Offering creative reading challenges can help students develop a love of reading. This student-authored post is part of a series that highlights student perspectives around learning and executive function in the classroom.
People often assume that students with learning differences, especially those with dyslexia, cannot understand high-level material; this is not true. I have found that reading above my grade level has helped build my vocabulary and expose me to ideas that I would not have otherwise encountered.
Offer Students Choices
When reading at a high level, students should have a say in what they’re reading. When students are interested in what they’re reading, it gives them a reason to keep reading, even when it gets tricky. For me, assistive technology such as audiobooks was a big help, so it is important to remember that using those tools can benefit many students.
Using upper-level reading material will be hard for some students, so it is important to keep in mind what students are currently reading. You can’t expect them to make too big a leap, like from reading The Cat in the Hat straight to Shakespeare. Also, remember not to put too much pressure on students when asking them to read high-level books. It’s an important exercise to have them do this, but it should be fun.
Create a Relaxed Reading Environment
As a teacher, it’s essential to make sure that you’ve created a space where students feel comfortable coming to you if they have trouble with a passage or word. Parents can also help expose students to high-level reading by encouraging their children to read or listen to more books that might be a little bit out of their comfort range. By doing this, it will help them build up to more complex texts.
The goal should be to boost students’ love of reading and expose them to higher-level material. It doesn’t necessarily have to be graded or be made unnecessarily complicated—no notes, no essays, no journaling, no book reports. Just let them read!
- C. Solomon, Student Contributor
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org