Skip to main content

Monitoring Lowest 25 Percent Students in the Reading Classroom

It is that time that I put on my reading teacher hat for a moment to check for the progress of my students’ reading abilities. I spent the first 9 years of my career teaching intensive reading to middle and high school students reading three or more grade levels behind as well as a literacy coach supporting reading so that is my teaching forte. 
Even though I am their English teacher and I have to continuously provide them grade level reading
material and also teach them writing, speaking, and listening, it is important to ensure that they start to
move towards independence. 

What does it mean to “move towards independence?”

At this point in the year, I am monitoring for many things. Are they decoding difficult words? Or are they
pausing and waiting for me to say the word for them? Are they monitoring for meaning? Or are they still
reading to the end and not noticing when comprehension has broken down? It is important that I
check in with my students to see how they are moving to working without me and using the skills that I
have been teaching but also their reading teachers have been teaching. But this ONLY works if I
know them as readers and where they are coming from. 

What have I done so far?

In August, all students took a phonics test to test their decoding ability. I also allocated time for 1-1
conferences to complete an ORF (Oral Reading Fluency). In addition, during whole group and small
group guided reading instruction we practice good reader habits. For example, I teach my students to
identify where their comprehension has failed- word, sentence, or paragraph level. Then I teach them
what to do to make it make sense. Independence is reminding yourself and your students that you will
not always be there to help them. Many struggling readers are dependent readers. Dependent to
decode, dependent to define, and dependent on the teacher to make the text or the question make

What next?

Some students are making progress but quite honestly, not to level that makes me comfortable with
state testing in a few months. That is our reality. But also what is their reality is that I may not be their
teacher next year to continue to monitor and work with them. So I have to ensure that I equip them with
the tools that they need to be independent. 
So small groups are being revised. I am implementing more stop and jots to force them to slow down
and chunk the text. New bellringers are in place to work on fluency since so many of my students are
reading in 2-3 word groupings which affects their comprehension. 

Follow me on Instagram @secondaryurbanlegends as I share in my feed and stories daily activities
and reflections of this work over the next few months.


Popular posts from this blog

Writing Strategy for Middle School Students

During spring break this year, I spent some time worrying what a week off would do to the memory bank of my middle schoolers right before they take the state writing test.
As teachers we know how it goes: you teach them something today, tomorrow they act as if they have never heard it before (insert face palm emoji)! So I certainly worried about all the information that they may forget coming back from break and straight into testing. Fortunately, we had one day before testing and I planned on honing in on one thing: Brain Dump.

STRATEGY TIME A brain dump is a strategy to un-clutter the mind by taking what is in the brain and transferring it to paper.  All my middle schoolers will have a planning sheet during testing even if they are taking a paper based test or computer based test. So we spent the class period running through in our heads and conversing about what it would be like to take the test. Students shared feelings of nervousness, doubt, confidence, planned, etc. This allowe…

Must Read When Setting up Literature Circles in Classrooms

Hands-down this book is a perfect starting point if you are interested in doing literature circles or book clubs in your classrooms. Daniels and Steineke have written numerous books on this process so they would be the go- to in the field when learning how to start this necessary activity with your students. I say necessary because there are too many classrooms that teachers are forced to teach tests and skills and fail to teach the love of lifelong reading. The first chapter of the book impresses upon readers the idea that our ultimate goal should be that. Literature circles allows students to be involved and committed namely because they are allowed to have choice and voice.
I like how the book not only focuses on the Why but also How. Some of the mini-lessons discussed are tried and tested in ELA classrooms such as book passes and book talks but the book gives you how to do it correctly and why it is important to be done.

The chapters are divided into How to get started, How to get…

Teacher Self Care Using Travel Hacking

The past few years, there has been a lot of talk regarding self care in the teacher world and rightfully needed. Working in a large school district, I see the teacher mass exodus increasing over time. Awesome teachers that give up from the burn- out or new teachers not able to push through the early years and solidify their roots in a great career. As teachers, we need to ensure our mental and physical well being so we are good for our students. Based on the number of personal days I have left, you better believe I live by the rule that a burnt out teacher is no good to themselves, students, or their family. It also helps that I’ve developed a travel bug and I refuse to wait till summer to travel with thousands of other tourists in the peak of the summer sun so I tend to space out my vacations with the end of quarters and long weekends.

But how do I do it on a teacher’s salary?


That’s it. Travel points that I’ve accumulated from credit card bonuses, matching, day to day spen…