What Really Matters for Strugging Readers (Pearson 2006) and What Really Matters in Response to Intervention (Pearson 2009) by Richard L. Allington These are two of our favorite resources for helping teachers understand struggling readers. Eminently readable, research-based and full of common sense, both books make a strong case for matching kids with texts that they can and want to read.  In each book, Dick Allington cites extensive research to support his contention that struggling readers make more growth when they are given books that offer “high success” in comprehension, accuracy and fluency.

“Balancing Readability and Reading Fluency – The Common Core”
The author of this article in School Library Journal finds some hopeful text in an appendix to the CCSS: “Students need opportunities to stretch their reading abilities but also to experience the satisfaction and pleasure of easy, fluent reading within them.” We couldn’t agree more. Click here for the link or

“Every Child, Every Day” Richard L. Allington and Rachael E. Gabriel

Here’s an excellent article from Educational Leadership on six key elements of reading instruction. It also shows how Common Core State Standards might affect weak readers.,-Every-Day.aspx

“Ways To Help Our Students Become Better Readers”

In this article, literacy experts Stephen Krashen and Dick Allington weigh in on how to make students better readers. Both argue that the key to improving reading proficiency is by providing students with many opportunities to read books that are interesting and easy for them to understand.

“Seven Ways to Help Reluctant Readers”

No new research here, but a good summary of effective practice … especially for parents:

Reading Research Quarterly, Vol 48, No. 3 July-Sep 2013
It’s rare for Reading Research Quarterly to devote a whole issue to struggling readers, but this is it – and it’s a great issue. Greg Roberts, et. al examine the effects of RTI on two thousand kids in seven Texas schools. They compare Bau (“business as usual”) classrooms with RTI intervention classrooms for kids who need it. The results, over three years, are very encouraging and show how effective RTI can be. Almost all the “treated” kids were reading at grade-level norms after three years of intensive intervention through middle school. (A sad truth, however: 22 students failed to reach grade-level proficiency despite intensive intervention.) Alan Cheung and Robert Slavin look at educational technology and whether if can help struggling readers. Their findings are discouraging – the bigger the program (READ 180, for instance) the smaller the effect size. Overall, educational technology had only a small effect on the reading skills of struggling readers, grades 1-6.
Unfortunately, only IRA members who pay for this journal can get online access to the studies.

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