Help struggling content area readers


Good habits for struggling readers

Reading independence happens when students purposely use their reading skills to enhance learning.

What skills do our students need to independently learn from reading informational text?

  • Basic reading skills to comprehend text
  • A vocabulary to support learning from content area reading
  • Approach text based on common subject area text structure
  • Able to read age-appropriate text fluently
  • Understand the reasons for using text to learn
  • Background knowledge to support meaning from the text

Prepare struggling readers for content area reading

  • Preview key concepts or vocabulary
  • Plan pre-read discussions
  • Write pre and post reading to target key learning
  • Read complex text in chunks to scaffold learning and check for understanding
  • Practice making inferences from text at central learning points
  • Model and practice thinking techniques while students are using complex text
  • Teach, model, and practice word strategies
  • Implement targeted vocabulary curriculum along with increased reading time

15 ideas about assessment data

Assessment data thoughts

  1. Assessment quality is critical. A weak test provides bad data.
  2. More bang for the buck, spend time and money on creating quality assessments, not cool technology.
  3. Only high-quality district assessments provide useful data.
  4. Dashboards are not as helpful to teachers as most think.
  5. Use state test data for information on student groups and trends. The data tells you more about parents, school programs, and environment than individual teachers.
  6. District assessment programs should focus on big picture decisions, not individual classrooms.
  7. District assessments designed to help classroom instructional decisions try to accomplish too much.
  8. Predictive assessment data is useful as long as they don’t take significant time or money.
  9. Predictive assessments used for state test planning narrow curriculum.
  10. Diagnostic assessments should be used by teams and departments to plan for instruction and reaching goals, not for prediction.
  11. District programs benefit from different data sets than the classroom and are the reason classroom teachers do not always understand the thinking behind district assessments.
  12. Classroom assessments produce better information for the teacher than district tests.
  13. Teachers need support creating classroom assessments.
  14. High-quality curriculum and materials help improve performance data.
  15. Short term or constant change in focus does not lead to long term success.

Six steps to increase the value of your classroom performance data

6 steps for better assessments

  1. Identify learning outcomes students will gain during an instructional cycle. Essential learnings are the skills and content all students must learn. The knowledge will build on the past, and move students to new goals.
  2. Identify the standards, including skills and concepts, which make up learning. Rank the standards by importance, including skills and concepts to focus instruction and assessment.
  3. Design a summative assessment to measure the intended learning. The type of evaluation will vary based on the desired outcome. Create a performance task with embedded formative experiences to allow for adjustments during instruction and provide scaffolding opportunities for targeted students.
  4. Create a diagnostic assessment with important and challenging standards to gauge student preparedness. Do not include standards with skills that are easy to grasp. Recent performance data or work-product also help diagnostic decisions. Look for ways to get the best data with the least amount of time and effort.
  5. Develop a instructional flow, and lesson ideas for the intended learning. It moves actual learning closer to intended learning. As you develop an instructional plan, create potential reteach or intervention points. Adjust the flow once you have some diagnostic data.
  6. Create formative checkpoints to measure learning during instruction, intervention, and reteaching. If you use a performance task, look for parts of the work to use as a formative assessment.