What is More Difficult - Reading a Mixed List of Words or Reading in Context?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherman1, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 25, 2014

    Came up on another thread.

    So what do you think? What is the research? (Not that anyone would care...)

    Teacherman
     
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  3. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jan 25, 2014

    I'm going to hope reading a mixed list of words is more difficult because I spend a lot of time teaching kids to use context clues for challenging words. ;)
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 25, 2014

    If "reading" means 'recognizing and pronouncing words accurately' - and certainly accuracy and automaticity in recognizing words is important - then either of the following tasks suggests a high order of skill in applying phonics generalizations:

    - reading aloud a list of nonsense words
    - reading, with appropriate prosody (pauses and intonation), a sentence containing content words most of which one doesn't know​

    For young readers, phonics generalizations seem to be the bedrock of reading instruction; there's a fair body of research to the effect that oral reading fluency (measures of which tend not to pay attention to comprehension) correlates decently with silent reading fluency, though the much smaller body of research on oral vs. silent reading fluency in older struggling readers suggests that the correlation is significantly weaker.

    If "reading" means 'extracting meaning from print' - and that is, I think, much closer to what "reading" means beginning in the upper grades of elementary school - then the skills required for the tasks above are joined by a rather different set of skills having to do with vocabulary, academic language, background knowledge, use of context without overreliance on it, inference, argumentation, and a great deal else.

    In other words, the answer to whether it is harder to read a list in isolation or a passage is "It depends."
     
  5. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 25, 2014

    This is what Fountas and Pinnell say to the question -
    What is the correlation between reading of high-frequency word lists in isolation and the student’s score on the Benchmark Assessment System?

    There is a high relationship between the ability to read high frequency words in isolation and the ability to read with accuracy when processing continuous text. At this time we do not have mathematical statistics on the correlation between the optional word tests and the Benchmark text level for the F & P System, but these two kinds of measures are always related. In interpreting the tests, however, you should keep in mind that the two tasks are actually different in quality. Reading isolated words requires attention to visual features alone and matching them up with words in oral vocabulary. We do want to know the quantity of words that readers recognize quickly and easily. Reading continuous print requires not only word recognition but the orchestration of many different kinds of information--language syntax, meaning, dialogue, graphics, etc. The best measure of reading is to observe indicators of proficiency and understanding using continuous print.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 25, 2014

    Fountas & Pinnell are highly respected in reading instruction. With that said, this sentence

    can be paraphrased as "We believe this is true, but we can't prove it." That's not very solid science.

    Fountas & Pinnell's next to last sentence,

    could be taken as support for the proposition that reading continuous text, because it requires one to juggle all those other sorts of information, is more demanding.
     
  7. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 25, 2014

    I agree with you, Teachergroupie.:) That's why I said "There are some who would argue that reading a LIST of words standing alone and out of context (with no illustrations) is even more difficult than reading a passage that makes sense and taps into prior knowledge."

    I guess a case could be made for both, but you have to start somewhere. PALS was an assessment that I found very accurate for 1st and 2nd graders, and it's main feature was a grade-leveled sight-word list that kids had to read. I found that the kids who could read the 3rd and 4th grade word list actually were reading on those levels. Of course, the reading passage had at least as much weight as the word list when determining reading level.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 25, 2014

    From a purely anecdotal standpoint, I find the F&P lists to be highly problematic. Maybe it's my kids, but I found ALL 28 of my kiddos this year to have more success reading their books in context than their lists suggested that they should.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 25, 2014

    I can't decide which one would be easier. If you're reading isolated words, you can't use context clues, but you're only concentrating on the individual words to read them and pronounce them.
    If you reading a sentence or more, you can use context clues and they often help, but you're also expected to read with a certain fluency and tone, not just reading words out one by one.

    I'm trying to imagine how I would do with Arabic. That's an alphabet that is very different than ours, I know it, but of course my reading ability is not that great (especially since it's been a few years since I have really focused on it). So for me, whether it's word by word or in context, it would be about the same.
     
