One of the things that I have been working on is not a product for my TpT store (but if you feel compelled to go over and buy something, go ahead, because this girl needs a gardener:). Instead, it is something that is a little time consuming, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.
My students are struggling readers. "Grade-level" textbooks are torture for them. What the GATE students next door zip through, my boo-boo babies slog through as if they were mired in quicksand.
For example, my kids go for the "obvious" because they feel lost with all of the big words on the page. This section of our text kills them every year! I took the liberty of highlighting the words and phrases that my kids would have no idea about or words that are not used in the context they are used to...and you can see why they struggle.
".....Motivated by a desire for trade, the people of Phoenicia became expert sailors. They built one of the world’s finest harbors at the city of Tyre. Fleets of fast Phoenician trading ships sailed to ports all around the Mediterranean Sea.....The Phoenicians’ most important achievement, however, wasn’t a trade good. To record their activities, Phoenician traders developed one of the world’s first alphabets (Holt, p78)."
In an effort to streamline, Holt clumped the bit about trade on the Mediterranean Sea in the paragraph with a transition into the next section about the ALPHABET. Your students might zip right past that transition and into the next section, not my kids. In the chapter summary, the "clumping" is even more obvious, and in an effort to be "interactive" they placed a question asking about the Phoenicians greatest achievement to the side. Well, Mediterranean Sea is in bold print, so that must be the answer. Seriously!
So, I have started making my own "Interactive" readings for my students. I have tried to anticipate which words or phrases might trip them up, and have chunk-ed the text with room for them to write.
It may seem like a lot of work, time, and paper, but I don't think so. Consider the time and frustration saved from going back over the textbook, again and again. These will take the place of any worksheet in the grade book, and will be much more meaningful. These two pages will take us about two days, or three.