Many students worldwide struggle to translate letters in text into oral language. They find it hard to figure out the meaning of words, and this affects their overall academic performance. According to one study, the number of students who failed basic reading skills rose by over 20% in 2020 because of prolonged school closure caused by Covid-19.
Teachers may find it hard to help such students, given their unique circumstances and needs. But different approaches work for different students. Here are four strategies teachers can use to teach reading to students and help boost their confidence.
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1. Incorporate Technology
Technology fascinates students. The curiosity to learn how to use digital devices keeps them engaged and trains them to focus better at a tender age. Teachers can easily integrate technology into the classroom. There are loads of interactive games students can play to enhance their phonetic, spelling, and reading skills.
According to one study, exposure to technology at a young age can boost a student’s cognitive flexibility and help them learn new skills faster and more efficiently. Apart from games, teachers can also include educational apps and websites in their reading comprehension strategies to bolster students’ literacy skills.
2. Teach Vocabulary
Students with poor vocabulary skills also have poor comprehension. This makes it difficult for them to understand written text. Teachers should introduce their students to new words in every lesson and ensure they understand their meanings before moving to the next lesson.
Multisensory tools such as graphic organizers and mnemonics can greatly help struggling learners. You may not be able to teach your students all the unfamiliar words they encounter as they read, but you can introduce a variety of context clues. They can use clues to deduce the meanings of unfamiliar words.
3. Teach Thinking Strategies
Students may master vocabulary well but still struggle to comprehend why the text is written in a particular way. Annotation is an effective strategy you can use to help your students understand what’s being implied in a specific text. Here are some tips you can use to make your students think critically.
- Encourage them to discuss what they’ve previously learned
- Ask them to pause as they read and try to predict what will happen next
- Encourage them to visualize what they are reading
- Tell them to write questions as they read
- Encourage them to connect what they are reading to something they’ve experienced or seen in real-life
- Encourage them to think out loud
When implemented right, thinking strategies help learners to improve both their reading and writing skills.
4. Encourage Independent Reading
Independent reading helps students improve comprehension and build confidence in decision-making. Apart from reading in the classroom, create reading sessions where students can read any material they enjoy. It could be a comic book or even a storybook.
Ask them about their hobbies and interests and assign them suitable reading material. Direct them to specific websites that you think may arouse their interest further. There are also websites with independent reading programs you can use to help your students improve their vocabulary and fluency.