Student Case Study:
Some Improvement Strategies for

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Below is an excerpt from a case study I did on a child who was struggling with reading, but had made great progress in my classroom over the course of the school year. This student's overall assessment scores in language and listening had risen so high, he could no longer qualify for RSP Special Education Services. Below are some of the language arts strategies that helped him progress over the school year. Of course many other factors inside and outside of school contributed to his success, including strong parental support.

The emphasis on self empowerment is critical. Often one of the main stumbling blocks for struggling learners is a lack of self esteem, reinforced (usually unintentionally) by parents and teachers. Allowing children to fail and succeed, providing meaningful strategies and continual intellectual challenge are also key factors to achieving dramatic success with learners. For students with very severe learning difficulties, there is often no substitute for quality, focused and challenging one to one instruction.

Particular Student Strengths

bullet Adequate stock of sight words for his grade level
bullet Adequate word identification skills in the areas of graphophonic analysis.
bullet Adequate oral reading fluency on grade level passages.
bullet Adequate spelling skills.
bullet Average writing skills, with a strong love of writing.
bullet A very cooperative, thoughtful, hard working, compassionate, trusting and highly motivated student.
bullet Average organizational skills.
bullet Much better silent than oral reading comprehension.

Particular Student Needs

bullet Weak to average implicit interpretive and critical comprehension skills when reading books of all genres.
bullet Difficulty processing auditory information and focusing attention unless the presentation of information is slowed down somewhat.
bullet Continued improvement in self-confidence as a learner and person.

Other Relevant Information

bullet Allergies and asthmatic condition may be negatively impacting on his ability to concentrate in class and possibly even hear critical information.

Instructional Recommendations

Whole Class Procedures

bullet Continued 20 minutes of daily, self-selected, independent reading at home with classroom discussion of reading as a further reinforcement.
bullet Normal good practices such as multi-modal instruction, slowing for key points, good transitions between tasks, modeling and independent practice.
bullet Long term written/oral book report projects that promote development of organizational and time management skills as well as deep understanding of text.
bullet Continued use of literature circles and small group work/discussion of literature to further develop organizational skills and ability to interpret texts and share reflections with others.
bullet Maintaining of strong connection between reading and writing through journals.
bullet Continued process writing and publishing; Continued emphasis on writing and speaking as a means of self-empowerment and expression.
bullet Continued work with metacognitive strategies/demystification working with trade books, periodicals, social studies and science text.
bullet Reciprocal questioning (whole class or individual) where Bob and the teacher reads various portions of narrative or content material and then ask each other comprehension questions about alternate passages or paragraphs in the material.
bullet Prediction activities before and during reading, including Directed Reading Thinking (DRTA) activities.
bullet Activation of prior knowledge through KWL (Know What You Learn), semantic mapping, class discussion, etc.
bullet Explicit instruction in recognition of Signal Words.
bullet Teaching modeling of inferencing.
bullet Teacher modeling of textbook reading strategies; Teacher Think Alouds; Text Walks.
bullet Continued use of graphic organizers, semantic mapping, framing and concept guides.
bullet Main idea instruction and explicit instruction in text organization patterns.

Individualized Procedures

bullet All of the strategies under whole class procedures where applicable, with particular emphasis on slowing the presentation of auditory information to allow better processing of information.

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