With the beginning of the school year come excitement, assessments, and paperwork. While you are meeting your new students and their families, you are also planning for how to maximize their success this year. You are thinking about staff meetings, lesson plans, small groups, and countless other issues. 

One important factor to keep in mind is to make sure you are watching your students for potential reading, writing, and spelling issues. As their teacher, you are often their first line of defense against academic issues and their most important advocate. 

This time of year is extremely busy and you are getting to know your students. It is incredibly important to keep your eyes open for potential reading difficulties. The sooner you can spot them, the sooner you can begin to recommend reading intervention that works. 

There are a few telltale signs in a classroom that a student is struggling. They may: 

  • Avoid participation in reading exercise
  • Read the same word differently across a passage
  • Read the beginning of a word correctly but guess at the rest of the word
  • Work 2-3 times longer (harder) to complete an assignment
  • Struggle to remember the content of the reading material because, for that student, the process of reading is so laborious

Most importantly, a student with a reading challenge may show limited growth compared to their peers in reading, spelling, or writing DESPITE participating in an outstanding academic program. 

Chances are, you have a student in your class who fits this profile. They are struggling despite your best teaching and attempts to help them. They need intervention with a Structured Literacy program. Often, this means that they need outside help. 

We all want what is best for our students. If you notice them struggling, do not wait until conferences or after winter break to bring it up to their parents. Let them know as soon as you see issues and discuss the external resources available to help their child. 

Our online program is proven and effective with struggling students. Our trained clinicians deliver one on one tutoring via an online platform. Together, we can help your students succeed. 

Becky Welsch
RW&C, LLC
www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.
Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy. 

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As teachers, we work with kids in many different subject areas other than reading. In the case of middle school or high school teachers, we may not even work with our students on reading at all. However, with research showing the nearly two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient in reading and 1 in 5 students having dyslexia, it is up to all of us to be aware of reading difficulties so we can get our students the help they need

If you do not teach reading, there are still telltale signs that a student may struggle with a reading issue. If you teach a content that is reading heavy like science or social studies, you are in a prime position to help identify reading difficulties. Here are a few things to look out for in all content areas that may signal a possible reading or spelling challenge…

  • When you ask students to write an essay or short response, check their spelling on rough drafts. Here are a few common spelling mistakes a student with a reading or spelling deficit might make…
    • Spelling words as they sound (fol instead of fall)
    • Mixing up letter sequences (silp instead of slip)
    • Swapping vowel sounds (hilp instead of help)
    • Using the wrong vowel digraph (broun instead of brown)
    • Using a t instead of the suffix -ed (helpt instead of helped)
    • Misspelling grade level appropriate words
    • Words are correct on spelling test but misspelled when writing connected text
  • When you ask students to read a content related passage you can also take note of any comprehension issues. If they do not understand what they have read, it is an indication they may be struggling with reading. 
  • Notice how long your students take to complete tasks. Often students with reading difficulties take significantly longer than their peers to complete academic tasks. 

Even in math, you can help notice reading and spelling difficulties. Here are a few ways they may present themselves in a math class…

  • Trouble remembering basic math facts, especially times tables
  • Difficulty remember strings or sequences of numbers including phone numbers
  • Difficulty knowing left from right
  • Trouble remembering and following sequential directions
  • Reversing numbers (writing or reading 37 as 73)
  • Writing numbers backwards beyond when it is developmentally appropriate 

If you are a content area teacher and you notice these signs in one or more of your students, it is important that you help them get the Structured Literacy intervention they need to be successful. Not only will it improve their reading, but it may also improve their performance in your class. 

Becky Welsch
RW&C, LLC
www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.
Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy. 

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The beginning of the year comes with many challenges for teachers. Perhaps one of the most important considerations for language arts and self-contained teachers is how to structure their reading block. Research has shown that systematic, explicit, and purposeful reading instruction is vital for all students to learn to read. In addition, the National Reading Panel found that the most effective reading instruction requires a 90-minute time frame that includes differentiated reading instruction. 

Sounds like a piece of cake, right (that’s sarcasm there, carving out 90 minutes of a day is anything but a cake walk)? The truth is that between back to school staff meetings and meet the teacher nights, it isn’t always easy to find the time to create an effective Structured Literacy block. However, it is vital for student success. A second hurdle to overcome is figuring out exactly what should be included during your reading time. 

Lucky for all of us educators, we don’t have to figure it out on our own. We know that reading skills are a critical foundation in the pursuit of academic achievement. Early detection and appropriate intervention can improve achievement and self-esteem.

There has also been research conducted by a number of scientists and educators that have helped us figure out what we need to be doing during that reading time. Research has identified elements that are critical in implementing an effective structured literacy program. These elements are:

phonological awareness

syntax

phonics

semantics

syllable instruction

comprehension

sight word recognition

oral reading fluency

morphology

silent reading fluency

In addition, effective instruction will include spelling, grammar and syntax focus for written expression. When designing your reading lessons, it is critical that you include all components to reach all learners. By creating a reading block that focuses on the Structured Literacy methodology, you will help ensure that all of your students experience reading and writing success. 

Becky Welsch
RW&C, LLC
www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.
Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy. 

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