260.  Since there are no reading classes after 4th grade, how do you help a student reading on 1st grade level in the 5th grade?


There are many ways of learning the content area concepts and key ideas that must be mastered in the lower grades and the upper grades.    We tend to think of Kinder to 3rd grade as a time to master “reading skills.”   The emphasis is on “learning to read.”   From 4th grade on, the emphasis shifts to “reading to learn,” which presupposes students have mastered the necessary reading skills to enable them to read content area textbooks and other instructional materials to obtain the information needed to master, apply, and evaluate critical content area concepts.

A student in the upper grades who cannot “read to learn” may NOT need to visit and revisit the reading skills emphasized in the lower grades in order to, finally, “read to learn.”   For example, the teaching of phonics is ONLY recommended for a maximum of two years:  in Kinder and First grade, or during First and Second grades.  A student who by the 5th grade –with probably five or six years of phonics instruction and reading skills in h(is/er) record—cannot “read to learn” needs not MORE OF THE SAME.   This students has clearly demonstrated that “learning to read” with the approaches that were used in previous grades is NOT succeeding.  

It may be helpful to remember that BEFORE phonics and the emphasis on reading skills, ordinary students learned to read with many other types of methods or approaches.   In fact, research has shown that the so-called “reading skills” are not essential to learning to read.   Neither is phonics.  

 It may be important to help students who may NOT be reading at grade level develop a very solid ORAL LANGUAGE base relating to the content areas.   It may also be very helpful to provide tape-recorded versions of everything these students need to read, especially in the content areas.   They can follow along the recording and “listen-and-read to learn” the concepts and key ideas in the content areas.   I would like to suggest that this is exactly what we do with blind students.   They can “listen-to-learn” all the concepts in the content areas.   Upper grade students, then, can “listen-and-read along to learn”




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