  10. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Jan 25, 2014

    I think it depends on the child. I have watched children fly through the list, but when given passages to read they struggle. Others read and comprehend passages beautifully, but trip up on word lists. I have even had students that read better silently than they do out loud. Go figure!
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm not at all surprised by any of those, Loveslabs, and least by the students who read silently better than they read aloud.
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2014

    My sense would be that reading words in isolation would be slower, everything else being equal (difficulty of words, etc.). However, often times when readers read for comprehension, they do things like rereading, thinking, etc. which may slow things down.

    TeacherGroupie, I'd be interested in knowing any references or a book when you mention the research showing the link between oral and silent reading fluency is weaker with upper grades. I can see that making sense as reading becomes an increasingly complex problem, but I'd be interested in exactly what was measured. Not sure if you still have those references handy.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 26, 2014

    The work is really only just beginning to be done, EdEd - especially compared to all the attention that's gone to phonics in the younger grades. There's a draft copy of Hiebert, Samuels & Rasinski's 2010 paper "Comprehension-based Silent Reading Rates" at http://textproject.org/assets/libra...sion-Based-Silent-Reading-Rates-PREPRINT.pdf; the literature review is sparser than one would like but intriguing.

    Denton et al.'s 2011 paper, "The Relations Among Oral and Silent Reading Fluency and Comprehension in Middle School", consulted at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104321/, notes that using tests of oral reading fluency to determine whether middle-school students need reading intervention can be problematic: there's really not a cut score that will successfully identify all the kids who genuinely need reading intervention without falsely including a number of kids who really don't.
     
  14. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks TeacherGroupie - the link to the first one is broken, but I scanned the second one and it falls in line with my past experience. My experience has been that you're right - there is a huge range of oral reading fluency scores in upper grades that could contain both effective and ineffective readers, when the broader definition of reading is taken into consideration. I've seen kids read "very" slowly, for example, but have high levels of comprehension, and the reverse.

    Interestingly, in the article, neither silent reading nor oral reading appeared to be significantly better at predicting any of the 3 comprehension measures, which would indicate that the issue of using fluency to predict comprehension either silently or orally was less than effective. I suppose the conclusion is that we can't use fluency as an effective proxy for comprehension starting with grade 6.

    Also, in terms of the initial question about the declining correlations between oral & silent reading fluency over time, would you happen to have any references for correlations with younger grades? The correlations between oral and silent reading fluency in grades 6-8 seem to be between .55 and .61. Would be interested in what the correlations were for younger grades.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 26, 2014

    Weird that that link is broken - but I got there via Google, so it could be that the site resists going directly to the pdf. If you Google "hiebert samuels comprehension-based silent reading", it should pop up.

    I don't have references handy for correlations with younger grades, no.
     
  16. nicholasbent

    nicholasbent New Member

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    Jan 27, 2014

    Reading a Mixed List of Words are very difficult. I dont like this...
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jan 27, 2014

    Thanks TG
     
  18. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Feb 3, 2014

    How Reading in Context (Especially With Pictures) is Easier

    Shot *this video yesterday with a brand new student. It's part 2, and Wayne is actually reading for the 1st time in his life.

    To see how reading words as part of a continuing story helps kids, slide the cursor along to the 5 minute mark. That's where I encourage Wayne to look at the pictures and we have a discussion about how that can aide him in his reading.

    *Video used with written permission of mother
     
  19. AliLand

    AliLand Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2014

    As I'm teaching English as a foreign language, I spend a lot of time going through different skills. Skimming for gist, scanning for specific information, reading for education and reading for fun. At intermediate levels, I wholeheartedly believe context is best. A few beginners do really need to be taught out of context lists as (perhaps due to unfamiliar alphabet) I have found some inferring meaning from the word pattern and mentally registering mother tongue definition. This unfortunately prevents them from understanding the word if they hear it - contextually or otherwise.
    I believe most adults when reading for pleasure rely heavily on word patterns and context cues (don't we all miss typos if the plot is exciting?). It would be nice if all learners learned in the same way, but they don't.
     

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