Daily Lesson Plan for a Struggling Reader

Daily Lesson Plan for a Struggling Reader2012-06-09T17:07:31+00:00

This Daily Lesson Plan was developed for children who are a year or more behind in reading. This is the step by step program that I, as a special education teacher, used for 17 years in my Reading Resource room, to achieve approximately 2 years growth in reading in my students in one year. This is also the plan that I give to new special education teachers in my graduate level courses. If you follow each of these steps, four days a week, with your struggling learner, you will cover all the parts of remedial reading, and should see very consistent results. Be sure to give the Quick Score Reading Test, or something similar every three months to assess your progress. If you start the Daily Lesson Plan step by step program in September, by January, your child will know significantly more words in the Quick Score test …and in his daily reading. The Daily Lesson Plan does not leave out any of the critical parts of reading remediation. It is so important for you, the teacher, not to become discouraged at the beginning months, and decide that all your work is not “working.” After Christmas is the time when you will begin to see some measureable results, and then the reading will become easier each month. *The “Quick Score Reading Test” is attached at the end of this document.

Reading Session (about 45-60 minutes)

Do all the steps each day…at least 4 days a week. You will do the Brain Training formerly called repatterning, 1 day a week only. This combination of Brain Training exercises and Phonetic one-on-one intensive tutoring really pays off at the end of the year. If you are diligent, you will see tremendous results by the end of the year…for very little financial output…but a fair amount of work, on your part! This is the method I teach Special Education teachers in my graduate level classes, so they can see a 2 year growth in their bright but struggling students in a year!

This one-on-one teaching session includes 7 steps: 1) Brain Integration exercises in addition to the “once a week individual Brain Training Sessions”; 2) Decoding Practice; 3) Dictation; 4) Sight Words; 5) Pre-Reading; and 6) Oral Reading from very specific, decodable readers; 7) Reading Comprehension Training.

1. Exercises

Use “Brain Integration Therapy Manual.”

Do the eye eight exercise; ear eight exercise; toe touch exercise; fencer exercise; and cross crawl exercise from the Brain Integration Therapy Manual at beginning of reading to stimulate good integration between the right and left brain hemisphere. Do the exercises four days a week. Be sure to stand in front of your child or teenager and hold their hand while doing the eye eight exercise, going around the track slowly and only at Shoulder Width…not too big, or it will be hard on their eyes. Do all the other exercises with them, standing in front of them. Then, once a week only, take twenty minutes and do a “Brain Training” of the Visual system, Writing system, or Auditory system from the Brain Integration Therapy for Children Manual. This begins to remove the LEARNING BLOCKS the child is experiencing, so all learning becomes so much easier. This is a remarkable method to remove LEARNING BLOCKS, so be faithful with the daily 20 minute exercises, and the once a week Brain Trainings.

2. Decoding Practice

(15-20 minutes, depending on age… set the timer)

Use “Right Brain Phonics Reading Book”

Have the child sound out words in which the “decoding unit” has been put in color for greater retention. Reading lists of words that are only in black and white, makes this task very difficult for these children. Also, take the decoding units (au/aw; oi/oy; ar; ou/ow) and IMBED them on the picture that gives that sound. This puts the left brain sound on the right brain picture, helping the child easily impress the sound unit in his/her brain. The sound (au/aw, etc.) is imbedded on the picture that gives that sound, demanding less energy from their auditory memory. Keep these phonics cards on the table each day for easy reference. Reading, actually sounding out, lists of words in color, tiles, or lips movements, is the most important part of this remedial program. Reading directly out of a book does not get the words into this child’s memory. Have the child sound out the words, using the cards if necessary, until the timer buzzer goes off. When presenting these phonics sounds in real words with a small class, or individually, I would have the child sound out the words from the Right Brain Intensive Phonics Program for the prescribed 15 or 20 minutes. The next day, the student(s) would read the same pages again. (no writing). Then the following day they would read the same pages, maybe adding one more list of words, if the student finished before the timer buzzer went off. I followed this pattern for the week. We are not looking for “mastery” here, but just to expose the child’s internal camera to these words. Having to sound them out each day is not unusual. As I consistently continued this pattern of working on sounds in a whole word all year, by the end of the year the children were reading words they never thought they could read. By the end of the year, using this reading program along with the daily eye exercises, a two year increase in reading skills was often achieved in one year. I have seen this happen many times in my teaching years. Be sure to use the Quick Score Reading Test every three months, to assess growth.

