Many teachers struggle to teach students who can hardly read. I am teaching a class of 24 students who cannot read and write in English. The first thing I did was to run a diagnostic test. I found out that many were able to read simple words but they do not practise punctuation and were unable to string a sentence.
Then, I revise many basic words which they needed to know such as things at home, things in school and verbs. I also do a lot of one-to-one reading and coaching. I usually prepare some worksheets to keep them occupied while I tend to those who are weak.
Teachers also complain that if we spend time teaching them the basics, how are they going to sit for the real exam. I train them to write a simple letter, teach them to string sentences from notes given. At least, six or seven will pass the exam.
I also give them a lot of incentives like chocolates and even cash for work done. They love to play simple games and look forward to my classes. They feel that they have been abandoned by the school and morale is low. They just need a lot of love, patience and attention.