Struggling Adolescent
Readers
Sharon
Eric
Melissa
David
Research says . . .
• One in four students in grades four
through twelve was a struggling
reader in 2005.
• Fewer than one-third of public
school 8th graders read at, or above
grade level
Characteristics of Struggling Adolescent
Readers in Word Study
 May read single-syllable words
 May have difficulty decoding longer
multisyllabic words.
 May lack knowledge of the ways in which
sounds map to print.
 May have difficulty breaking words into
syllables.
 Might not use word analysis strategies to
break words into syllables.
What to do for a Struggling
Adolescent Reader in Word Study.
• Break words into syllable types.
• Use and read multisyllabic words by blending
parts together.
• Recognize irregular words
• Teach meanings of common prefixes, suffixes,
inflectional endings, and roots
• Break words into word parts and combine
word parts to create words
Characteristics of Struggling Adolescent
Readers in Fluency
 Read slowly
 May struggle with decoding
 May not pause at punctuation
 Often lacks voice or emotion while
reading
What to do for a Struggling
Adolescent Reader in Fluency
 Repeated Readings
 Non-repetitive wide reading
 Passage preview with audio books
 Provide corrective feedback
 Use individual reading level
 Read aloud books
 Accessible texts on a lower level
Characteristics of Struggling
Adolescent Readers in Vocabulary
 Have limited exposure to new words.
 May not enjoy reading
 Does not select reading for independent
activity.
 unable to comprehend consistently
 Lack experiences necessary to gain deep
understanding of new words.
 have limited content-specific prior knowledge
to support word learning.
What to do for a Struggling
Adolescent Reader in Vocabulary.
 Study synonyms
 Contextual Redefinition
 Teach structure of words – roots, affixes,
derivation, and meaning
 Word Maps
 Group similar words to build a scaffold to
new vocabulary.
 Use keywords and mnemonics
Characteristics of Struggling Adolescent
Readers in Comprehension
 May not be aware when understanding breaks
down.
 Do not interact with text
 May lack subject-specific prior knowledge.
 Do not make connections between what they
are learning and what they already know.
 May not use strategies to gain information
from text.
 May fail to read with purpose or goals.
What to do for a Struggling Adolescent
Reader in Comprehension
 K-W-L Chart
 Think alouds during reading
 Anticipation guides
 Questioning the text. Do the views of
the text align with the reader’s views?
 Directed reading activities: pre-reading,
reading, and post reading activities (RAP)
 Audio books
Characteristics of Struggling
Adolescent Readers in Motivation
 May engage in reading as a passive
process
 Often have low comprehension of text.
 If given the choice, prefer not to read.
 May not be interested in exploring topics
or content through reading.
What to do for a Struggling
Adolescent Reader in Motivation
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Incorporate Technology
Interactive smart board
Nontraditional Text
High-interest
CNN Student News
Time for Kids series
4 Essential Features of Intervention
1. Personalized and ongoing
assessments
2. Substantial opportunities to read
and write
3. Extensive and varied collection of
reading materials
4. Expert teachers as instructors
Remember . . .
• Students are not “one size fits all.”
• One strategy will not work for all students.
• Each struggling reader has his/her own needs.
Taylor, C. R. (n.d.). Engaging the struggling reader: Focusing on reading and success
across the content areas. (2012). National Tacher Education Journal, 5(2), 51-58.
Ivey, G. (2009). Intervening when older youth struggle with reading. In K.A.
Hinkchman, & H.K. Sheridan-Thomas, (Eds.), Best practices in adolescent literacy
instruction. New York, NY: The Guilford Press
Boardman, A. G., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Wexler, J., Murray,
C. S., & Kosanovich, M. (2008). Effective instruction for
adolescent struggling readers: A practice brief. Portsmouth,
NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction
(Preferred citation posted on this article)
Newman, C., Wexler, T., & Wexler, J. (n.d.). 10 ways to teach and support struggling
adolescent readers. (2007). Kappa Delta Pi Record, 22-27.
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