Remember that if your child sounds out a word incorrectly, your comment is “could be”, and then bring out the picture phonics card of that sound for him to consider, or write it out larger, and put the hard part of the word in color. For example, if the syllable “jec” as in the word “objection” is very hard to get, then you write out “jek” on a different piece of paper and have him sound that out. Then change the “jek” to “jec” and have him say that. If he tries to “guess” at the words, then take a card and only expose one syllable of the word at a time. If he is still guessing, then “back out of the word”, reading the last syllable first. When all the syllables have been read independently, then have him read it forward. After a child has read all the pieces of a word, have him say it as a whole word, and talk about the meaning of the word, if it is not familiar. For example, when reading the word “con spire”, the child might say “con spir”. Your response is, “could be…” and then highlight the “e” and “i” in the same color. Remind him that the “Power Ranger ‘E’” has the power to make the preceding vowel say its’ own alphabet name. Write “ire” separately and have him sound that out. Then “back out” of the word and have him put the “p” in front of the sound of “ire”. Then have him put the “s” sound in front of the sound “pire”. Then he can sound out the whole word. Then you can talk about the meaning of the word.

This process of “backing out of a word” works extremely well for a child who is having trouble with blends (spr; gl), as is the case with auditory processing problems. Start at the back of the word, and then later read the sounds forward. That way, the errant sounds that have “glued” in your child’s head, are actually deleted, as you would a word on the computer screen. It is best not to use verbal “cues (ie, rules)” when teaching , but instead use pictures, color, and re-writing the hard part of a word on a large piece of paper. This helps the child build “scaffolding” to figure out a word. Then the child “discovers” the connections and will have the necessary skills to apply that method to the other words he reads.

This process of independence does not occur overnight, but it absolutely will occur if you are faithful NOT TO GIVE VERBAL CUES, (ie, “RULES”) but rather visual ones…looking at the phonics cards with the sounds directly upon the picture that gives that sound. Remember that this child has an auditory processing problem, and verbal cues do not stick. That is why the regular phonics programs have not worked for this child, even though they work for other children. You will be rewarded with a look of satisfaction on the child’s face, when they have figured out the word themselves, using these steps.

This process of reading words out of context, with the decoding unit in color should take about 20 minutes of your daily remedial reading time (depending on the age of the child). Don’t skimp on this time. The accumulation of words in the child’s memory bank only occurs with consistent, daily, work on words.


3. Dictation

(5 minutes)

Take words from the Right Brain Phonics Reading Book.

Dictation is a very short part of the session. Dictate about 3 words to the child from the list of words that he/she has read that day. (for example, all short “o” words, or all words with the “ar” , “au”, or “tion” sound in them). Use some of the words you read in the word lists for that day. Be sure to keep the phonics cards in front of the child for easy reference. When you “grade” these words, you will give your child a “point” for each word “sounded out correctly”, not necessarily spelled correctly. Ignore the ones written incorrectly. Remember that this process is very hard for a child with an Auditory Processing Problem, so an immediate reward is very helpful at first, to help the child give forth his best effort. As this becomes easier, increase the number of words dictated. When you come to multi-syllable words, have the child first “clap the syllables” and then make lines to indicate the number of syllables he hears in the word. Then he writes the syllables on the lines. Remember, that “ir,ur,er” sound the same, and will be a correctly sounded out when reading the word, no matter what the actual spelling is. We are not ignoring spelling in the whole school day. We’ll take care of the correct spelling using our visual method, later on. This daily dictation process is just to help a child with an Auditory Processing Problem learn how to hear individual sounds, and sequence them in a word, not necessarily to learn spelling, since the majority of the words in the English language are not spelled phonetically (if you haven’t noticed). Don’t be discouraged if this process is harder than the reading. It typically is, and takes months to see even the slightest progress, but the progress will come, as you do three to six words like this daily.

4. Teach Sight Words

Use “Right Brain Sight Words Cards.”

If your child is a beginning reader, then you will need to teach Sight Words in a way that will actually stick. That means that we will have to use something other than black and white words, and repetition. Repetition, even on a trampoline, or doing hop scotch, or using gimmicks such as a flashlight, etc. does not work well with these struggling readers who are two years behind. These repetitive methods only seem to work with children who have milder struggles. The key to getting those pesky sight words to stick easily is to use a unique process of teaching where we imbed meaning onto the sight word. This is all done in rich color, on a card. After the child takes a picture of the word with the name imprinted on it in picture form, you can then present the word in black and white, and they will “see” in their mind’s eye, the picture that gives them the name of the word. This is a VERY effective method, even though it is much more involved than the other methods you may have used before. To see how this method is done with Sight Words, look at the examples at www.diannecraft.org/sightwords. A short video will show you how to use this process with your child at home, to finally make sight words stick without a struggle.

