Research-Proven Strategies for Teaching Struggling Readers in Middle School and High School

by | Jan 6, 2023



As students enter middle school and high school, their reading abilities can vary greatly. Some students may be able to read proficiently, while others may struggle to keep up with their peers. This can lead to an achievement gap, where students who struggle with reading and fall behind in their academic progress.

Research-Proven Instructional Strategies for Closing the Gap

However, there are research-proven instructional strategies that teachers can use to help close this gap and accelerate the reading abilities of struggling students. These strategies include explicit instruction, scaffolding, and differentiated instruction.

Explicit instruction involves teaching students the specific skills and strategies they need to comprehend texts.  This may include teaching students how to identify main ideas and supporting details, how to make inferences, and how to use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Scaffolding involves breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and providing students with the support they need to complete each step. This can involve providing students with graphic organizers or other tools to help them organize their thoughts and ideas, or providing them with sentence starters to help them write about what they have read.

Differentiated instruction involves tailoring instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. This can involve providing students with texts at their reading level, allowing them to work at their own pace, or providing them with additional support, such as one-on-one tutoring or small group instruction.

How School Principals Can Support Teachers

To support teachers who may not know how to teach older students to read, school principals can provide them with professional development opportunities. These opportunities can include workshops on instructional strategies, such as explicit instruction and scaffolding, as well as training on how to use technology and other resources to support struggling readers.

In addition, school principals can also provide teachers with access to resources and materials that can help them differentiate instruction for their students. This can include leveled texts, graphic organizers, and other tools that can help students better understand and comprehend the material they are reading.


Ongoing Support and Guidance for Teachers

Another important aspect of supporting teachers in teaching older students to read is providing them with ongoing support and guidance. This can involve regular check-ins with teachers to see how they are progressing, as well as providing them with feedback and suggestions for improvement.

The Role of Targeted, Research-Proven Strategies in Helping Struggling Readers Succeed

Ultimately, the key to closing the achievement gap and helping struggling readers succeed is providing them with targeted, research-proven instructional strategies that are tailored to their individual needs. By providing teachers with the support and resources they need to effectively teach these strategies, school principals can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed.



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