Little changes can make a HUGE impact on your teaching. You don’t always have to find the ‘next best thing’ or completely change how you do things in your classroom. Sometimes, it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest difference. Here are three small changes you can make TODAY in your reading instruction that will have a HUGE impact on you and your students!
Reading Instruction Change #1: Be critical of your resources
There are so many resources out in the ‘online world’ today. So many more than just 5 years ago. But that doesn’t mean that they are all amazing resources that are going to get you and your students results. Make sure you’re being very critical of the resources you choose to use in your classroom. Make the right decisions for you and your students!
What factors should you be using to determine if the resource is right or not?
Here are a few I would use!
- You get what you pay for. If the resource was free, it’s free for a reason.
- Use data to ensure that the resource will help push your students along. Does it fit the current needs of your students? Don’t buy it just because it’s ‘cute’
- Is it rigorous enough? Does it make your students think critically? Can it help your students collaborate with one another? Does it support the standards you’re teaching?
- Is the resource from someone you trust? Any “Joe Schmoe” out there can make resources and put them online. That doesn’t mean they are curriculum experts. Find people who you know and trust and use their resources because you know they are legit.
Use more rigor!
Yes, I said the ‘R’ word. I know some teachers hate that word, but in reality, it’s one of the most important elements of meaningful reading instruction. If teachers are continuously bending over backward to try and meet every single students’ needs, all we are doing is making each student’s gap bigger and bigger from where he/she needs to be!
Does this mean that they shouldn’t get personalized or individual support in their areas of need? No! There’s a time and place for that. But we also need to remember that holes can be filled with high expectations, rigorous teaching and materials, and intentional scaffolding for specific students along the way.
When we PUSH our students with rigorous instruction and support those who need it, we are exposing all students to grade-level expectations, allowing all students time to think critically and work on current and past standards all at the same time.
So no, RIGOR isn’t just an ‘R’ word. It’s a word that should be at the forefront of your instruction at all times.
Reading Instruction Change #3: Use the gradual release model
If you agree that ‘Reading is Thinking’ but we’re not spending optimal time modeling for our students, then we aren’t everything we can to teach and show them what reading truly is. The gradual release model (I do, we do, you do) allows teachers TIME to model for their students. In this part of the lesson, students get to take a peek inside our brain. They get to listen to our thinking, our processes, our metacognitive skills.
This is modeling. This is what the ‘I do’ is all about. Then when students proceed with the ‘we do’, they get to adapt and apply the same metacognitive skills they saw us using with their own reading and with our support. Finally in the ‘you do’, students get to try it out independently. This process has PROVEN to work. If it’s not the format you’re using for your lessons, I would highly recommend making this change today!
Using or changing just ONE of these important factors above can have positive and drastic changes in your reading instruction and in how your students perform in the classroom. Which do you think you will change? Use the image below to pin this post and save it for later!