Any Ideas On Making Reading Intervention Classes Interesting for These Low Performing Students?

I will have two sections of reading intervention classes at the high school level next year.  These are kids scoring below and far below basics on California's standardized tests.  My guess is that all of them will be long-term ELLs.

These kids have been struggling for years in school so I don't want to kick the year off with routines that have a long history of failure for them.  I would like to weave in internet reading and writing activities that will bolster self-confidence and bring up test scores.

If any of you have taught such classes, please tell me some of the things that worked for you.  If you haven't but have some creative ideas, would you be willing to share?

I am trying to get a head start on August when I start these classes.

Thanks so much:)


Tags: ELD, ESL, english, reading, technology, writing

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Hi Denise.

I am from Brazil and I teach in a school that uses the Lifelike Pedagogy. It may be useful to you, considering the fact that it works based on the interest of the child. I mean: my students learned how to read and write reading and writing texts of their own interest.

Basically, they choose a subject to study and, based on the subject, the teacher teaches them what is necessary for them in their scholar level.

For example: in your case, you can let them choose what to study. Let’s say they choose to study “animals” or “cars” or even a cartoon they like. They can search on the Internet some interesting texts about these subjects and, if they want to know what the text is about, they will have to read it. In order to read it, they’ll have to know how to read and to practice it.

It’s pretty difficult to summarize an entire pedagogy in a few lines. But it is simple and it brings great results. Try it! If you want, I can explain with more details, step by step.

I hope it can be useful!

See you,

Interesting concept... What is the reading range of your students?
When I started teaching them, they were 4 years old. They could already read and write in Portuguese, so I started teaching them English.

In one specific project, these 4 year-old kids wanted to go on a trip and, for this case, they had to write a letter for their parents asking for permission. It was the first thing they wrote for me in English. They wanted to go on this trip so they had to learn how to write because they had to have their parents’ permission. They were motivated by the trip, which created a need for literacy. Did you understand?
got it... thanks!
It's pretty complicated to explain it hahaha it sounds basic, but a great job can be done. If you want, we can exchange experiences...
It sounds creative. So kids research topics on subjects that are of interest to them. Once they have the books on those topics, they read them with the intention of creating their own books. Is this it (simplified of course)? I like the idea of kids having some control over what they want to read. Could you email me some additional information on this program? A scaled down version would be fine. I am hoping to have lots of tools in place before school starts so that I can capture and hold their interest throughout the year.

Thank you so much, Manuela:)

Hi Denise!

I took a RTI course with SDE a few months ago and they taught us to use interactive activities like ElKonin boxes to help students identify sounds, and Alphabet Arcs to help them see, use, and connect the English letters into words.

With Elkonin boxes you basically choose a set of Dolch or Sight words they don't know (test them first by using a PowerPoint presentation on a computer screen and flipping through the slides while they read the words aloud and you note on which words they hesitate), and then have them put counters or some other tiny item (like beans or snap cubes) in each box to represent each sound in the word. Email me and I'll send you the Powerpoint presentation I made to test my student last year. I'm on summer vacation, and I have the file saved on my computer at work -- I'm going in on Tuesday so I can email you then!

For Alphabetic Arcs, you ask the student to cut out each letter of the alphabet, lay it out in front of him in an arc -- and his job is to spell the word you dictate using the letters. I have a PDF file of the letters at my school computer -- again, send me an email and I'll send it to you as an attachment :)

If this doesn't help -- email me anytime ( and let me know what you still need help with-- I'll be ready to open up my whole treasure chest of RTI strategies for you :)

I hope this helps!
Hi Miriam,

I just sent you an email requesting your help:)


Well, I thought that I would be given those reading intervention classes, but it turns out that I am now the ELD Coordinator and English Language Instructional Coach. Quite a change in position. Now, it falls on me to support the teachers who have those classes.

I have found that being a coach is a delicate balancing act in that I can't push my viewpoints. Instead, I need them to use me as a sounding board as they hash out new approaches to improve reading scores.

So my original question still holds except that I am looking for support for the teachers I am working with:)




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