My student is embarrassed by the leveled books that he is reading and is consequently aggressive toward other students during reading time

Challenge:
My student is embarrassed by the leveled books that he is reading and is consequently aggressive toward other students during reading time

Scenario:
I was wondering if anyone could offer a few suggestions for my student. He just moved here from Mexico about a month ago, and is in 3rd grade. He speaks English very well, but he is very behind in reading and writing. His teacher has had him reading books at the “a” level, which is designed for beginning readers. This makes him very upset, but he struggles with books that are at higher levels. He gets very angry and aggressive towards the other students when it is reading time, and I think it is because he is embarrassed about the books he needs to read. Does anyone have suggestions of “cool” books that would be at his level, or any thoughts on how I could ease his anxiety during reading sessions? Once I have him alone, reading with me, he calms down, but the books are so “young” for him.

Possible Strategies:
1. You might want to try some comic books to read with him. I know that the teacher may feel that this is somewhat inappropriate, but when I worked with high school students who did not know how to read, I would alternate between a comic book one week and a normal book the next. It makes any student feel pretty cool to be able to read a comic book during class. Just make sure the comic book is appropriate and elementary enough for him to read.

2. Have you tried reading some books aloud to the whole class? Maybe then he will see that the “easy” books are actually pretty cool. If you can get his friends involved and excited, then maybe he won’t feel so awkward. Play group games and do group activities as much as possible. Also, see if one of his friends can explain why he’s getting extra help, maybe they are a little jealous. I hope some of this advice works.