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Interventions for Middle Grade Struggling Readers (4-6)

Do you have struggling readers in your class? Are you challenged to find strategies that can truly help these readers become successful? This online course begins by introducing the building blocks of the reading process and the role that each of them plays in effective reading instruction. Evidence-based interventions are explored as they relate to deficits in phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills. Teachers will learn how to incorporate the use of think-alouds, interactive read-alouds, graphic organizers, and hi-lo books to improve their students' background knowledge, vocabulary knowledge, and understanding of text structure. Teachers will also learn how to weave a variety of strategies into their content curriculum so that students can more effectively comprehend informational texts. Teachers will explore the critical role that informal assessments play in the teaching of reading and how these assessments can be used to create targeted remediation plans for struggling readers. By the end of the course, teachers will understand how to best help their struggling readers so that they can make dramatic improvements in reading skills and comprehension. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"As an 18 year teacher, I found the content very valuable to reflecting on my current literacy practices. I will be applying a lot of what I learned this school year, and the content helped me gain a better understanding of striving readers and how to support them." - Melissa Morabito


Enrollment Options

Register]Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

From Striving to Thriving: How to Grow Confident, Capable Readers” by Stephanie Harvey and Annie Ward

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 111T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40245

Unit One

  • The Building Blocks of Effective Reading Instruction
  • Decoding Words and Language Development
  • The Art of Differentiation
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • The Face of Reading Impairments
  • The Influence of ADHD on Reading Achievement
  • Motivating Struggling Readers
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Phonological and Phonics Deficits
  • Vocabulary and Fluency Deficits
  • Comprehension Deficits
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3

Unit Four

  • Using Think-Alouds and Read-Alouds to Improve Comprehension
  • Improving Comprehension of Narrative Text Through Graphic Organizers and Mind Maps
  • Using Hi-Lo Books to Improve Comprehension
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • The Structure of Informational Text
  • Building Background Knowledge before Diving into Informational Text
  • Working with Content Area Vocabulary
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • The Importance of Informal Assessments
  • Creating a Remediation Plan
  • Evidence-Based Interventions
  • Assignment #4:Assess struggling readers
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)