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Reading Strategies to Engage All Students

As you read through research and articles about effective teaching strategies for special populations, a theme is apparent: explicit and targeted instruction is important to effectively meet the needs of special populations students. The key is to understand the specific needs of the students and to employ culturally responsive teaching practices.

Collaboration between special education, teachers of emergent bilingual students and classroom teachers must be in place. Each teacher brings his or her experiences and expertise to the partnership for the benefit of each student. All students will achieve when all teachers work as a team.

Reading Strategies to Engage All Students
General Classroom Environment
  • Create word walls that include vocabulary from the software and the textbook used for instruction.
  • Have emergent bilingual students create word walls or vocabulary lists that include  vocabulary words in their home language; be aware of connections between the home language and English, such as cognates (words that are similar, like Spanish “igual” and English “equal”).
  • Explicitly teach parts and features of the textbook (i.e., glossary, index, etc.)
  • Provide highlighters and a coding structure for students to use when working in the consumable Carnegie Learning textbook.
  • Reinforce effort and provide praise for a job well done.
  • Understand the linguistic and educational background of each emergent bilingual student in the class; review the IEPs for students receiving special education services.
  • Maintain high expectations for all learners.
Creating and Maintaining Access to the Mathematics
  • Read or have a fluent student read the problem situation that begins each lesson. Read slowly and enunciate each word to ensure student understanding.
  • Avoid overt corrections when a student is reading; repeat with correct pronunciation.
  • Ask clarifying questions to check for comprehension.
  • Provide students time to discuss and process the problem situation before engaging in the next part of the lesson.
  • Allow students to preview the entire lesson at the start.
  • Use heterogeneous cooperative grouping for all students regardless of special populations status or achievement level.
  • Group struggling readers, including emergent bilingual students, with strong, fluent readers
  • Create a cooperative grouping structure so there is a job/role for all types of students. (A student who reports the group’s answers may not be a fluent reader.)
Assessing Mathematical Progress
  • Allow students to present solutions for the first time in their native language. As they become more proficient, encourage them to  present in English.
  • Provide opportunities for students to present answers using graphs and charts.
  • Collaborate with specialists to determine appropriate strategies.
  • Explicitly review the directions for the homework assignment; ensure that all students understand the task.
  • Review any key terms that were used in the lesson.
  • Celebrate successes.
Software Interaction
  • Pair struggling readers, including emergent bilingual students, with strong, fluent readers.
  • Encourage student collaboration.
  • Give explicit instructions on how to use the self-help tools of the Tutor.
  • Work with students individually on the Interactive Example if they struggle with a new unit.
  • Create a word wall similar to the one in the classroom.
  • Provide students an opportunity to talk about what they are reading.
  • Praise students for their successes.