Reading is key to success in life and career. Reading will open doors and is essential to your well-being. If this is so, why do we still have many adults who struggle with reading and whose reading level is not adequate enough to understand the daily memos, posters, flyers, magazines, newspapers, books, etc.? What is the solution? Special Needs Book Review recommends Try Reading Again: How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up by DeAnna Horstmeier, PhD. The book comes with a handy CD-ROM of forms, worksheets, games, activities, and additional level three structured stories.
Why is a book like Try Reading Again needed? Older students who have not yet learned to read are “turned off” by reading resources for younger students. They did not succeed to learn to read the first time around and now view reading lessons negatively. They are often so frustrated that educators trying to teach this older age group to read obviously have a difficult task. However as reading is such an important life skill it deserves much teaching time and energy on the part of all involved.
Upper-elementary, middle, high school, or adult beginning readers require resources that will not be an embarrassment. First, educators have to motivate older students to give it another try and instill in them the value of learning to read. To accomplish this, reading tutors and teachers require resources that are first of all age-appropriate and this is where Try Reading Again: How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up by DeAnna Horstmeier comes in.
Try Reading Again was a Book of the Year Awards 2012 Finalists in Education (Adult Nonfiction) in the ForeWord Reviews’ annual awards program. Author, DeAnna Horstmeier, PhD, is a veteran special educator, reading tutor and parent and her experience and knowledge of struggling readers shows true from cover to cover.
Who will be using Try Reading Again ?
- Intermediate and secondary teachers and homeschoolers
- Parents of reluctant and struggling older children
- Reading tutors of non-readers 10 years and up
- Volunteers who work with individuals learning to read
- English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers
Who will benefit from Try Reading Again?
- Students 10 years and up with fewer than 100 sight words
- Older students with learning challenges due to intellectual disabilities
- Visual learners, especially those with Down syndrome and autism
- Students with mild learning disabilities
- Struggling older readers because English is a second language
- Their families and society as a whole because folks who can read are more independent and there are more doors open to them job wise.
Try Reading Again: The Triangle Reading Approach
In the Introduction, DeAnna Horstmeier, explains that her book recommends a “triangle” approach to teaching reading to struggling beginners. She recommends, “…three strategies simultaneously in order to engage the student in learning, ensure that he is successful from the start, and help him build basic skills that will ensure his continued success.” The three components of the program are represented by a triangle. Her strategies use a combination of different reading approaches – whole language, phonemic awareness, and phonics.
The Triangle approach has age-appropriate, fun reading activities that can be taught in one school year. When the students have successfully reached a second to third grade reading level, DeAnna Horstmeier thinks they can then be placed in a more conventional reading program.
One thing I especially like about this book is that the teacher has guidelines to make an informal assessment to know where to start. There are frequent evaluations provided to know when to advance; therefore, throughout the year they can tailor their instruction to meet the needs of the student.
About the Book
Try Reading Again is the size of a phone book with 300 pages; however, with the detailed Table of Contents and the index it is very easy to find the information you need. This one book is all the teacher needs for an English reading program. There are ten chapters divided into three parts. Educators will find hundreds of detailed lesson plans just like those they were required to write out during their University Education Courses! The author has seventy-four printable pages in her appendices with a wealth of language activities that complement each lesson. And don’t forget the accompanying CD.
Part 1: Writing Language Experience Stories
Part 1 shows the teacher how to make and use Language Experience Stories to motivate the reluctant learner by using the student’s own vocabulary to create stories about his own experiences. These students who had not been able to learn to read via the traditional methods experience success reading their own stories in their own words.
Often some students cannot learn more than a certain number of “sight words” which are words they are able to read from memory by sight without decoding the word’s spelling. It is however important to recognize automatically the many words that have spellings that cannot be decoded by regular phonic rules. It takes a lot of practice and repetition and it is suggested that each story should be read many times. The more sight words a reader knows the better reader he will be. Some readers appear to acquire decoding skills on their own without being formally taught and others need to be taught how to decode new words.
Part 2: Phonemic Awareness/Phonics
To help older struggling readers to figure out new words Try Reading Again uses strategies to help them with phonemic awareness (hear the sounds in a word) and phonics (relating letters to sound and the rules related to vowel/consonant groupings). After learning the sounds of the consonants comes the sounds of the consonant blends, diagraphs, short and long vowel sounds, prefixes and suffixes. Good readers learn most of this intuitively; however, some older beginning readers need to be specifically taught phonics and how to use this in decoding (reading new words).
How does DeAnna Horstmeier make learning phonics FUN?
- She provides only age-appropriate phonic exercises.
- To prevent boredom she uses word games that the user can print out and use many times.
- The “Crazy Rhyme” boxes included with each lesson are fun to memorize and eye-catching with their illustrations and staggered line alignment. These adult-type “nursery” rhymes teach rhyming in phonemic awareness.
- She suggests specific activities available on the FREE educational website Starfall.
- Each lessons builds on the other so the students experience success. Skills are gradually introduced so the student does not become overwhelmed.
- The book has many mini-worksheets and independent worksheets for the students.
Part 3: Age-Appropriate Structured Stories
Part 3 has three levels of structured stories written by others. The stories gradually introduce sight words and content words and teach the vocabulary necessary for older students. DeAnna Horstmeier feels at the end of her program, the successful students will be able to enjoy the “High Interest-Low Vocabulary” books and go on in other reading programs.
When I was teaching one of my greatest joys was to be part of a child’s journey in learning to read. Learning to read encompasses many skills and it is never too early to start and Try Reading Again: How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up by DeAnna Horstmeier shows us it is never too late to begin either!
DeAnna Horstmeier has more than thirty years experience as a special educator and consultant. She is a reading tutor and was formerly an Instructional Resources Consultant at a special education regional resource center in Columbus, Ohio, assisting parents and educators with teaching strategies and materials for their students. She also taught special education and speech, language, and communication at The Ohio State University.
In a previous book, Teaching Math to People With Down Syndrome and Other
Hands-On Learners, she presented her ideas about teaching relevant math skills, focusing on their applications in everyday life.
Buy Books by DeAnna Horstmeier, PhD:
- Try Reading Again: How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up Woodbine House Amazon.com Amazon.ca
- Teaching Math to People with Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners, Book 1 Woodbine House Amazon.com Amazon.ca