You can use this method using the words from the list of the most commonly used sight words, if a child is a non-reader. Or you can choose the sight words from the reader the child or teenager is presently reading (would, laugh, friend, etc.). Many times I have worked with a child who could not read one word. At the end of a one hour session tutoring, this child could read at least seven words, using this unique picture/color imbedding method.

When I taught, I would introduce about five words in this manner on Monday, and review them each day of the week. I would put them up high in the room, so their eyes have to look up to see them, stimulating their right brain, which is in charge of storing pictures, and is the site of our long term memory storage. The next week I would introduce five more words. If you can teach more than five sight words a week, teach as many as you can, but remember to review them carefully for five days, so they will stick. Eventually you will have stimulated the child’s visual memory, so that you will not have to teach sight words in this painstaking manner. But at first, it is a lifeline for the child, since they will become proficient readers in a very short time. You will find that your child can easily spell these sight words, once he can read them, using this specific method of imbedding. After you have done 3-4 months of once a week Brain Training Sessions along with the daily exercises, all this will get easier because you are making so many more brain connections with all that midline activity

5. Pre-Reading

Very Important

We want to view oral reading as a piano recital. The audience is the child, as he constantly assesses how he sounds when he reads. Just as a piano piece is practiced many times before a recital, so the words in a passage to be read, will be practiced in isolation before the reading. As the child’s teacher, you will need to quickly peruse the reading passage, and then make a list of all the difficult or “tricky” words in the reading passage. You will decide what these are, from your knowledge of your child. It may not be any of the words that were pointed out at the beginning of the story by the curriculum authors. Write these words large, on a piece of paper with magic marker. Then you and the child read the words together and review them quickly before the child is about to read. Some words you will help him sound out. Others like “Sight Words”, you will tell him. Then put a little drawing or something directly on the letters of the Sight Word, to help him remember it. Keep these words in front of the child when he is reading from his reader. Point to the word on the paper when he gets stuck, reading. It is remarkable how well this works. The child looks at the paper, and quickly remembers the word, even if he didn’t remember it in context! The important thing is that in this way of approaching reading a story from a book, the child will have fewer interruptions in the oral reading process, and will “sound smart” to himself. If the child hesitates with a word while reading, you can casually point it out to him on the paper. If he still doesn’t get it, then tell it to him. Put the list of tricky words you have made on a “Word Wall”, and practice reading them every day. Or you can store them in a folder to be re-read each day for a week. By the end of the week, you will have about five lists to review daily. By this time the child knows most of them well. The ones that still aren’t sticking, you will need to put some more “velcro” on in terms of a picture or more color, that will help him remember the word. You are very effectively depositing words in the child’s “Word Bank”, in a way that will stick, enabling him to become a capable reader. You will also see that your child will not resist reading from a reader as much, because he will sound smart, and knows that he will not have to “sound out” the words when he is reading. You will hear a big sigh of relief! You will love this strategy! Your students from first grade to teenagers will feel so good about their reading when you use this pre-reading method. They will also remember so many more words in the upcoming stories!!

6. Oral Reading

(5-10 minutes)

Because these children are all experiencing auditory processing problems, making the learning of sight words hard for them, we can make much greater progress with them by teaching them from a phonetically based reader that has AS FEW SIGHT WORDS AS POSSIBLE. When a child reads a book with many sight words, they will either try to sound out all of the sight words, OR have you tell him the word, or just guess at the word. That is a very defeating way to read. Careful choice of a reader can make a huge difference for a struggling child. Choose a reader that has very few of these stumbling block words, at first, to help the child feel independent and successful in reading.

The most success I have had in teaching dyslexic children, and other struggling readers, is by using the Merrill Readers or the readers I created called the Craft Right Brain Readers. These readers have the fewest sight words in them of any reading program I have seen in my 32 years of working with bright, struggling readers. Using these remedial readers, the child can sound out just about every word in the book. These readers have no pictures so that the child will not use the pictures to “guess” at the words, but rather will use the phonetic clues. It does not move too fast into introducing many words, (especially sight words) as almost all other reading programs do. These readers remediate reading through the end of the third grade level. My experience has been, that after my students could read at the third grade level, I could use any good basal reader (a reader that has controlled vocabulary) after that, such as Pathway readers, or Bob Jones readers, etc. But the students can use these other reading programs only AFTER they have mastered reading to the end of the third grade through the strictly phonetic/decoding readers.

Be sure to use the Pre-Reading process with these basal readers, so the child experiences success right away, without the usual frustration!

