Checklist and Struggling Readers Presentation

Checklist and Struggling Readers Presentation


Review Appendix D of Reading Diagnosis and Improvement and consider the characteristics of struggling readers and the factors that predispose students to reading difficulties.

Checklist of Characteristics of Struggling Readers

Does your student:

_____ limit use of clues in the surrounding print (pictures etc.)?

_____  lose meaning by the time they get to the end of the sentence?

_____  lose meaning by the time they get to the end of the text?

_____ look at text letter-by-letter, word-by-word without looking for what the text    means?

_____ bring limited background knowledge as they read?


_____ not self-check comprehension.


_____ not make predictions as they read; visualize the events of a text as they read;

           recognize a text’s structure /organization as they read;


_____ identify/recognize a purpose for reading a text?

_____ sometimes or often rejected by their classmates ?

_____ passive/does not participate/fails to get help from their peers?

Factors that predispose students to literacy difficulties


Cognitive Factors

  • Overall Cognitive Ability (Below 85 standard score)
  • Memory
  • Verbal encoding
  • Associative Learning  
  • Attention


Visual Processing Deficits


  • Reversals
  • Delayed or Faulty Directionality



Language Factors


  • Deficits in oral language


    • language delay
    • Articulation Difficulties


  • deficiency in phonological processing


  • persistent slowness or inability to generate a word to name


Social and Emotional Factors

  • Social and emotional maladjustment
  • Learned helplessness

Adult Pressure

  • Undue parental pressure to perform
  • Sarcasm and condescending or demeaning remarks
  • Asking students to read difficult passages


Neurological Factors

  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Attentional Challenges


Family Factors

  • Reading challenges may be generational


Economic Factors`

  • Poverty may significantly impair reading and writing development.


Educational Factors

  • Using inappropriate materials
  • Poor pacing
  • Lack of effective instruction
  • Excessive skill and drill practice
  • Not accounting for the social nature of learning and diversity of modern classrooms

Using your school’s current program for struggling readers, review the following scenario:

An assistant principal of curriculum, has just been hired for the new school year and,  knowing that you recently completed a continuing education course on reading, has asked you to compare the research-based assessment, diagnosis, and intervention for struggling readers at your school with what you recently learned in your course. The assistant principal wants you to explain what is working for struggling readers at your school and what needs improvement.

Google Presentation Outline


Literacy Program: United for Success



The goals of the literacy program at United for Success Middle School are presented to the teachers annually at the beginning of the school year; however, teachers and other staff members are not always clear when articulating the goals and philosophy of the program to parents and other stakeholders. An effort was made to select teachers for the program who are genuinely interested in working with struggling readers and who are committed to the additional training that their positions require.


Students are selected for the program based on their previous year’s scores on the state-mandated, standardized reading test. The reading coordinator has requested that other measures be considered for entry into the program and has requested that the administration consider such a change in the policy.



Teachers have observed that some students not in the reading program appear to be struggling readers as well and could benefit from the program (which has a waiting list for entry). Another issue is a lack of appropriate progress monitoring. Currently, once a student is placed into the program, there is no formalized system for determining the student’s progress other than ongoing assessment that may not be as valid as desired.



The program features small-group instruction (16:1).  There currently is not an inclusion model. Teachers are encouraged to use a variety of grouping patterns and to participate in professional development; however, because the individual who directs the program also teaches the reading classes full-time, she is not able to work with the staff at large to help classroom teachers promote literacy in the classroom.  



In addition, parents may not be aware that their children are enrolled in the class, or may not understand what the class means (despite notification from the school, in the family language as required by district policy.  Teachers do not communicate with the families of their students as often as the parents who are better-informed would like.



Principles of research-based assessment intervention and diagnosis found in the program at USFA:


  1.  Assessment

The students a USFA are required to take the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory), based on these scores, students may be recommended for a remedial reading program.  Anecdotal evidence is considered as well as report cards and any other information that may be available, like assessment results from located in an IEP.



  1.  Diagnosis

USFA does not perform other standardized testing (other than the SRI), inventories or other anecdotal evidence to assess needs for reading intervention, with information that will drive instruction.



  1.  Intervention

Students are in a period-long reading class.  Specific skills are targeted.  Students participate in a daily reading program that tracks their Lexile performance.  SRI testing is conducted three times per year.  Goals are set with students.



  1.  Accommodations

At times some students are significantly below that of their peers in the class.  All activities have up to 4 levels, with 1 being accessible to all students.


Guiding principles of Response to Intervention (RTI) which are present as USFA and which must be considered.

Source for quoted slides:

Opitz, M., Rubin, D., & Erekson, J. (2011 ). Reading Diagnosis and Improvement: Assessment and Instruction [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, RDG/502 website; Appendix D


“Language related to Response to Intervention (RTI) was written into U.S. law with the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law indicates that school districts are no longer required to take into consideration whether a severe discrepancy exists between a student’s achievement and his or her intellectual ability in determining eligibility for learning disability services. “



“Rather, they may use an alternative approach that determines first whether the student responds to “scientific, research based” classroom instruction and, if not, then to more intensive and targeted interventions. After receiving this more tailored and intensive instruction, students who do not demonstrate adequate progress are then considered for evaluation for a specific learning disability. This approach has come to be known as RTI, although this precise term is not used in the law.”


“The RTI provision allows local school districts that meet certain criteria to allocate up to 15% of their funding for students with disabilities toward general education interventions designed to prevent language and literacy difficulties. This explains why RTI is often perceived as a special education initiative at the same time as special education organizations describe it as a general education initiative.



