When I began this checklist, I had special educators in mind, however, after reviewing it I realized that these are simply the ingredients of a good reading program.
____ Allow time for daily read alouds from the teacher.
____ Ensure you take time for pre-reading activities like 'What do you think this book is about? Why? What does the front cover suggest about the book? etc.'
____ Always provide quality literature.
____ Focus on meaning versus word accuracy.
____ Set aside time each day for reading.
____ Provide ample choice of quality literature for ALL students.
____ Make sure you have books at varying levels of difficulty.
____ Provide strategies to children to let them select books at their own level of difficulty yet books that help them grow as a reader.
____ Provide time for literature circles and book talks.
____ Let students give their opinions about their reading selections and respect those opinions.
____ Spend more time on reading and less time on follow up activities. All too often, we destroy the love of reading by allowing far too much time on follow up activities.
____ Make sure your reading collection contains: picture books, anthologies, magazines, student developed books, novels, comic books, reference books, newspapers.
____ Include a wide variety of genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, articles, recipes, directions, songs, plays, myths, legends, biographies, folk-tales, reports, etc.
____ Provide opportunity for silent independent reading, chiming in reading, choral reading, paired reading, shared reading, guided reading, listening to tapes and role playing reading.
____ Provide a variety of student groupings in reading. (Individual, pairs, small and whole group)
____ Seize the teachable moments in reading.(Word meaning through context, prediction of unknown words, skip over it then make meaning etc.)
____ Confer with students often during reading.
____ Ask questions that lead to higher level thinking skills. (Predicting, making judgements, inferring, comparing, recognizing hidden meaning etc.)
____ Show interest when listening to readers, don't always use this time to correct students.
____ Make sure follow up activites don't take up more time than actual reading time but have students respond in various methods.(discuss, re-tell, questioning, drama etc.)
____ Help students set a purpose for their reading.(Directions, following recipes, solve a problem, enjoyment or interest)
____ How do you involve volunteers or parents in the reading process? (In the classroom, newsletters, book fairs, literacy days, family visits, encourage public library use etc.)
A Few Things To Avoid
1. Round Robin Reading
2. Too many worksheet materials.
3. Over emphases on phonics, spelling and de-coding.
4. Teacher selection.
5. Basal step by step program.
6. Teaching words in isolation.
If you have considered everything here as you establish your reading program either in special education or the regular classroom, you're certainly off to a great start!