Merrill Readers

Merrill Readers are designed for success for the most struggling (dyslexic) reader. The sight words are introduced very slowly, and the phonics is introduced very methodically. Nothing fast, or “scary” happens in these readers. These readers go from Reading Levels 1st through end of 3rd grade. (no matter what the student’s age)

The first reader, designed for the non-reading child, is I CAN. In this book, only the short sound of “a” is in the stories, along with a bare minimum of sight words. The stories are simple, (The cat sat on the mat.), but very rewarding for the child to be able to read a whole book semi-independently. The second book is DIG IN. This book uses the now familiar short “a” words, and adds the short “i” words. The whole book contains stories using only these two vowel sounds, (no blends, no long vowel sounds, and about six sight words) so the child is not pushed too fast, and continues to build on success. The next readers are CATCH ON; GET SET; STEP UP; LIFT OFF; TAKE FLIGHT; BREAKTHROUGH. I did not use the consumable Skills Books in my reading sessions, but you can, if you want more practice. This remedial program is always done along with the Right Brain Phonics Reading Practice Book, where the phonemes and decoding units are in color. Use the Right Brain Phonics Cards to help them remember the vowel sounds. This is in addition to the once a week “Brain Trainings “ from the Brain Integration Therapy Manual, and the daily exercises, to increase the connections between the left and right brain hemispheres in these bright, hard-working children.

For a Fast Placement Test to see which of the Merrill Readers would be best for your child to start in, just email me at craft@ecentral.com, and put in the subject line, “Merrill Readers Placement Test”

Many parents choose to order these readers “used.” This saves money. Many times these titles can be successfully ordered from www.amazon.com for about $15 each. Search the site by title. Other good sources are www.cheapbooks.com, www.abebooks.com, www.alibris.com. Some parents say they can get their books from ebay. To purchase the books new, you can go to https://eps.schoolspecialty.com or www.rainbowresources.com.

These remedial books are only from first through third grade. After they have mastered third grade books, they can then read books from any other publisher, because they will have a large base of words that they already know. Read a page or short story in this book three times a week, at the very beginning, if reading is very hard, (not the same story), while they are learning many words from the RIGHT BRAIN PHONICS BOOK. We do not re-read stories in these readers. Move on to a next story each day. Be sure to do the Pre-Reading of tricky words, first. Remember, that with these great kids, you cannot teach reading effectively from a book alone. They have already developed a dislike and distrust of books. That is why we teach the words first, on lists in the Phonics Book. After they are successful in this, then have them read them out of a book. Before they read a story, be sure that you have pulled out all the “hard words”, that you think they will struggle with, and write them on a paper, and read them first. Then when the child reads them in a book, he will “sound smart”. Think of reading out of a book as a “Piano Recital”. We want to prepare them to sound good…to themselves, most importantly, because they have made negative assumptions about themselves and their reading that we want to prove wrong. This is a great adventure in teaching, and you will enjoy it as you see your child’s confidence grow.

Teach the sight words in the Merrill Readers as spelling words, jazzing them up with color and picture, and putting them up high, for the child to take pictures of the word. (These sight words have already been made with the meaning imbedded on the word, if you don’t want to make them yourselves. You can order them from www.diannecraft.org) You’ll find that the words are so rich in color, picture and story, that not only will they remember how to read them, but spelling them will be easy because they stick in a child’s photographic memory).

When a child or teenager is reading at the end of the third grade level (use the Quick Score Test) and has finished reading the last of the Merrill Readers, or Craft Right Brain Readers, then they can read out of any “basal” or “controlled vocabulary” fourth grade reader. Continue to use the all-important Pre-Reading so that they really learn the words in the readers, and feel successful.

Craft Right Brain Readers (anticipated to be available Fall of 2013)

This Orton-Gillingham structured reading series by Dianne Craft, was created for ultimate success for very struggling readers who cannot remember sight words easily and get confused when too many new sounds are introduced. The reading series originally was designed for predictable success with children for whom no other reading books have worked, such as students with dyslexia, or dyslexic-like symptoms. The Readers come with the Sight Words presented in a Right Brain manner, with the meaning imbedded right on them, and the Right Brain Phonics cards with the sounds imbedded on them for easier retention. For Reading Levels 1st through end of 3rd grade.(no matter what the student’s age). I call them “The Boring Little Books That Always Work!”

While there are many other readers that start with “Nat, the Cat” type of titles, you will find that the others introduce too many sight words and phonics sounds for these very struggling learners to read comfortably. They soon lead to frustration, and one more reading book to put on the shelf.

