If your child struggles with reading, it can help to learn as much as you can about the approach the school uses. Here are some important questions to ask your school.
How do you structure your reading curriculum?
- Are you using a research-based approach? Could you describe it?
- Do you use a publisher-created program, a reading workshop approach, or something else? Could you describe it?
- How long have you been using this method?
- Do you use books at different levels within the same classroom? Or are all children reading the same text at all times?
- What training did your teachers receive in teaching reading?
How do you identify students who are struggling to read?
- Are all students screened for grade-level reading skills? If so, how do you screen them and how often?
- Who decides which students need help?
- Who decides how they will get help?
- How do you monitor student progress?
- How often do you adjust student placement?
- What do you expect from kids at my child’s grade level? (Reading rate, comprehension scores, difficulty level, etc.)
What resources do you have available for struggling readers?
- Beyond the classroom teacher, who else is available to work with students?
- What are their qualifications?
- Is there a reading specialist on staff? If so, what is the reading specialist’s involvement with my child or my child’s teacher?
- Do you have any extra materials, or resources like websites, that I can use to help my child at home?
How effective is the reading instruction?
- What are the school’s scores on state and standardized tests for the past few years?
- If scores are (or were) low, what are you doing to improve them?
- Do you measure annual student growth in reading? If so, do the results show that students are improving by at least one year in each school year?
- Do you track this growth down to the teacher level? If so, what is the average amount of growth my child’s teacher accomplishes in one school year with students?
- What is the school’s greatest strength in reading instruction?
- Where does the school need to improve its reading program?
There’s no one way to teach reading. But when you know more about your school’s reading instruction, it can help your child become a thriving reader.
Keep in mind that educators may use terms you’re not familiar with. Don’t be shy. Keep asking questions until you understand what’s happening in your child’s reading program.
If your child has trouble with reading, get a list of conversation starters to use with teachers.
About the author
About the author
Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.