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Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D. October 26, 2005

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1 Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D. October 26, 2005
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 Do Exercise #1 as an interactive discussion (about five minutes of brainstorming and comments) if you have not chosen to use the previous “Constitutional vs. Environmental” slides for this activity. Encourage participants to express their beliefs about the causes of reading difficulty, in general and for specific children they know. Those who work with ELL students tend to be skeptical that the reading psychology presented here is relevant for their children. If the question comes up, acknowledge it but do not try to address it in detail at this juncture. The goal here is the “big picture” of possible causes for reading failure.

5 Language Comprehension
Four Language Processing Systems Context Processor Language Comprehension Fluency Meaning Processor Vocabulary Phonemic Awareness Orthographic Processor Phonological Processor Phonics speech output writing output reading input


7 Reading Trajectories Are Established Early
This slide is provided by the Reading First Assessment Group It shows longitudinal data from the U. of Oregon A reading trajectory is the predicted rate and level of achievement based on the pattern the child establishes early on, in 1st grade Composite word reading fluency rate (of an unknown sample size) is shown on the vertical axis, and grade level on the horizontal axis; children with the squares are in the middle 10% of the sample, but children with the circles are in the lowest 10% of the sample The lowest group falls farther and farther behind, beginning in mid-1st grade


9 Of Professional Development of Teachers of Reading
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 Remarkably, mainstream education groups are calling for very similar preparation standards for regular classroom teachers. Research shows clearly that the powerful methods that help dyslexic students are just as effective with “poor readers” who are not classified as LD. The AFT, for example how children learn to read, why some fail to learn, the structure of language, and the routines of explicit, research-bsed instruction and assessment. There is little difference between the standards upheld by IDA’s Alliance, and those envisioned for all other teachers. The responsibility for ALL children is in the hands the classroom teacher and the school.

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. 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 and Professional Development of Teachers of Reading
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 Two options are presented for use with this exercise—choose the option that best fits participants’ needs. This first option is less structured and more large-group oriented. The second option is more structured and more appropriate when presenters want to provide small-group work. Here are the directions for this first option; the following slide provides information on how best to organize the second option. Option #1: Use the overhead master entitled “Comparison of Spoken and Written Language” (found in the Overhead Master Folder of Presenter’s Kit Module 1 CD-ROM) or large chart paper to take notes as participants brainstorm the ways that spoken language is different from written language. After five minutes of discussion, add any points that were not made by anyone in the audience. (For complete notes, refer to participant’s manual, Appendix A, Exercise #2, p. 74.) Speech sounds are co-articulated and processed in time, but print represents them separately so that they must be blended together. Many more unusual and specific vocabulary words are used in written text. Sentences in written text are more formally constructed, longer, and more embedded (have more clauses). Errors are not tolerated in writing. Paragraphs do not exist in spoken language, only in written. Speech is supported by contextual redundancy—that is, the speaker can monitor whether the listener has gotten the message and can repeat, restate, or elaborate as necessary. This is not so in writing.


24 Current Research Findings
Language systems are interdependent, so improvement in one system supports improvement in others 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)
NICHD project DC side

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

36 Where We Are Going… Word structure, word meaning, word relationships:
pro-ject re-ject sub-ject in-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
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 4th grade 4 reading programs involved Goal to improve reading achievement

41 Results Overall Students in sample began at levels below the 20th %ile on early screening (TPRI); vocabulary scores were at 5th and 17%iles Through 4th grade, students scored at or above the national average (between 50th 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
Strong leadership Content-rich, sustained professional development In-class coaching Core, comprehensive program Assessment for screening and progress-monitoring (TPRI) The National Staff Development Council has led the field of education in conceptualizing what must be done by dividing the characteristics of good professional development into the categories of context, content, and process. We will discuss each of these categories.

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 Foundation concepts about reading provide a common frame of reference for everyone. These concepts should be revisited often in professional development institutes and courses.

53 and Professional Development of Teachers of Reading
Imagination and Professional Development of Teachers of Reading

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

55 Telling is not teaching!


57 References Moats L.C. & Foorman, B.R. (2003). Measuring teachers’ content knowledge of language and reading. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 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), Foorman, B. (Ed.) Preventing and remediating reading difficulties: Bringing science to scale. Baltimore: York Press.

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