Reading Enhancement Methods


I never thought I could finish a whole book. Now I feel like I can do anything. You make me proud of myself.

— Student-Athlete, Spring 2013

Each school has its own unique resources and needs. The goal of CARE Collaborations is to work alongside each school to design a unique program accordingly.  However, foundational pieces of the reading enhancement program structure must be in place to maintain a program’s integrity and success.  Below is a framework of those pieces:

Assessment and Identification

  • Large Scale- all incoming student-athletes should be evaluated for reading deficits using a formal assessment to identify who may benefit from the program
  • Small Scale- After identifying a group that may benefit from reading intervention, students should be further individually assessed using a different formal assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses which will structure a program to fit their unique needs as a student
  • Ongoing- Students who receive reading intervention should be continually assessed using informal assessment procedures to drive instruction from one session to the next
  • State/University Tests- some states require students to pass a college readiness test upon enrolling for classes.  Students who do not pass the reading or writing readiness tests are generally good candidates for the reading program and should be individually assessed using the small scale formal assessment.

Instructional Methods

  • Individualized reading meetings 1-3 hours each week
  • Structured, routine time
  • Attendance is mandatory and enforced by coaches
  • Loose curriculum, firm philosophy
  • No “one size fits all” lessons!

Self-Selected Texts: Students choose any book of interest to read with the instructor each session.  As the book is read, the instructor is able to address student needs such as comprehension strategies, sight word recognition, vocabulary, and fluency

  • Self-selected texts help motivate the student to attend meetings and further reinforce the idea that reading skills can be applied to any text
  • “Self-selected reading for enjoyment, with all its implementation challenges, is key to the goal of creating life-long readers at the college level.” Paulson (2006)
  • Metacognitive reading strategies are explicitly taught through the read-aloud process
  • Ditzel (2010) found a positive correlation between metacognitive strategy instruction and college students’ “ability to self-regulate while reading.”

•Other interventions are implemented as needed by the student, such as fluency passages for repeated reading, structural analysis instruction, and phonics training.

Accountability and Exiting the Program

  • Each semester, students receiving reading intervention should be re-assessed to evaluate progress and refocus educational objectives for the following semester.
  • This assessment information is put into formal reports for program accountability and documentation
  • Exit criteria is different for each student.  One successful method is placing a student who has received a year of reading intervention into a heavy reading course, such as history, and coaching the student through using the reading skills he/she has learned with the self selected text to comprehend the academic text.  When this process is successfully completed, the student has grown his/her reading skills and is able to apply them to future classroom assignments.

How can CARE Collaborations help?

Having the knowledge and experience of starting and running a successful college athletics reading intervention program, I can help you establish each of these pieces in your program and provide ongoing support to ensure your program is run with integrity and that your students are successful.  I can provide staff training, process foundations for your program, ongoing program evaluations, mini-lessons for comprehension, a structure to follow student progress and determine what lessons to teach based on assessment results, and graphic organizers for monitoring and reporting progress.  After your program is established, I will be available for ongoing support to ensure that your program continues to benefit your students each semester.

Interested in finding out more?  Click the “Contact Us” link at the top of the page, or fill out a resource survey (also linked at the top of the page) and I will be glad to contact you.


  • Ditzel, S.N. (2010). Metacognitive reading strategies can improve self-regulation. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 40 (2), 45-63
  • Paulson, E.J. (2006). Self-selected reading for enjoyment as a college developmental reading approach. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 36(2), 51-58