EDUC 527
Strategies for Students who Struggle with Literacy
3 graduate credits
Office Hours:
Or by appt or email
Course Catalog Description: Helping all students to become effective, strategic readers that read and write
purposefully with enthusiasm is one of the greatest challenges facing classroom teachers today. This course is
designed to assist teachers to use well-informed diagnostic judgment and tools and strategies to monitor and
support student’s literacy development effectively. 3 credits.
Beers, K. (2003). When kids can’t read, what teachers can do: A guide for teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH:
Fink, R. (2006. Why Jane and John couldn’t read—and how they learned: A new look at striving readers.
Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Tompkins, G. E. (2003). 50 Literacy Strategies: Step By Step, Second Edition. Prentice Hall.
(out of print, copy available on Blackboard)
Phinney, M.Y. (1988). Reading with the troubled reader. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Course Objectives:
Course objectives have been written to reflect the match between this course and the International Reading
Association (IRA) Standards for Reading Professionals, Longwood University’s Conceptual Framework, and
the Virginia Department of Education Licensure Regulations.
As a result of the class discussion, reading and assignments, student will:
1. explain the differences among learners and how these differences influence reading.
2. define the physical, emotional, environmental, cultural, and intellectual correlates of struggling readers.
3. explain the importance of working on a team of educators to best meet the needs of students.
4. explain the data that is included in referrals from relevant professionals.
5. identify and explain a variety of instructional techniques for remedial instruction.
6. identify and explain the importance of teaching a variety of reading strategies to be used by students for the
purpose of getting meaning from text.
7. explain the role of metacognition in reading
8. explain the relationship between assessment and instruction.
9. explain the components of effective literacy planning.
10. explain the different components of reading instruction: comprehension, word identification, fluency,
study skills, and vocabulary development.
11. explain how to make curriculum choices based on students’ interest and needs.
12. explain how to model and scaffold instruction.
13. explain how to conduct and assess students reading behaviors through the use of running records, anecdotal
notes, retelling, and other classroom based assessments.
apply various diagnostic procedures to students who are reading below ability level.
demonstrate the use of teaching techniques which assist the reading process.
demonstrate how to teach strategies which assist in the reading process.
demonstrate the use of text to stimulate interest, promote reading growth, and motivate learners to
become life long readers.
evaluate supplementary materials to be used for instruction.
plan, execute, and assess effective reading lessons in a classroom setting.
As a result of the class discussions, readings, and assignments, the candidate will be able to:
1. recognize the need to adapt instruction evaluation to fit the needs of the student.
2. recognize the need to adapt evaluation to fit the needs of the student.
3. justify the need to provide materials within the student’s interest.
4. show an appreciation of the relationship between self-concept and reading achievement.
5. recognize the need to consider the influence of cultural values in reading instruction.
6. recognize the need to explain the literacy curriculum to parents and the community.
Course Outline:
I. Defining the reading process
A. Transactions between the reader, the text, and the context.
B. The role of schemes in reading and writing
C. Relationship between reading, writing, listening, speaking, and visual representation.
D. Before, during and after reading
E. Teaching techniques vs. thinking and learning strategies
II. Providing Support for Readers
A. Techniques for before reading
B. Techniques for during reading
C. Techniques for after reading
III. The impact of reading problems
A. Consequences to the individual
B. Consequences to the school and society
C. Bilingual and limited English proficient speakers.
IV. Factors related to struggling readers
A. Environmental factors
B. Emotional factors
C. Physical Factors
D. Language development
E. Intelligence
F. Types of struggling readers
V. Assessing reading and writing achievement
A. General principles of assessment
B. Assessment that is aligned with goals, standards, and instruction
C. Assessment that is ongoing, reflective, and authentic
D. Assessment is collected from a variety of measures
VI. Creating Optimal Learning Environments
A. Planning instruction
B. Linking with state and local standards
C. Adapting instruction to meet the needs of students
1. assisting reluctant writers and readers
2. assisting with spelling, grammar, and handwriting
3. assisting oral language
Class Schedule:
Assignments Due
Wednesday 5-8
Saturday 9-5
Wednesday 5-8
Saturday 9-5
Saturday 9-5
Defining Reading
Conditions of Learning
Types of struggling
Before reading
During Reading
Beers Ch. 1-4
Assignment 1
Vocabulary, spelling,
fluency, word recognition
After Reading
Article Response
Beers Ch. 5, 6
Beers Ch. 7
Beers Ch. 9-12
During Reading Applications
Beers Ch. 8
After Reading Applications
Case Study
Beers Ch. 13, 14
Fink Ch. 1, 6
Before Reading Applications
Description of Assignments:
Each student will select a child with whom they work. The child should be seen as ‘struggling’ in some area of
literacy. Using the texts required for this class, as well as any outside resources found, a case study of the child
must be conducted. The goal of the study is to find out as much as you can about this student’s real challenges
in literacy and suggest ideas to help him or her. A sample paper and specific directions will be posted on
2. Teaching Technique Implementation & Reflection (3)
Each student should select three teaching techniques from the textbooks: one each for before, during and after
reading. Students are responsible for understanding the technique (this may include looking for additional
information), applying the technique to a specific text related to their teaching situation, taking their students
through the actual lesson using this technique, and reflecting on the lesson. The lesson plan format to be
followed as well as the reflection guidelines will be posted on Blackboard.
Lessons, student work samples, and the reflection will be shared and collected as indicated.
