Reading Teacher

"Teaching Reading to 5th Graders: Strategies for Students Who Have Never Been Taught."



Teaching 5th graders who have never been taught how to read can be a daunting task. These students may have fallen through the cracks and have missed out on the foundational skills necessary for reading. However, with the right strategies and resources, educators can help these students catch up and become successful readers. In this article, we will explore effective ways to teach reading to 5th graders who have never been taught how to read.


Assess Students’ Skills:


Before starting any instruction, it is important to assess each student’s current reading level and skill set. This will help teachers identify where each student is struggling and which areas they need to focus on. The Diagnostic Assessment of Reading (DAR) and the Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT) are two standardized assessments that can provide valuable information about a student's reading level.


Incorporate Phonics Instruction:


Phonics instruction is essential for teaching students how to decode words. It is particularly important for students who have never received any reading instruction before. Educators can use a variety of resources to teach phonics, such as letter-sound charts, word sorts, and phonics games. Teachers can also use systematic phonics programs like Orton-Gillingham or Wilson Reading System, which are designed to explicitly teach phonics to struggling readers.


Introduce Vocabulary and Comprehension Strategies:


In addition to phonics instruction, it is important to teach vocabulary and comprehension strategies to struggling readers. This will help them understand what they are reading and make connections to their own experiences. Teachers can use graphic organizers, such as the Frayer Model, to teach vocabulary words and help students remember their meanings. Additionally, teachers can teach comprehension strategies, such as summarizing and making inferences, to help students understand and remember what they read.


Use Multisensory Instruction:


For students who struggle with reading, multisensory instruction can be especially effective. This type of instruction engages multiple senses, such as sight, sound, and touch, to help students learn. For example, teachers can use sandpaper letters to help students learn letter sounds or have students write words in sand to help them remember spelling patterns.


Provide Frequent Feedback and Encouragement:


Reading is a complex skill that takes time and practice to master. Therefore, it is important to provide frequent feedback and encouragement to struggling readers. Teachers can use informal assessments, such as running records or reading conferences, to monitor students’ progress and provide feedback. Additionally, teachers can celebrate small successes and provide positive feedback to build students’ confidence.




Teaching 5th graders who have never been taught how to read can be challenging, but with the right strategies and resources, it is possible to help these students catch up and become successful readers. By assessing students’ skills, incorporating phonics instruction, introducing vocabulary and comprehension strategies, using multisensory instruction, and providing frequent feedback and encouragement, educators can help struggling readers develop the skills they need to become confident, independent readers.

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