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Improving Adolescent Literacy: Suggestions from Research Dr. Joseph K. Torgesen Florida Center for Reading Research at FSU Florida Adolescent Literacy.

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Presentation on theme: "Improving Adolescent Literacy: Suggestions from Research Dr. Joseph K. Torgesen Florida Center for Reading Research at FSU Florida Adolescent Literacy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Improving Adolescent Literacy: Suggestions from Research Dr. Joseph K. Torgesen Florida Center for Reading Research at FSU Florida Adolescent Literacy Workgroup, Aug, 2006

2 The term Adolescent Literacy can be used to encompass both more than reading, and reading in many and varied forms Adolescent Literacy:The Domain “The privileging of one form of literacy (academic literacy) over multiple other forms (e.g. computer, visual, graphic, and scientific literacies) has been criticized for ignoring the fact that different texts and social contexts (reading for whom, with what purpose) require different reading skills.” Alverman, 2001)

3 In the present context, it seems that we should be most concerned about academic literacy. Adolescent Literacy:The Domain The kinds of reading abilities that support success in the classroom The kinds of reading abilities that are assessed on state level accountability measures of reading comprehension such as the FCAT

4 1. How is adolescent literacy growth different than growth in K-3? 2. What are the most important instructional challenges? 3. What instructional improvements need to occur in middle and high schools to meet our goals for improvement in adolescent literacy outcomes? Adolescent Literacy: The Questions

5 Reading K-3 Reading K-3 vs Acquire strategies for “decoding” unfamiliar words Build “sight word vocabulary” of many thousands of words

6 These are iNTirEStinG and cHallinGinG times for anyone whose pRoFEshuNle responsibilities are rEelaTed in any way to liTiRucY outcomes among school children. For, in spite of all our new NaWLEGe about reading and reading iNstRukshun, there is a wide-spread concern that public EdgUkAshuN is not as eFfEktIve as it shood be in tEecHiNg all children to read.

7 The report of the National Research Council pointed out that these concerns about literacy derive not from declining levels of literacy in our schools but rather from recognition that the demands for high levels of literacy are rapidly accelerating in our society.

8 Reading K-3 Reading K-3 vs Acquire strategies for “decoding” unfamiliar words Build “sight word vocabulary” of many thousands of words Learn to coordinate skills for fluent reading of text Begin extension of vocabulary beyond oral language limits Acquire variety of strategies for enhancing comprehension, or repairing it when it breaks down Develop or maintain a positive attitude about reading and view it as an important skill for learning and for pleasure

9 Reading 4-12 Reading K-3 vs Extend “sight vocabulary” to unfamiliar words in increasingly challenging text

10 Correct Words per Minute th Grade 7 th Grade 8 th Grade FWSFWSFWSFWSFWSFWS Correct Words per Minute on Grade Level Text WPM 22 WPM 23 WPM Tindal, Hasbrouck, & Jones, 2005 Text difficulty increases

11 Reading 4-12 Reading K-3 vs Extend “sight vocabulary” to unfamiliar words in increasingly challenging text Learning meanings of thousands of new words – vocabulary expansion

12 Why Oral language experience is not enough Frequency of Word Use in Major Sources of Oral and Written Language (Hayes & Ahrens, 1988) Rare Words per 1,000 I.Printed texts II. Television texts Newspapers 68.3Adult shows22.7 Popular magazines 65.7Children’s shows20.2 Adult books 52.7 Children’s books 30.9III. Adult speech Preschool books 16.3College graduates17.3 talk with friends/ spouses

13 Reading 4-12 Reading K-3 vs Extend “sight vocabulary” to unfamiliar words in increasingly challenging text Learning meanings of thousands of new words – vocabulary expansion Increasingly detailed knowledge of text structures and genres Expansion of content knowledge in many domains Thinking and reasoning skills increase Reading specific comprehension strategies become more complex

14 Reading 4-12 Reading K-3 vs Extend “sight vocabulary” to unfamiliar words in increasingly challenging text Learning meanings of thousands of new words – vocabulary expansion Increasingly detailed knowledge of text structures and genres Expansion of content knowledge in many domains Thinking and reasoning skills increase Reading specific comprehension strategies become more complex

15 “Ensuring adequate ongoing literacy development for all students in the middle and high school years is a more challenging task than ensuring excellent reading education in the primary grades, for two reasons: first, secondary school literacy skills are more complex, more embedded in subject matters, and more multiply determined; second, adolescents are not as universally motivated to read better or as interested in school-based reading as kindergartners.” Biancarosa & Snow, (2005)

16 Assuming a focus on academic literacy: How do the requirements for proficient reading change as students move from 3 rd grade to 10 th grade?

