Overcoming reading challenges with students
“In every problem, there's a concealed solution…locking itself underneath…unlock, peruse, find and solve.” - Michael Bassey Johnson
As a child, I was an avid reader. It came easily and I enjoyed it, often finding myself lost in stories when I should have been cleaning my room or playing outside. As a teen, I continued to read for fun and was also able to learn by reading. Even attacking the piles of reading necessary in college was not a struggle for me. I read fast and had discovered comprehension strategies that ensured I understood. Reading was a puzzle I had solved quite easily with little effort.
Then, I became a special education teacher, and I realized that job included teaching children to read. At first I thought, “This can’t be hard. Reading is simple.” I was wrong! The more experienced I became and the more I learned about the complex process of learning to read, the more I panicked. Not only is reading a cognitive challenge, but the students that I would be working with had disabilities making this challenge even more intense. My students faced struggles like dyslexia, low cognitive ability, language disorders, and visual processing deficits. It was at that point that I realized teaching a student to read is like solving a puzzle and assessment held many of the necessary clues.