strategies can an effective way to help struggling students. By implementing effective reading intervention strategies, parents, teachers, and caregivers can help to improve reading skills and foster a love for reading. Whether it’s through phonemic awareness strategies, phonics instruction, vocabulary development strategies, or reading comprehension strategies, there are many ways to support young readers on their reading journey. With patience, consistency, and a supportive reading environment, children can overcome reading difficulties and become confident readers.