As a 2nd grader, I distinctly remember being told I really needed to get my reading speed faster in order to improve my reading skills for my tests. For me, little Jamie who, at the time, was loving soaking in every word from The Little House On The Prairie series felt slightly disappointing and frustrated with being told to practice my reading speed. It was not until recently that this memory came to mind again. I had honestly forgotten about ever having to improve my reading because for as long as I remember English/Language Arts has been my favorite subject, but as I am having the experience of working with struggling readers in my ESOL class, I am seeing the impact positivity can have on their motivation to read.
Taking my personal experience and being empathetical towards my student has proven to be helpful to them! This past week, my mentor teacher modeled good reading practices with our students by reading a few short chapters from The House on Mango Street and stopping throughout each chapter to access their comprehension by asking them questions about content and making sure they did not have any questions about the storyline. As Beers notes, “I’d like to suggest that it is more critical for dependent readers to talk about the texts during the reading experience than after it,” and I have seen how these methods help students monitor how they read independently if they are taught reading skills through modeling these methods. Modeling is included in Beers’ steps for teaching the importance of “rereading” for understanding – “model your thinking as you reread a text.”
Ultimately, providing our students with these tools to aid reading for struggling and dependent readers will help build their confidence for independent reading as well.