Reading guides are simply straight edges that help students focus their reading line-by-line. Students can lay the reading guide under the line of text they wish to read, pulling it along as a way of visual tracking.
Reading guides can be made in a number of ways. One easy way is to simply use an index card. Another way is by cutting a folder horizontally into strips of various widths. The guide can sandwich a paper and the student can slide it down as they go.
Stop and Go Flags
Stop and Go Flags can help visually signal to students assigned sections of reading. Putting a green Go Flag on the first page of a reading assignment signals "Start Here", while putting a red Stop Flag on the last page signals, "Stop Here". Using this easy, low-tech solution, students can visually monitor their reading progress.
Students who struggle with reading sometimes have difficulties sitting still long enough to concentrate and focus on what they are reading. Easy-to-make, cheap "fidgets" are basically stress balls for students. Giving students something to occupy their hands while reading can really improve performance. To make, simply use a funnel to pour rice and/or sand into a balloon until filled to a desired level. Tie it off and students are ready to go!
Giving students a way to stay focused and engaged in reading can help improve comprehension and fluency. Students can use different colored highlighters (or highlighter tape) to highlight main ideas, supporting details, vocabulary, connections, comments, and questions.
Post-It Notes and/or Post-It Tabs
Post-It Notes of all styles, sizes, shapes, and colors have endless valuable uses for readers. Students can write main ideas, supporting details, questions, comments, connections, and vocabulary on the notes or tabs and stick them to the relevant page.
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Wikki Stix are basically colorful wax-dipped pieces of yarn/string. They are durable, reusable, cheap, and full of endless possibilities. Students who struggle with reading can use them as reading guides to follow along beneath the text (or bend one into a rectangle and frame the words) as he/she reads. They can be bent into any shape, including letters. Students could use Wikki Stix to mark places in a text they wish to revisit, questions they have, important ideas, favorite parts and vocabulary. This will help struggling readers to stay motivated and engaged.
Students who struggle with reading often benefit from masking. Teachers can use a variety of colored transparency film to tint a page of text. Sometimes simply laying a colored transparency over the text helps students see and read the text more clearly. Teachers can also cut a rectangular window into the transparency to form a low-tech text masking tool similar to a reading guide.
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