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Science, Language, and Imagination in the Development of Effective Reading Teachers Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D. October 26, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Science, Language, and Imagination in the Development of Effective Reading Teachers Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D. October 26, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Science, Language, and Imagination in the Development of Effective Reading Teachers Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D. October 26, 2005

2 3 Questions Often Asked  Why all this money, time, and expertise necessary for professional development?  What kinds of interventions are most successful? (and who do I trust to tell me)  Why should I get involved in instructional leadership?

3 First, Some Basic Facts About Literacy…  Early prediction is possible  Early intervention is more effective than later intervention  Language proficiency is the major correlate of reading and writing

4 Multiple Causes of Reading Difficulty… reading failure limited experience with books dyslexia or other LD English as a second language inadequate instruction cognitive or language deficits

5 Four Language Processing Systems Context Processor Orthographic Processor Phonological Processor Meaning Processor writing outputspeech outputreading input Phonemic Awareness Fluency Phonics Language Comprehension Vocabulary


7 Reading Trajectories Are Established Early


9 The Science Of Professional Development of Teachers of Reading

10 Teacher Preparation Issues ? “…Many teachers in general education and special education are not well prepared to provide research-based instruction, especially in the area of reading (Lyon et al., 2001) …inadequate preparation in all components of reading instruction in preservice programs and inadequate understanding of concepts involving phonological awareness and the structure of language.” Fletcher, 2004

11 Research on Teacher Knowledge and Teaching Reading  Moats & Foorman, 2003  Spear-Swerling and Brucker, 2003, 2004  Bos et al., 2001  McCutchen et al., 2001  A. Cunningham, 2004  Spear-Swerling et al., in press  Cornier, 2004

12 Spear-Swerling and Brucker  “Six hours of course instruction in word structure apparently was not sufficient for all student teachers to perform at high levels.”  “Even periods of instruction much longer…may not yield perfect performance at post-test.”  Children’s progress was consistent with teachers’ word-structure knowledge.

13 Spear-Swerling, continued.  Teachers learned from course work, not from teaching itself.  There is a disciplinary knowledge base that cannot be “discovered” incidentally by most teachers.  Thus, experienced teachers often do not know any more than the inexperienced about language and word structure, or about reading research.

14 A. Cunningham et al. 700-800 teachers in Oakland were much better at estimating their knowledge of children’s literature than they were at estimating their knowledge of language structure. Those who thought they knew less about language structure (phonics) actually knew more; those who thought they knew more, knew less. Annals of Dyslexia, 2004

15 Steiner’s review of courses:  61 course syllabi reviewed (2004)  Only 4 referred to NRP or NRC reports  Whole language assessments predominated  Only 3 schools required a course in language structure  Most courses taught “balanced literacy” and retained whole language orientation

16 CCTC - 2002 Reading Program Review Study  Of 20 programs reviewed, more than half were lacking instruction in state’s standards, assessments, and approaches required in Reading First  Textbooks taught that all methods were equally valuable; did not emphasize and select evidence-based programs


18 Why is So Much PD Required?  Teachers did not receive sufficient training in licensing program even if the best practices were emphasized AND/OR  Training did not emphasize the programs or program components or research basis that drives Reading First  Unsupported (non-SBRR) theories and practices were taught

19 Language and Professional Development of Teachers of Reading

20 What About “5 Essential Components” of Reading?  Phoneme Awareness  Phonics  Fluency  Vocabulary  Comprehension - Reading First


22 Students Must Learn All Aspects of Language  Speech sounds and word structure  Printed symbols  Vocabulary  Sentence structure  Paragraphs  Overall text structure


24 Current Research Findings 1. Language systems are interdependent, so improvement in one system supports improvement in others 2. Proficiencies are gained in parallel, although each one is gained in sequence

25 Examples  Spelling predicts reading comprehension as well as or better than word attack (Mehta et al., 2005, SSR)  Phonological processing is a factor in vocabulary development

26 Teacher Knowledge Surveys…  Identifying phonemes, syllables, morphemes  Defining basic terms  Understanding the relationship between word recognition, fluency, and comprehension  Interpreting student work samples (oral reading, spelling and writing)

27 Sentence Structure: What’s True?  A sentence is constructed with a subject and a predicate.  A sentence begins with a capital and ends with a period.

