Free resource helps determine reading difficulty, provides interventions to help overcome

Identify reading difficulties and connecting them with strategies and interventions is the goal of a free online tool from UAB.

Reading2Educators and caretakers have a free resource to help determine reading difficulties and use key strategies to overcome the difficulties.Issues surrounding struggling readers at all levels impact literacy rates, according to Jennifer Summerlin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education. Lower literacy levels tend to come from summer reading loss, early reading instruction difficulties, identification of reading difficulties and dangers of retention in third grade, and readability of text books, among other issues.

UAB launched an online resource, Electronic Portal for Assistance Learning, to remediate student difficulties in literacy to help with reading comprehension, confidence, fluency, phonemic awareness and phonics. The unique resource connects reading difficulties with resources to improve literacy.   

“Literacy in children is a partnership between educators, parents and children,” Summerlin said. “This resource is designed to help facilitators determine difficulties and identify usable strategies to get the child’s literacy to the next level.” 

Summerlin and Scott Snyder, Ph.D., associate dean for the UAB School of Education, partnered to develop the free EPAL resource to better diagnose and identify the “why” in a child’s reading difficulties. In addition, they wanted resources readily available to facilitators to help the child become a better reader. 

The portal is easy to operate. It starts with a series of literacy questions based on the skill level of the reader and the signs that the facilitator may see in the individual. Once a difficulty is determined, the facilitator can utilize the remediation tab to identify instructional strategies to help the child become a better reader. The instructional strategies offer links to resources and articles to help the facilitator overcome the difficulties in reading.

Resources fall into the following categories:

  • Research studies supporting the effectiveness of the instructional strategy
  • Specific recommendations for using the instructional strategy for reading remediation
  • Video demonstrations of the instructional strategy
  • Online student interactives to practice using the instructional strategy

Visit the Electronic Portal for Assistance Learning website to learn more.