A World of Possible - from Resistance to Success

What happens when a student absolutely refuses to complete most of the required classwork - no rBook… no independent reading… and sporadicly, the READ 180 Software?  In the high school classroom, where students are earning credits toward their high school diploma, a student’s refusal to participate can be highly detrimental.  

Tyree was one of my most challenging students.  He entered high school stating, I don’t read!" During the first few weeks, his first SRI resulted in a 32 (BR) Lexile.  After conferencing with Tyree and giving him a second chance the next day, his new SRI attempt resulted in a 259 Lexile. Tyree continued to insist that he did not, would not read. This went on for months.  Calls home did little to help motivate him. He did little work. Much of the time Tyree refused to participate in whole and small group, or if he did participate, he wouldn't write in his rBook. Tyree did, however, enjoy the Topic Software most days (this was before System 44 was available). 

Many conferences, discussions, calls home, and failing grades later, Tyree announced that he would read if the book was about football.  Breakthrough! Unfortunately, my library did not include any football titles, but after searching online, I found several small books about football. They were not part of the SRC! Quiz Collection, but I decided to buy them anyways.  Tyree was told that he could read the new football books (approx. 2000-3000 words) IF he created 10 multiple choice quiz questions as he read. He agreed. Finally, Tyree was reading!  He passed his first self-made book quiz with a 90% and continued onto the next football book…and the next…. and the next. He was reading and engaged, continued working with the software, but not the rBook - yet. 

Tyree ended the year with a 479L. Unfortunately, he was also absent a lot. Between his refusal to complete assignments and loss of credit due to attendance, Tyree ended up having to repeat his freshman school year. The next year, Tyree was assigned to another high school in my district that had just opened. He had to retake all of his freshman classes, including English 1/READ 180. His READ 180 teacher was new to the program. 

What happened next was amazing!  

Tyree stepped up in class, helping the new teacher in explaining READ 180 to the incoming freshmen. He helped students with their software questions. He told students how important it was that they read. He explained to his teacher how I ran the class. He became a leader in the class.  

And Tyree READ!

By the end of the year, Tyree's Lexile was 979! He passed his classes. He played football.  In his senior year, Tyree went on to become a co-captain of his high school football team. Despite his first year failure in high school, Tyree persevered and learned from the experience. He became a leader. He graduated high school.  

Tyree's Initial Failure Made Him Stronger.  

By retaking READ 180 in his new school, Tyree was able to feel in charge and it brought out his positive leadership skills. 

Many students come from middle school with unrealistic expectations about high school and its requirements. Coming from a middle school environment where he was coddled and socially promoted did not set Tyree up for success in high school.  However, he took that freshman failure and used it to turn himself around.  READ 180 helped turn Tyree around. Finding his reading hook and using his leadership abilities in a positive way helped turn Tyree around.

The Moral

Don't give up on those who don't buy into the READ 180 Program. Give students every opportunity to succeed, while at the same time understanding that sometimes, failure does a world of good.

Sometimes through failure, students can snap back.  For Tyree, football was his reading hook. Failure gave him the opportunity to lead. And did he ever RUN with that ball!

What do we love most about reading? Scholastic's new video, narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, captures the magic:

Stage C READ 180 Educator

January 1, 2014

It has been a while since I have updated my profile, so long that I had to search to find the edit button! I continue to teach three READ 180 classes this school year, which I absolutely love, after one-year of teaching 2 READ 180/English 1 blocks and one ICS English 1. The 2013-2014 school year is my 7th year teaching READ 180/English 1, and my 20th year as a SPED teacher.  

Oakcrest High School is one of three regional high schools in southern South Jersey. At Oakcrest, I teach a combined RC English 1/READ 180 90 minute course (10 credits) to freshmen special education students whose skills range from being on grade level to 5 or 6 years behind grade level. My district mainly uses the READ 180 curriculum for SPED freshmen who are not ready for the gen ed curriculum, either because of learning or moderate behavioral disabilities. About half of my students move from the RC placement to an ICS placement for English in their sophomore year.

I have enjoyed writing the Stage C READ 180 Blog for the past two years, sharing my classroom with the READ 180 Community Members. Check out all my blogs HERE. In my blog, I try to respond to questions I see in the Community Message Boards, as well as questions from READ 180 Teachers, and things I have tried and found successful in my own READ 180 classrooms. In my blog, I also try to focus on the Common Core and Next Generation Assessment skills our students will need, sharing tips and enhancements I have made in my classes to help prepare my SPED students. Last summer, I was also invited to serve on the Scholastic READ 180 Advisory Board in NYC, and learned about some of the amazing things Scholastic is implementing to help introduce our students to the Common Core and Next Gen. Assessments, which were the topic of my December 2013 blog: Stretch 2 Supports Common Core Reading & Writing.

During the last READ 180 National Summer Institute in New Orleans during July 2012, I presented one of my class best practices to many of the READ 180 teachedrs attending the conference. You can find information and resources from that presentation in my blog HERE. The folder system outlined my "Success" Blog is easy to set up and easy for students to use and teachers to implement.

CryUnfortunately, I will be unable to attend the upcoming 2014 NSI in Florida as the new dates conflict with my annual family vacation in Duck, NC. Cry

Besides the enhanced focus on the Common Core, this year my students have been blogging about their books with two other READ 180 classes. Students have enjoyed blogging and, although we had to take a break the last few weeks, they are looking forward to picking it back up and restart their blogging this month.

  • AskDee

    Thank you for sharing about Tyree. These turnaround stories show us why what we do is so important. Dee

    Thank you! I saw Tyree on a district field trip and he greeted me with a holler and ran across the food court to give me a big hug. I am so proud of him for all he has accomplished.


    I have a student that fits Tyree's profile to a T! I will share this story with him. Inspiring story. Thank you for sharing!