Reading Instruction

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by CherryOak, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    211

    Jun 16, 2020

    If you have ever seen impressive growth in the reading level of an upper elementary student, what do you think really made a difference?

    I keep mulling over my instruction, homework, tutoring, etc. choices. I have read the textbooks and theories. I'm curious what fellow teachers with experience think is really effective.
     
  2.  
  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,185
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Jun 16, 2020

    It depends on the student and what skills they were lacking and why they were lacking them.

    In my district phonics was (and still in many ways) thinks phonics is an evil word. Students aren't taught to decode unless they have the rouge teacher. Many upper elementary students who seem to be adequate readers hit a wall in 5th grade because their memorization skills hit their max for complex words and have less support reading new materials. For these students, a good structured reading program works wonders, especially if they have good listening comprehension skills and a good understanding of language.

    But a system that focuses too much on decoding and not enough on language and structure end up with students who don't comprehend well because they don't have sufficient vocabulary and sentence structure knowledge.

    I could provide more examples of how poor readers are created.

    To sum it up, it depends.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,156
    Likes Received:
    1,759

    Jun 16, 2020

    100% the enjoyment of reading and the increase of reading time. Having a student go from a reluctant reader to an avid reader normally results in a big jump.

    In my low, low kids, phonics and decoding instruction helps a lot. Listening to the child read and calling him/her out when guessing a word so that they stop doing that has resulted in increased scores. I had a child this past year who guessed so often the sentences made no sense. When I started making him sound out the words, he got frustrated because he had to do it for nearly every word, but eventually he got quicker at it, and you could see things click when things he read actually made sense.
     
    Backroads and Tired Teacher like this.
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,156
    Likes Received:
    1,759

    Jun 16, 2020

    That’s so odd. I’d be interested in seeing some research on that. I can’t imagine not having basic phonics instruction.
     
    Tired Teacher likes this.
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,931
    Likes Received:
    1,914

    Jun 16, 2020

    I completely 100% agree with a2z.

    If you haven't read about it yet, look into orthographic mapping and how to make it happen. This is an area that many teachers and administrators know nothing about, and it can make a huge difference for struggling readers. It requires in depth phonemic awareness skills, which many of our schools simply don't teach because the focus is on the "more important" comprehension skills. David Kilpatrick has a few good books on the subject, and Linnea Ehri is the person who initially developed the theory and conducted the research.

    Of course, as a2z said, it all depends on the student. So, orthographic mapping and phonemic awareness may not be the issue that your students are facing, but it would be great knowledge to have in your back pocket.
     
    a2z and Tired Teacher like this.
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 5, 2020

    I've had the same experience: when the quantity of reading goes up, so does skill level. If you practice the piano two hours a day instead of 10 minutes, you're going to get a big leap. When kids love to read, it's not a chore to get their minutes up.

    Unlike Otterpop, I've found the focus on skills slows down progress with my low students. If they know their sounds, they need to read, not do phonics drills and sound out words.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,156
    Likes Received:
    1,759

    Jul 5, 2020

    It depends on the kid I think. Most of the ones that I’d do phonics practice with truly don’t know their sounds. They’ve made it to upper elementary not knowing phonics basics or how to sound out a word like “knock” or “wheels”, or for some even simpler blends like “trees”. I had a few students this past year still saying “k-nok” and “whale” in places like that and they had no idea what they were reading. They’re also the ones who, if given a book to read silently, will sit and politely look at their fingernails for 20 minutes. If they are simply low but know the basics, then just encouraging them to read more is often the ticket. The ones who truly need the phonics instruction often also need to be referred to SPED/RTI, and it always astonishes me that no one has yet referred them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,931
    Likes Received:
    1,914

    Jul 5, 2020

    There is a correlation between the amount of reading a student engages in and their ability to read and comprehend text, for sure. But, as is often the case, correlation does not equal causation. Students who can read are more likely to enjoy reading and are, therefore, more likely to engage in reading in a greater amount than those who can't read because they lack the component skills necessary to read. We can't just tell a non-reader to read more and expect that they will magically become skilled readers. That strategy has failed too many children.

