WOULDA, COULDA, SHOULDA
Not long ago, I presented a workshop on Supporting Struggling Readers. I was expounding on the importance of finding texts at appropriate levels when someone interrupted me to say, “But our kids are going to encounter lots of difficult texts in content area subjects. How do we help them in Science, Social Studies and other areas?” Because I try to adjust my talks to the needs to the needs of the audience, I immediately changed gears and started offering some ideas for how to navigate tough texts, such as mapping the page, pre highlighting and anticipation guides. But what I should have said was this: These are band-aids. They’re temporary supports that help students with reading that particular text, but they don’t provide longterm strategic support. The very best way to help students prepare for reading difficult content area texts is to provide them with manageable reading and incrementally increasing the difficulty so that students have the tools for navigating those texts when we’re not here to support them. That’s the whole premise of my book Struggling Readers: Why Band-aids Don’t Stick and Worksheets Don’t Work.