The Circles of Concern for Struggling Readers with the Individual Child in the Middle!

The Circles of Concern for Struggling Readers with the Individual Child in the Middle!.


The Circles of Concern for Struggling Readers with the Individual Child in the Middle!


Just when I think I’m getting somewhere on understanding the challenges of addressing the needs of struggling learners, someone introduces me to another focus: namely, collaboration in schools.  A colleague recently “reintroduced me” to work of a literacy researcher (Kristin Gehsmann) who recent published:  Becoming More Effective in the Age of Accountability:  A High-Poverty School Narrows the Literacy Achievement Gap. On the following day, someone sent me a link to the NCLE study on the role of collaboration in literacy learning:


There isn’t any question that collaboration is important to successful student learning.  And so is instruction and I’ve been thinking about that, too, due to a comment by Dick Allington on a discussion question I initiated on Linkedin on early identification of dyslexia:


One other email I received in the last few days brings in one other dimension:  interest groups.  In this case, the interest group represented advocacy for students with learning disabilities.


So, we have at least three perspectives to consider:  institutional (collaboration in the schools), instructional (what kind of instruction (programs or practices work best…and for whom) and interest groups (advocates for  struggling readers, readers who have a learning disability, are economically disadvantaged, speak another language…for example).  How can we make sure that those circles overlap and stay focused on the center—the individual child?




Each of these perspectives has something to offer us as we strive to help all kids to become successful readers.  I’d like to think of these 3 circles intersecting, and in the middle, is the individual child…who deserves our best efforts regardless of which perspective we represent.



Interested in Early Literacy Skills? Worth Reading!

I have recently finished reading two books on early reading skills which I highly recommend to preschool teachers, classroom teachers, literacy specialists, and parents.  Both are by authors with a strong history on language/literacy learning.

Marion Blank’s text:  The Reading Remedy: Six Essential Skills (Jossey Bass, 2006) offers research and experienced-based ideas on how to help young learners with reading skills, offering both new and specific instructional ideas.  She highlights the issue of helping kids to see and “read” all of the phonemes/sounds in a word, along with addressing the issue of making reading meaningful.

Isabel Beck has produced a wealth of teacher-friendly instructional ideas, for example Rich Instruction and Questioning the Author.  In this text she collaborates with her son, Mark Beck, a school-based reading specialist.  “Making Sense of Phonics” (Guilford Press, 2013) offers clearly presented, research-based information, complemented by wonderful anecdotes about children they have worked with, as well as clearly explained instructional ideas.  The instructional ideas are simple, clearly mapped out, and sensible!

Hope you check them out, find them useful, and share these resources.   If you do, would love comments.