    I read this really eye-opening article in the most recent issue of The Reading League Journal yesterday, and I wish I could share it wide and far, but it's a print article not available online at this time. In the article, a model demonstrating the factors involved in reading was presented. I found it to be comprehensive and helpful in identifying what should be involved in our literacy instruction and also in identifying focus areas for struggling readers. I knew a lot of the background that this model is based on prior to reading the article, but this model presented it in such a clear, comprehensive, and practical way. To figure out how to help a struggling reader at any age, we need to look at the wide range of foundational skills needed to be a skilled reader and use diagnostic assessments in order to figure out in which areas a student needs additional instruction, and then we need to provide that instruction. This instruction may be in phonics, but it could also be in morphology, grammar, or self-monitoring, just as a few examples. It depends on the individual student.

    The above is true whether this instruction is provided through gen ed classroom instruction, gen ed interventions, sped, or in private tutoring. Simply referring a student to sped or RTI is not enough. Many of these reading problems can be addressed in the gen ed setting, and many of these problems are not addressed even after a student has an IEP in place. Sped is a setting, and RTI is a process. Neither is a solution to a struggling reader's issues, unless that process and setting lead to appropriate instruction. The classroom teacher is as responsible for providing or supporting that instruction as any sped or intervention teacher.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
    a2z likes this.
  10. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 6, 2020

    Be very uneasy with swallowing the "science of reading" claims. There is no "science of reading". The studies about successful reading instruction are all over the place and any attempt to claim that the evidence supporting a phonic-centric reading approach is stronger or more scientific shows a lack of understanding of evidence based instruction.

    An example of this phonic-centric bias is to claim that teachers are just telling non-readers to read more, and not offering those weaker readers support. This shows a colossal misunderstanding of evidence based reading instruction.

    Phonics are definitely an important part of reading instruction, but once students know their sounds, usually about first or second grade, it's time to focus on meaning and motivation. There are some students who need phonic instruction beyond second grade, but these are usually ELL students.
     
  11. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,931
    Likes Received:
    1,914

    Jul 6, 2020

    Are you familiar with the “science of reading”? I ask because your post indicates that you equate it with being a phonics-centric approach, which it isn’t. Although those who are aligned with the SOR do advocate for explicit and systematic phonics instruction, there is so much more to it than phonics. SOR is simply a body of research on a wide range of reading instruction. Assuming the the SOR is a phonics-centric set of ideals is a common misconception. Rather than denounce it because you suspect that it’s not in line with your beliefs, I’d suggest you read more about it, starting with sources that you are likely to disagree with. My guess is that you’d find that you agree with more than you think you do.
     
    Backroads and a2z like this.
  12. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 6, 2020

    There is no settled science of reading. When some camp claims their side is the true religion, teachers should be wary. My beliefs stem from my experience of over 30 years in the classroom and the research I've done for the literacy articles (The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership, Education Week, Teacher and others) and books I've written.

    I'd be interested in your take on the Joint Statement by The National Education Policy Center and the Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE).

    The research on reading and teaching reading is abundant, but it is diverse and always in a state of change. Accordingly, the joint statement highlights the importance of “professionally prepared teachers with expertise in supporting all students with the most beneficial reading instruction, balancing systematic skills instruction with authentic texts and activities.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,185
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Jul 7, 2020

    Explain what you mean by "know their sounds". Do you mean digraphs also? Do you mean can blend them? Or do you just mean the individual sounds?

    Not all students have the ability to take individual sounds and chunk them and notice the patters. They just don't. Now, a kid may be able to do well reading in early grades by memorizing the words, but as they progress and words get more complex this approach fails them. I've seen it over and over in a "balanced literacy" school that just taught the letter sounds. About 5th grade these kids fall apart. Because 5th grade starts a big physical and psychological change for students they are then seen as being lazy and not caring because they had no problems with reading for years before and were "at or near" grade level.

    Reading instruction must fit the student's needs.

    I agree that not all students need this. So, there is no one way of teaching a student to read. Most often I've seen students pulled to small groups, but the instructional approach doesn't change, just the reading level of the material they are working with and the level of what is being taught.

    I see a lot of one-size-fits-all instruction where the teachers are claiming it is geared toward the student because instead of reading a 3.5 book they are doing 2.0 and the instruction that everyone else got when they were at 2.0.

