Purpose – This chapter describes a university-based reading clinic for struggling readers. Created over 40 years ago, this reading clinic continually evolves as it is founded on well-grounded theory and the most current research. The purpose of the chapter is to explain this foundation and how it has informed the structure and day-to-day operations of a successful clinic program.
Methodology/approach – The reading clinic described in this chapter is based largely on the theoretical premises of self-determination theory. This theory has been widely researched in a variety of fields and contexts, including educational settings. Self-determination theory research and reading research, conducted from a multitude of perspectives, provide support for appropriate practices designed to create a motivating classroom environment.
Practical implications – The ideas presented in this chapter show how research and theory can be successfully applied to classroom settings. The author describes various ways in which the theory and research have led to specific, practical decisions in the reading clinic setting. Broadening the use of these practices to regular classroom contexts is also discussed.
Social implications – Despite research that has established how teachers can create a meaningful, motivating classroom environment, unsound practices continue to be used in classrooms everywhere. If, as most educators claim, we want students to become independent thinkers who are able to contribute meaningfully to society, then we need to seriously examine the controlling, performance-oriented, competitive practices that are typical in many classrooms today. We must move toward creating classrooms where the focus is on learning and where children enjoy ownership of the learning process. This chapter describes a program for struggling readers that operates from this stance.
Codling, R.M. (2013), "Creating an Optimal Learning Environment for Struggling Readers", Ortlieb, E. and Cheek, E.H. (Ed.) Advanced Literacy Practices (Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, Vol. 2), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 87-113. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2048-0458(2013)0000002008
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