Part 5: The positive impact of teaching high school students how to read

Missed a part of the “How to Teach High School Students how to read,” 5 part, blog series: See end of post for links

Impact beyond my classroom

From what I can tell the program is working. The data shows an increase in reading levels. At the end of the year I re-administer the Wechsler test to see how much the students’ reading has improved. Most of the students increase their reading level, some by multiple grades (sorry, I have yet to compile them into a graph but stay tuned, I’ll get to it at some point). But here is a recent example: I had a student who tested in at grade 4 level – but during our reading program, the student read two complex novels over the course of the semester. During the guided reading unit the student read their guided reading novel as well as another one that was of interest to the student. By the end of the semester the student was testing at a grade 8.6 level. That is a 46 point increase. Although the student was still reading below level (should be at 9.5), the student had come along way and now knows how to apply reading strategies to improve. Progress and achievement always proves to be the best motivator. I have no doubt she will continue reading on her own and will meet her level in no time.

If your interested in the OSSLT data that implies this refer back to my blog post “Why can’t my high school English students read?

Here are some reasons, beyond test results, why I think this program is a success:

Students are beginning to love reading and choosing to read on their own time and even over the summer. For example I taught students at the end of grade 9 and again at the beginning of grade 10. According to test results some of the students had increase an entire grade level over the summer (10 whole points) and when asked how they had improved so much they said that they had continued with their reading.

Students are increasing their fluency for example progressing from graphic novels to full text novels. The librarian technician mentioned her amazement at the progress of one student who had begun by reading Assassin’s Creed graphic novels in grade 9 and had moved onto the novels by grade 10. I told her that student was in my class and had developed a love of reading by finding something they really enjoyed reading.

Students are automatizing their thinking while reading and finding it easier and more natural to make connections and question as they read. Over time, when asked questions about a text they become quicker at answering and are less likely to say they don’t know.

Encouraging a love of reading is the most important thing I do. If students become readers while in my care they will continue their reading journey without me which is ultimately the goal.


To learn more about suppporting reading in a high school classroom, read more of my blog posts:

NEED TO CATCH UP? Read posts below:

If your interested in how to teach high school teachers how to read or you have questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.


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