struggling readers intervention

Media specialist: 3 ways to break down barriers between students and reading

A media specialist shares her high- and low-tech tools for reading and literacy throughout her school.

2. Using Technology to Support Struggling Readers

Helping our children improve their reading skills has been a top priority since media specialists were still librarians. Even with all the tech tools at their disposal, some children still struggle with basic reading foundations. Before tools like these were available, I couldn’t always guarantee time for one-to-one instruction with all the young readers who needed my help. Having an instructional reading tool that effectively extends my reach so that all my students have the assistance they need—in a variety of formats.

Our kids who use the Reading Horizons software receive one-to-one instruction from both their teachers and the program. With their device, they can read or choose to have lessons read aloud to best support their growth. Through the software’s digital assessment tools, I can check in on the progress each student is making and feel assured that they’re okay to work independently on their iPad while I’m assisting other students. The reading games they play and the rewards they receive provide a level of engagement that inspires their interest and confidence to keep reading and keep improving.

3. Collaborating with Teachers

The use of digital programs to assist in RTI instruction is helping build a stronger bridge of collaboration between teachers and media specialists, where before our interactions were more commonly divided. In helping students and teachers integrate digital libraries and reading aids into their daily curriculum, my presence and assistance is bridging the gap between the library environment and the rest of the school, bringing my work into the classrooms to help facilitate stronger learning techniques where media specialists can become more involved with all of our students in every aspect of reading.

More cohesive collaboration between media specialists and teachers means more opportunity for future leadership roles within the school community, helping media specialists continue to evolve and improve their educational status.

In order to cross these divides, media specialists are becoming more tech-savvy than ever before. If we are to keep up with our 21st-century students, the library and its staff must evolve with them, always looking to the new horizons in student reading and engagement.

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