    I disagree. There is that group of non-ELL (even non special education) that need more than "know their letter sounds". They fall apart in upper elementary or MS. The ones who have better language skills tend to utilize their language to hide their reading deficits longer.
     
    otterpop and bella84 like this.
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,185
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Jul 7, 2020

    The only type of practice that works is when the person practicing can correct their mistakes. If the person practicing cannot do so, their time is wasted and they spend time creating muscle memory of the mistakes.

    There is a saying "perfect practice makes perfect".

    One of the reason we see so many problems with handwriting, spelling, etc in writing is that we have students do it wrong over and over and over and then decide they are old enough to be doing it right and expect all to be able to correct themselves after doing it wrong for years.
     
    Backroads, readingrules12 and bella84 like this.
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,931
    Likes Received:
    1,914

    Jul 7, 2020

    I will gladly read and give you my take on the statement. However, before I do, I'll say this: Among other things, the SOR is a current movement. If you look past that forest of a movement and see the trees within it, then you'll see that those who are seen as being on the SOR "side" of things would agree with you. There is no "settled" science, as they would tell you that science is always evolving (or "in a state of change," as you suggested). In fact, an article I recently read in a SOR-leaning publication said just that. They would, however, tell you that a body of research has led to certain, well-established and grounded theories. You'd also see that, while there are a lot of people who simply join the bandwagon and only grab on to one small piece of the overall picture (often phonics, as you suggested in your earlier post), there are also people who are deeply involved in conducting research and sharing what they learn through that research. Many of these people are not advocating for a "side" or for one particular area of instruction but are, instead, trying to break down the barriers between the "sides" and help disseminate knowledge to bridge the "sides" that have been constructed by others. In doing so, they would further agree with the suggestion indicated by your final sentence, that instruction should include both systematic instruction and authentic text. However, they would tell you that the balance of instruction should be based on specific student need and not on a balance of particular components for the sake of balancing components of instruction. They would tell you of the importance of using diagnostic assessment to determine where a student's individual needs fall and to use that assessment data to help identify the proper balance of instruction. They would certainly not suggest anything along the lines of a "phonics-centric" approach or that instruction should be void of language, authentic text, and meaning-making. The only people who will make those suggestions are those who haven't yet become fully familiar with the research or have a personal axe to grind. This is NOT the "Reading Wars" of the 1980s and 90s, and it's unfortunate that it's being characterized that way.

    I think it's very easy to take a side and latch onto those groups and people who align with your own beliefs. It's much more difficult to ask hard questions, seek out resources that conflict with your current beliefs, keep an open mind to allow for changing beliefs and practices, and acknowledge that some of what you thought you believed to be true or good may not have been so. For every article or position statement that you share, I could share one with an opposing stance, and also some more moderate. But my point is that we should both be reading both perspectives and not just those that align with what we already believe to be true.

    Now, you asked for my take on the statement you shared, so here it is:

    This statement takes the stance that the Reading Wars have been reignited. I disagree with that notion, as I stated above, and I believe that's the main flaw in this statement paper. Only those on the outskirts will see the current conversation on reading instruction that way. Those who are willing take a step in closer and actually be a part of the conversation will see that this isn't about taking a side in any sort of historical war. Beyond that, I think there are a lot of points in the "shoulds" and "should nots" on which many would agree. Those aligned to the constructed "SOR movement" would not disagree that both phonics AND authentic reading, as mentioned in the statement, are necessary in classroom instruction and supported by a solid research base.

    The statement refers to media articles as distorting the research base. There may be some truth to that, because the articles written by the researchers themselves (not journalists) are more moderate than what is often presented in the media. The good thing about those media articles, though, is that they have led to a disruption of the status-quo, and they are prompting people to ask questions and to learn and grow.

    I wish we could converse regarding each individual bullet point, as I have a lot more to say about many of them. But, in the interest of keeping this as brief as possible, I'll just say that my biggest issue with this statement is the framing that we are in a new era of the reading wars. That framing does nothing to help us move forward and only leads to the construct of opposing sides and "right" and "wrong" ways. I agree with much - though not all - beyond that, and I would encourage you and anyone else who thinks that the SOR movement disagrees with this to learn more about what the SOR actually advocates for. There is a true need for teacher preparation programs to equip pre-service teachers with more depth and breadth of knowledge on reading instruction, as the typical "balanced literacy" curriculum as implemented in most elementary classrooms just isn't truly balanced or differentiated for student needs, as a2z described. There is a lot of common ground outside of that, and, in the interest of students, we need to start looking more closely at where that common ground is.
     
