Sp. Ed. Reading Resource Classroom

By Katherine Young

How would you finish this sentence?

One major instructional challenge I face during my reading resource class is….……

Let's Sort Those Strands

So much to do, so little time.....what's a priority for my students?

Getting the Most "TEKS" for Your Time

Word Ladders & Word Detective:

  • Print Awareness
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics, Vocabulary
  • Comprehension


  • Print Awareness
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Metacognition

A Framework for Maximizing Instructional Time

Special Education Resource Reading

Instructional Sequence Example

Evidence based practices that support: Word Study (phonemic awareness, phonics, and word features)

  • Closed Card Sort: the teacher gives the word study features and provides headers (showing the features). Students sort word cards based on the features.

  • Open Card Sort: students sort words without explicit instruction about the word features

  • Word Ladders: students make a series of 5-10 words, where each new word is made by changing the previous word in some way. The teacher provides clues and elaborates on the meaning or usage of the words.

  • Cut up sentences (emergent and beginning readers): The teacher writes a sentence on a sentence strip with the students’contribution. The sentence contains a focus from the word study. After the sentence is written, the teacher cuts apart the sentence and gives each student a piece of the sentence. The sentence is put back together.

  • Dictated Sentences: Pre-written sentences are dictated (words that include feature(s) studied) are included.

  • Additional Information about Word Works (district resource) #Word Work, What? Training

Evidence based practices that support: Fluency

  • Choral Reading: students read in unison whole text or part of text

  • Stop and Go Reading: Modified version of choral reading. As the teacher and students choral read, the teacher stops and allows the students to continue. As needed the teacher rejoins.

  • Partner Reading: using a previously read text; one student reads while the other student gives assistance and feedback. Then the process is reversed.

  • Whisper Reading: Students re-read a text that has already been read in a whisper voice at their own pace

  • Lead Reading: teacher or student reads aloud; and the other students in the group whisper read along with the leader

  • Echo Reading: (helpful for emergent readers): The teacher reads the page first while the students follow along. Then the students read chorally, with the teacher.

  • Individual Student Reading: students read in small group

Evidence based practices that support: Vocabulary Development

  • Vocabulary Bookmark: As students read a set number of pages, students stop to complete and share their vocabulary bookmarks. Students are taught to self select words that they think everyone in the group need to discuss or important words.

  • Vocabulary Preview (after students master at least 100 sight words): The teacher preselects words and writes them on note cards. The teacher presents the words to students and helps to define them (include visuals when necessary). During reading, the vocabulary words are again discussed as they relate to the meaning in the text. After reading, vocabulary is reviewed and often used to summarize the text. The teacher should develop a systematic way to review words and their meaning.

  • Semantic Question Map: Specific questions are used to activate and organize students’ knowledge about a particular topic.

Evidence based practices that support: Comprehension


Additional Tips for the Resource/Pull-Out Classroom

  • Invest and build relationships with students

  • The classroom should have a consistent positive classroom management system in place; the amount of teacher’s praises should be greater than the amount of teacher’s reprimands

  • Expose students to authentic texts and use authentic text during direct instruction

  • When teaching skills (eg. decoding) make sure students have an opportunity to generalize the skills using authentic texts

  • In the “Gradual Release of Responsibility” model, push students pass “We do it.”

  • Model and expect student conversations and students talking in complete sentences

  • Listen to students read daily; use anecdotal notes to guide next step in instruction

  • Complete running record at least every 6 weeks:

    • Analyze the results

    • Record strengths/areas of improvement

    • Praise/recognize strengths

    • Plan to explicitly teach “areas of improvement”

  • Set SMART goals with students using graphs. Possible options to track:
    • DRA, Running Record, A-Z levels F&P levels

    • Number of sight words

    • Fluency

  • Tap into your students’ interest; read books or text based upon their interests


Tyner, B. (2009). Small-group reading instruction: A differentiated teaching model for beginning and struggling readers (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Tyner, B.B. & Green, S.E. (2012). Small group reading instruction: Differentiated teaching models for intermediate readers, grades 3-8 (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

McLaughlin, M. & Rasinski, T. (2015). Struggling readers: Engaging and teaching in grades 3-8. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.