Working with Struggling Readers

I just finished a most interesting read in the April issue of  The Reading Teacher. The article, What Really Matters When Working With Struggling Readers, offers some strong recommendations. The author, Richard L. Allington suggests that it is not a lack of money that keeps us from teaching all our children to read. And that’s a good thing. But, if we could save resources and improve our instruction? Now, he’s talking my language, I’m a conjunction guy.

Here is his list of four options that we can eliminate  from our instructional practice:

Eliminate Workbooks

Eliminate Test Prep

Eliminate Paraprofessionals from Instructional Roles

Eliminate Expenditures for Computer Based Reading Programs

I am impressed, but I fear for his safety. These are bold recommendations that boldly go where few have gone before. In one fell swoop he has alienated an industry and a lot of well intended educators. Good for him. We need the reminder he provides that “struggling readers exist largely because of us.” Do we dare implement  a program that implements research-based interventions instead of continuing to push the easy button with our struggling readers?

Pick one, pick two, or pick them all, just do the right thing.


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