Reading Interventions That You Can Use in Your Classroom Today

Are you looking for reading interventions for your students? If so, we have you covered. In this article, we will discuss, in detail, reading interventions that you can use in your classroom today.

Reading Comprehension: Activating Prior Knowledge

The instructor demonstrates to learners how they can reflect on their prior knowledge about a topic to improve reading comprehension of an article or story. The instructor begins by explaining the benefit of using prior knowledge. The instructor tells learners that recalling their prior experiences can help them understand the content from their reading because new facts make sense only when we connect them to what we already know. Next, the instructor demonstrates the content prediction strategy to the class by selecting a sample passage and using a “think-aloud” approach to demonstrate the strategy steps:

Step 1: Think about what and why. The instructor connects the article to be read with the instructor’s prior knowledge about the topic. The instructor might say, for example, “I am about to read a short article about the topic. Before I read the article, I should think about my life experiences and what they might tell me about the topic. By thinking about my  life, I will better understand the article.”

Step 2: Select main ideas from the article to pose prior knowledge and prediction questions. The instructor chooses up to 3 main ideas from the article or story. For every key idea, the instructor poses one question requiring that readers reflect on their prior knowledge of the idea and another that prompts them to predict how the article or story might deal with the idea.

Step 3: Have the learner read the questions independently. Once the instructor has primed learners’ prior knowledge by having them respond to the series of prior knowledge and prediction questions, learners read the selection independently.

Reading Comprehension: How to Set Up Reading Centers

When learners have mastered a reading skill, they can work at reading centers to practice and become fluent in that skill under the watchful eye of the instructor. The reading center is organized up with fun activities designed to extend and reinforce literacy content presented by the instructor. Learners work on independent reading-related activities individually or in pairs or groups. As examples of reading center choices, learners may listen to taped books, read alone or to each other, utilize magnetic letters to spell a specified list of words, or make storyboards or comic strips that implement pictures and words. Each reading center is tied to specific learner literacy benchmarks. The learning activities in reading centers may often change to give students a chance to practice skills and have fun.

Reading Comprehension: Developing an Anticipation Reading Guide

To activate a student’s prior knowledge of a topic, learners complete a brief questionnaire on which they must express their stance on ‘opinion’ questions tied to the selection to be read; learners then engage in a class discussion. The instructor begins by creating the questionnaire. Every item on the questionnaire is linked to the article’s content or story that the learners will read. All items of the questionnaire use a ‘forced-choice format in which the learner must simply agree or disagree with the item. After learners have completed the questionnaire, the instructor reviews responses with the class, allowing them to explain their rationale for their answers. Then learners read the article or story in earnest.

Reading Comprehension: Building Reading Comprehension of Textbook Readings

Learners grasp more content from their textbook readings when using the structured SQ3R (‘Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review’) process. (1) Survey: Before reading a textbook selection, the reader surveys the selection by analyzing charts or images, skimming over chapter headings and subheadings, and reading any words or sections content highlighted by the publisher. (2) Question: In preparation for reading, the reader generates and writes down key questions about the content based on the surveyed material. (3) Read: As the reader reads through the section, They seek answers to the questions. (4) Recite: After reading the selection, the reader tries to recite the answers to the question from memory. If stuck on a question, the reader skims the content to find the answer. (5) Review: After a study session, the reader studies the list of key questions and recites the answers. If the reader cannot recall an answer, they can back to the content to find it.

Reading Comprehension: Conversing With the Writer Through Content Annotation

Learners increase their retention of information when they interact with their reading by jotting comments in the margin of the content. Learners are taught to engage in an ongoing ‘conversation’ with the writer by recording a series of comments in the margins of the content. Learners may write annotations to record their opinions of points poised by the writer, questions sparked by the reading. Because this strategy requires that learners write in the margins of a book or periodical, content annotation is suitable for courses in which learners have either purchased the textbook or have copies of the reading available.

Reading Comprehension: Mining Information from the Content Book

With ‘content lookback,’ the learner increases recall of information by skimming previously read material in the content in a structured manner to look that information up. First, define for the learner the difference between think and ‘lookback’ questions. ‘Lookback’ questions tell us that the answer can be found in the article, while ‘think’ questions ask you to give your opinion or ideas. When given a lookback question, readers may need to revisit the article to find the info that they need. Readers can save time by skimming the article to get to the general section where the answer to the question is probably located.

Reading Comprehension: Previewing the Chapter

The learner who previews the contents of a chapter before reading it increases comprehension by activating prior knowledge about the topic and forming predictions about what they are about to read. In the previewing technique, the learner browses the chapter headings and subheadings. The learner also studies any important graphics and looks over review questions after the chapter. Only then does the learner begin reading the selection.

Reading Comprehension: Question-Answer Relationships

Learners are taught to identify ‘question-answer relationships,’ connecting the right tactic to comprehension questions predicated on if a question is based on fact, requires inferential thinking, or draws upon the reader’s experience. Learners learn that answers to right there questions are based on facts and can be found in one sentence, often identified by ‘clue’ words that also appear in the question. Learners are informed that they will also find answers to “think and search questions” in the content–but must piece those answers together by scanning the content and making connections between different pieces of factual information. “Author and you” questions require that learners take information or opinions that appear in the content and combine them with the reader’s experiences or opinions to formulate an answer. “On my questions” are based on the learners’  experiences and do not require knowledge of the content to answer. Learners are taught to find question-answer relationships in class discussions. They are then given questions and directed to identify the question type and use the appropriate tactic to answer.

