Supporting Struggling Adolescent Readers: A Conversation with the STARI Team

April 25, 2024 | By Hannah Kumbroch

Group of high school students

In the latest edition of the SRI Homeroom podcast, host Kori Hamilton Biagas sat down with Margaret Troyer and Kala Jones from the Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP Institute) to discuss their work and strategies to improve reading and reading comprehension for secondary students across the nation.

Despite a wealth of evidence, the challenge of how to assist older students in improving their reading skills persists widely. Troyer argues that there are two main reasons for this. First, many students lack engagement and motivation, often due to years of struggling and experiencing failure. Second, from the teacher’s position, there is either a failure to implement evidence-based strategies effectively or a lack of implementation altogether.

Further, Jones’ own experiences in teaching illuminated the realities of slow violence in the classroom: subtle acts of oppression that accumulate to significant and generational repercussions. This includes a lack of engaging and relevant opportunities for learning. Jones offers an illustration:

“A huge part of school-specific slow violence for me is survivance narratives. So, this idea of it’s not just about the negative, but the power that comes through and the positivity. Because a lot of the kids in our neighborhoods, they know about the sad part. They know about the tragedy. But they don’t really know the happiness and hope that comes from it. So being able to modify these passages, so it’s not just about Trayvon Martin’s death, but about the life he lived.”

Listen to the full conversation to hear more about Troyer and Jones’ visions for promoting successful and joyful reading experiences for every student and how educators are using the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) to achieve that goal:

Access a transcript of the episode here.

Tags: Evidence-based Literacy Research & Developers Research and evaluation