What Is A Reading Specialist?
Reading Specialists earn a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in Reading and/or Literacy. They also participate in extensive training in clinical practicums to sharpen their skills in diagnosing reading difficulties, identifying the causes of reading confusions and designing individual instructional plans that provide interventions for struggling readers and enrichment for accelerated readers.
A Reading Specialist is proficient in matching a student’s individual needs with appropriate reading material and the correct targeted instruction for reading skills and strategies.
A Reading Specialist is also highly skilled in motivating students to improve academic performance and in working with both parents and educators to ensure that students receive appropriate reading support at home and differentiated instruction in school.
After completing a Diagnostic Reading Assessment, a Reading Specialist will provide a written report highlighting the student’s strengths and weaknesses. This narrative report will include a plan for targeted instruction and suggestions for how parents may reinforce skills at home.
Reading Specialists may also act as a family advocate at school meetings to discuss the results of the Diagnostic Reading Assessment that was administered to a student.
When Do You Need A Reading Specialist?
Call a Reading Specialist when any of the following conditions exist:
- Difficulty learning letters and sounds
- Instructional reading level is one year (or more) below grade expectation
- Basic phonics is not mastered by the end of 1st grade
- Word substitution does not make sense
- Sight words are limited
- There is inadequate oral vocabulary
- No reading fluency
- Little or no reading comprehension
- No retention of information or reading skills
- Frustration with (or avoidance of) reading/writing tasks
- Struggling with reading skills and/or writing for several years
- Private tutoring has not improved performance
- School interventions have not been successful
- Poor grades in content area classes
- Lack of study skills and/or organizational skills
- Grade retention is being considered
- Inability to pass state tests
- An accelerated reader needs more challenging instruction