Teaching At-Risk & Struggling Children to Learn to Read

What have teachers who have taken SPY 427/627 said about it?

Using systematic, explicit methods from this model (direct instruction) has allowed me to unlock the code for so many of my students and, because of it, they are becoming readers.  I wish that I had learned this many years ago.  There are so many teachers like me who graduated with an elementary or special education degree who did not know how to effectively teach reading.  It would be my wish that all teachers take this class either in their undergraduate programs or graduate work for literacy, special education, or educational leadership.

-Laurie Flannery, a Maine first-grade teacher
OH MY GOODNESS! I was in tears today.  IT WORKS!!!  MY STRUGGLING READERS ARE GETTING IT.  I have been doing the Corrective Reading A lessons with them and the lessons from Reading Sourcebook.  We have worked SO HARD on sounding it out, say it fast.  Now they are doing this on their own.  Wow!  I can’t tell you how amazing this is.  Thank you.  Thank you.

-A Maine elementary teacher who has been in the field for twenty years
One thing that is becoming very clear through all the readings and your teaching is the need for systematic and explicit instruction for ALL kiddos, not just our tangled students.  In my Title 1 role, I have incorporated more of a guided reading philosophy using leveled books (LLI) which has a progression for teaching skills, but I do not think it is explicit enough for many of my students.  I feel I need to adopt more of my special ed routines and materials (SPIRE, DI, etc.) with these students who are not breaking the code readily (I see how it follows them into 3rd and 4th grade).  I teach in a K-4 building, and many students continue to struggle with decoding and fluency who are not eligible for special education services.  We do not have a core program so our teaching staff struggles with both a scope and sequence as well as delivery in an explicit and direct way.

-Katy McCormac, a Maine Title 1 teacher in a K-4 elementary school
SPY 627 Multi-Tier Reading Interventions for General and Special Education is packed with information on implementing multi-tiered instruction in reading. The course is very comprehensive, linking the National Reading Panel Report and instructional methods in each of the five areas of reading. As an RTI interventionist servicing students in kindergarten through grade 2, I find I am using what I learned in this course daily in my practice with students. It has helped me target research-based interventions for my young students in the areas of phonemic awareness, alphabetics, and fluency. I highly recommend this course.

-Andrea Frenz, Topsham, ME
With the generous support of the Reading Matters to Maine scholarship, we were able to take SPY 627 as a group last spring. The course was a valuable professional development opportunity, providing us with up-to-date methods in literacy instruction. The course focused on the importance of providing a balanced literacy program, which includes all five pillars of reading. It also gave us a new understanding of the importance of systematic and explicit literacy instruction for our struggling learners. By taking the course as a group, we were able to support one another in our new learning and discuss how we might makes changes at our school. It was much easier to bring back the information to our colleagues and bring changes to our instructional methods. We are grateful we had the opportunity to take SPY 627 and feel all teachers can benefit from this course.

-Karen Dow, Laura Ellis, Kim Huchel, Amy Kieran, Julie Nickerson, Cape Elizabeth, ME

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