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Developing a Plan to Support Struggling Readers

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March 3rd, 2022


There are two common reasons why a child who is identified as at-risk for having reading difficulties may be struggling to read:

  • They have not received adequate instruction; or
  • They have a neurobiological issue known as dyslexia, which means that even if the child is receiving high-quality instruction, they are not responding to it.

The good news is that regardless of the why, the how is the same. Research tells us that all struggling readers need the same things in order to overcome reading challenges: direct, targeted instruction where the specific literacy skill the child lacks is targeted in systematic structured instruction.

However, we can’t arrive at a diagnosis if we don’t know whether or not such instruction has been put into place. Therefore, it is important not just to progress monitor the child, but progress monitor instruction. But all too often, we use our progress monitoring assessments and our screening tools, and we diagnose what a child knows and what they’re ready to learn. . . . and then think the job is done. After we know what’s needed, we cannot assume something’s going to happen based on that data. This is where we often drop the ball on serving struggling readers.

The most important thing is to put a plan in place that includes identifying skills that need to acquired, establishing a goal for those skills and finding specific instructional activities that target the skills, and then identifying the person that is responsible for delivering that skill. Those last two steps are often neglected.

Thank you for reading an overview of how to develop targeted plans that support struggling readers. Learn more by watching the video above with Jenny Reid, Director of PALS.




Illuminate Education equips educators to take a data-driven approach to serving the whole child. By combining comprehensive assessment and MTSS management and collaboration tools, the Illuminate Solution enables educators to accurately assess learning, identify needs, align whole child supports, drive system-level improvements, and equitably accelerate growth for every learner.

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