Educational Professionals
March 24, 2023

Equipping Paraprofessionals with the Tools to Support Struggling Readers

Resource Training & Solutions pilots paraprofessional development program to help them better understand how to support struggling readers.

In an ideal world, every student would respond well to the same teaching methods. Educators are aware that effective instruction looks different for each student. For students learning to read, this is a critical phase of development. Educators rely on their students' literacy ability to effectively deliver instruction.

How do we ensure that we are supporting our students that are struggling to read? Many school districts utilize paraprofessionals to help support literacy instruction. Often, Paraprofessionals providing academic support, rarely receive professional development on effective pedagogy. Missy Fee, Literacy Coach at Annandale Elementary School shared, “There are not any professional development opportunities out there for our paraprofessionals.” This is where Resource Training & Solutions saw an opportunity to develop a program for para’s focused on structured literacy practices, aligned to the science of reading.

The program is being piloted with a group of Title I Paraprofessionals at Annandale Elementary School. Michelle Wang, Education Director at Resource Training & Solutions meets with the group twice a month. “This group is phenomenal! They have all been eager to learn and ask questions without hesitation. Their willingness to grow, try new things, and ask for support makes it enjoyable to work with them.” In each session, the group learns about different literacy strategies, tools, and techniques that can help them better understand how to support struggling readers. The group also focuses on the “why” behind some of the tasks they are asked to lead.

“This group is dedicated! They want to learn, we are not dragging them into this. They don't receive the prep time or the professional development that our teachers get. For us to be able to give them the tools and background knowledge they need to support our students is such a gift.” Missy Fee, Literacy Coach, Annandale Elementary School.

We sat down with Jeannie Quinn, one of the Paraprofessionals that have been attending the sessions hosted by Resource. Jeannie shared what has been her biggest takeaway so far. “Everyone is unique and we all learn a bit differently. That is why it is so important for us to understand how to adjust to the students needs to be able to best support them.” She went on to share how beneficial it has been having a variety of fresh, new ideas and strategies to use with the students she works with. “It has made it easier to identify and focus on the areas where they need the most support.”

Resource Training & Solutions will begin offering this program in August, 2023. For more information on how your district can participate in this program contact Michelle Wang, Education Director.