As a certified Reading Specialist with many years under my belt, I have worked with probably thousands of students who have struggled with reading.
For one reason or another, they have a difficult time grasping the essential reading skills needed. After a few interventions with research-based strategies and activities, however, we usually improve their literacy skills so much that they quickly catch up and begin reading at grade level.
A strategy that works well for younger kids is having manipulatives in front of them when working on phonics and decoding skills. Manipulatives are physical objects that the students can use to complete a bit of hands-on learning.
It’s a great teaching tool for primary students who are having difficulty in usually either math or reading. It assists them in visualizing the information instead of trying to do it completely in their head.
If you have students that are struggling with reading or if you have a child of your own who could use a bit of help, there are several options that can produce desirable results. Below are a few ways you can use manipulatives that will increase reading achievement. It may take using a couple of these ideas or even all of them, but don’t give up hope because they will improve.
We all remember those block letters from back when we were very little toddlers. They usually have one letter on each block. There are several activities you can do with just these letters alone. I used to give the students seven letters, for example, and then I would ask them to use only those letters to spell certain words. They would recognize vowel patterns and word families with these blocks much quicker than if we were just discussing it.
They have small individual whiteboards available to use in the classroom for students in many schools. Practicing writing and forming letters is another technique to help a student read. By using these whiteboards, you can ask the child to write various words or as they get better, even whole sentences. Repetition of spelling the word correctly creates familiarity with the whole word or phrase and they definitely will be more able to recognize it again when reading.
Instant Sight Words
We would use instant sight word flashcards quite a bit in our small group interventions. There are so many fun ways to play with these flashcards with the kids. They will have a great time doing these games, and they will be learning at the same time. You can do flashcard showdowns between two or three students where the first one that says it correctly will get the card in their pile. When you complete all the flashcards, the student with the biggest pile wins. You may also use these sight word cards with actual board games. Instead of using dice to determine how many spaces they would move on the board, you would simply ask them to read six flashcards. However many they get correct is how many spaces they will move. These are merely a couple ways that sight words cards can help the student improve their reading skills.
If you are second guessing yourself and wondering if you have the ability to improve your child’s literacy skills, you shouldn’t be. As long as you are patient and have a good attitude, things will usually fall into place. To get even more ideas about what you could be doing to increase reading achievement, iAchieve can help. We have qualified reading tutors that use research-based strategies and activities that are proven to produce results.
Written by Ryan Crawley
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