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Courtney Hansen
TE 842, Spring 2012
In elementary classrooms, students are working on becoming readers.
They are instructed in phonics, phonemic awareness, and spelling. They
are given strategies to help understand and comprehend the text in front of
them. Average achieving students will succeed and become proficient
readers being taught with these methods.

But what about the students who do not understand what is being taught,
and are not able to incorporate those new skills into their reading
attempts? How can we support the few students who seem to be loosing
momentum in reading as opposed to becoming a more sure and confident
reader? What can teachers and schools do to help support students who
are struggling readers or who are at-risk for learning how to read?

I have reviewed various studies and research to find the most beneficial
programs and methods of teaching to support and instruct struggling
Information about Struggling Readers:

Poor 3
Grade readers often do not catch up to their peers.

74% of children who were poor readers in Grade 3 were poor
readers in Grade 9.

Interventions in Kindergarten and First Grade have the strongest

Students struggle with a difficult text for a variety of reasons:

-They can not decode the words
-Poor comprehension of text
-Lack of fluency

For this review, I choose to examine three different literacy
interventions. Each intervention is given one-on-one and is
considered supplemental to classroom instruction.

-Reading Recovery
-Smart Making a Reader Today
Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery is a supplemental reading program that consists of
daily, thirty minute lessons, in a one-on-one setting spanning a
course of twelve to twenty weeks and is considered a short term

Reading Recovery lessons are taught by a tutor or instructor, not the
classroom teacher. These lessons are supplemental to the
classroom teachers instruction, and are intended for the lowest
performing twenty percent of first graders.

There are also leveled books students take home to reread and gain
practice in reading fluently as well as activities that help solidify skills
and strategies taught in the lessons.

Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery consists of:
-Reading familiar books
-Manipulating sounds
-Reading novel books

When a Reading Recovery intervention is followed according to the
proper guidelines, students have strong progress. Students go up an
average of 34% in reading ability upon exiting Reading Recovery!

There are positive effects on understanding alphabetic principles
(increase of 34%) as well as in general reading achievement (increase
of 32%).

Students have also shown positive impacts in fluency (increase of
46%) and comprehension (increase of 14%).

Earobics is an interactive software that builds skills in phonemic
awareness, auditory processing, phonics, as well as cognitive and
language skills for comprehension.

Earobics is a supplemental program that is mostly computer based,
with very little teacher or tutor training. There are two Earobics
programs, based on grade level, and within each program there are
hundreds of levels, which are based on student performance. As
students progress through the levels, the lessons change based on
the students ability.

Earobics Foundations is used for Pre-Kindergarten through first grade.

Earobics Connections is used in second and third grades, as well as
for older struggling readers.


Earobics focuses on:
-Recognizing sounds
-Blending sounds
-Discriminating phonemes within words

The main component of Earobics is the computer software, however
there are extra materials along with the software. Picture/word cards,
letter sound decks, big and little books, as well as leveled readers are
all part of the Earobics program.

With daily use of Earobics, students improved 25% in their reading
abilities. There are positive effects on understanding alphabetic
principles (increase of 25%) as well as potentially positive effects on
reading fluency (increase of 15%).

Start Making a Reader Today (SMART)

SMART is a program that focuses on reading, understanding, and
overall comprehension. This is a supplemental program to classroom
instruction and it is run by tutors. SMART is used in Kindergarten
through Grade 2.

Tutors come in twice a week for 30 minutes to read and work one-on-
one with students who are at-risk for learning to read.

SMART lessons consist of:
-Tutor reading to student
-Tutor reading with student
-Tutor rereading with the student
-Tutor asking questions about text

Start Making a Reader Today

With twice weekly lessons, students increased their reading abilities
by 16%. To encourage reading at home as well as in school, students
are given two new books a month.

Overall, there are potentially positive effects from SMART in reading
fluency (increase of 17%), understanding of alphabetic principles
(increase of 16%), and reading comprehension (increase of 14%).

This program was started in low socio-economic status (SES) schools.
With little resources and a group of dedicated volunteers, students
were able to make significant growth in their reading abilities.
Instruction for struggling or at-risk students is needs to be different
than instruction for all students. Instruction for at-risk students should
-More explicit and comprehensive
-More intensive
-More supportive

High expectations of all student performance are necessary, but
expectations need to start at the childs level. Usually, if a child
struggles with reading, the text is too difficult.

They (children) must be on books they can read easily. This is the
only way the child can feel how reading is supposed to go.

All three programs differ in how the student is taught, but there are
commonalities in what is taught.

-All programs have an alphabetic principles portion.
-All programs have an amount of recursiveness, practicing skills
multiple times.
-All programs consist of explicit instruction.
-All programs are start instruction on the childs level (reading or

There are many choices when it comes to reading interventions.
The three reviewed here are just a small selection of how we can
help struggling students.

Reading Recovery is an intensive program that requires school
and home work, but can create huge growth in a students reading.

Earobics is primarily a computer program that supports auditory
processing and phonemic awareness. With a solid foundation in
phonics students are able to strengthen their reading.

SMART is a volunteer tutoring program that supports students
reading and comprehension. A simple premise, that is fairly easy
to incorporate into schools can result in strong reading gains.

When it comes to supporting struggling and at-risk readers, the
only intervention that is wrong is no intervention.

Students need to be supported at their instructional level and
given the extra support and instruction they need to become
readers. With time and support, even the most at-risk student
will show growth in their reading abilities. These interventions
all support students in becoming readers.
1.The Role of Instruction in Learning to Read. Preventing Reading Failure in
At-Risk Children.

2. The Art of Teaching Reading pg. 164


Foorman, B.R., Francis, D.J., Fletcher, J.M., Schatschneider, C., & Mehta, P.
(1998). The role of instruction in learning to read: Preventing reading failure in
at-risk children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 37-55.

Foorman, B. & Torgesen, J.K. (2001), Critical elements of classroom and
small-group instruction to promote reading success in all children. Learning
Disabilities Research and Practice, 16, 203-121.

Calkins, L.M. (2001), The Art of Teaching Reading (1
ed.). NewYork: Addison
Wesley Longman