This year did not go as well as I'd hoped. Some of my students did not make the gains that I hoped for. I have several students only reading 2-5 words more than what they started the year out with. Some did not progress in math. I worked on a lot of phonics and comprehension strategies. Overall I am not pleased. We accomodated and modified assignments. I'm not sure what went wrong. If there is anyone with success stories please share them. My students are fully included in the general education classrooms. I pull them out for reading along with general education students. I work in small groups during math time. What more can I do?

Tags: End, of, reflection, year

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Out of curiosity, what program(s) are you using, how much time is allocated for reading instruction on a daily basis, how are you measuring progress (and what were the baseline scores), and is reading support in place of language arts instruction or in addition to?
The instruction I provided was in addition to the ELA Block. I used Soar To Success reading program for some and for the non-readers I taught phonics. We used Dibels program to test reading fluency every three weeks for the high risk students, and Harcourt Math benchmarks three times per year. We also used Accelerated Reading so students could read and test on books at their level. All the students showed progress. I just thought there would be some students testing out of the high risk category.
Glad to hear that reading instruction is in addition to the ELA block. I am not familiar with Soar to Success - so I cannot provide any insight here. Is it a grade level program or an intervention program? Nevermind, my wife just filled me in -- Soar to Success is a Tier 2 comprehension ONLY program. Her question is: are you teaching it to fidelity?

All intervention students should be getting some form of phonics instruction - is this provided with Soar to Success? With regard to fluency, do you practice "speed reading" - students love the practice (especially if you let them work in pairs). This practice should roll over into their testing results.

We (my middle school students) read audio books together 3-4 times a week (10-20 minutes a day) so I can model comprehension strategies -- this time might be too much for your students, but low-level high-interest stories or even below grade level novels might work for your students. Over the course of the year I back off from leading the class in comprehension questioning and have them take the lead... You could do the same or read aloud to them as thet follow along in their books.

We have been using the AR program for several years and just this past year moved to the online version. This has been both a blessing and a curse... However, it all comes down to this: Are the students reading independently (for a minimum of 15-20 minutes a day) within their ZPD range on a daily basis? If they are not reading independently daily then neither their fluency or comprehension skills will improve.

From my experience those that are in the high risk category often take longer to make positive growth - so don't expect it to happen right away. It may take one year before they trust you enough to start trying and two years before they start showing growth - keep in mind, they didn't dall behind overnight and they won't make it up overnight.
Our school did not make AYP because of our special ed subgroup. As long as these kids with learning disabilities have to test on grade level it seems to me the strategies that may really help them might be overlooked. Forcing them into grade level texts may not be helping them at all. It's sad.

Could it be that full inclusion is not working? Just wait a few years--things will change!
Remember that test scores are not the only measure of a successful year. What are some things your students are doing now at the end of the year that they are better at now? Do you keep portfolios for each student? That is a great way to measure success throughout the school year. Do you have various checkpoints throughout the school year to check progress? That would help you see if there is progress being made before the end of the year and make adjustments in your curriculum as needed.

Depending on the age of your students ask them what went well for them this year. I teach 8th graders and I have them give me a report card based on qualities that they think make up a good teacher.
Thanks for the reply. This did make me feel better and made me think of other ways students may have improved (behavior, turning in assignments, etc). Overall, I know it was a successful year when I think about all the other ways students showed improvement. I do keep portfolios for every student I work with. As I said before, accommodations and/or modifications was made to students work when needed. At each assessment period students showed a gain, but I just felt like there should have been a higher gain. Some students still rely on prompting from me or the paraprofessional before working. I thought in a year I could change attitudes about learning and help students become independent. I was just thinking about what I can change for next year. Students still need extensive help with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. They need help writing, and spelling. Next year I plan to use the Wilson Reading phonics program instead of Soar to success. I'm not sure what else I will do different yet.
Wilson is a great system. Will you be able to get the training that goes with it? It looks pretty self explanatory, but you will get the best results if you understand how to differentiate it for individual students.

I have had great success with oral reading fluency drills that focus as much, if not more, on accuracy as rate. We have students do timed fluency drills, with one cold and two repeated readings, at home with parents at least 3 times a week. We do DIBELS in class once every two weeks. I think the Read Naturally series and the Jamestown fluency series are both really good materials for fluency practice. It is important for students to do these drills with a partner that can accurately record the errors, and coach them on strategies to improve... like tracking with a pencil, sounding out unknown words, and attending to punctuation. When students take part in setting goals and charting progress, they tend to make faster progress.

Sometimes it is important to remember that fluent reading should sound like fluent talking. If a student has slower processing, we don't want them reading faster than they can process information.

That's probably more than you wanted...I've been doing this for 17 years, so I have a few tricks!
Leslie, I completely agree: if there is no accuracy then it doesn't matter what the rate is and if the rate is to fast and there is no comprehension, then the rate needs to be slowed down (this is hard for students to get as they think faster is better).

I do the fluency practice within the class the same way -- having students record their results is HUGE (even if they fudge it a bit). Jamestown Publishing seems to do well in everything I have come across - so any of their materials in the classroom is a plus!!
Thanks for the reply. I attended a two day overview of the Wilson Reading program recently. My principal is trying to find money for me to be trained in the Fall. I'm not sure how this will work out since my principal has been pinked slipped and will not return to our school. I think I will not use Soar to Success next year. I'm going to focus on phonics and fluency drills. I only have 30 min with the students. I am going to look up information on Jamestown fluency to see if It's something I can use.
Thanks for the reply. I am new to teaching students with disabilities. I taught general education for two years. I'm still learning. The information you and Leslie provided is very helpful. I did a few speed reading, but I think I will do more next year. I did not follow the Soar to Success Program with fidelity because of the time I had to work with the students. I worked with students for about 30 min a day. I pulled groups from 4th-6th grades. I wasn't consistent with the pull outs because of school programs or the general ed teacher would say now is not a good time etc. I'm not making excuses I am still dissappointed in myself. I tried to fit many things into the 30 min. Most times I stuck with the program but I had to adjust it sometimes. I tried working with sight words, phonics, a little writing. Sometimes teachers wanted me to help students finish class work. I will look for information from Jamestown Publishing. I'll try to remember that things won't happen over night. Thanks again.
30 minutes? You're kidding, right??? There is the biggest issue you will face -- time. You need more than 30 (uninterupted) minutes a day on a daily basis to provide any meaningful intervention. Until that happens you need to release yourself...

If there is anything you need, let me know and I will do what I can to help you out!
Thank you for the offer. Part of the problem is getting people to work with me. General education teachers don't want students pulled out during certain assignments. I cannot pull them out during math. My district has scheduled 90 min for reading a day and 90 min of math a day. There isn't much time to spare. After lunch and specials my time is limited. Also, I worked with the teachers to set my schedule up. I pulled two groups daily. It was three until we moved from two lunches to three lunch periods. I pulled two different groups twice per week and one group three days per week. This changed of course due to different school programs (honors, assemblies, field trips, etc). In the beginning of next year I will speak to our new principal and hopefully he/she will mandate a consistent schedule and force the general ed. teachers to release the students when I need them. Another obstacle I face is I am pulled to cover classrooms a lot when there is no sub available or if the teacher needs to leave for something.

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