Middle School Special Services: Reading Strategies

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Middle School Special Services: Reading Strategies

Grades 6, 7, & 8



Year at a Glance

  1. Philosophy

Reading is an integrated study of communication skills including: reading, writing, listening, speaking, thinking, drama, and viewing. Students develop these skills through a balanced literacy curriculum and with the instructional support of all disciplines.

  1. Course Description

In this course for developing readers, students will make meaning from text by using comprehension and word meaning strategies. Students will read from a wide variety of texts including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This class is an additional reading class for students who need more guided reading instruction.
Suggested weekly class format :






III. Instructional Materials
  • Plugged Into Reading – Non-fiction by Janet Allen

  • McDougal Littell, Bridges to Literature

  • wide variety of texts- fiction, nonfiction, poetry

  • technology (computer, internet, CD Rom, audiocassettes, videotapes)

  • classroom periodicals (newspapers, magazines)

  • required teaching resources

  1. Teacher-Directed Instruction

6th Grade— The Great Fire

Curse of the Pharaohs: My Adventures with Mummies

Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille
7th Grade— Cold Light: Creatures, Discoveries and Inventions that Glow

Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming

Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty
8th Grade— Are We Alone? Scientist’s Search in Space

Journeys for Freedom: A New Look at America’s Story

We are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin

V. Self-Directed Learning
6th Grade— Animal Grossology: The Science of Creatures Gross and Disgusting

Black beard the Pirate King

Boy: Tales of Childhood

Emeril’s There’s a Chef in my Soup:

Recipes for the Kid in Everyone*

Encyclopedia of Preserved People

Facing the Lion: Growing UP Maasai on the African Savanna

Horrible Science: Space Stars and Aliens

Encyclopedia of Animals

Uncle John’s Reader for Kids Only*

What Happened to the Mammoths

and other Explorations of Science in Action

7th Grade—

El Nino: Stormy Weather for People and Wildlife

Extreme Pets

On the Court with Michael Jordan

Out of the Shadows: An Artist’s Journey

The Stunning Science of Everything

The Stupid Crook Book

Indy Race Cars

Ripley’s Believe it or Not: Special Edition 2006*

8th Grade—

The Boy’s War: Confederate and Union Soldiers

Talk about the Civil War

Generation Fix: Young Ideas for a Better World

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad

Immigrant Kids: Leon’s Story

Lives of the Athletes*

Mistakes that Worked

Forty Familiar Inventions and How they came to Be

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Women of Hope: Africian Americans Who Made A Difference
VI. Optional texts

Teacher and student selected short text & novels

Selections from Bridges to Literature, McDougal Littell

Picture books

Periodicals-Scholastic magazines/Action Magazine

Reader’s Theater

VII. Manipulatives:

Reading Centers

Vocabulary Games (suggestions)

Pictionary Boggle Catch Phrase

Scrabble Text Twist Four Way Spell Down
VIII Assessment

  1. Individual Special Education Testing (Standard Scores)

    1. Reading Decoding

    2. Reading Comprehension

    3. Reading Fluency

  1. Dakota STEP and District Reading Test (Percentile & Cut Scores)

    1. Vocabulary

    2. Comprehension

    3. Listening

  1. San Diego Quick Assessment

    1. Word Recognition

    2. Frustration Level

    3. Independent Level

    4. Instructional Level

  1. Scholastic: 3 Minute Reading Assessment

    1. Grades 1-4

    2. Grades 5-8

      1. Fluency (wpm)



      1. Word Recognition (percentage)

      2. Comprehension (rubric)

  1. Continuous, ongoing assessment

    1. End of Book Assessments

      1. Multiple Choice

      2. Short Answer

      3. Significant Task

    1. Reading response log entries, see

      1. Yellow Brick Roads, page 214 and 268

      2. Mosaic of Thought, pages 244-247

  • Guiding Readers And Writers, page Appendix 16, Chapter 10, pages 163-185

  • Strategies That Work, pages 265-273

    1. Independent reading log, see

  • Yellow Brick Roads page 267
  • In The Middle, page 498

    1. Student Self Evaluation, see

  • Yellow Brick Roads, page 290

  • Guiding Readers And Writers, Appendix 52

  • In The Middle, pages 522-524

    1. Assessment; Continuous Learning, see

  • Yellow Brick Roads, page 288

    1. Student surveys, see

  • Yellow Brick Roads, pages 281-282

  • Guiding Readers And Writers, Appendix 46

  • In The Middle, page 495

    1. Reading comprehension scoring rubric, see

  • Mosaic of Thought, pages 231-235

    1. Teacher records, see

  • Observational check-list, Yellow Brick Roads, pages 285-286

  • Teacher Self Assessment for Guided Reading, Guiding Readers and Writers Appendix 50

