The Place for Expert Reading Advice

The Place for Expert Reading Advice

Reading Spotlight Blog - Learning Lessons From Students #1

The Troublemaker

This struggling reader and well-known troublemaker showed the most improvement! I will always remember James and the lesson that I learned from him.

An active and mischievous third grader, James had real problems with his behavior, both in class and on the playground. He came to my Special Reading class at a first grade reading level, but, by spring, he had improved to a second grade level. He responded well to individualized reading and small group instruction.

Surprisingly, he volunteered to give up his after-lunch recess twice a week for a peer tutoring program that I was developing, using Clifford books. After participating in a required training session for the tutors, he became a remarkably effective mentor. He consistently arrived on time, often first, for eight weeks. He provided successful and enjoyable practice for each of the struggling first graders, and he talked and laughed about the details of the stories. Then he helped each student write a mini-book report.

My project goal had been to provide extra read-aloud time for my first graders, most of whom did not get the practice they needed, in class or at home. To my surprise and delight, the project actually helped the third grade special reading students even more! They became more assured in their own reading skills, and they also became more conscientious about their responsibilities as the oldest students in our primary school.

And it was the troublemaker who showed the most dramatic improvement! His other teachers were shocked, but happy, about the upturn in his behavior. I will always remember James and the lesson I learned about providing opportunities for students to help others, about troubled students feeling respect for a job well-done, and about how this project developed confidence in BOTH sets of struggling readers.

James also had guidance from our school counselor, which I am sure, helped to improve his behavior.

When providing the tutorial for the struggling reader (s) in third grade, I used many of the ideas in my Free Tip: The Best Way to Read a Story  @ Feel free to copy for parents if you like.

You might also be interested in another Free Tip: Helping the Troubled Reader.

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