4INTRODUCTIONAmerican education has shifted its directions to include literacy as a major focus as students continue to perform poorly on tests that gauge their abilities to read with comprehension.Schools in New York City now devote the first 90 minutes of the day to reading instruction.
5STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM At a private urban school in Brooklyn, reading and writing is taught earlier in the morning at 9’o clock, but students there continue to struggle with word decoding and content comprehension.If the time of literacy instruction were moved to later in the day, specifically afternoon, would reading comprehension and decoding skills improve?
7Learning Styles: Time-of-Day Preference Pros“Many studies confirm that people do have peak times of day…There is no one time when all people are most alert. (Ammons, Booker, & Killmon, 1995)“…Students have major learning styles and hemispheric processing preferences…instruction and learning improve when teachers use multiple teaching strategies in a systematic framework to address these preferences. (Beck, 2001)School schedule pilot program in Plymouth England allows students to choose time to start the school day. (Bloom, 2007)“Is one parent an early-bird and the other a night owl? Chances are the child may share a time-of-day preference with a parent and have a best time for learning.” – (Borchetta & Dunn, 2010)“Students were grouped for reading according to their … highest energy levels--early morning, late morning, or afternoon. Students' standardized achievement reading and mathematics test scores between 1986 and 1989 increased from the 30th to the 83rd percentile under State Education Department observation.” – (Braio, Beasley, Dunn, Quinn & Buchanan, 1997)“Reading instruction should use students‘ reading style strengths and preferences.” – (Carbo, 2009)
8Learning Styles: Time-of-Day Preference ProsStudy finds learning style inventories are accurate. (Cropper, 1994)Educators are obliged to provide a variety of learning. (Doolan & Honigsfeld, 2000)“Studies at many grade levels revealed that students who studied for, or took tests at their "best" time of day, earned statistically higher standardized achievement and attitude test scores than when they studied for, or took tests at other times.(FN3) Researchers citing these results have urged administrators to consider school schedules based on students' and teachers' learning-style time preferences.” – (Dunn, 1998) ”As student populations have become more diverse, the ability to teach to the needs of different learners has become increasingly important. “ (Haar, Hall, Schoepp, & Smith, 2002)
9Learning Styles: Time-of-Day Preference Pros“…we have chosen to base our classroom instruction on the 21 elements of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model…We saw dramatic improvements during the next two years as we implemented the reading styles strategies and inclusion practices.” – (Hodgin & Wooliscroft, 1997)Teach students to use individualized learning-style homework and study strategies, so that they can own their learning and differentiate for themselves. (Lauria, 2010)When instruction matches learning styles, students improve in academic achievement. (Lovelace, 2005)An elementary school in Aberdeen, South Dakota successfully implements learning styles model in their classrooms. (Neely & Alm, 1992)“There are several other benefits for teachers using the LSPI besides identifying students as analytical or global learners. Teachers can get a better idea of how to group students compatibly.” (Pitts, 2009)
10Learning Styles: Time-of-Day Preference ConsMany educational psychologists believe that there is little evidence for the efficacy of most learning style models, and furthermore, that the models often rest on dubious theoretical grounds. (Curry, 1990)“…learning style instruments have not been shown to be valid and reliable, there is no benefit to matching instruction to preferred learning style, and there is no evidence that understanding one's learning style improves learning and its related outcomes. This conclusion is based on the lack of well-designed investigations by researchers who are not committed to any particular framework, and replicated in numerous educational settings.” – (Dembo & Howard, 2007“What is a learning style? No one seems to know for sure. The language used by learning style theorists is filled with ambiguities. “ (Ivie, 2009)“The reason researchers roll their eyes at learning styles is the utter failure to find that assessing children’s learning styles and matching to instructional methods has any effect on their learning.” – (Stahl, 1999)
11Learning Styles: Time-of-Day Preference Cons“Kavale and Forness (1987)…found little empirical support for learning-style instruction and concluded that “learning appears to be really a matter of substance over style.” (Kavale & LeFever, 2007)
12MorningPros“Individual instructional structures were more frequently observed in the morning (14.2% AM; 10.4% PM), and entire group instructional structures were more frequent in the afternoon (68.0% AM; 78.4% PM). Considering these structures, it is not surprising that academic responding time was higher in the morning (78.1% AM; 71.5% PM), and inappropriate behaviors were more frequently observed in the afternoon (16.9% AM; 19.3% PM).” – (Muyskens & Ysseldyke, 1998)Cons“We often operate under the mistaken assumption that reading should be taught in the morning when, supposedly, most children are alert; the Lynch (1981) and Virostko (1983) investigations demonstrate the fallaciousness of that belief. Normal school hours restrict the achievement of approximately percent of secondary youngsters; no matter when instruction is being offered, it is the wrong time of day for almost one of every three students.” – (Dunn, 1984)
13AfternoonProsStudy finds students who received instruction in the afternoon did better than students who received instruction in the morning. (Barron, Henderson, & Spurgeon, 1994)“The results of this study support the research hypothesis that beginning readers who receive instruction in the afternoon benefit more in terms of reading achievement gains than beginning readers who receive instruction in the morning.” – (Davis, 2001)
14AfternoonConsThe findings of study done at a school in Great Britain contradicts the findings of other studies that suggest students learn better in the afternoon than in the morning. (Robinson, 2004)
15HYPOTHESISIf reading instruction in a fifth-grade class is moved to the afternoon, students at a private urban school in Brooklyn, New York, will show gains in reading comprehension and decoding skills.
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