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Individualizing Reading Strategies for Students. BY: Michelle Jennings Wichita State University. Where are YOU stuck?. “Stuck on the Escalator” ( youtube ). Helping All Students Read Requires:. A complete understanding and teaching knowledge of the “Big 5” in reading

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BY: Michelle Jennings Wichita State University

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Individualizing reading strategies for students

Individualizing Reading Strategies for Students

BY: Michelle JenningsWichita State University

By michelle jennings wichita state university

Where are YOU stuck?

Stuck on the escalator youtube

“Stuck on the Escalator”(youtube)

Helping all students read requires

Helping All Students Read Requires:

  • A complete understanding and teaching knowledge of the “Big 5” in reading

  • Effective Classroom Instruction with positive classroom management

  • A thorough understanding of where each student is when they enter the classroom

  • Knowledge on Differentiated Instruction

  • Understanding of Response to Intervention

    These are all intertwined and relate to each other and can equal success for all students (GREAT RESOURCE)

The big 5 of reading

The Big 5 of Reading

Find where students are when they enter the classroom

When evaluating the bottom quartile of readers all these pieces should be assessed

Upper elementary students can be deficient in phonemic awareness and alphabetic principle



Multi tiered systems of support making it work in the classroom

Multi-Tiered Systems of SupportMaking it work in the classroom

  • Some schools offer a formal MTSS format school-wide

  • Can work in the classroom even before a formal system exists

  • This work is IN ADDITION to guided reading groups for students in some and few categories

  • It’s finding 30-60 extra minutes to work with the bottom quartile learners

  • Torgesen, Shaywitz and Chhabra, (2004) state “Evidence from many successful schools and from multiple research studies shows that a multi-tiered approach involving high-quality classroom instruction alone and in combination with targeted, small group interventions can substantially reduce the proportion of students who struggle to read” (¶5).

The power of differentiated instruction

The Power of Differentiated Instruction

  • "Differentiated instruction is student-aware teaching" (Tomlinson, 2008)

  • In a Differentiated Classroom the teacher knows exactly where each student is developmentally and academically

  • Students know what their strengths and weaknesses are

  • Student needs are the focus

  • Progress is the goal

  • Differentiated Instruction Focuses on:

    • Content Mastery

    • Student Efficacy

    • Ownership of Learning

    • Lifelong Learning

What we know about lower level readers

What we know about lower level readers…

  • Some low achieving readers have disadvantages - some do not

  • Linguistically disadvantaged students know only around 5,000 words by first grade compared to linguisitcally advantaged students who can know up to 20,000 words (Juel and Deffres, 2004)

    • These students need ways to help increase their vocabulary

  • By third grade most low achieving readers do not read fluently

    • These students need ways to help increase their fluency

  • Low achieving readers have holes in their learning

    • Assess where they are phonetically and focus on missing pieces

    • Assess where they are with vocabulary development

    • Assess where they are with reading fluency



  • “Providing vocabulary instruction is one of the most significant ways in which teachers can improve students’ reading and listening comprehension” (Curtis & Longo, 2008)

  • “Underachieving readers need to develop their personal mental dictionaries for unknown words” (Juel & Deffres, 2004)

  • Janet Allen has written many GREAT resources for teachers for the instruction of Vocabulary such as: Inside Words, Words, Words, Words, as well as other books for literacy content.

    When students cannot understand vocabulary within text, students are not comprehending.

    Many words students decode, students do not comprehend.



  • “Reading fluency is the bridge from decoding skills to comprehension” (Pennter-Wilger, 2008)

  • “Fluency should be taught explicitly” (NRP, 2000)

  • “Students who are not at least moderately fluent readers by the end of 3rd grade are unlikely to graduate from high school” (Herron, 2008)

    Reading fluency focuses on rate, accuracy, phrasing and expression.

    If students are not fluent readers first identify their vocabulary knowledge of the passage they are reading.

    If decoding is the issue…evaluate phonics.

Helping bottom quartile students achieve 2008 2009

Helping Bottom Quartile Students Achieve: 2008-2009

Student Birth NWEA (Sept. & May %) Read. Level (Sept. & May) KS Read.

A June ’99 15% -69% Early 2nd - 5th Grade 93%

B Mar. ’00 19% -48% Early 2nd - Late 3rd 88%

C Apr., 00 9% -39% Early 2nd - 5th Grade 89%

D Dec., ’00 4% -20% Early 1st - Late 2n 93% (KAMM)

Helping bottom quartile readers experiment group

Helping Bottom Quartile Readers Experiment Group

  • Experiment Group consisted of ten total students. These students would be considered Tier 2 and Tier 3 students….nine boys and one girl

  • The table displays their services while in the regular education classroom as well

    Participants and their Services

    Student Inclusion ServicesReading Lab ELL No Services









    Four students with Inclusion; Two students with Reading Lab Service, One ELL student and two students with no services.

