A key to maintaining an effective literacy program is making sure that reading interventions reach students who need them. Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, supplementary tutorials targeted learners struggling with reading skills to support their education. However, after the pandemic struck, there was a massive switch to online learning platforms during the first quarter of 2020, which disrupted many in-person reading tutorials.
Researchers predict that as a result of this shift, only about 70% of the reading progress attained in a regular year is achievable by the start of the 2020-2021 school session. To prevent this statistic’s consequence, we will have to make concerted efforts to provide reading interventions, whether in-person or virtually. For teachers intending to set up a reading intervention program, here are five factors to consider.
1. Get the timing right.
Struggling readers will need extra tutoring sessions to catch up with their peers. Though the timeframe will depend on the learner’s age and special needs, it is advisable to plan for an intervention that meets 4-5 days weekly with 20-40 minutes each day. It is also essential that the program recruits seasoned and proficient teachers to guide these kids through this phase.
With the interference of COVID-19, finding intervention time can become intricate, but it’s not impossible. For schools running a hybrid-schedule, they should create a cohort program that meets the reading needs of struggling kids. If the intervention mode is virtual, reaching out to the pupil’s families is vital because you need to know their schedule and their expectations for the program. You’ll also want to make sure that a guardian will be at home during lesson periods to help the kid through special issues or resolve any technological difficulties.
2. Evaluate the students at the beginning and frequently.
Without knowing the strengths and Achilles heel of the students, it isn’t easy to provide meaningful interventions. Before the intervention program begins, an initial evaluation is vital to recognize students who require reading intervention. After the intervention has already started, monitoring the student and frequent evaluation exercises helps the teachers track progress and adapt their classes to bolster the students’ gains.
In virtual learning settings, instructors will need some creativity to administer these assessments since they can not evaluate everyone in one meeting. They can achieve this by asking a student to stay behind after each group video meeting, arrange person-to-person video calls, and utilizing online test tools. You can educate the guardians and caretakers about these tests’ essence to encourage the pupils to participate genuinely in the evaluation tests.
3. Utilize a broad approach and sequence.
Although the initial evaluation of the student’s literacy proficiency should reveal their deficiencies, you should consider taking the broad approach and teaching with a standard syllabus. Expert literacy researchers around the world emphasize the merits of teaching phonetics sequentially. They assert that it improves student retention since the brain stores knowledge based on the relativity of information.
Though phonics is a big part of the picture, executing effective literary intervention entails that teachers should focus on all aspects of literacy; to lay the foundation for advanced instruction in phonological awareness, articulation, lexicon, and comprehension.
4. Make adequate preparations before each intervention session.
Teachers should prepare adequately with the right materials before any learning session. Teachers must not exhibit any signs of fatigue as every minute allocated for literacy education counts. Every lesson should contain direct teaching, guided practice, and independent practice. They must also prepare to clear up any misconceptions the student may have.
For virtually-delivered interventions, explore the possibilities of contemporary and uncontemporary teaching methods. Distribute resources like video clips that illustrate concepts like letter-sound associations so that learning can continue beyond live intervention sessions. In situations where the teacher has to wear masks during in-person classes, video clips that model the production of spoken sounds should be available for learning.
Students’ attention can veer off during online lectures, so it is wise to engage all the kids’ five senses through fun games. You can make arrangements for these students to have their own manipulative sets at home.
5. Connect isolated skills to authentic reading and writing.
You’ll need to use anything helpful for improving your students’ literacy proficiency, even if it means creating a connection with their favorite skills that seem unconnected to reading and writing. These isolated skills will have to contribute to their mastery of reading and writing.
To pull this off, you must model the intervention format to accommodate open learning beyond the curriculum’s confines and then give them the opportunities to apply these skills to their literacy advancement. When giving the learners tasks on reading and writing, illustrate how they can use their skills in the literacy intervention sessions in everyday life.