28 Syllable counting, teachers grades K-2 (n=50)

29 Phoneme counting, teachers of grades K-2 (n=50)

30 Phoneme Matching, n=53  Find a word that ends with the same sound:  dogs: miss, has, decks, niece  coached: trapped, screamed, twisted, filled (47% and 55% correct respectively)

31 Awareness of Syllable Spellings The second “m” in “moment” is NOT doubled because: A) the first vowel is short B) the first vowel is long C) the second vowel is a schwa D) the first syllable is stressed (51% correct)

32 Let’s Get Specific: What Do Teachers Need to Be Taught?  Differentiation of speech sounds from letters First sound in “one” or “sure”?  Phoneme identity and pronunciation- /  / /j  /  Knowing the functional spelling units: rifle- riffle wage - badge

33 What Teachers Need to Be Taught (2)  Parts of speech.  Syntax and how to describe it.  Aspects of text organization and genre.  The classic direct instruction process: “I do, we do, you do.”

34 What Teachers Need to Be Taught (3)  How to use the instructional materials  How to link the various levels of language organization  How to assess in ways that inform instruction

35 quee n Where We Must Begin Understanding that speech is made up of phonemes, /k/ /w/ /e  / /n/ and matching phonemes to graphemes.

36 Where We Are Going… Word structure, word meaning, word relationships: pro-jectre-ject sub-jectin-ject

37 To Language Comprehension  figurative language  multiple meanings  academic language formalities  discourse structure  phrase structure in sentences  topic-specific terminology

38  What kinds of interventions are most successful? (and who do I trust to tell me)

39 SBRR – Key Sources  Florida Center for Reading Research (  Society for the Scientific Study of Reading  American Psychological Society  Texas Centers – Austin and Houston  University of Oregon  National Institute of Child Health and Human Development  Institute for Education Sciences

40 NICHD Early Interventions Project, 1997-2001  Barbara Foorman, Principal Investigator  9 schools in DC and 8 schools in Houston  1600 children, followed from Kindergarten or 1st to 4 th grade  4 reading programs involved  Goal to improve reading achievement

41 Results Overall  Students in sample began at levels below the 20 th %ile on early screening (TPRI); vocabulary scores were at 5 th and 17%iles  Through 4 th grade, students scored at or above the national average (between 50 th and 65th %ile) on reading outcome measures, including comprehension (WJR)



44 Results Overall, continued.  Writing skills were significantly below average by grade 3; spelling was much lower than reading;  Writing was not being taught at all in 1/3 of the classrooms  The quality of writing instruction did have a measurable effect on length of composition

45 Results Consistent With Consensus Recommendations on Research-based Reading Instruction (NRP, etc.)  Students benefit from direct, systematic, explicit teaching of phonology, letter recognition, sound-symbol correspondence, sight word recognition, vocabulary, and comprehension as they are building a foundation for fluent reading

46 Five Important Conditions for Success 1. Strong leadership 2. Content-rich, sustained professional development 3. In-class coaching 4. Core, comprehensive program 5. Assessment for screening and progress-monitoring (TPRI)

47 What the Teachers Told Us 50 teachers who had had two or more years in the DC project were interviewed by a former president of the local teachers’ union. Interviews were taped and transcribed; teachers’ identities were fully protected.

48 Interviews, continued. 49/50 teachers were “positive” to “extremely positive” about participating Reasons Cited:  obvious, immediate student improvement  greater insight into reading development  help determining priorities and goals (no one advocated more “choice” or “creativity”)  material support  learning with colleagues in supportive context; opportunity to practice and receive coaching

49 Why should I get involved in instructional leadership?

50 To Provide a Supportive Context  Understand and give the time needed for teachers to master various components  Evaluate in ways that are consistent with what teachers are learning to do  Foster collaboration and teamwork across disciplines and roles

51 To Lead Toward Sound Theories and Scientifically-grounded Practices Ungrounded ideas that infect education: Cueing systems Learning styles Brain-based learning Multiple intelligences Structure of the junctions between the functions

52 To Set Expectations for What Any Teacher Should Know  How children learn to read  Why some children fail to learn to read well (and how to identify them)  How written English is structured  How to teach most effectively (guided by research)  How to use a specific set of materials

53 Imagination and Professional Development of Teachers of Reading

54 Personal goal setting Story-telling Humor Unusual collaborations Role play Observation Question-generation Art and music Make time for…



57 References  Moats L.C. & Foorman, B.R. (2003). Measuring teachers’ content knowledge of language and reading. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 23-45.  Moats, LC (2004) Science, language, and imagination… In McCardle and Chhabra, Voices of evidence in reading research. Brookes Publishing.  Foorman, B.R., & Moats, L.C. (2004). Conditions for sustaining research-based practices in early reading instruction. Remedial and Special Education, 25 (1), 51-60.  Foorman, B. (Ed.) 2003. Preventing and remediating reading difficulties: Bringing science to scale. Baltimore: York Press.

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