Expand dyslexia awareness. Create pins to spark conversations for Dyslexia Awareness Month in October and provide professional development for staff. Teach staff that dyslexia is often referred to as “hiding in plain sight” and what they should look out for in their students.
Initiate programs. If possible, bring in therapy dogs for monthly reading sessions. Other students will want to participate in this too, further boosting the morale of struggling readers. Recruit members of the community (doctors, police officers, firefighters, board members, etc.) to participate in a “Read with a Hero Day” at the school. Local elderly and retired teachers may also be interested in coming to read to the students during class.
Listen to the students. The students will have their own ideas. Personalize the learning for them as they begin to discover what they want and need and become more interested so that they can take charge and drive their own learning.
Have an objective. Define a main goal. Reyes strived to promote literacy throughout her entire school, but her main objective was inclusion for all by focusing on creating effective learning environments for struggling readers.
After initiating these ideas at her school, Reyes’ classroom transformed into a classroom full of excited, engaged readers that felt a part of the school community, with many conversations about books and authors. Despite any hurdles or roadblocks when asking for help, it’s important to keep pushing for what the students need. “Sometimes, you have to remember that you have to be these kids’ advocates, so do what you have to do, and don’t take no for an answer,” she said.
About the Presenter
Nelda Reyes has been teaching for 22 years. She has taught grades kindergarten through fifth in regular, bilingual, and special education. She is currently a dyslexia/interventionist teacher at De Zavala Elementary in Texas. She is a Wilson Level 1 practitioner and is currently working on Level 2 to become a therapist. Her number-one initiative is to advocate and create dyslexia awareness for parents, educators, and students. She is on the board of directors for IDA, Austin Branch, in Texas.
These 7 strategies will help you create a reading culture in your school
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