READING IS MORE THAN SAYING WORDS
Comprehension, fluency and the ability to disect what is read are what matters
I have had countless students who could "read" a passage and sound fluent. The problem was they couldn't tell you one single thing about what they had just read. Not only does that mean he or she will score poorly on tests, but the lack of comprehension means problems in every other subject. Once the student reaches high school where independent reading of text and other books is the basis of the curriculum, he or she will be in a world of hurt.
THE FIRST STEP IS VOCABULARY
Too many students do not possess grade-level vocabulary
That is why I purchased a vocabulary program with my own funds and taught it when the curriculum told me not to. Maybe that is why my class always went up two or more grade levels on the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) as well as the standardized test. But the most important thing is that reading became easier -- and more fun -- and by the end of the year I saw almost every student with a book they were reading for enjoyment. I have weekly vocabulary lessons to help students grow their vocabulary a step at a time.
teaching 4th graders to do what adults can't
When I took a class on teaching reading we were told that 50% of adults could not infer (conclude or judge from the text)
And yet a large part of the testing is based on inferencing. So what is a teacher to do? Throw up one's hands? What you have to do is be creative. To make reading skills comprehensible for students, I started with books that had no words -- comics!
TEXT BOOK READING SKILLS
Getting the required information from text books is a separate skill that must be learned
It seems to me that too many teachers just assume that kids know how to read a text book. I did not find that to be true. I teach HOW to read the text and WHAT to look for and WHAT is important and HOW to remember it. (See Study Skills) If your student is studying and it doesn't seem to make a difference, remember what Vince Lombardi said, "Practice doesn't make perfect -- perfect practice makes perfect."
Give your student the gift of opportunity. What do you have to lose (a few dollars) vs. what your student has to gain (a lifetime of success)?