  • Status of the class forms, see

    • Yellow Brick Roads, page 111

    • In The Middle, page 109

    • Guiding Readers & Writers, page 123

  • Conferencing with students, see

    • Guiding Readers & Writers, pages 123, 124, 126, 140, 497
    • In The Middle, page 224

  1. Building and District Resources

    1. Building literacy team members

    2. Building librarian

    3. District library/media specialist

    4. District TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment)

    5. Middle school curriculum coordinator

  1. Teaching for word solving

      1. Strategies for word solving, Guiding Readers & Writers page 370

      2. Phonics: teaching students word-solving skills while reading, Guiding Readers & Writers page 372 and Patricia Cunningham’s Making Words

      3. Vocabulary: Learning the meaning of words, Guiding Readers & Writers, page 375 and Janet Allen’s Words, Words, Words and Yellow Brick Roads, page 276 and 277

      4. Additional suggestions for teaching word meaning and vocabulary

  • Read, Read, Read

  • Teach words that are most useful

  • Teach words they need before reading, review after reading, and reinforce during subsequent readings

  • Teach word structure and its relationship to its meaning

  • Examine word relationships (antonyms, synonyms, analogies, associations)

  • Examine words in their context

  • Help students activate their prior knowledge when learning new words

  • Make connections between new words and concepts

  • Word Walls, see Janet Allen’s Words, Words, Words

  • Semantic maps, see Teaching Reading In the Content Areas, page 82

  • Teacher and student modeling use of words

  • Keep a word section in reader’s notebook, Yellow Brick Roads, page 184

  • Word sorts, Teaching Reading In the Content Areas, page 89

  1. Independent/ Choice Reading

Students will:

      1. Become confident, competent, independent readers

      2. Select books for independent reading from Plugged Into Reading library

  • Book talks—teachers, students, librarian

      1. Write responses in their reading response logs

      2. Keep records of their reading

      3. Conference with teacher

      4. Students will give informal book talks

      5. Inform the teacher of personal reading progress

  1. Assessment

A. Ongoing, continuous assessment (see Guiding Readers and Writers by Pinnell and Fountas, chapter 28)

  • conferring with students

  • student reading response logs

  • record of book reading

  • reading interest and attitude assessment

  • reading portfolio

  • student self assessment

  • teacher check lists/observations

  • observing think alouds

B. Performance assessment (comparing student performance to described standards)

  • use rubrics, see

    • Mosaic of Thought pgs. 227-235

    • Guiding Readers and Writers by Pinnell and Fountas, chapter 28

C. Authentic assessment

  • is continual

  • measures strengths and weaknesses

  • informs teaching

  • is integral to the curriculum

  • is developmentally and culturally appropriate

  • recognizes self-evaluation

  • invites active collaboration

  • determines interest and attitudes

  1. Instructional delivery--options

  • direct teacher instruction/modeling of comprehension, vocabulary, decoding, and fluency.

  • mini lessons

  • read alouds

  • independent reading/writing

  • guided reading/writing

  • shared reading/writing

  • use of reading/writing notebook

Sections for: response, notes, vocabulary, reading record

  • conferring with students

  • reciprocal teaching

  • class discussions

  • cooperative groups

  • rotational centers—

books on tape, computer reading activity, board games, teacher/small group work, Reader’s Theater or other activities that promote reading.

  1. Suggestions for technology integration

      1. Reading opportunities

  • Siouxland library—Tumble Books

  • TV411

  • Teenreads

      1. Reading assessment
  • Achievement Series

  • Brainpop—if available in your building

      1. Reading games/activities

  • Scholastic

  • Funbrain

      1. Student learning tool

  • Inspiration—graphic organizer generator

  1. Teacher resources

  • Plugged in to Reading Level 1 by Janet Allen

  • Mosaic of Thought and To Understand Ellin Keen

  • Guiding Readers & Writers by Fountas and Pinnell

  • When Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers

  • Yellow Brick Roads and It is never too late and There’s Room For Me Here by Janet Allen

  • Teaching Reading in the Content Areas: If Not Me, Who? by Rachel Billmeyer

  • What Really Matters for Struggling Readers by Richard Allington

  • Strategies That Work by Steph Harvey

  • Reading Reminders by Jim Burke

  • Conversations by Regie Routman

  • Understanding and Creating Middle School Readers by Beers and Samuels

  • Inside the Writers-Reader’s Notebook by Linda Reif

  • Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, for 4-12 by Kelly Gallagher

  • Sue Beers Tool Kit Volumes I and II

Special Services Reading Only

Spring 2008

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