  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 7, 2020

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. It could be that the "science of reading" camp has evolved since I last looked at it from a phonics-uber-alles approach to a set of more authentic strategies. If so, it's a pity that the term SOR was tainted by the phonics group. I would urge teachers to be skeptical of any advocacy group claiming to have all the science.

    To A2Z's comment: If a reader is engaged in the literature and reading for meaning, that reader is not practicing mistakes. That would only be true if the reader were merely practicing phonic rules and not expecting the text to make sense.

    Once again, I'm all in favor of teaching emergent readers their sounds as one part of a complete reading program.
     
  17. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    748

    Jul 7, 2020

    OP,

    There are many good posts that I am not going to repeat. I am going to give more of an overview of the 6 things I have noticed that helps in turning low readers around through my experience as a tutor.

    1. Phonics--9 out of 10 times this is a part of the problem. I spend time on the first day or two doing an assessment to see if they know their sounds, how to blend them, and how to apply them in reading.

    2. Love of reading. So often I get students who not only hate reading..they have never seen anything good about it. They need to see how exciting, thrilling, and informative reading can be. I have them listen to me read and listen to fun audio books.

    3. Sight words in high frequency words. Low readers stumble so much on words that are commonly used. Without knowing these words, they become frustrated quickly when reading.

    4. Comprehension--there are some excellent strategies to help students to remember what they read. I usually tackle these 1 at a time.

    5. Dedication to a lot of reading books that are high interest. Why learn to read if it just means reading some of the worst written stories in basals? Once they start finding books that they really enjoy (and are at their level), they read more.

    6. Practice, Practice, practice. My most successful students end up reading a lot and practicing phonics and sight words a lot. It takes a lot of practice, not some quick fix.
     
    CherryOak likes this.
  18. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,931
    Likes Received:
    1,914

    Jul 7, 2020

    I think that the people who claim to fall on the "side" of "science of reading" may be a bit extreme. But when you look at the work of the researchers who are represented by the SOR groups, you'll see that they are not as extreme and represent a viewpoint that includes much more than phonics. I think that phonics gets the most publicity both because of the historical reading wars and also because of the Decoding Dyslexia parent groups. For a student with dyslexia, phonics is an absolute must. The DD groups have grown quite large in the past 5 or so years, and they are also quite vocal, meeting with state legislators and school boards to propose mandates. They are loud and proud about advocating for phonics, and they frequently refer to the "science of reading" research. But they don't represent or advocate for all that is encompassed in the actual SOR research. Some of them are those who I referred to earlier when I said that they have a personal axe to grind, and so they only focus on the part of the research that is relevant to them.

    If you are looking for a place to get a better picture of what is actually involved in the SOR research, I'd recommend following The Reading League. They are a bit of a counter to the International Literacy Association. From my point-of-view, ILA is more whole language/balanced literacy-leaning, and TRL is more SOR-leaning. Both are organizations with backing from some of the biggest names in academia, and both exist to bridge the gap from research to practice. Although TRL is a much newer organization than ILA, it has already positioned itself to be on a similar level, once it is more well-known by practicing educators - at least in my opinion. TRL puts out a journal a few times per year (they've only published two so far), and I have found it to be well worth a full read each time that I've received it. There may be some in there that you disagree with (maybe a lot, even). However, as I noted before, it's always good to read a few books or articles that will challenge your beliefs and really make you consider your practice. I also think that you'll be surprised to find that you agree with some of what you come across. Here is a link if you are interested: https://www.thereadingleague.org/journal/.

    Thanks for the dialogue. You mentioned in an earlier post that you have authored a few articles and books. Anything that I should look into reading?
     
  19. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    46

    Jul 7, 2020

    What comprehension strategies do you think are best?