“RTI is a process that cuts across general, compensatory, and special education, and is not exclusively a general or special education initiative. The Commission takes the position that carefully selected assessment, dedication to differentiated instruction, quality professional development, and genuine collaboration across teachers, specialists, administrators, and parents are among the factors important for the success of RTI.”


“According to the research, relatively few students who are having difficulty in language and literacy have specific learning disabilities. Many other factors, including the nature of educational opportunities provided, affect students’ academic and social growth.”


RTI Guiding Principles



  1. Instruction

RTI is first and foremost intended to prevent problems by optimizing language and literacy instruction…It should prevent serious language and literacy problems through increasingly differentiated and intensified assessment and instruction and reduce the disproportionate number of minority youth and ELLs identified as learning disabled.

Are we preventing more serious literacy problems through our practice?


  1. Instruction

“Instruction and assessment conducted by the classroom teacher are central to the success of RTI and must address the needs of all students, including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Evidence shows that effective classroom instruction can reduce substantially the number of students who are inappropriately classified as learning disabled.

Are we meeting the needs of all our students?


  1. Instruction

“The success of RTI depends on the classroom teacher’s use of research based practices. As defined by IRA (2002), research based means “that a particular program or collection of instructional practices has a record of success. That is, there is reliable, trustworthy, and valid evidence to suggest that when the program is used with a particular group of children, the children can be expected to make adequate gains in reading achievement.”

Are our teaching methods research-based?  What are some examples of research-based instructional practices?


  1. Responsive Teaching and Differentiation

“RTI is centrally about optimizing language and literacy instruction for particular students. This means that differentiated instruction, based on instructionally relevant assessment, is essential. Evidence shows that small group and individualized instruction are effective in reducing the number of students who are at risk of becoming classified as learning disabled.”

What are some challenges with providing small-group and individual education within the general education classroom here at USFA?


  1. Responsive Teaching and Differentiation

“No single approach to instruction or intervention can address the broad and varied goals and needs of all students, especially those from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.”

Do you rely on a single instructional approach?  What are your challenges with utilizing numerous approaches?


  1. Assessment

“An RTI approach demands assessment that can inform language and literacy instruction meaningfully.”



  1. Assessment

“Assessments, tools, and techniques should provide useful and timely information about desired language and literacy goals. They should reflect authentic language and literacy activities as opposed to contrived texts or tasks generated specifically for assessment purposes. The quality of assessment information should not be sacrificed for the efficiency of an assessment procedure.”


  1. Assessment

“Screening techniques are used both to identify which students require further (diagnostic) assessment and to provide aggregate data about the nature of student achievement overall. Initial (screening) assessments should not be used as the sole mechanism for determining the appropriateness of targeted interventions. Ongoing progress monitoring must include an evaluation of the instruction itself and requires observation of the student in the classroom.”

Are we making intervention decisions based on valid data?

Are we evaluating our own instruction?  How?


  1. Collaboration

“RTI requires a dynamic, positive, and productive collaboration among professionals with relevant expertise in language and literacy. Success also depends on strong and respectful partnerships among professionals, parents, and students…School Level decision making teams (e.g., intervention teams, problem solving teams, RTI teams) should include members with relevant expertise in language and literacy, including second language learning.”

Are we collaborating to bring about increased literacy in students?  What does it look like?  How can we improve this?


  1. Systemic and Comprehensive Approaches

“Specific approaches to RTI need to be appropriate for the particular school or district culture and take into account leadership, expertise, the diversity of the student population, and the available resources. Schools and districts should adopt an approach that best matches their needs and resources while still accomplishing the overall goals of RTI.”

Which items in the above paragraph may present challenges to implementation at USFA?


  1. Expertise

“All students have the right to receive instruction from well prepared teachers who keep up to date and supplemental instruction from professionals specifically prepared to teach language and literacy (IRA, 2000).”

Are we well-prepared?  Do we stay up to date on current methodology?


Recommendations for UFSA’s Literacy program using course readings and other sources as rationale.



1.  We need more assessments to specifically diagnose specific reading deficiencies to create a portfolio or profile to ensure class placement – teachers and coordinators must often do trial and error to place an instruct.



2.  Some students guess on the ongoing assessments and the three-times yearly assessment., and have become quite good at it.  These assessments take on a high-stakes function in that they are nearly all that is used for placement decisions to move students up or down in reading level (i.e. higher or lower reading class).



3.  More RTI interventions are needed schoolwide for literacy improvement.



4.  More higher-interest student materials are needed.



5.  More focus on decoding based upon diagnosis.



Opitz, M., Rubin, D., & Erekson, J. (2011 ). Reading Diagnosis and Improvement: Assessment and Instruction [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, RDG/502 website.


Gunning, T. G. (2009). Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties 4th edition [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, RDG/502 website.


I certify that the attached paper is my original work. I am familiar with, and acknowledge my responsibilities which are part of, the University of Phoenix Student Code of Academic Integrity. I affirm that any section of the paper which has been submitted previously is attributed and cited as such, and that this paper has not been submitted by anyone else. I have identified the sources of all information whether quoted verbatim or paraphrased, all images, and all quotations with citations and reference listings. Along with citations and reference listings, I have used quotation marks to identify quotations of fewer than 40 words and have used block indentation for quotations of 40 or more words.  Nothing in this assignment violates copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property laws. I further agree that my name typed on the line below is intended to have, and shall have, the same validity as my handwritten signature.

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