|Home > DYH > Why Reading Teachers Can't Teach Children to Read (and What They Can Do About It) by Sue Heath|
I have been a remedial reading teacher in a public school for 30 years. All remedial reading teachers in my school have 50-60 students. This year, I was given 10 special education students (in addition to the 50 students I already had).
is virtually impossible to meet the needs of all these children. Are
there any guidelines for remedial reading teachers?
Who Can Fix the Problem?
If you are looking for someone else to fix this problem, it is not going to happen. The person you are looking for is you. You vote in local elections. You have colleagues, friends, and neighbors.
say all remedial reading teachers in your district have 50 or 60 students.
With this many students, these teachers can't teach remedial reading
either - they are likely to be frustrated and unhappy too.
Get Organized, Educate Others
There is power in numbers. (Read One Person is a Fruitcake, 50 People Are a Powerful Organization.)
remedial reading teachers in your district. Get together and develop
strategies to educate your school board, your community -- and the
parents of the children you teach.
is not cost-effective
also need to educate the parents (most of whom think their children
really are receiving remedial reading instruction). Provide parents
with the facts and "11 Questions to Ask about Your
Child's Reading Program."
Get Training in Research Based Reading Instruction
are required to get additional training on new research based medical
treatments. Reading teachers who have worked in the field for several
years need to get additional training in research based reading methods
so they have the necessary knowledge and skills to teach children
who do not learn to read on their own.
do not question that you care a great deal about your students. You
have devoted your life working for them. You know the system is broken.
You need to fix some part of the problem every week. This applies to all of us.
"If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem."
The program is not appropriate for the child.
programs are driven by reading research,
is power in numbers:
This model calls for 90 minutes of instruction per day, 5 days a week, from kindergarten through grade 3. Children who are not making sufficient progress receive additional instruction. This model assumes that reading instruction takes place in general education classrooms.
What is the name of my child's reading program?
Resources: Research Based Reading Programs
These articles and publications will help you learn about research based reading programs, appropriately trained teachers, stages of reading development, and the federal model reading program.
Reading Disabilities: Why Do Some Children Have Difficulty Learning to Read? What Can Be Done About It? by G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D.
National Reading Panel Reports Combination of Teaching Phonics, Word Sounds, Giving Feedback on Oral Reading Most Effective Way to Teach Reading (NIH News Alert, 2000)
Stages of reading development - If the program is not appropriate for the child's reading stage, it will be ineffective for him, even if it works for other children his age.
Synthesis of Research on Reading from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development by Bonita Grossen, University of Oregon
4 Great Definitions About Reading in NCLB - No Child Left Behind includes the legal definitions of reading, essential components of reading instruction, scientifically based reading research, and reading assessments. Does your child's program have these "essential components"? Has the school given your child a diagnostic reading assessment? What did this assessment show?
Guidance for the Reading First Program - The purpose of Reading First is to ensure that all children are proficient readers by the end of third grade. This publication includes a description of a model program - 90 minutes of instruction per day, 5 days a week, with additional instruction for children who continue to struggle,
Learn more about research based instruction.
Meet Sue Whitney
In Doing Your Homework, she
writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and
strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for
and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.
Copyright © 2002-2015 by Suzanne Whitney.
Copyright © 1998-2016, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr
Wright. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1998-2016, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.