2001 Conference Proceedings

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EVALUATING TEXT FOR OLDER STUDENTS WITH EMERGING READING SKILLS

Jerry Stemach
Assistive Technology Specialist
E-mail: jstemach@bigplanet.com

Older students who are significantly behind in reading may struggle with decoding stories written at even a second grade level. Teachers who wish to provide instruction to these students may struggle with finding texts written at this level that are engaging, age-appropriate, and consistent with a standard curriculum.

Older students with emerging reading skills present a unique set of challenges. Frequently they struggle with issues of attention, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. They are "turned off" to reading. They have participated in one or more remedial programs with failed results. They are easily distracted. They read slowly, word by word. They misinterpret the meaning of the text. Since their own oral language skills for syntax and vocabulary may be weak, they may make poor guesses at unfamiliar words.

These students require texts written in language that minimizes the linguistic "hurdles" that impede fluency, comprehension, and independent reading. Story content must be age-appropriate, extremely interesting, and tied to the curriculum. Both student and teacher must be confident that the student will read the story independently. The reading assignment must be short enough to provide the satisfaction of completion.

With thousands of books to choose from, how do teachers select books that really meet this criterion for reading success? Teachers need strategies to evaluate the reading materials. The participants will examine text from a variety of publishers.

At the end of this session, participants will:




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