Reading Comprehension: Reading Actively

By reading the contents of every paragraph, the learner improves comprehension of the longer passage. The instructor teaches learners to first read through the paragraph, paying particular attention to the topic and important details and facts. The instructor then directs learners to cover the paragraph and state (or silently recall) the key details of the passage from memory. Finally, the instructor prompts learners to uncover the passage and read it again to see how much of the info in the paragraph the learner had been able to accurately recall. This process is repeated with the entire passage.

Reading Fluency: Listening, Reading, And Receiving Corrective Feedback

The learner ‘rehearses’ a content by first following along silently as a more accomplished reader (tutor) reads a passage aloud; then, the learner reads the same passage aloud while receiving corrective feedback as needed. The learner and tutor sit together at a table with a book between them. The tutor starts by reading aloud from the book for 2 minutes while the learner reads silently. If necessary, the tutor tracks their progress across the page with an index finger to help the learner to keep up. After the 2 minutes, the tutor stops reading and asks the learner to read aloud. If the learner commits a reading error or hesitates for longer than 3-5 seconds, the tutor tells the learner the correct word and has the learner continue reading. For each passage, the tutor first reads the passage aloud before having the learner read aloud.

Reading Fluency: Paired Reading 

The learner builds fluency and confidence as a reader by first reading aloud in unison with an accomplished reader, then signaling that they are ready to read on alone with corrective feedback. The more accomplished reader and learner sit in a quiet location with a book positioned between them. The tutor says to the learner, “Now we are going to read aloud together. Whenever you want to read, just tap the back of my hand like this, and I will stop reading. If you encounter a word you don’t know, I will tell you the word and begin reading with you again.” Tutor and learner begin reading aloud together. If the learner misreads a word, the tutor points to the word and pronounces it. Then the learner repeats the word. When the learner reads the word correctly, the tutor and learner resume reading through the passage. When the child delivers the appropriate signal to read independently, the tutor stops reading aloud and instead follows along silently as the learner continues with oral reading. The tutor occasionally praises the learner in specific terms for good reading. If the child either commits a reading error or stops for longer than 5 seconds, the tutor identifies the error word and pronounces it. Then the tutor tells the learner to say the word. When the learner pronounces the error word correctly, the tutor and learner resume reading aloud in unison. This tandem reading continues until the learner again signals to read alone.

Reading Fluency: Repeated Reading

The learner increases fluency in decoding by repeatedly reading the same passage while receiving help with reading errors. A more accomplished reader sits with the learner in a quiet place with a book positioned between them. The tutor finds a passage in the book of about 100 to 150 words in length. The tutor directs the learner to read the passage aloud. If the learner misreads a word or hesitates for longer than 5 seconds, the tutor reads the word aloud and has the learner repeat the word correctly before continuing through the passage. If the learner asks for help with any word, the tutor reads the word aloud. If the learner requests a word definition, the tutor gives the definition. When the learner has completed the passage, the tutor directs the learner to read the passage again. The tutor directs the learner to continue rereading the same passage until either the learner has read the passage 4 times or the learner reads the passage at the rate of 85 to 100 words per minute. Then tutor and learner select a new passage and repeat the process.

Word Decoding: Drilling Error Words

When learners practice, drill, and receive corrective and constructive feedback on words that they misread, they can quickly improve their vocabulary and achieve gains in reading fluency. Here are steps that the instructor or tutor will follow in the Error Word Drill: (1) When the learner misreads a word during a session, record the error word and date in a separate “Error Word Log.” (2) After the reading session, record all error words from the reading session onto index cards. (If the learner has misread more than 20 different words during the session, use just the first 20 words from your error-word list. If the learner has misread fewer than 20 words, look at your “Error Word Log” and find enough additional error words from past sessions to build the review list to 20 words.) (3) Review the index cards with the learner. Whenever the learner pronounces a word correctly, remove that card from the deck and set it aside. (A word is correct if it is read correctly within 5 seconds. Self-corrected words can be counted as correct if they are corrected within the 5-second period. Words read correctly after the 5-second period is over are counted as incorrect.) (4) When the learner misses a word, pronounce the word for the learner and have the learner repeat the word. Then say, “What word?” and direct the learner to repeat the word one more time. Put the card with the missed word at the end of the deck. (5) Error words in the deck are given until all have been read correctly. All word cards are then gathered together, reshuffled, and presented again to the learner. The drill continues until time runs out or the learner has progressed through the deck without an error on two consecutive cards.

Word Decoding: Tackling Multi-Syllabic Words

The learner uses affixes (suffixes and prefixes) and decodable ‘chunks’ to decode multi-syllabic words. The instructor teaches learners to identify the most common prefixes and suffixes present in multisyllable words and trains learners to readily locate and circle these affixes. The instructor also trains learners to segment the rest of the unknown words into chunks, stressing that readers do not need to divide unknown words into dictionary-perfect syllables. Readers break up the word into graphemes. Readers must decode the word by reading affixes and graphemes in the order that they appear in that word.

Word Decoding: Teach a Hierarchy of Strategies

 The learner has a greater chance of successfully decoding a difficult word when he or she uses a ‘Word Attack Hierarchy,’ a coordinated set of tactics that move from simple to complex. The learner uses successive strategies until solving the word. (1) When the learner realizes that he or she has misread a word, the learner first attempts to decode the word again. (2) Next, the learner reads the entire sentence, using the context of that sentence to try to figure out the word’s meaning–and pronunciation. (3) The learner breaks the word into parts, pronouncing each one. (4) If still unsuccessful, the learner uses an index card to cover parts of the word, each time pronouncing the visible part. The learner asks ‘What sound does ___ make?, using phonics information to sound out the word. (5) If still unsuccessful, the learner asks a more accomplished reader to read the word.

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