Reading for Meaning and Joy!
Timely reading tutoring makes the difference between success and failure in school. Struggling readers face ongoing humiliation and failure. As reading assignments become longer and more complex, poor readers are left behind. Homework assignments and tests become a nightmare. Poor readers can’t take advantage of the honors and AP classes they need for college. The ACT becomes a nightmare
At Focus on Learning, we teach reading as a process—one that engages the learner in a quest for meaning. Reading is a high-level, complex process in which the reader interacts with a text and uses background information to construct meaning. Reading is really a form of thinking. When we teach students how to read well, we also teach them how to think well.
To determine whether your student would benefit from reading intervention, review the following checklist.
DOES YOUR STUDENT
- Avoid reading?
- Feel embarrassed about reading?
- Say s/he “hates” readings?
- Regularly lose reading homework?
- Often complain about reading assignments?
- Become distracted while reading?
- Give up on reading tasks quickly?
- Often ask you or someone else to read his/her assignments?
If so, your student will benefit from instruction at Focus on Learning. We will help unlock the world of books and reading so that reading is no longer drudgery. Instead, it will become a process of discovery and success!
How do students become skilled readers?
Strategies for successful reading are the same in the early grades as they are throughout school. As the texts become longer and more complex, successful readers apply and adopt the same strategies, varying them in accordance with the increasing difficulty of the reading materials. A strategy is a plan that over time becomes instinctive but can and should be taught from the start.
Many students are uninspired and become alienated in traditional classrooms because schools often teach reading as a set of disparate skills with a strong emphasis on abstract word decoding that focuses on sound rather than meaning. This emphasis on sounding out words offers students little reason to want to read a story or book.
In addition, in-school assessments focus heavily on Lexile leveled reading material and standardized test scores, which offer a limited picture of a student’s learning strengths and challenges. Multiple-choice tests—including computerized tests such as the popular STAR Test—do not provide accurate information about reading proficiency. Often students (especially right brain learners) don’t understand what a question is asking or how to approach multiple answer choices. This is not the same as not understanding the text.
Furthermore, we know that an emphasis on oral reading fluency that rewards accurate word decoding and speed of oral reading develops word callers who read words but may have little understanding of what they mean. A student who decodes words but does not comprehend what they mean is not reading.
Finally, classroom teachers can rarely provide the sort of one-on-one instruction that struggling readers need. They simply have too much on their plates organizing classrooms where their students have a wide range of backgrounds and needs, all competing for their time.
At Focus on Learning, we work with students to develop lifelong strategies for successful readers.
Successful readers of all ages:
- Set purposes for reading
- Make predictions
- Ask questions
- Integrate phonetic, meaning, and grammatical cues
- Self-monitor reading for meaning
- Self-correct when confused
- Retell or paraphrase what they read
- Adjust reading rates depending on content and purpose
- Reflect and evaluate
- Make connections
At Focus on Learning, each student is paired with a highly trained and experienced reading professional who evaluates his or her needs. The teacher develops a plan for the student’s learning that includes all facets of the reading process: setting a purpose, making predictions, visualizing, comprehending, speaking, and writing. Parents receive regular updates about that plan and the student’s progress.
The number of hours of instruction needed varies from student to student. We give parents our recommendation after the initial consultation.
Because Focus on Learning teaches reading as a process—with an emphasis on purpose and meaning– your student’s experience of reading changes after coming to us. Instead of feeling embarrassed about approaching a reading task, your student will feel confident and encouraged in sessions with us. Instead of dread, he or she will begin to feel inspired to take on new reading challenges.
We are not bound by the curricular restraints many teachers experience in the classroom, including the need to prepare students for the foolish tests that are becoming such a focal point in education. Your student will be allowed to choose from a large variety of reading materials and will benefit from exposure to both literature-based and non-fiction materials.
Reading students will experience the excitement of reading and discussing stories instead of reading short, out-of-context passages and answering multiple-choice questions. Quality reading materials will offer new challenges while enriching your student’s experience of reading and increasing his or her confidence to tackle reading assignments and develop a love for personal reading.