HIGHLIGHTS OF TACKLING THE READING JUNGLE PART II:
A Comprehensive Core Reading Program
- Is designed to be a whole literacy curriculum
- May include: reading, writing, spelling, leveled readers, and decodable books
- Provides scope and sequence in which one grade builds upon another as students move through the program
- Usually goes through grade six
- Provides specific exercises to address weaknesses, such as phonemic awareness, that may be used with students until those students build that skill
- Contains many pieces and more material than a teacher can cover
- Dictates that teachers must decide what pieces to teach to meet objectives
Assessments should be what teachers use to determine what to teach.
Use an adult volunteer in your classroom during reading for:
- Practice activities
- Managing center activities
- Read alouds
Good ways to build vocabulary skills is to teach students:
- High utility, useful words, or as Isabel Beck described in Bringing Words to Life, tier 2 words. These are words students will encounter throughout their lives across different genres. These words also have a Latin origin, according to Marcia Henry, who has done research on decoding and spelling.
- The top 20 prefixes and suffixes of the English language since most words students will encounter can be learned based on these top 20.
- The main roots that make up the words of the English language. Students can build upon these roots to learn the word families.
Flexible small group instruction
- Provides small group instruction during reading blocks usually after whole group instruction
- Make up of small groups should be based on student assessment data
- Students should be assessed after a few weeks to find out if they are mastering the skills and need to move to another group
- Reading groups are static—changing to how students respond.
The difference between: Core, Supplemental, and Intervention instruction:
- Core Instruction: What teachers provide initially to all of their students
- Supplemental Instruction: Supplements instruction to cover an area that core instruction does not cover as thoroughly
- Intervention Instruction: Provides more modeling of skills teachers are trying to teach than what is found in the core instruction and is more systematic
Characteristics of schools that have explicit, systematic instruction for reading:
- Good leadership
- Someone dedicated to scheduling to make the most efficient use of the time they have during the school day
- A special education teacher or paraprofessional supports the instruction
- Good data on student reading performance that is collected and analyzed
- Regular data planning meetings to use data to collaborate and make decisions about reading instruction
- Share data and communicate with staff and parents
- Florida is a state in which its schools have been doing this and they have seen an improvement in reading. See Nation’s Report Card http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/
Fluency and how to teach it:
- Fluency is reading rate and accuracy, taking into account intonation and expression, or porosity
- The best way to increase one’s fluency is to practice reading with corrective feedback and instruction
- Tie fluency to comprehension—do students understand what they read?
- Measure comprehension by asking students to summarize what they read
Students who master comprehension know how to:
- Generate questions
- Monitor their comprehension
- Fix their comprehension—reread summarize, use headings, glossary
- Determine text features that will drive and impact comprehension—paragraph and sentence level--especially in content level reading.
Help English Language Learners (ELL) by providing a language-rich environment—constantly talking to them and giving them new vocabulary, and pre-teaching vocabulary.
Writing should be taught in tandem with reading. Teach students how to pre-plan, how to draft, and constantly revise while writing.
Word sorts are most supported by research to teach spelling, not the nightly spelling assignments leading up to a spelling test on Friday. Word sorts include teaching:
- Origins of words
- How to identify patterns in words
- Spelling rules
- Most common spelling patterns
Weekly spelling words should be reflective of what is in students’ reading program. If students are encountering “oo” words in reading, the spelling words should focus on “oo” words. The objective is for students to recognize the words in print as well as recognize them in their writing.