Reading isn’t just a set of skills. The most important factor in helping middle schoolers overcome literacy issues is creating strong relationships with students and families. As an administrator, I’m always using assistive technology to help guide curricular decisions and working to build structure so that students can access their education, but my best educators are the ones who stay laser-focused on developing meaningful relationships.
How to Support Struggling Readers in Middle School
The embarrassment of having a hard time reading can lead to evasive behavior and hopelessness. Here’s how my school steps in.
At the age of 13, around 65 percent of students who play competitive sports quit that sport and try a new sport. It’s because they stop winning or adopt some notion that they aren’t good enough. The same goes for reading. At Bay Area Technology School, we’ve found that 7th and 8th grades are the most crucial years in terms of making sure that kids don’t feel hopeless about their reading ability.
If we can identify struggling readers and keep them motivated, we can turn them around in life-changing ways. They might not be reading Faulkner or Shakespeare, but they can read their high school textbooks and graduate from high school. The challenge for our educators is that, by 7th grade, students might be hiding their challenges behind coping mechanisms that keep them from being discovered. Here’s how we find and help our middle schoolers who have trouble with reading.