Lynn Atkinson Smolen, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita of Literacy and Teaching English as a Second Language at The University of Akron, USA. Her area of expertise is literacy in a second language. Currently she is a researcher for Project ACHIEVE, a grant that prepares teachers to effectively teach English learners.
A Tiered Text Approach to Reading Comprehension for English Learners and Struggling
Reading is the pathway to learning and reading comprehension is an essential skill that all students must master for learning to happen. While reading comprehension is taken for granted when a student is able to recognize the words in a text, a text is much more than its individual words and reading comprehension is a skill that needs to continue to develop to be useful for knowledge learning.
This paper offers the tiered texts approach as a systematic and effective approach to reading comprehension, where a series of texts on the same topic with a progression of difficulty is used with a variety of instructional strategies and activities to scaffold both content and language learning to prepare English learners and struggling readers to read a grade-level target text. This approach has been integrated into a large-scale in-service teacher-training project in the United States to improve the quality of instruction to English learners and struggling readers. This article introduces the tiered text approach, offers an operational model used in the teacher-training project, and illustrates the approach with a unit design complemented in an English language arts class with English learners and struggling readers.
Keywords: reading comprehension, tiered texts, English learners, struggling readers