17 Changes in the factors that influence reading comprehension from grades 3 to 10: An example from the FCAT It was specifically created to examine students increasing abilities to comprehend complex text It requires students to read relatively long passages before asking them to answer questions. Passage length at different levels 3 rd grade – 325 words 7 th grade – 816 words 10 th grade – 1008 words About the FCAT

18 How the study was conducted: Gave 2 hour battery of language, reading, nonverbal reasoning, and memory tests to approximately 200 children in each grade (3 rd, 7 th, and 10 th) at 3 locations in the state Language – Wisc Vocab and Similarities Listening comprehension with FCAT passage Listening comprehension with FCAT passage Reading– Oral reading fluency, TOWRE, Gray Oral Reading Test NV Reasoning – Wisc Matrix Reasoning, Block Design Working Memory– Listening span, Reading Span

19 Fluency Verbal Percent of variance accounted for Non Verbal Memory 12 3 rd Grade

20 N=218 R=.76

21 What skills are particularly deficient in level 1 and level 2 readers in 3 rd grade? FCAT Performance Level Skill/ability WPM on FCAT Fluency percentile Phonemic decoding Verbal knowledge/ reasoning th 32 th 56 th 78 th 93 rd 6 th 32 th 56 th 78 th 93 rd 25 th 45 th 59 th 74 th 91 st 25 th 45 th 59 th 74 th 91 st 42 nd 59 th 72 nd 91 st 98 th 42 nd 59 th 72 nd 91 st 98 th

22 December, 3 rd Grade Correct word/minute=60 19 th percentile The Surprise Party My dad had his fortieth birthday last month, so my mom planned a big surprise party for him. She said I could assist with the party but that I had to keep the party a secret. She said I couldn’t tell my dad because that would spoil the surprise. My dad had his fortieth birthday last month, so my mom planned a big surprise party for him. She said I could assist with the party but that I had to keep the party a secret. She said I couldn’t tell my dad because that would spoil the surprise. I helped mom organize the guest list and write the invitations. I was responsible for making sure everyone was included. I also addressed all the envelopes and put stamps and return addresses on them….. I helped mom organize the guest list and write the invitations. I was responsible for making sure everyone was included. I also addressed all the envelopes and put stamps and return addresses on them…..

23 Fluency Verbal Percent of variance accounted for Non Verbal Memory th Grade

24 What skills are particularly deficient in level 1 and level 2 readers at 7 th grade? FCAT Performance Level Skill/ability WPM on FCAT Fluency percentile Phonemic decoding Verbal knowledge/ reasoning th 25 th 45 th 82 th 95 th 7 th 25 th 45 th 82 th 95 th 27 th 53 rd 53 rd 74 th 84 th 27 th 53 rd 53 rd 74 th 84 th 34 th 45 th 64 th 88 th 93 rd 34 th 45 th 64 th 88 th 93 rd

25 Fluency Verbal Percent of variance accounted for Non Verbal Memory th Grade

26 What skills are particularly deficient in level 1 and level 2 readers at 10 th grade? FCAT Performance Level Skill/ability Fluency percentile Phonemic decoding Verbal knowledge/ reasoning 8 th 30 th 68 th 87 th 93 rd 18 th 27 th 45 th 56 th 72 nd 30 th 60 th 66 th 84 th 89 th WPM on FCAT

27 Two definitions of reading that summarize the findings from the study and identify shifting instructional challenges “Reading is translating between oral and written language.” (Perfetti, 1985) “Reading is thinking guided by print.” (Perfetti, 1985)

28 1. How is adolescent literacy growth different than growth in K-3 2. What are the most important instructional challenges 3. What instructional enhancements need to occur in middle and high schools Adolescent Literacy: The Questions

29 Must be able to draw upon more extensive and deep background knowledge Must become more strategic, and able to adapt to a variety of texts and demands Must learn to deal with more complex ideas – reasoning and inferential skills Each year skills and knowledge required to meet standards increases 4 th 5 th 6 th 7 th 8 th 9 th 10 th 11 th 12 th Must learn to recognize many new words automatically Must acquire many new vocabulary words

30 Must be able to draw upon more extensive and deep background knowledge Must become more strategic, and able to adapt to a variety of texts and demands Must learn to deal with more complex ideas – reasoning and inferential skills Each year, new skills and knowledge are required to meet standards increases 4 th 5 th 6 th 7 th 8 th 9 th 10 th 11 th 12 th Must learn to recognize many new words automatically Must acquire many new vocabulary words

31 1. Improve overall levels of reading proficiency for all students –more level 4 and level 5 readers Based on what we currently know, efforts should focus on three goals

32 Williamson, 2004

33 When all of this data is brought together, it is apparent that society in general and the workplace in particular demand higher levels of reading proficiency than schools. Moreover, many students are barely meeting those minimal education requirements. (p. 3) -- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2004)

34 1. Improve overall levels of reading proficiency for all students –more level 4 and level 5 readers Based on what we currently know, efforts should focus on three goals 2. Insure that students at “grade level” in third grade are also at “grade level” in 10 th grade

35 Percent of students at grade level or above from grades 3 through 10 in , ,000

36 1. Improve overall levels of reading proficiency for all students –more level 4 and level 5 readers Based on what we currently know, efforts should focus on three goals 2. Insure that students at “grade level” in third grade are also at “grade level” in 10 th grade 3. Accelerate development of students “below grade level toward grade level standards

