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Changing Role of Reading Specialists (Functional, Versatile, and Prepared Rita M. Bean University of Pittsburgh Institute on Role of Reading Specialist.

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Presentation on theme: "Changing Role of Reading Specialists (Functional, Versatile, and Prepared Rita M. Bean University of Pittsburgh Institute on Role of Reading Specialist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing Role of Reading Specialists (Functional, Versatile, and Prepared Rita M. Bean University of Pittsburgh Institute on Role of Reading Specialist May 2, 2004

2 Presentation Goals Describe what we know about reading specialists (IRA studies) Discuss the newest role of reading specialists (old wine in new bottles?) Discuss issues that reading specialists face.

3 Commission on Role of Reading Specialist Survey of 1,400+ reading specialists Study of reading specialists in exemplary schools Big Idea: Specialists have a dual role-- – Providing direct service to students – Helping classroom teachers provide quality first teaching – (Position statement approved by IRA Board in 2000)

4 How Valuable are Reading Specialists? (According to Principals) Very Important 63.2% Important 34.2% Moderately Important 2.6% Overwhelmingly principals rated reading specialists as crucial to the success of the reading program!

5 Roles of Reading Specialists (KISS) Instruction – pullout or inclass; individual or group Assessment– assessing students and helping teachers understand assessment Leadershipfor teachers, school, community

6 Instruction Almost all do it! – 90% on a daily basis – In exemplary schools, all but 1 had instructional responsibilities Still a great deal of pullout – although inclass instruction is increasing – Combination 44% – Pullout only 37% – In-class only 15%

7 Providing Effective Supplemental Instruction Planning time is essential (one of the greatest complaints of respondents was lack of time to plan with teachers). Unlike real estate - Key is not location, location, location, but instruction, instruction, instruction! Decision about models used must be made based on needs of students

8 Assessment and Accountability Pupils Pushed to Perform in Testing – Headline in Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Saturday, March 20, 2004. Im going to pray. Im going to hope, said the principal, who added that her blood pressure was high about a week ago. There are pep rallies, after-school tutoring, prizes, and food (mints seem to work too).

9 Reading Specialist and Assessment Although almost all are involved in assessment, there are some changes in this role: – From administration of the assessment instruments for screening and diagnostic purposes to Helping teachers administer and interpret assessment for instructional decision making. Articulate results to the public--help them to understand the limitations of tests.

10 Leadership Over 80% served as a resource to: – Teachers – Allied professionals (special educators, speech teachers) – Parents – volunteers Curriculum work Professional development (serving as a coach) Leadership is informal; non-evaluative (based on influence and not authority)

11 Greatest Changes in Their Roles Increase in amount of paperwork Increase in resource role (Leadership) More planning with teachers (Leadership) More in-class instruction Current trend: Many are now serving as literacy or reading coaches (reduction or elimination of instructional role).

12 Per Cent of Specialists Who Spent Time on Role on a Daily Basis Exemplary National Instruction 78.9% 90.5% Assessment 44.7% 25.4% Resource 50.0% 6.0% Plans/teachers 21.5% 8.3%

13 Selecting Reading Specialists (What They Think are Important Characteristics) Knowledgeable about reading instruction and assessment Patient Caring Dedicated Sense of humor knowledge of research

14 Continued! lifelong learners ability to articulate reading philosophy energy! Ability to endure rejection (added by literacy coaches)

15 Issues that Reading Specialists Face Need for Understanding of Role by administrator – Provides scheduling that will enable specialist to do the job! – Maintains confidentiality – Sets the tone in the school (we are a team of learners) Need for administrative support – Doesnt use specialist as a substitute or for clerical duties – Encourages teachers to work with the specialist – Works with the specialist to improve reading program

16 Conflicting Expectations Requires clear job description. There are many ways to define the role Working with students Working with teachers Working with tutors.

17 Develop Position Based on Needs of the School Are there many new teachers? Is the compensatory program a school-wide one or targeted assistance?

18 Talents/Expertise of Reading Specialist Is the reading specialist new to the job? Require some mentoring? It is important to network with others.

19 Extending the Role of Reading Specialists Preschool years - work with Head Start agencies, preschools, community agencies Students need support beyond grade 3 - but the approach may need to be different!

20 Collaboration Beyond the School Walls Parents Tutors/paraprofessionals preschool programs libraries afterschool programs

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