3. Create At-School and Summer-Long Contests
Be a reading cheerleader by having your school participate in a “read more pages” contest. These kinds of contests spark student interest and conversation around books. Mathieu noted that “The Great Reading Games” contest, put on by Learning Ally, always gets her students particularly excited about the books they are reading. She makes sure to keep the focus on making great efforts and setting realistic goals, rather than winning. The students at Kiker Elementary have already set their goals for next year.
4. Offer Books in Multiple Formats
Spark all students’ love of reading by leveling the playing field with audiobooks and encouraging them that reading in any format is fine. “I always let them know that I listen to audiobooks, and that it’s okay. Anytime you’re reading, that’s reading, no matter what it looks like,” said Mathieu.
5. Set Up a Struggling Reader Buddy System
Schools and parents can also have older students and friends partner up with younger kids that have recently been identified as dyslexic. The older students help the younger students see that they aren’t alone, and show them that things will get easier. With programs like these, schools and parents can ensure all readers have the support they need.
About the Presenters
Terrie Noland is the National Director, Educator Engagement for Learning Ally. She has more than 22 years of experience as both a trainer and developer of content for educators and administrators. Her focus for the past five years has been on the pedagogical practices needed to create effective environments for students with dyslexia. Terrie has trained groups numbering in the thousands helping to build better understanding of working with struggling readers. She is currently pursuing certification as an academic language therapist.
Kristy Mathieu Kristy Mathieu is a teacher at Kiker Elementary School in Austin, TX. She has led an initiative in her own 3rd grade general education classroom to create universally designed instructional practices so that all students, including those with learning disabilities, can succeed. As a certified academic language therapist, she integrates an Orton-Gillingham multisensory program as a center rotation in her classroom. In addition, she has created learning spaces with flexible seating that promote student independence and choice. Kristy’s teaching method, innovative practices, and love for teaching have been recognized by Austin ISD. Her classroom has become a model for others to follow.
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