37 1. How is adolescent literacy growth different than growth in K-3 2. What are the most important instructional challenges 3. What instructional enhancements need to occur in middle and high schools Adolescent Literacy: The Questions

38 Adolescent literacy depends on broad and deep knowledge and high-level thinking skills, as well as skills specific to reading To accomplish goals #1 & 2, both research and logic suggest that content area teachers must bear the main responsibility Some reading strategies and approaches are specific to content and style in science, mathematics, history, etc. Students spend most of their time during the school day with content area teachers

39 Current research provides support for five areas of improvement/change by content area teachers to enhance literacy.

40 1. More explicit instruction and guided practice in the use of reading comprehension strategies 5 Areas of Improvement 2. Increasing the amount of open, sustained discussion of content and ideas from text. 3. Maintaining high standards for the level of conversation, questions, vocabulary, that are used in discussions and in assignments 4. Adopting instructional methods that increase student engagement with text and motivation for reading 5. More powerful teaching of content and use of methods that allow all to learn critical content

41 1. We must work to prevent the loss of “grade level readers after grade 3. To accomplish goal #3, both research and logic suggest: 2. We must find a way to deliver more intensive, more powerful instruction to students reading below grade level, because they must accelerate in their development.

42 Struggling readers are typically lagging behind in several critical areas: Poor readers in 7 th grade have struggled with reading from the beginning—they have lots of bad habits Poor readers in 7 th grade have, for several years, engaged in much less reading than their grade level peers Poor readers in 7 th grade have, for several years, engaged in much less reading than their grade level peers

43 Teaching Reading is Urgent A student at the 10 th percentile reads about 60,000 words a year in 5 th grade A student at the 50 th percentile reads about 900,000words a year in 5 th grade Average students receive about 15 times as much practice in a year (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988)

44 The consequences of early and continuing reading difficulties Lack of reading practice-affects fluency Lack of wide reading-affects growth of vocabulary and knowledge of the world Loss of interest in reading and learning Lack of wide reading- affects growth of strategic reading skills Limited reading of classroom assignments- affects growth of essential knowledge

45 Primary Characteristics of Struggling Readers in Middle and High School They are almost always less fluent readers—sight word vocabularies many thousands of words smaller than average readers Usually know the meanings of fewer words Usually have less conceptual knowledge Are almost always less skilled in using strategies to enhance comprehension or repair it when it breaks down Will typically not enjoy reading or choose to read for pleasure

46 As an initial approximation, there are two broadly different groups of struggling readers for us to be concerned about Students who are still struggling significantly with initial word reading skills (say, below the 3-4 th grade level) What proportion of struggling readers is this? Reading Next estimates 10%

47 Findings from U.Kansas Study Struggling readers are diverse in reading skills. Different schools present different profiles of students and instructional needs. Many Struggling Adolescent Readers (ASR) in urban high schools perform at very low levels on multiple measures of reading proficiency. More importantly, they represent about 65% of the urban high school population. Many ASR in urban schools struggle with word level reading and comprehension. Balanced reading instruction seems warranted Intensive instruction seems warranted

48 17 (30%) of students below 90 wpm “benchmark” for end of 2 nd grade (9% of total) 38 students(66%) below 110 “benchmark” for end of 3rd grade (21% of total) 7 th Grade Level 1&2

49 4 (3%) of students below 90 “benchmark” for end of 2 nd grade 24 (20%) students below 110 “benchmark” for end of 3rd grade 7 th Grade Level 3 and above

50 14 (11%) of students below 110 “benchmark” for end of 3 rd grade (8% of total) 10 th Grade level 1 and 2

51 10 th Grade level 3 and above

52 As an initial approximation, there are two broadly different groups of struggling readers for us to be concerned about Students who are still struggling significantly with initial word reading skills (say, below the 3 rd grade level) Students who have “adequate” word level skills (though not fully fluent), but struggle with vocabulary, knowledge, reasoning, comprehension strategies, and motivation

53 10 th Grade level 1 and 2 “adequate” word level skills

54 Findings from a recent meta-analysis of interventions for adolescent struggling readers Intensive interventions focused on word level reading skills produce consistent effects of reading accuracy and comprehension Intensive interventions focused on comprehension strategies produce larger effects on reading comprehension

55 Instructional Enhancements required in middle and high school 1. Intensive Reading Classes for students reading below grade level Offer a continuum of intensity based on need – at least two levels Intensity is manipulated by instructional group size or by length of instruction

56 Improving reading skills in middle and high school 1. Schedule a 90 minute block every day for students who have significant word level reading problems plus comprehension problems Word level skills- accuracy and fluency Strategy instruction and engagement in thinking about text Lots of guided, supported practice in reading Both embedded and systematic vocabulary instruction

57 “….enough is already known about adolescent literacy—both the nature of the problems of struggling readers and the types of interventions and approaches to address these needs—in order to act immediately on a broad scale.” (Biancarosa & Snow, 2005) A considered opinion of five eminent researchers in adolescent literacy…

58 Questions/Discussion


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