We all know that developing the ability to read is critical to the education we expect for our children. For those struggling to grasp the concept early in their development, it’s important for educators and caregivers to intervene with proactive support. Building confidence as we build capability is the ultimate goal of a focused reading intervention program.
The Benefits of Reading Intervention and Strategies for Success
Early benchmarks for success when it comes to reading intervention include the following:
- Phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify and manipulate sounds
- Competency in phonics – understanding connections between letters and the sound they make
- Vocabulary – mastery of the language and words that relate to specific subjects
- Comprehension – having clarity and understanding of materials being read
- Fluency – The ability to read accurately with speed and ease
An online reading intervention program is a great support mechanism that goes beyond group reading activities. Sometimes individual students require additional attention and reading intervention programs for elementary students can be a critical tool to aid in their development. There are also parallel strategies educators can use to encourage young readers to face their challenges head-on and work towards becoming more fluent, capable readers. Here are a number of ways teachers can help young readers become successful ones.
- Integrate a variety of books that are fun, funny, relatable, and engaging. Reading as much as possible using a variety of books that inspire emotional connection to the content is a great way to bring focus to young minds when reading as a group. There is no end to the clever content found in books for young readers; there are also online reading intervention programs offering a variety of fantastic content. Variety is the spice of life – even for young readers!
- Teach by example. Modeling good reading technique is a great way to demonstrate the lessons learned. Reading aloud to a classroom, showing expression, speed, and emotion is a great way to bring clarity to students about what reading looks and sounds like. Make these sessions interactive by having students read some content or echo what you’ve just read. Make it a game, where everyone wins. Offer rewards for successful participation. Building up the group by building up the confidence of the individuals struggling with reading is vital. Reading success is contagious.
- Make a schedule for reading exercises. Whether you’re incorporating alphabet cards, sound cards, or sight word tools, make sure you develop a regular routine at the same time each day to engage students in reading activities. Young students need routine and incorporating reading exercises into daily plans is necessary to re-enforce lessons learned each day. The rest of their day might be chaos, but young students thrive in environments that depend on routine and repetition.
- For a reading intervention program to be helpful in supporting early readers, direct instruction is an impactful tool. Direct instruction is one of the best ways to teach new skills including reading. Those students struggling will benefit most from direct instruction plans.
- Empower students to help make choices when it comes to what materials are read in the classroom or instructional group. Favorite materials will most certainly emerge regardless of whether they are chosen by the teacher for specific purposes or chosen by the students based on level of enjoyment. Making students feel valued by allowing them input into material selection will go a long way to developing a strong trust between teacher and student.
- Introduce students involved in in-person or an online reading intervention program to a variety of different materials. Foster their love of not just books, but also magazines, newspapers, age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books, and even online elements like blogs or entertaining websites. Although some of the material may be beyond their current comprehension, awareness of the variety of reading options out there is important to help encourage a love of reading in the future.
- Two-way communication with your struggling students is critical to helping them develop their confidence level. That means providing regular feedback on their progressions. Be specific in the way you provide that feedback; every student is looking for positive validation in the classroom, especially when they are experiencing frustration in their attempts to learn to read. Point out the times they read with proper emotion or speed, and whether or not they respected proper punctuation.
- Bring mentors into the process. When working on new skills with students, bring older students into the classroom setting and allow them to demonstrate their own development and share their stories. Having older students read texts and showcase their skills in mastering phonics is a great strategy to inspire younger students and those struggling with materials.
- There’s no point using a map without a destination. In the same respect, there’s no point putting a plan together without a goal. Setting goals with individual students is necessary to establish a roadmap toward their success. Work collaboratively on setting realistic goals to ensure there are successes to celebrate along the way. When a student has a say in setting objectives, it gives them more ownership over the process. As their fluency improves you can set new goals to encourage future learning.
- Even the most ardent adult reader needs time away from the books once in a while. Be very cognizant of the length of time struggling students spend in front of their reading materials. Long periods of frustration can certainly reduce the passion a young student might develop towards reading. Increase the time spent incrementally to give each student time to develop confidence and competency.
Incorporate Essential Skills Software into Your Reading Intervention Program
These are just a few ways to engage your students in reading. The goal is to foster the enthusiasm each student has for reading. When there’s a desire for success, young readers will be motivated to tackle new reading skills. Incorporating Essential Skills software into your reading intervention program will give your students the opportunity to practice their reading skills using a wide variety of engaging online reading activities for different learning styles. Not only that, but Essential Skills programs include hundreds of appealing auditory and visual rewards to further motivate your students to learning success!
Learn more about how Essential Skills online reading intervention programs can help support your students in becoming confident readers.