Where and When?

How about using some of that valuable summer time to give struggling readers an extra opportunity to learn.  See

Summer Learning Programs, ELLs, and the Achievement Gap

Summer Learning Programs, ELLs, and the Achievement Gap | Literacy and the Common Core Standards | Scoop.it
 

Every district with disadvantaged learners should offer a quality summer learning program. Here’s why.

Learning to Read Should Be Fun

And it can be!

Check this out:

http://childhood101.com/2013/09/sight-words-activities/

I Wonder How Many K-2 Children are Waiting

Here’s one example of a proactive K teacher working to meet the needs of a “struggling” reader.

http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/02/12/fp-krakow.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-FB

Published Online: February 12, 2014

Creating a First-Response System for Struggling Students

By Mary Krakow

Question 7: And so?

Question 7: And so?.

Question 7: And so?

Question 7:  And, so?

What are the unanswered questions I have/you have about early literacy and working to ensure that all kids are successful readers.  Below are the questions I posed at the beginning of this “7 Questions” Blog.  I still have many unanswered questions, but I’m learning.

Question 1: Who (January 10, 2014)

7 Questions about Learning to Read and Reading to Learn. Q. 1 Who are the stakeholders?

And so?   I’ll keep reading and learning….more to come later.  What could you do with these ideas?  Can you bring attention to the importance of learning to read and reading to learn to other stakeholders/advocates?

Question 2:  Why

7 Questions About Learning to Read: Question 2–Why is learning to read important?

And so?  So, how do we make sure we are tracking children’s language/literacy/learning progress from age 2 to grade 2?  Whose responsibility is it?  How do we do it?

Q3 What

7 Questions About Learning to Read: Question 3: What do students need to learn?

And so?  So, how do stakeholders make sense of the “what to teach” question?  Do parents, beginning teachers, specialists working with struggling readers, preschool teachers, or community stakeholders, for example, know what is being taught as “early literacy skills” in their school in the K-2 classrooms?  Is there continuity across the K-2 range?  How are decisions about what to teach made?  Does it matter what a teacher or school decides to use as an early literacy curriculum? 

Q4 When

 7 Questions about Learning to Read and Reading to Learn Q. 4. When to start

And so?  So, if we know the importance of oral language and its development (or lack of development) in home and preschool settings, how can we engage and support parents and preschool teachers as they “teach” oral language skills and relate them to reading, beginning in infancy and extended through preschool and the primary grades?

Q 5 Where?

7 Qs. Question 5: Where?

And so?  So, what tools and skills do we need to maximize the contribution of each type of stakeholder/advocate—family, school, “local” community, online community?

 

Q6 How?

Q6. How? How do children learn to read/read to learn? How do we teach them?

And so?  So, how can we identify the “best practices” in these 4 domains: Decision-Making, Context, Assessment, and Models of Learning to Read? While what works in one school (or one research report) may not be a one-to-one fit with another school, classroom, or context, reports of “best practices” do give us a place to begin.  We might ask how accessible these reports are to teachers and families.  And, we might ask what roles teachers and parents have in determining and implements a reading program.

 

Waiting to Learn to Read

Will passing laws to hold back 3rd grade struggling readers work? Why wait until 3rd grade to teach reading?

CLICK PLAYLIST (UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER) AND SCROLL TO  #7 TO VIEW THE VIDEO ABOUT THE OHIO LAW

Video

Q6. How? How do children learn to read/read to learn? How do we teach them?

There is no single answer for all kids, but I believe that we are all responsible for all kids learning to be successful readers.  There are 4 points of departure for trying to answer the “how” question:

A.  Identifying those who have influence on a school/school district and understanding the decision making process used to develop a reading “program”;

B. Understanding the context (at home, preschool, school and classroom levels) in which the teaching/learning takes place;

C.  Questioning the assessments used; and

D.  Evaluating the model(s) of learning that is/are articulated/communicated, implemented, assessed and fine-tuned.

Decision Makers

 

Who are the decision makers and what influences their choices?

