The internet and related technology are proving to be useful platforms for reading disability interventions. Here are your best options and resources.
Learning strategies and teaching methodology are constantly evolving, and the way tutoring and lecturing are conducted nowadays is a far cry from what many of us were used to back in the day. Thanks to the rise of the internet and digital devices, even the youngest generations are more than comfortable stepping into the digital classroom.
However, one problem still remains and appears one of the main issues in the science of reading — young learners are often not interested in reading, and many of them have reading difficulties too. But, thanks to the availability of different smart devices, the pervasiveness of the internet, and the student’s willingness to rely on various apps, we can turn to online reading instructions and intervention strategies to help students build reading comprehension and acquire literacy skills appropriate for their grade level.
How to help struggling readers improve their reading skills with digital reading interventions
Each reader is different, and we all approach texts in different ways. The same goes for those who are struggling with reading difficulties or learning disabilities. That means the ideal approach in digital reading interventions will vary on a case-to-case basis. However, digital literacy interventions can aid virtually everyone and accommodate most student needs by:
- Providing personalized tutoring and feedback: The instructor must use their skills to assess the student’s needs and tailor their program based on each individual’s strengths and reading capabilities.
- Relying on multisensory, interactive tools: Learning by playing is fun, especially if it is younger students we are talking about. Providing them with interactive games such as word quizzes and puzzles will make their experience more productive and fun.
- Making sure there is enough textual variation when supplying reading materials: Reading the same kind of material is boring, no matter what reading level we are at, and boredom hinders reading fluency and makes literacy instruction fruitless. The classroom teacher must mix and match, providing students with a variety of reading materials.
- Keeping track of the student’s progress: The main point of reading interventions is to allow the student to acquire comprehension skills, and since all reading strategies must be research-based, keeping track of the student’s progress will allow the teacher to adjust their approach appropriately.
The 5 intervention strategies
A good instructor is limited only by their imagination. If you are in charge of teaching reading comprehension, phonological awareness, and phonics skills, there are countless intervention strategies you can rely on to help your students and encourage independent reading down the line. If you’re in a pinch, we have our top five picks below.
Listening to audio text
Audio texts are a fantastic tool that allows students to access and enjoy texts in an alternative way, that is, without relying on traditional reading methods. Since listening and reading comprehension go hand-in-hand, listening to, say, audiobooks will greatly improve their reading skills.
If you want your students to improve their fluency and decoding skills, make sure you check out Speechify, the best online audiobook platform run by the same team behind the text-to-speech tool of the same name. The app was developed specifically for those with dyslexia and other reading difficulties in mind, so it will be of great help in your classroom.
As we’ve said, playing is fun. Gamifying your approach and incorporating interactive elements such as board and video games will make your classes more fun and, thus, more fruitful. You can even issue awards to students for reaching a certain goal.
Using text-to-speech programs
Text-to-speech tools are a fantastic addition to every teacher’s arsenal. Apps like Speechify support multiple languages and allow for a lot of customization, so they can introduce a lot of variety to oral reading classes. Not to mention they also work with all text formats, so you’ll be able to turn even printed text into audio files.
Turning traditional reading aids into digital aids
You’re probably aware of and have used flashcards and similar teaching tools in the past. There is no reason not to continue doing that digitally. Using flashcards with new words and definitions can help build and retain vocabulary, as well as aid word recognition and differentiation.
Encouraging online discussion
If you’re working with small groups, it might be a good idea to come up with digital discussion platforms and ask your students to share their thoughts and opinions on the texts that you are covering. Communal discussion builds trust, but it also encourages language use and word study, which are both critical in the early reading stages.
What is the difference between a Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 intervention
When looking at digital reading intervention programs and special education, you’ll likely come across different tiers of intervention. They are similar, and they all boil down to one thing: increasing reading competence. However, they differ in applicability and intensity.
- Tier 1: These interventions are the basic kind of support that can be given to all students, and they are usually used in the classroom. They focus on simple yet explicit instructions, reading assignments, and tiered reading materials.
- Tier 2: These interventions are typically used in one-on-one sessions with students at risk of falling behind their peers. The instructor typically focuses on interaction with the student, assigns additional reading practice, and teaches sight word reading, decoding, summarizing, etc.
- Tier 3: These interventions are intense. That means they are usually reserved for students with seriously impaired reading skills and those who cannot rely on just Tier 1 and 2 programs to reach desired literacy levels.
What reading intervention programs are most effective?
The most effective reading intervention programs are those that are built based on the student’s strengths and weaknesses. However, there are still some methods that have been found effective in guiding students to increased reading competence, both individually and with small-group instructions.
- Orton-Gillingham: This is probably the most famous and most effective approach. It focuses on multisensory activities that teach letter-sound correspondences, spelling, and word decoding.
- Reading Recovery: This is a program for younger students, and it relies on individual sessions to improve reading skills.
- Evidence-Based Reading Instruction (EBRI): This is a great program for middle school students, that is, those in grades 4–8. It teaches vocabulary, decoding, and all-around language comprehension skills.