     
  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    748

    Jul 7, 2020

    Good question:
    Some that I have found quite helpful are:

    1. Background knowledge...not having the needed background knowledge makes comprehension nearly impossible.

    2. Visualization...this is something good readers do, and poor readers often lack.

    3. Questioning...this really needs to be modeled for them. This is something good readers often do. They actually have a conversation with the author as they read.

    4. Summarizing..without this the information slowly leaks out until little remains at the end.

    5. Making connections...when students can take the time to make connections to real life experiences...it really sticks in their mind.

    These aren't new. They are often mentioned in reading comprehension books because they work.
     
    Tyler B. and nstructor like this.
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,931
    Likes Received:
    1,914

    Jul 8, 2020

    In regards to reading comprehension strategies, here is a resource that was recently reviewed and recommended in The Reading League Journal:
    "Understanding and Teaching Reading Comprehension: A Handbook" https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Teaching-Reading-Comprehension-handbook/dp/0415698316

    I have not read it myself, but I've now added it to my list of books to eventually purchase and read.

    Here are some tidbits pulled from the article reviewing the book to help you determine whether or not it is something that you are interested in reading:
    - "[The book] explains the science of reading as it pertains to reading comprehension."
    -"The text begins with the Simple View of Reading, a framework for conceptualizing the complexity of reading comprehension into a product of two components: word recognition and language comprehension."
    - "Chapters are organized around the components of comprehension that are required to build a strong mental model of a text: activating word meanings, understanding sentences, making inferences, comprehension monitoring, and understanding text structures. Further, authors describe how these components have significant interplay, are mutually supportive, and are heavily reliant on effective working memory processes."
    - Chapter 3 is about reading comprehension assessments. Chapters 4-8 focus on effective instructional interventions.

    Just something to consider...
     
    a2z and nstructor like this.
  22. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    211

    Jul 12, 2020

    I got distracted teaching summer school and returned to find alllll this information. Thank you. I'm in the upper grades at a school that has not recently pressed phonics and it shows. I often have to work on those.

    I learned a lot reading over these posts and I've spent a ridiculous amount of time reading books, etc. on the topic. My reading instruction leads to moderate gains, thus far. I see large amounts of growth mathematically. The difference is really noteworthy.... almost embarrassing.... and my math strengths are influencing that. But, I want to see large growth in reading, too! I have been trying to figure out what to do as a reading teacher. As you can see throughout the conversation, there are some varying trains of thought. I wondered of those who see large growth, what are you doing? It does largely depend on the student, as many have stated.

    As we're looking to a hybrid model and only 2-3 days a week, I guess creating time in class for independent reading will not be easy. I will need to really work on motivating students to increase volume at home. That'll be a challenge.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,185
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Jul 12, 2020

    Don't forget non-fiction to motivate some of the students. There are those students who hate reading the fiction novels or short stories that are the majority of reading materials suggested or provided.
     
    readingrules12 and CherryOak like this.
  24. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 16, 2020

    I would add to this Predicting. Often if a student predicts what's going to happen, their curiosity will get them past hard spots.
     
    readingrules12 likes this.
  25. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 16, 2020

    This is so true. Non-fiction writing is especially critical when looking for models to teach writing skills.

    However, non-fiction can be a place where weaker readers go during the sustained silent reading (SSR) block. During this time, if they were reading fiction, they'd process about 75-95% more words and have practice pulling meaning from text. When a weak reader uses the 20-minute SSR period and flips through a book about trucks (for example), they may actually process very few words because they can get meaning from the pictures. I do not allow weaker students to read non-fiction during SSR.
     
  26. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    748

    Jul 16, 2020

    Tyler,
    Thanks for adding that one. An important one that I had forgotten to put down.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,185
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Jul 16, 2020

    I didn't say it had to be heavy pictures, just non fiction.

    I've seen kids do SSR with fiction and just flip pages and make up what was happening. Their version of what the author said was not at all what the author said.
     
    CherryOak likes this.
  28. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    498

    Jul 16, 2020

    I've seen the same thing. We need to make sure kids are actually reading during SSR.
     
    CherryOak likes this.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Esp Webzing,
  2. TeacherNY,
  3. CaliforniaRPCV,
  4. Jeremy Provost,
  5. scarlettbentley
Total: 471 (members: 5, guests: 437, robots: 29)
test