When Ivan was in the middle of second grade, his mother dragged him into my office at the Riggs Institute’s learning center. Head down, Ivan refused to look at me as his mother spoke of her concerns. “Ivan is two years behind in reading skills,” she said, “and none of his teachers have been able to help him. They think he has a learning disorder; the school wants him tested. But. . . . "
Many beginning and remedial readers are being asked to complete “learning activities” without being told how they will be helped by them. This is a problem.
In order to read efficiently, explains Dr. Hilde Mosse in her Complete Handbook of Children’s Reading Disorders, students must understand what they are supposed to be learning. Do yours?
Many teachers of beginning and struggling readers do not realize that the activities they've been told to use will create students who continue to struggle.
Having been mislead into teaching phonics and other decoding skills from worksheets (a recipe for failure), these teachers pass out worksheets throughout the day. They have never been shown how to create champions.
If you’ve been told that your school is using the Riggs program for reading instruction, you may wonder how anyone can teach phonics for the recommended 2.5 hours a day. But Riggs is not a phonics program. It’s a finely-sequenced, comprehensive, language arts program that starts with the basics of letter-formation, spelling patterns, blending, and syllabication, yes, but it teaches much more.