We work on Common Core, do word work, guided reading, and our main focus is what is most important: the love of reading and finding the right book.
I have the honor of teaching special education resource kids at a diverse school. I teach children from college-educated families, and some who live in a home with 20+ family members paying the rent. Some of my students' parents work two jobs, and others work nights packaging fruit because they are undocumented. Some spend their nights at the overflow homeless shelter, and some are tucked in at night by two dads. What a gift to teach these children!
I have learned many lessons on how to be the best teacher I can (and some days I'm not!), in my 35 years of special education. I have learned from teachers, parents, students, experts, librarians, and colleagues.
They have got to find a book they love. They have got to discover that reading is more fun than gaming. They have got to realize that they are readers! I believe I have some teaching-reading skills at this point in my career, and one of them is facilitating finding joy in reading. I bring in the Sunday comics, write units for fine literature at their grade level, stock my classroom library with accessible books, and give them time to read.
The good news is, that it is happening- they run into the room, grab a book, read with a volunteer, gobble a handful of goldfish crackers, and- they are reading!
The BFG by Roald Dahl is a fabulous book for 4-6th graders! There are many opportunities for learning inference skills, word-chunking the BFG's great language, his wonderful grammar, and learning empathy and humor!