The “Craft Right Brain Readers” reading program is anticipated to be available Fall of 2013. (www.diannecraft.org)

7. Reading Comprehension Training

IF the child needs this. IF he can read the passage well, but cannot remember what he has just read…then show him how to make a ‘movie in his head’ while he is reading.

If the child you are working with can read a passage well, but does not remember what has been read, then it would be very helpful to do this Reading Comprehension Training with that child. Take five-ten minutes each day to train the child to “convert words to pictures”, which is what reading comprehension is all about. Have the child sit facing you, with his eyes in an upward position, ready to make a “movie” or pictures of a reading passage, in his head. Read a short, descriptive passage, stopping after each sentence, inquiring about the picture the child has made. Make sure the child includes the colors, size, location, etc. After you have read the entire passage aloud, “rewind” the film, and have the child tell you all the pictures they have. This daily practice will bring powerful results!

To see a demonstration of this very effective technique, you can order the “Teaching the Right Brain Child” DVD, and receive a teaching manual with it. The Visual Spelling technique is on that video also, as is Right Brain Phonics, Vocabulary, Math, Right Brain Study Skills, Sight Words, and more. www.diannecraft.org

My Teaching Experience

In the Resource Reading Room, I taught children 2nd grade through 8th grade who were at least one and a half years behind in reading. These were bright children who had a reading block that did not respond to just more oral reading, or practice with reading sight words, or working in a phonics book. They needed a totally different approach to reading. Most of them were considered Dyslexic. Some had a milder reading block. When I used the method outlined above faithfully, four days a week, every year I saw a minimum of two years growth in reading. So did my colleagues who used this same method. It requires very little purchase of material, no worksheets, but much work from the teacher. It is so worth it, however. By using the exercises and once a week Brain Trainings, you will help remove the reading block that the child is experiencing. By using these Right Brain teaching strategies, you will be giving the child scaffolding, so they can figure out words, and, more importantly, helping them feel smart right away.

I encourage you to put away your preconceived ideas about remediating reading. Remember, if they were working, you would not be seeking another method. Why did I use this program only four days a week? On the fifth day, I did the all-important Brain Training from the Brain Integration Therapy Manual. This caused visual reversals to disappear, writing reversals to disappear, and auditory problems to be overcome. I couldn’t have made the changes in these children without the once a week Brain Trainings. Be faithful to the Brain Integration Therapy program. You will see wonderful results.

The Daily Lesson Plan for a Struggling Reader that you will use every day, works well, but it requires consistent, fairly intense effort, from the parent. The parent has to see the goal of getting this child making big reading and writing leaps as the most important academic goal for the year, and consistently apply the practices, daily.

8. Daily Lesson Plans in Spreadsheet Form

The Daily Lesson Plan in Spreadsheet Form is a weekly look at the Daily Lesson Plan in checklist form that some of my more “left brain” moms made to follow at home. I think many of you may like this “cleaner” look of the Daily Lesson Plans in a nutshell. Click the link below for the Daily Lesson Plan in Spreadsheet Form.

Daily Lesson Plan in Spreadsheet Form

9. Quick Word Recognition Grade Placement Test

This is the Word Recognition test for you to use to informally assess your child’s present reading level. It does not test reading comprehension and fluency, etc., but it gives a fairly accurate, quick way to determine your child’s present reading ability level.

After you have begun using the Daily Lesson Plan for the Struggling Reader, give this test again about every three months, to help you determine how well your reading interventions are working with your child. Our goal is to make a one and a half to two year gain in one year, using the Daily Lesson Plan Guide.

When having your child read the words on the test, if your child has to sound the word out, but it is correct, then do no mark it wrong. The child may not know the words as quickly as you like, but you will be able to see if the skills are there to read the word. Just make a note of that, for you to refer to when you give the test again. I often put a short note on the test (AFTER the child has left the room), noting which words took a L-O-N-G time to sound out. The next time I give the test, I will expect to see that the amount of time needed to read the words will be much less. If a child says a word wrong, but corrects himself, then do not mark it wrong. If you can, it is best to refrain from telling the child the word, since we will be using this test again.

Quick Word Recognition Grade Placement

Click the link below for the word recognition test that you may use to informally assess your child’s current reading level. It does not test reading comprehension and fluency but will provide a fairly-accurate and quick method of determining your child’s current level. After you have begun using the Daily Lesson Plans for the Struggling Reader, re-test your child approximately every three months to gauge how well your work is progressing. Our goal is to make a one-and-a-half to two-year progress in one year by using the Daily Lesson Plans as our guide.

Quick Word Recognition Placement Test with Instructions