Experiment group results

Experiment Group Results

  • Student Birth Mon. NWEA (Sept & May) HMLRP (Sept. & May) Kansas Assessments

  • A June, 200023% KL (late 2nd) 72%

  • B July, 2000 8% KL (late 2nd)86%

  • CJune, 2001 17% J (early 2nd)72%

  • DApril, 200117% KL (late 2nd)83%

  • EJuly, 200013% J (early 2nd)88%

  • FDec., 2000 9% KL (late 2nd)80%

  • GNov., 2000 21% MN (early 3rd)84%

  • HJuly, 200119% MN (early 3rd)65%

Control group

Control Group

  • The control group consisted of eight random students scoring below the 25% on the Sept. NWEA.

  • Student Inclusion Pull Out Reading Lab ELL Speech________________

  • 1 No Yes No NoNo

  • 2 No Yes No NoNo

  • 3 No No Yes No No

  • 4 No NoNoNoNo

  • 5 No No Yes No No

  • 6 No Yes No No Yes

  • 7 No Yes No No Yes

  • 8 No NoNoNoNo

    No Inclusion students, four pull out students, two reading lab students,

    no ELL students and two speech students and two students with no services.

Control group results

Control Group Results

My interventions for 3 rd graders below quartile

My Interventions for 3rd Graders Below Quartile


    • Spiral notebook for each child

    • Power Read passages at each learner's level (you may use reading passages of your choice - Power Read was chosen because of it's availability)

    • Timer

    • Graph Paper

  • Meet with each child individually, on a regular basis

  • The first time reading the passage time a "first time read" as the teacher markers mispronounced words

  • The teacher meets with the student daily to go over the meanings of missed words

    • Students can draw pictures, write the word in sentences, find prefixes and suffixes of the words, etc.

  • After the teacher notes that the reader is reading the passage fluently and recalling missed vocabulary the teacher then times a "final read" and records.

  • The student is read aloud comprehension questions and answer choices

Words change the world from akeelah and the bee

Words Change the Worldfrom: “Akeelah and the Bee”


Finding interventions for phonics phonemic awareness

Finding Interventions for Phonics/Phonemic Awareness

  • Phonics/Phonemic Awareness:

    • Words Their Way (combines phonics and spelling)

    • Sound in Action (phonemic awareness)

    • Sound to Sound (phonemic awareness)

    • Reading A-Z (phonemic awareness)

    • OrtinGillingham based programs inlcude:

      • Read to Code, Recipes for Reading, Wilson Reading,

      • Pathways, Reading A-Z and FCRR supports all these

Finding interventions for vocabulary instruction

Finding Interventions forVocabulary Instruction

  • Successful, Research Based Vocabulary Interventions

    • Continuous Exposure

    •  Repeated Practice Applying

    • Word Walls

    • Picture and Word Identification

    • Vocabulary Journals

    • Picture/Symbol Word Association

Finding interventions for fluency instruction

Finding Interventions for Fluency Instruction

  • Successful, Research-Based Fluency Programs

    • Wide Reading

    • Power Reading

    • Read Natural

    • Repeated Reading

Final thoughts

Final Thoughts

  • This researched intervention is simple

    •  Both years the teacher trained an assistant to work with students

  • This research requires minimal materials

    •  Materials at the school were utilized and altered

  • To make any intervention successful students need:

    • positive relationships with the teacher

    • individualized instruction

    • small group or one on one instruction opportunities

  •  Students need the building blocks of reading

    • phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension

      Individualize As Much As Possible



Curtis, M.E., & Longo, A.M. (2001, Novemer).  Teaching vocabulary to adolescents to improve comprehension.  Retrieved October 20, 2008, from

Herron, J. (2008, September).  Why phonics teaching must change.  Educational Leadership, 66(1), 77-80.

Juel, C., & Deffes, R. (2004, March). Making words stick. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 30-34. Retrieved from

McMaster, K. L., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., & Compton, D. L. (2005, Summer). Responding to nonresponders: an experienmental field trial of identification and intervention methods. Exceptional Children, 71(4), 445-463.

Penner-Wilger, M. (February, 2008).  Reading Fluency:  a bridge from decoding to comprehension.  Retrieved February 9, 2009, from AutoSkill Website:

Tomlinson, C. A. (2008, November). The goals of differentiated instruction. Educational Leadership, 66(3), 26-30.

Vaughn, S., & Linan-Thompson, S. (2004). Research-based methods of reading instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum      Development.

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