Level Up the Reading Skills
Like brushing teeth, regular routines, gaming sessions, sports meets, fitness and nutrition, school and work schedules, make reading a part of everyday life by incorporating it into the normal part of the day. Even for students who struggle with reading, attention/focus or motivation, there are several strategies to add more reading strategies into their daily lives to ultimately help guide them to become better readers.
Use students’ spelling or vocabulary words to create a puzzle. Write the spelling words on index cards and cut it up using phonics as a guide. For example, create a three piece puzzle for th-a-t.
Vocabulary words and definitions can also be written on index cards. Make one piece of the puzzle the entire word and strategically cut out key words in the definition to help jog the students’ memory.
While waiting in the car line to drop off students or making the trip to and from school, drill students with five of their words. Consistency is the key here, so by making this a habit every day, it will also teach students better study skills. Mix in difficult words on the next day, but allow students some success by bringing back words they are confident with if it helps motivate them. Gradually, increase the number of words according to the students’ progress. Additionally, if there is no test, review older words anyway. This will help students develop even better study skills for when they reach junior high and high school and have quarter exams that review several weekly tests. If it’s summertime, do an internet search for the next grade level words and use those to get a jump start!
Have students text their grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles and use a new word in each communication. Not only does this help reinforce what they are learning, but it also helps build relationships with family.
Draw pictures or search the images for the word online. Ensure parental monitoring is on and watch for typographical errors so that the right image appears. Students can print the images and create a collage or scene. Older students can play teacher and share their newfound knowledge by explaining their collage or picture to a younger sibling.
Consistency will be one of the biggest hurdles. Finding time in already jammed packed days can be difficult, but by incorporating spurts around dinner time or having these five or ten minute tasks ready to do a few times a day, such as before the students play games, go outside or head off to a friend’s house, reading skills will slowly increase.
Much like working out or playing sports, day-to-day practice and discipline are key, and growth takes a lot of time to see results. However, finding new ways to share a love for reading and words gives all students another way to level up in their studies.
About the Author
After teaching special education and GED for ten years, Sarah published many educational workbooks, blogs and materials to share strategies to promote a lifelong love for learning. She completed a BA, in sociology from UNO, MA, special education from Norte Dame of Maryland and an MBA, in data analytics from LSU in Shreveport. Her two daughters will graduate from Southeastern at 19 and 20 with bachelor’s degrees in business and microbiology. She is a grandma to their four rescue cats. Her biggest accomplishment as a teacher was seeing her students published in multiple magazines and newspapers. Sarah is the author of How I Taught My Kids to Read.