Welcome to our second installation of videos in which professor emerita and literacy expert Dr. Adria Klein answers questions about struggling and striving readers in the upper grades and how to best help them take an interest in and achieve proficiency in reading. If you missed part one of the interview, you can read it here.
Click on the videos to watch. Transcripts, if preferred, are available below each of the videos.
Q: Can technology be helpful for instruction with students that have reading difficulties?
A: Absolutely. Technology is essential. Students today know media often better than they know books. They need access to software, to interact with whiteboards to instructional techniques that are current and move at a pace and allow the student to interact in a way that interests them all the time.
When you think about older students in the secondary schools who are struggling readers, Paul Blum talks about the kinds of things that will capture their interest. And that is the opportunity to interact and responding to text. Software allows that to happen. It allows them to keep a record of their work and helps the teacher know how the students are progressing. It is also is helpful to have the technology where writing is an opportunity and not just the fact that we are playing a media game.
Q: How do you interest and motivate a striving reader to want to read?
A: All the ideas we’ve been talking about today have to do with reaching a striving reader. They have to want to try. They have to be interested in the books. And they have to be willing to put out their best effort. Stamina is a real issue with an older reader. They can't keep going as long as they need to keep reading in order to improve their comprehension and their vocabulary.
When we look at material with proper laying on the page, we have to think about picture support, we have to think about the size of the print, and we have to think about how many words they’re reading on a page. The idea that a text is too large a print size or has too few words on a page will put an older reader off.
Another factor would be the kinds of supports—are there side notes in the book, is there a glossary? Is there an opportunity for the student to find resources so they don’t have to stop and go get a dictionary?
Q: Are there other types of materials that support older struggling readers?
A: Another type of material that really supports comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency is the use of stories that are in play form. One of these materials, Superscripts is new from Hameray and gives the opportunity for students to read character parts as if they were talking. To do it like a play, and it supports how kids learn to read more fluently. That gives a wonderful opportunity for small group interaction in a highly supportive environment.
The characters are near the age of the readers that we are talking about, and the characters are of interest and in conflicts that upper grade, elementary, and junior high students would encounter in their own social and personal lives.
A lot of research has been done about what appeals to upper grade readers and play form, for scripts, for both independent reading and for small group reading is one of the most highly recognized forms of encouraging a struggling older reader.
The book series mentioned in this interview, SuperScripts, is part of Hameray's High Interest / Low Vocabulary genre, intended to encourage struggling readers to read through presenting compelling topics that they want to read about. SuperScripts are action-packed, easy-to-follow plays in such genres as sci-fi, drama, and sports. They combine reading with social interaction, making it fun for even the most reluctant reader.
Flip through a sample book from this series to see how these books appeal to readers who have trouble taking an interest in reading.
To see a wider variety of titles from this series, take a look at our catalog. We have more of these books and other series that will appeal to the same age-group and reading level.
We hope you have enjoyed this Q & A with reading expert Dr. Adria Klein! Take a look at Part 1 of 2 if you haven't already seen it.
- Tara Rodriquez