I work with many teams and families each week, planning intervention programs for children with Dyslexia (and, other Disabilities). In all my work, I keep close taps on research for best practices in assisting non-readers to become efficient readers. Over the years, I have come to rely on some strategies as more effective than others.
Repeated reading of the same text is one of those effective strategies!
How does it work:
- Pick a levelled reader. Levelled readers are those texts that have been systematically graded (usually with help of some mathematical formula). Start with either the easiest level or a level higher than what your child can comfortably read.
- Read out the whole story to the child. Let the child listen to the story as you read and narrate. This is a stage that will excite the child about the story and inform you about the child’s readiness to dive in to reading.
- Ask the child to read the story for 1-minute. Use a timer. As the child is reading you be ready to note the errors or words that the child could not read.
- Say the words that the child can’t read. As the child is reading there will be many words that the child can’t read. Fill-in the words by saying them aloud. Do not allow the child’s flow to break. Help the child continue reading by adding these words that posed any hurdle to continuous reading.
- Be a model. Now is your turn to show “good reading.” Pick the phrases where child had committed the error. Read out those phrases and read them as a natural reader!
- Have child read these phrases. Once you have read, ask the child to read the same phrases 3 times. Go up till the point that the child had read in 1-minute.
- Repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- Most important! Each time the child finishes that 1-minute reading, count the number of words read accurately. Plot these numbers on a graph and make it a running record for each subsequent reading. Children have lots of fun with this plotting. And, the excitement of this graph going up is unmatched!
- Do not overdo the reading practices. Stick to 3, 1-minute reading of a story in one day. It will be little practise daily that will eventually give us the results.
- Let the child see your enthusiasm. “you read 15 words in 1-minute!” When we start working with a non-reader, 5, 8, 10 words is usually the tally of words in the beginning. It is important to celebrate these small successes. With repeated readings, the graph will surely go up, but the initial progress needs much encouragement in order to keep going.
- Remember to keep the graph visible during all practices. Feedback of how one is doing is ususally the best motivator to keep someone going. So let the child see the progress and own her own learning.