This last school year my daughter was a struggling reader. As I asked what I could do to help her, the teacher repeatedly told me to have her read. While “just having her read” is a great way to improve her reading, it’s not the best solution. I get why the teacher said that, but as teachers, we need to make sure we are doing more than just pushing a child to read more. If a child is a struggling reader, it’s likely that child doesn’t feel confident enough about him or herself and doesn’t want to read. Pushing them to read isn’t going to work. They will resist it and dislike reading more.
When helping struggling readers, you should first assess to determine where the gaps are. Then you can target specifically what is needed and personalize the help. Since struggling readers lack vocabulary, I would work in these areas too. Lastly, determine their interests and build their self-confidence. (Of course, there are many more ways to support struggling readers, but these are the primary ways.)
Focusing on Comprehension Strategies and Skills is a Priority
One way to help struggling readers is to focus on the important comprehension strategies and skills to help readers better understand what they are reading. Some important comprehension strategies are:
- Monitoring Comprehension
- Activating & Using Background Knowledge
- Understanding Text Structure
- Making Inferences
- Determining Important Information
Some important skills are:
- Identifying the Main Idea and Supporting Details
- Determining the Author’s Purpose or Viewpoint
- Cause and Effect
- Compare and Contrast
- Fact & Opinion
- Story Elements
- Sequencing Events
- Point of View
Though these lists are not complete by any means, they are a starting point to help you understand some of the areas that students could have gaps and could need assistance in.
The Use of Graphic Organizers to Help Struggling Readers
Graphic organizers help students visualize and construct ideas and organize information. They increase reading comprehension, help students brainstorm, and are a helpful learning tool to simplify complex information. I created reading pennants that are essentially graphic organizers in a reading pennant shape. When I feel that students need a graphic organizer to help them with one of the concepts above, these pennants come in handy!
These reading pennants have all the important reading skills and strategies, are easy to use, no prep (just print and go!), and can be used in any content area! That means that you can be helping your struggling reader during science and social studies too! Click here to read more about these reading pennants in my store.
Grab a Free Sample of the Reading Pennants!
Why not give the reading pennants a try? I have provided you with a sample reading pennants that relate to story elements. In it there are the graphic organizer pennants of story elements, plot, and character. The pennants are in full page version, half-page version, and digital version. You can download FREE them by clicking here.
Back to School Book Perfect for Free Reading Pennants
One book that I absolutely love during back-to-school time is the book, “Everyone is a Genius” by Stefan Waidelich. This book is perfect for teaching differentiation, social-emotional learning, or story elements. In the book, the teacher wants the animals in the class to take various tests to determine what their “genius” or talents are. As Samuel the Tiger begins the book, he fears that he doesn’t have a talent and that everyone else does. This makes him discouraged and full of anxiety. In the middle of the story, a fire breaks out in the forest and Samuel immediately takes charge as a leader. He helps everyone get to safety and through this process discovers that his talent is being a leader and strength. His character changes in the story to a confident and determined animal. The overall message is delightful and helps students see that each of them has their own talent and place.
Enter to Win Back-to-School Books!
And you can grab this book for your struggling reading during our giveaway or you can purchase it here on Amazon (aff. link). Below are the books that we are giving away! Click here to enter the giveaway!
It is my hope that with these graphic organizer reading pennants that are perfect for any reading comprehension strategy and skill and the books we are giving away, you will be able to help your struggling readers!