May 19, 2015

Guest Blogger on Minds-in-Bloom!

I am very honored to be a guest blogger on Rachel Lynette's Minds-in-Bloom today!  I wrote an article about my current favorite teacher topic....saving time in the classroom!  Hop on over to read Tips for Decorating Your Classroom, Even If You Don't Have the Time!

May 18, 2015

Struggling Reader Help

Do you have students every year who come to you and don't read well? Do they make you wonder if they need glasses?  I know at the second grade level, I have had quite a few!  Read the following as a suggestion as to what you can do as a teacher to take the first step. Keep in mind, there may be other reasons for children not reading well even if this little "test" is not passed.
          Every year I have several students who come to me and they struggle with reading.  They are readers who  flip words around, can’t stay on the same line of print, or just sound “choppy”.  No matter what interventions I try, they do not help!  I came up with this trick to let me know if my students actually can see what I see when they look at the page.
I get a book at their current independent level so that I know they know most of the words.  I type out a page of the text and after every 3 or 4 lines I change the size of the font.   As they continue to read down the page, not only does the letter size get smaller, each line of print gets closer together just like the print in this article is doing.  I start with a size 36 font and go down to size 14 or smaller.  It is amazing to see some readers buzz through the first part, start the choppiness on the middle part, and then cannot read the last part at all! This is the first hint that your students may not see what you see! 

The second step is to hand your student a the same words with everything printed in the size 36 font.  Can they now read everything fluently?  If yes, you will know that something is going on because they just can't read the same words when typed smaller.  It is an indication that they may need an eye exam and possibly glasses. Notice how I say may and possibly because I am NOT a doctor and there may be other reasons for what you are observing.  This is only a first step in finding a possible solution to help a struggling reader! It is something that you can share with the child's parents and they can share with their doctor.  I have had lots of children who do get glasses after this, a few who didn't, and even one whose doctor found a severe problem on both of the child's eyes. Be sure to take notes as the child reads.  Suggestions are "fluent" , "beginning to skip around here"  "slowed down/choppy here". Note whether or not punctuation was acknowledged, too.  

A fellow blogger, Amy Mezni, has some fabulous information on eye problems that you may see in your students or your own child.  Hop over to Teaching Ideas 4U to read her posts!