Based on my reading, research, thinking and observation in schools, I think there are multiple sources that influence decision making about reading “programs”:  published/commercial products, “experts” (researchers, high visibility authors, organizations (IRA, NCTE, CCSS….), professional development sources (including teacher “educators”).  Advocates* and advocacy organizations for particular groups of children also bring expertise and influence (economically disadvantaged students, students who are English Language Learners, students with disabilities).  *Advocates Include state legislators.  See, for example: http://www.nj.com/education/2013/12/nj_early_screening_dyslexia_assembly.html

I’m sure those closest to an individual classroom could suggest others seen as “experts.”

A second (though not in importance) group of decision makers are school-based: superintendents, principals, school “leaders.”  It would be informative to have each school member define who the decision-makers are in their schools and how decisions about teaching reading are made.

The third tier (again—not in importance) of decision makers are classroom teachers and, possibly, support personnel—for example, literacy specialists, special educators, school psychologists.  Each teacher’s beliefs about learning to read as well as his/her expertise influence the development of children’s “learning to read/reading to learn” success.

Fourth (again, certainly not least in importance) are individual children and their families.  Their stories should influence us all.  They are stories of struggle and success.  For example:

http://www.smartkidswithld.org/smart-kids-news/2013-youth-achievement-awards

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/05/bill_providing_help_for_childr.html

http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2013/nov/16/vbec_ys_ca_101713_225088/?features

Even famous people sometimes struggle with reading.  One example from

http://www.beverlycleary.com/about.aspx

“Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on    a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the State Library to have        books sent to Yamhill and acted as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. There young Beverly               learned to love books. However, when the family moved to Portland, Beverly soon found herself in the              grammar school’s low reading circle, an experience that has given her sympathy for the problems of   struggling readers.

By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood either with books or on her        way to and from the public library….”

For other success stories, read:  Narrowing the Literacy Gap: What Works In High Poverty Schools by Diane M. Barone.

                                                            Context

Anyone who has spent time in classrooms, knows that the individual classroom on a day to day basis is its own place, regardless of the program or approach to reading.  We need to understand the dynamics of the individual classroom.  For example a research study

found 4 types of factors influencing success, one of which was Context, defined as…..

Context refers to an individual school’s:

• Demographics

• History

• Culture

• Practices and Norms

• Staffing and Leadership

• Achievement Patterns

• Resources, and

• Expectations

In short, context matters. South Street’s school improvement plan was developed to match their unique context.

See: Becoming More Effective in the Age of Accountability: A High-Poverty School Narrows the Literacy Achievement Gap by Kristin M. Gehsmann and Haley Woodside-Jiron, U. of Vermont

Assessment

Assessment is both formative and summative (including qualitative research and teacher observation).  If we are going to maximize the likelihood that children will be successful readers by third grade (and beyond), we need to know how they are progressing along the way.  In the elementary school, children’s prekindergarten skills are often (typically?) assessed before they even enter Kindergarten.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the child’s preschool teacher could communicate what s/he knows about the child’s language/literacy development. And to that knowledge base, we would add parents’ knowledge of their child’s language/literacy knowledge and skills.

Along the way, teachers use observation and a variety of informal assessment tools to determine if children in their class are progressing.  Even in kindergarten children are given “report cards” in the form of parent-teacher conferences, written notes sent home, the products of children’s in class work.

http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/LD-ADHD/743-reading-disorder-or-developmental-lag.gs

 

Models of Learning and Understanding the reading/learning process.

How clearly can we/do we articulate how “learning” to read happens?  Skillful observers can document what the teacher does on a daily basis and derive the principles of instruction the teacher is using.  But we need to know what the teacher believes s/he does to facilitate learning to read.  I believe that effective teachers can do that!

http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/09/23/kindergarten-in-action-a-focus-on-literacy/

There is a wealth of information out there on learning in general and learning to read/reading to learn in particular.  And, given the new CCSS for the Language Arts, we need to understand how those standards are understood, applied and assessed in classrooms and schools.  All worth investigating!  More forthcoming….

And so?  So, how can we identify the “best practices” in these 4 domains: Decision-Making, Context, Assessment, and Models of Learning to Read? While what works in one school (or one research report) may not be a one-to-one fit with another school, classroom, or context, reports of “best practices” do give us a place to begin.  We might ask how accessible these reports are to teachers and families.  And, we might ask what roles teachers and parents have in determining and implements a reading program.