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Helping Struggling Readers Improve Comprehension*
 
Course Description
    

This course focuses on supporting the academic development of students who are competent decoders but who struggle to understand the meaning of what they read. Participants will explore the different types of comprehension difficulties students may face and will be introduced to a number of research-based strategies to improve reading comprehension skills. Instructional strategies will focus on building vocabulary skills, using teacher modeling, having students work collaboratively, and building comprehension-monitoring skills. As a final project, participants will design a lesson plan focused on improving students' reading comprehension.

*This course is open to all certified WV educators and paraprofessional who are assigned as a full-time classroom aide.
 

 
Course Syllabus
    

This course focuses on supporting the academic development of students who are competent decoders but who struggle to understand the meaning of what they read. Participants will explore the different types of comprehension difficulties students may face and will be introduced to a number of research-based strategies to improve reading comprehension skills. Instructional strategies will focus on building vocabulary skills, using teacher modeling, having students work collaboratively, and building comprehension-monitoring skills. As a final project, participants will design a lesson plan focused on improving students' reading comprehension.

Goals and Objectives

During this course, participants will learn skills and strategies to:

Identify the different kinds of comprehension difficulties students may experience;

Use indirect and direct instruction techniques to teach vocabulary to struggling readers;

Understand and apply techniques for improving student comprehension through teacher modeling, peer-to-peer work, and independent reading; and

Help struggling readers become more engaged with text, more independent as readers, and more proficient at finding ways to monitor their reading.

Audience

This course is intended for teachers of grades K-6, ELA coaches, technology specialists, curriculum specialists, and professional development specialists. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers and be proficient with email and web-browsing.

Course Details

This course is divided into seven one-week sessions: an Orientation, and six content-based sessions. Each content session includes readings, activities, and an online discussion among course participants. The time for completing each session is estimated to be 6.5 to 7 hours. 

Session One

Why Students Struggle

Session Two

Vocabulary to Strengthen Comprehension

Session Three

Questioning and Monitoring

Session Four

Think Alouds and Reciprocal Teaching

Session Five

Graphic Organizers and Writing

Session Six

Incorporating New Techniques

 

Certificate of Completion and Non-degree Graduate Credit

Upon successful completion of this course, Helping Struggling Readers Improve Reading Comprehension, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant via attachment to the Session Six Dropbox shortly after the completion of the course.

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Concord University, West Virginia State University or Marshall University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester in which the course occurs. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Assessment

Specific questions about assessment, expectations, or requirements should be directed to the facilitator of this course.

The following criteria will be used to determine successful completion of this course:

Score of 90% of better on the Orientation Quiz;

Participation in all session discussion forums;

Completion of the course’s final project, submitted to the facilitator via the course dropbox(es) and posted in the appropriate discussion forum(s); and

Completion of the orientation and final course surveys.

Orientation Quiz
During the Orientation Session, participants are expected to complete the Orientation Quiz. The quiz may be taken as many times as necessary to score the required 90% proficiency.

Readings and Activities
Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory.

Discussion Participation
Participants are required to post a minimum of three substantial postings, including one that begins a new thread and at least two that respond to an existing, original thread, in all session discussion forums. 

Participants will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of their discussion board participation. Postings will be reviewed based on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited, overall quality, degree to which they extend the discussion, and tone. 

Original postings are to be made by Sunday night. By Monday night, it is expected that participants respond to at least two colleagues' original postings in a respectful, professional manner, making sure to extend or expand the conversation by adding new ideas or examples. Postings that respond to other participants will be evaluated on relevance, degree to which they extend the discussion, and tone. . 

Participants are to read all the original messages and at least half (50%) of the total messages posted for each session by Tuesday night. During Sessions Three and Six, participants will be asked to peer review other colleagues' projects in the Discussions using PQP. The Final Project Rubric and the PQP Help Guide will assist you in completing this successfully.

Course Activities
Participants are expected to complete the course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Activities may include exploring websites related to course content, watching online video clips, using specific technology applications, solving problems, and working on the final project.

Final Project
As a final project, participants will create a lesson plan that uses one or more reading comprehension strategies covered in this course. Participants will complete the Final Project Template using the Final Project Rubric as a guide as to what is expected in the final project. The Final Project Rubric contains criteria by which the final project will be evaluated. Please reference this rubric prior to beginning work on the final project. Participants will submit their Final Project Template to the course dropbox during Sessions Three and Six for facilitator review. 

Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities. All work associated with the course project is to be the original work of the course participant. Fair Use does not apply to the course project.

Course Surveys
Participants are expected to complete an orientation survey by Sunday during the Orientation Session of the course, and a Final Survey by Sunday during the final course session.

Grades
All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion. A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

Standards

Participants will reference the WV NxG CSOs for ELA, mathematics, and social studies. All other courses will use theWV CSOs for their subject area.

This course, Helping Struggling Readers Improve Comprehension, will help participants learn and apply the following Common Core English Language Arts Anchor Standards in their teaching: [show]

This course will help teachers to enable their students to meet the following English Language Arts Standards as defined by the NCTE, The National Council of Teachers of English: [show]

In addition, this course will help participants meet the following ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers: [show]

About this Course

This course was developed by EdTech Leaders Online at Education Development Center, Inc (EDC). EdTech Leaders Online provides capacity building, training, and online courses for school districts, state departments of education, and colleges and universities.

This course cannot be copied or modified without written permission of EDC.

Last update:  December, 2014

© 2014 Education Development Center, Inc., through its project, EdTech Leaders® Online, http://www.edtechleaders.org. All rights reserved.