Reading has been on my mind a lot lately.  I was searching through research on how children learn to read and the best methods for teaching reading.  We know that the best methods don't work with every child and that some questionable methods seem to work with some children.  I was challenging my reading class to make sure they always use multiple methods to reach children who are struggling with the reading process.  One thing research clearly indicates is that it is the attitude of the teacher that is the number one factor in reading success in a classroom.
It is often difficult to help a struggling child keep a positive attitude about reading.  For many children it becomes a daunting and impossible task.  It is up to the adult working with the child to do everything possible to instill in the child a desire to be successfull and a feeling that she can become a reader.  That is a challenge for us all.  How do we help the child become excited about something that  she feels unsuccessful doing?  I think that tracking (grouping children by ability) is one of the mistakes teachers often make.  Reading researchers indicate that tracking is one of the worst things that can be done for a child on or below reading level.  She has no models for success and she may mentally label herself as "dumb."  Those are hard issues to overcome.  Mixed level groups and activities seem to be the most successful for struggling readers.  I had a lot of success in my own classroom with mixed groups.  It was a beginning step to instilling that desire to read in a child who originally had that excitement when she started school.


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