3. Other Assignments
1. Assignment 1: Student interviews
2. Article Response
Grades are determined as follows:
Case Study
Teaching Technique Applications (3)
Other Assignments
100 points
200 points
300 points
50 points
650 points
Student Responsibility:
It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of, and to observe, all regulations and procedures
required by the university. In no case will a regulation be waived or an exception granted because students
plead ignorance of the regulation or assert that they were not informed of the regulation by an advisor or other
authority. Refer to the Academic Regulations sections of the most recent Graduate Catalog available
online at: http://www.longwood.edu/academic/affairs/catalog_home.htm {Select Graduate Catalog; Select
General Information; Select Academic Regulations}
A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 on a 4-point scale is required to remain in the graduate
program and for graduation. Passing grades are A, B and C.
A = 100-90
B = 89-80
C = 79-70
Incompletes: The instructor may choose to grant a grade of "I" which indicates that because of illness or for
good reason, the work of the semester has not been completed. An Incomplete Contract should be completed by
the instructor and student listing work to be done and deadlines for completion. When this work has been
completed, a final grade will be reported. A grade of "I" will revert automatically to a grade of "F" if the
necessary work has not been completed by the end of the subsequent regular semester.
 Students are expected to attend and participate in all class activities. Instructors have the right to assign
a course grade of "F" when the student has missed a total (excused and unexcused) of 25 percent of the
scheduled class meeting times.
 Students must assume full responsibility for any loss incurred because of absence..
 Class assignments are due during the class period on the assigned date.
 All written assignments will be typed unless otherwise specified.
 Students who require special arrangements for taking notes and/or tests should make arrangements
with the instructor at the beginning of the semester.
 If serious circumstances necessitate a make-up test/exam, students must present a doctor's note or other
valid documentation of the circumstance and complete the alternate test/exam by arrangement with the
 In no case should assignments for this course be ones that have been submitted for another course.
Mere submission of work does not guarantee a passing grade. Grades are assigned on the quality of the
work according to the professional judgment of the instructor.
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a physical, psychological,
medical, or learning disability should contact me privately. If you have not already done so, please contact the
Office for Disability Services (103 Graham Building, 434-395-2391 or http://www.longwood.edu/disability) to
register for services.
Longwood provides a toll-free number (877-267-7883) for distance education students. You can reach User
Support Services, the Library Reference Desk and the Graduate Studies Office during working hours. After
working hours you can leave a message for the Library and Graduate Studies. You can email User Support
Services at helpdesk@longwood.edu after working hours and will get a response on the next working day.
At the conclusion of the course, each student will have the opportunity to evaluate the course instructor.
Each student is expected to follow Longwood University’s policy for the Honor Code as stated in the latest
edition of the Graduate Catalog.
Honor Code:
“A strong tradition of honor is fundamental to the quality of living and learning in the Longwood community.”
When accepting admission to Longwood College, each student made a commitment to respect, support, and
abide by the college’s honor code system without compromise or exception. Students must follow the policy of
the Honor Code as described in the current college catalog and refrain from lying, cheating, stealing, and
Prospective applicants are allowed to enroll in up to nine credit hours (3 courses) prior to being admitted to a
degree or licensure only program and have those hours apply to the admitted program. Students should submit
an Application for Graduate Admission promptly to avoid having course work in excess of the nine credit hours
not apply once admitted. Application materials are available by contacting the Office of Graduate Studies (434395-2707 or graduate@longwood.edu) or on our web site at www.longwood.edu/graduatestudies/apply.htm.
Department of Record: Questions about this course and its instruction should be addressed to the Department
of Education, Special Education, Social Work, & Communication Disorders.
Allington, R. (2001). What really matters for struggling readers: designing research-based programs. New
York, NY: Longman.
Block, C. C. (1997). Literacy difficulties: Diagnosis and instruction. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
England, C. M. (2004). Uphill both ways: Helping students who struggle in school. Portsmouth, NH:
Fink, R. (2006). Why Jane and John couldn’t read—and how they learned: A new look at striving readers.
Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Gambrell, L. B., Palmer, B. M., Codling, R. M., & Mazzoni, S. A. (1996). Assessing motivation to read.
The Reading Teacher, 49 (7), 518-533.
Goodman, Y.M. (1990). How children construct literacy-Piagetian perspectives. Newark, DE: IRA
Gunning, T. G. (2006). Closing the literacy gap. New York, NY: Pearson Education Inc.
Lyons, C.A. (2003). Teaching struggling readers: How to use brain-based research to maximize learning.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
McCormack, R.L. & Paratore, J. (eds.). (2003). After early intervention, then what? Teaching struggling
readers in grades 3 and beyond. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.
Morrow, L.M. (1997). Literacy development in the early years: Helping children read and write. Boston,
MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Newkirk, T. & Atwell, N. (1988). Understanding writing: ways of observing, learning, and teaching.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Padak, N. & Rasinski, T. (2000). Effective reading strategies: teaching children who find reading difficult (2nd
Phinney, M.Y. (1988). Reading with the troubled reader. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Pinnell, G.S. & Fountas, I.C. (1998). Word matters: Teaching phonics and spelling in the reading/writing
classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Robb, Laura. (2003). Literacy Links: practical strategies to develop the emergent literacy at-risk children
need. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Strickland, D.S., Ganske, K., & Monroe, J. K. (2002). Supporting struggling readers and writers: Strategies
for classroom intervention 3-6. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Snow, C.E., Burns, M.S. & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children.
Washington DC: National Academy Press.
Walker, B.J. (1992). Supporting struggling readers. Scarbourough, Ontario: Pippin Publishing Corp.
Worthy, J., & Broaddus, K. (2002). Fluency beyond the primary grades: From group performance to
silent, independent reading. The Reading Teacher, 55(4). 334-343.
Journals consulted on a regular basis
The Reading Teacher
Language Arts
Reading Research Quarterly
Book links