Saturday, January 16, 2016

My Week in Focus: Reading Resource

In an effort to be more focused this year in blogging, I want to return to doing some of  my favorite posts and adding a new post.  The new series of posts will be My Week in Focus.  Focus is my word for this 2016 and a way for me to stay focused in blogging is to commit to doing something weekly in relation to my blog.  My Week in Focus will be a post about something in my classroom that I focused on doing or fixing for that week.  So without further ado...

In the past I have taught several resources classes during the day, but because of the needs of the students on my caseload, I am doing more coteaching and less resource and one of my special ed team colleagues is helping with a majority of my resource times, because there is just not enough time in the day to do everything alone. 

In one of my resource class times, I have 3 students reading with a strong focus on comprehension.  I have tried several different resources with this group of students to help them learn and understand basic comprehension skills...some things have worked and other things have been a flop!  As a group, the comprehension skills of these students (all fourth graders) are at least two years behind their peers, but their reading ability (how they decode words) is at or above grade level.  This makes for quite the challenge, because I want them to read book that are appropriate reading ability, but not so far over their head in comprehension that they get no meaning from the story. 

I started out by doing a running record on each student and seeing what level they are on in reading and as I expected the reading ability was much higher than the comprehension skills.  If you are a longtime reader of my blog, you know my love for Reading A-Z and Raz Kids, and you know my love for technology.  After I determined guided reading level, I assigned each of these students to a Raz Kids account.  Each student uses Raz Kids at least twice a week during their time in resource with me and will use it at extra times when I need to work one on one with one of my students from this group.  I love the information I can get from progress reports online.  I know the exact areas of comprehension my students are struggling with and I can tailor my lessons to address these areas.  Below you can see one students comprehension skills report:
I can look at this report and know that I need to meet with this student to zone in on main idea and details!

Another resource that has become an invaluable tool in what I use during this resource group is the comprehension packs from Teaching Special Thinkers.  These are all picture books with accompanying visuals and comprehension questions.  The books are engaging for this group of students and the visuals help aid in comprehension.  As we preview the book, we discuss the title, characters and setting and while we read we add the visuals to the story map in the correct order.  Each comprehension question has multiple choice answers in word and visual format. 
Photo Credit: Teaching Special Thinkers
Get your copy: here

Finally, borrowing the idea from my friend at Teaching Special Thinkers, I use the story map to help aid in comprehension of grade level trade books.  Right now, the 4th grade class is reading Tuck Everlasting.  That book is pretty deep for any fourth grader, but especially for my students.  Listening to a chapter read aloud is hard for my students to do and make meaning from.  Most of the comprehension of this book comes from classroom discussion.  This can be difficult for my students.  I use adapted books and visuals for our story map to help them read and understand harder text and to be able to access same curriculum and texts as their peers.  (On another post, I promise to share more about adapting grade level reading text!)



  1. I have some 5th graders with similar challenges! Thank you for sharing how you use RazKids with them, and for sharing Teaching Special Thinkers Story Time packs!- The story time packs will be perfect for my 1st graders!

    Great post!

    Mrs. Reed’s Resource Room

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you are able to find some helpful resources! I know it has been a positive change for me and my kiddos for this year!
      Let me know if you have questions!

  2. I just found some adapted book resources: tarheelreader and sherlock center. I'd love to hear what/how you are using these. I have 4th/5th grade resource (and a bunch of them!) I use MobyMax, and LLI...

    1. I will be sharing soon! We have access to MobyMax, but I haven't used it with my resource kids...I need to look into that some more. Our school also uses LLI, but for Tier 3 intervention. Look for a post this week about adapted books! :)


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