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Educators who work with middle school students are all too aware that not all children learn to read by the time they leave elementary school. Many students in grades 6, 7, and 8 have reading difficulties. Developed with funding from The Meadows Foundation and the Texas Education Agency, Effective Instruction for Middle School Students with Reading Difficulties: The Reading Teacher's Sourcebook offers middle school reading teachers an overview of research-based instructional approaches for teaching struggling readers.

The goal for this sourcebook is that instruction provided by the reading teacher can be integrated into a coordinated, comprehensive, schoolwide approach. The goal of this schoolwide effort is to ensure that all students can read and learn from academic text, including content area textbooks and literature, and that they will be motivated to engage in reading for many different purposes.

To address this goal, the schoolwide approach is designed to meet the needs of all students by providing them with instruction specifically designed to help them comprehend the complex vocabulary and content of academic text and to increase their motivation to read. These elements are essential if students are to be successful at learning from text.

The components of the approach are:

  • A solid foundation of high standards, strong leadership, instructional excellence, and a safe and positive school environment.
  • Common instructional routines and strategies implemented across content areas to engage content teachers (i.e., math, social studies, science, English language arts) in teaching students content area vocabulary and practices for comprehending content area academic text.
  • Strategic instruction provided in reading classes or intervention settings.
  • Intensive intervention for students with more serious reading difficulties


Denton, C., Bryan, D., Wexler, J., Reed, D., & Vaughn, S. (2007). Effective instruction for middle school students with reading difficulties: The reading teacher’s sourcebook. Austin, TX: Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.

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