The Reading Program Instructional Guidance/Support
Instructional Components

Phonemic awareness
Letter Names/Shapes
Systematic, Explicit Phonics
Vocabulary Development
Comprehension and Higher - Order Thinking
Appropriate Instructional Materials

Grade level Expectations and Classroom Practices
Diagnostic Tools
Importance of Standards
Professional Development
Program Development
Reading Task Force Report
Early Literacy Training

Early Literacy Training Resources Directory

Training Materials


A Balanced, Comprehensive Approach to Teaching Reading K-3

I. The Reading Program (From Research to Practice)

Essential components of a balanced and comprehensive Reading program are:

a strong literature, language and comprehension program (including oral and written language)an organized, explicit skills program
ongoing diagnosis
a powerful early intervention program

A. Instructional Components

Phonemic awareness - understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds

can be fostered through language activities that encourage active exploration and manipulation of sounds
highly related to learning to read
lack of phonemic awareness is the most powerful determinant of likelihood of failure to learn to read
most important factor separating normal and disabled readers
equally important to learning to spell
research indicates that all young readers benefit from explicit assistance
children should be diagnosed in mid-kindergarten and give intensive training if progress is not adequate
support should occur in pre-k, k and grade 1

Letter Names/Shapes

powerful predictors of early reading success
knowledge of letter names is important

Systematic, Explicit Phonics

an organized program where letter - sound correspondences for letters and letter clusters are directly taught using text with a high percentage of decodable words (prompt and explicit feedback provided)
to become skillful readers, children must learn how to decode instantly and effortlesslyresearch reveals that only poor readers rely on context for word identificationpoorly developed knowledge of spelling is found to be the most frequent cause of reading difficultythe role of effective phonics instruction is to help children understand, apply and learn the alphabetic principle and conventions of written language (It is NOT rote drill)effective phonics instruction is:

explicit - clarifies key points and principles for students
systematic - gradually builds from basic elements to complex patterns

it is important to practice the phonics learned (use decodable text)after children demonstrate initial levels of phonemic awareness, both phonemic awareness and phonics can be taught simultaneously and reinforced in the context of integrated, shared reading and writing activities

Spelling- goal is to alert children to patterns, to how words are combined, and to conventions and correctness

poorly developed spelling knowledge hinders writing, disrupts reading fluency and obstructs vocabulary developmentprogrammatic instruction in correct spelling should begin in grade one and continue across school yearstemporary spellings are invaluable to diagnosis of difficulties and evaluation of progressresearch demonstrates that combining ample early support of temporary spelling with systematic, formal spelling instruction results in more rapid growth in correct spelling than either approach alonespelling lists and quizzes should be purposeful and support/reinforce reading and writing instruction

Vocabulary Development

the number of new words learned from text depends on how much they read (the 90th % fifth grader reads 200 time more text per year than the 10th % fifth grader)
vocabulary instruction is most effective when explicit information about words' definition is complemented by attention to usage and meaning across context

Comprehension and Higher - Order Thinking

effortless, accurate readers construct meaning at two levels (literal and reflective understandings)
reflective control of text can be improved through direct instruction in comprehension strategies using a range of literacy genresthe most valuable activity for developing reading comprehension is reading itselfamount of reading predicts growth in comprehensionstudents should be given many opportunities for open discussion of both highlights and difficulties of text

Appropriate Instructional Materials

a balanced comprehensive early literacy program must provide a variety of reading materials
goal of all reading sessions is to support interest and capacity for independent readingmode in which materials are read . . . (read-aloud, instructional reading, independent reading)reading aloud to students is important at every ageuse of big books at pre-school and K levels
English learners can be most successful learning to read what they can already say and understandresearch strongly asserts that from the beginning of first grade and in tandem with basic phonics instruction, decodable texts are most appropriate for independent readingteachers need to be aware of difficulty level of text relative to students' reading level

#independent level - 95% - 100% accuracy#instructional level - 90 - 94%
#frustration level - 89% or below

an effective program establishes time and expectation for independent reading
all students should be required to read every day outside of school

B. Grade level Expectations and Classroom Practices

A powerful reading program requires planning to ensure appropriate progression across the grade spansto meet individual needs of all learners, each classroom should provide a balance of grouping types. (whole, small, pairs, etc.)all teachers must understand the importance of flexible groupings in the teaching of reading. (They should be skill based and temporary)document provides pre-K - 3 expectations and examples of learning activities

C. Diagnostic Tools

provide every teacher with a variety of assessment tools/strategies to inform daily instructionassess student:

skills by use of a list beginning with single letters and progressing to words ordered in complexityfluency/comprehension by use of text ordered in complexity

assess students 3 or 4 times/year in grades K-2 . . . adjust frequency depending on progress
diagnosis provides ways to collect and use information for classroom instruction and decisions about needed early interventions

D. Interventions

Early intervention in reading begins in first grade

in-class interventions (one-on-one, small group, more frequent diagnostic information, guided reading, tutorial assistance)outside of class intervention (SST, specialists, categorical programs, summer/intersessions)

most effective interventions:

are applied as early as possibleinvolve well trained specialistsare more intense and concentrated for a short span of timeproven in effectivenessbefore reading problems are referred to special education , in-class and out-of-class intervention should be utilized

II. Instructional Guidance/Support

A. Importance of Standards

State and National call for improved results, high standards and clear accountabilityAB265 - statewide standards and assessment by January 1, 1998districts adopting grade-level content and performance standards in R.W.S.L. with the goal of every student an independent reader by end of third grade
local system to track performance
ongoing teacher support and training

B. Professional Development (research based, successful practices)

should occur every year in content areas and in beginning reading as a foundation for learning
workshops coupled with in-classroom coaching experiences
topics should include phonemic awareness; systematic, explicit phonics; beginning writing; spelling; and comprehension/higher order thinking skills
teachers should understand components of a balanced, comprehensive reading program
effective professional development includes:collaborative planning
long-term, in-depth activities
a variety of strategies
opportunities to reflect
discussions of research findings

C. Program Development

2 or 3 year design for full implementation will be most successful
collaboratively plannedsupported with appropriate materials and training
redirection of available funds must occur to support improvement efforts

D. Conclusion

program advisory provides structure, organization and direction to develop a balanced and comprehensive reading programall components of the reading program must be centered in use of effective practices and appropriate support for implementationteachers must be effectiveparents and community must be a part of the effort

Click Here for the Reading Task Force Report