On Wednesday, Regents Fellow Dave Abel spoke about how the Common Core standards can be applied to help students who read two or more grade levels below grade level. The impact of not reading on grade level is compounded each year as students fall further and further behind and ultimately are in danger of dropping out of school. The standards allow teachers to be flexible in how they implement the standards for these students.
Recommended elements for these students:
- Guided Reading/Accountable Independent Reading
Allow for student choice to read at a comfortable level and builds reading volume in order to develop literacy.
- Independent Skills/Comprehension Strategy Instruction
Use grade-level complex texts and receive differentiated instruction around skills.
- Common Core-aligned ELA/Literacy Curriculum
Just because a student cannot read on grade level does not mean that student cannot think critically; encourage evidence-based discourse.
- Frequent Opportunities for Formative Assessment
Use a variety of assessments, including quick daily writing; give students a variety of complexity in order to determine at what level students are comfortable.
One obstacle is that there is not enough time in the day to overwhelm the problem. To help with this problem, teachers can work with their colleagues in other content areas or even other grades to figure out differentiation strategies.
Literacy is a shared responsibility in a school. Students should be exposed to texts of varying complexities and topics so all teachers can meet the challenge and share the goal of increasing literacy for their struggling learners.