Scientifically Based Reading Research The Good, The Fair, The Untenable Deborah L. Thompson, Ph.D. The College of New Jersey.
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Scientifically Based Reading Research The Good, The Fair, The Untenable Deborah L. Thompson, Ph.D. The College of New Jersey
Introduction Scientifically based reading research, or SBRR, is a term that has come into prominence since the passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. According to the US Department of Education, reading instruction that is scientifically or evidenced-based has been proven effective through rigorous scientific research.
What we know about learning to read did not begin with NCLB. There is a large body of research many decades old that gives us the tools to help all children become skillful readers. But we will start with NCLB.
The National Reading Panel identified five essential components of reading. Phonemic Awareness Phonics Fluency Vocabulary Comprehension
Glossary of terms Phonemic awareness: The ability to manipulate sounds—substitution, deletion, isolation, blending, segmentation, and rhyming. Phonics: The relationship between the letters (graphemes) of written language and the sounds (phonemes) of spoken language.
Glossary of Terms Fluency : The ability to read a text accurately and quickly. Vocabulary : The words we must know to communicate effectively. There is oral vocabulary or those works we recognize in listening; and reading vocabulary, or those words we recognize or use in print. Comprehension : The ability to make sense of text.
Phonemic Awareness Phonemic awareness can be taught and learned. Phonemic awareness can help students learn to read and spell. Learning to read and spell can help children develop phonemic awareness.
Important elements of phonemic awareness Rhyming: recognizing and producing rhyming words. Segmentation: breaking words into component parts. Isolation: identifying individual sounds in words. Deletion: taking out phonemes from spoken words. Substitution: switching one sound for another in words. Blending: putting sounds together to form words
Rhyming: cat-sat-fat Blending: c a t—cat Segmentation: c at Isolation: c A t Deletion: cat—at Substitution: cat—cot Phonemic Awareness in Action
Phonics Phonics instruction teaches children letter-sound relationships. Systematic and explicit phonics instruction is more effective than non- systematic or no phonics instruction. Systematic and explicit phonics instruction can improve first-grade children’s word recognition and spelling.
Phonics Systematic and explicit phonics instruction can improve children’s reading comprehension. Phonics instruction is not an entire reading program for beginning readers. Approximately two years of phonics instruction is sufficient for most students. The best way to help children develop good sound-symbol relationships is through repeated opportunities to read high quality children’s literature.
Fluency Fluency is the connector between word recognition and comprehension. Fluency helps readers focus on the meaning of text instead of decoding of text. (Teachers) Reading aloud provides the best model of fluent reading. Have students practice orally rereading text using methods such as student-adult reading, choral reading, partner reading, tape-assisted reading, or readers’ theatre.
Two well-loved, but fluency destroying, strategies Round robin reading Popcorn reading RIP FLUENCY
Developing fluency in oral reading Allow children to rehearse (read to themselves before reading aloud). Use easy materials. Don’t let children correct each other. Ignore errors that don’t change meaning. Wait when a reader makes a meaning changing error. Coach for strategies needed.
Vocabulary Children cannot understand what they are reading unless they know what most of the words mean. Children learn vocabulary directly (explicit instruction) and indirectly (wide reading and writing). Most children learn more vocabulary indirectly than they do directly.
Teaching Vocabulary Vocabulary instruction should take place before and after reading. Wide reading exposes children to a multitude of new words. Learning to use context clues helps children learn vocabulary independently. Word study gives children the foundation to build on words they already know.
One of the least productive methods for teaching vocabulary is having children use the dictionary to find meanings of unknown words. Children often wander aimlessly through the pages. If a child does not know a word, reading the definition does little for him or her, especially if there are multiple entries: Jade (5), mark (37), set (35), jam (7), dog (59)
Comprehension Instruction in comprehension can help students understand what they read, remember what they read, and communicate with others about what they read. Some key comprehension strategies that must be taught: comprehension monitoring, using graphic and semantic organizers, answering and generating questions, recognizing and understanding different text structures, and summarizing.
Teaching comprehension Provide explicit (or direct) instruction: direct explanation, modeling, guided practice, application. Make use of cooperative learning. Help readers use comprehension strategies flexibly and in combination.
Classic reading research studies First grade studies (Bond & Dykstra, 1967) There is no particular method that works better for one set of students over another set, i.e., if wide-reading worked for one group of students, it worked for all groups of students. The most effective method of teaching reading is “it depends” (P. David Pearson)
What the researchers at CIERA (Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement) say: Oral language is the foundation for literacy development. Two powerful predictors of first grade reading achievement are letter name knowledge and phonemic awareness. Readers must be able to apply phonics knowledge to unfamiliar words. Rapid recognition of vocabulary is the foundation of fluent reading.
CIERA researchers… Children must be able to use basic comprehension strategies to support known information and acquire new information. Learning to write assists children in learning to read. Personal engagement and pride contribute much to children’s becoming skillful readers. In schools that are successful in fostering high levels of reading achievement, all adults work together on the reading program.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been used to assess major areas of education including reading performance since 1969. In the more than 30 years since its inception, and despite the different approaches to reading education that have prevailed at different times, children’s reading scores have not really changed appreciably; about 40 percent of this country’s forth graders have always performed in the "below basic" category, while approximately 5 percent have been ranked in the "advanced" category at the other end of the distribution.
If SBRR were a puzzle… … there would be missing pieces based on the NRP’s model. Vocabulary Comprehension Phonics Fluency Phonemic awareness Family Teacher preparation Motivation Resources
A story about evidence from science— the physicians’ health study… Began in 1982 to study the effects of taking aspirin and beta-carotene on cardiovascular health. More than 250,000 male doctors were asked to participate in the study. Final number of participants—approximately 22,000. ( http://phs.bwh.harvard.edu/phs1.htm#back) http://phs.bwh.harvard.edu/phs1.htm#back
… evidence-based research but… First positive results reported in 1989— aspirin taken in controlled doses helped prevent heart attacks. Cheers! Kudos! But wait…! Do we know aspirin helps women? Were there no female physicians available? Women’s Health Study established in 1993.
Evidence-based means little if only one type of subject was studied.
Summary Research is important, but must be read and applied judiciously. One method of teaching reading does not work for all students. Even the most strident of phonics or “whole language” advocates would agree. Nothing can get a child to fluent, effortless reading quicker than a good teacher of reading.
Good research worth reading: Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (1998) Beginning to Read: Thinking and learning about print (1990)