Yes, Radical voices from the middle describes me.
In life, we need a balance. In literacy we need balance. We will never make it to compre-action without skills. But skills are not the end goal. Action as a result of deeper understanding is the goal!
I agree with P. David Pearson.
Noted teacher, leader, researcher. You can read more about him here.
In 2020, he just completed a study of comprehension. Here’s the executive summary.
1. Knowledge is cause, consequence, and covariate of reading comprehension.
2. Language drives every facet of reading comprehension.
3. Reading is an inherently cultural activity.Pearson, P. D., Palincsar, A. S., Biancarosa, G., & Berman, A. I. (Eds.). (2020). Reaping
the Rewards of the Reading for Understanding Initiative. Washington, DC: National Academy of Education.
Knowlege and language are essential for comprehension and compre-action, a term coined by P. David Pearson and Nell Duke. There’s no one easy, magic, silver bullet for improving reading comprehension. Part of that is because of the definition. Part of that is because of the way comprehension is assessed. Flaws in assessment exacerbate the issues.
Yes, that’s me.
Let’s get rowdy.
Let’s get to work.
What seems radical about reading comprehension? What do you believe and value? Where will you learn more?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.
#SOL: Best Evidence
It’s the holiday season and that means a perusal of the cookbooks. Which recipes should I pull out for snacks. the family dinner or any family feasting? Should I do a quick survey? (Not very robust.) Do I base my decisions on my choices? Hmm. That rules out chocolate and I already have the ingredients for both peanut butter and chocolate fudge. Do I base my decisions on food for the boys? That would mean spoiling them with any finger foods as a part of “Grandma’s Rules.”
Or should I consider data from previous years: What food is always completely cleaned up? Or is there food that I should just plan to make and send with family members? Vegetarian for the Floridians is a given. So is at least one chocolate something/something. And also one item with some spice . . . usually corn dip!
That’s at least four food items. Back to the cook books. Time to reorganize them. The ones that I am not using just need to go on a separate shelf. Hmm. More data. Which do I NOT use?
It’s not a scientific method but there is a collection of data points over time in my head . . . an informal longitudinal study of sorts. Definitely not a random controlled trial. Not meeting any gold standard of research. I can make a chart and list some priorities in order to make a decision.
Food for a family weekend is a low-stakes decision with equally low requirements for the evidence that I need to use. Today’s post is considering Rule 3 from P. David Pearson’s presentation as a part of an #ILA19 panel titled: “What Research Says About Teaching Reading and Why that Still Matters.”
What is the gold standard?
What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guides . . . (Link)
A practice guide is a publication that presents recommendations for educators to address challenges in their classrooms and schools. They are based on reviews of research, the experiences of practitioners, and the expert opinions of a panel of nationally recognized experts.
A second source that I can always trust is Dr. Nell Duke. Her article “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research” is a MUST READ. Every. Educator. in. EVERY. building. link
“To say that a practice, approach, or product is
research-tested, or research-proven, sounds like a
powerful endorsement…but its strength really depends
on how it was tested and what the tests found. ” (Duke and Martin, p. 18.)
Gold standard? Silver standard? Bronze standard?
Or “Fess Up” because there is no data?
What is your criteria for research?
How do you share that criteria with others?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.
Third time’s a charm! It was so helpful to dig into additional chapters from this book.
I wrote briefly about the #NCTE18 session here and assessment and vocabulary as well as #ILA18 here about Chapter 16 Comprehensive Literacy Instruction and 8 essential components.
Assessment: Peter Afflerbach Handout
So much to think about from this outline. Some key takeaways to discuss: What do you know about your assessments? What do they claim to measure? How well does the assessment align with your “needs”? What are the challenges?
How do we get quality, informed research in the hands of teachers and administrators around the world?
- Know the source. What Works Clearinghouse
- Know the researchers and their reputations and experience as researchers and practitioners. Reading Hall of Fame is one trusted source.
- Know the goals of research. Nell Duke and “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research”
- Attend the #ILA19 Research session with P. David Pearson and Nell Duke at 7 AM on a Saturday morning in New Orleans!
#SOL19: Day 11 SOLSC
I’m pretty sure that the steam rising from my poor computer is clearly visible on all coasts. It’s been rising for awhile but I was determined to really focus more on narratives as I sliced this month.
But life interfered.
I applauded this tweet a week ago.
A reputable reading researcher.
I’ve talked about Dr. Nell Duke and research before.
She’s my “go to” when I need the details on research.
But then all this other gobbledy gook stuff comes up. Pseudo – journalists who, after 2.5 years of studying “the science of reading” bless it as the ONLY way to teach reading and now are having webinars on Edweek, radio shows, and articles purporting to tell teachers how to teach reading.
How to debunk the malarkey?
Start with P. L. Thomas’s “The Big Lie about the ‘Science of Reading'” here.
It’s an amazing article that debunks the whole issue.
And if you need additional reading material, here’s a direct plea for media also by Thomas.
Here is where the journalist said she did not have to report both sides – link
Because these are the journalist’s sources:
http://pamelasnow.blogspot.com/…/an-open-letter-to… “These “authorities” on teaching reading 1) pre-service teacher 2) teacher in his 4th year of teaching. The other link is a professor’s blog in Australia about their pre-service program.”
Sources for the condition of reading in the U.S.
Consider the source.
Is the person even in the field of education? What are their credentials? What is the source of their data?
The future of our children literally depends on all teachers.
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily March forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Administrator Webinar: How to communicate the need for evidence-based practices from the What Works Clearinghouse Link
#ILAchat: It’s a Wrap!
The chat was amazing. Many preservice teachers from #UNILitEd in Cedar Falls, Iowa, were participating in their first Twitter chat. We hope they will continue to participate in chats, grow professionally, and find additional sources of on-line learning.
Resources for Quotes:
I quoted Donalyn Miller’s research in the chat. (link) Also Nell Duke’s Edutopia article here. Another new source during the chat was “Sustained Silent Reading: What the Research Really Says“.
Accountability for Independent Reading. Students can choose many non-invasive ways to keep track of their reading. I can’t say enough about how I love the “book stack” showing a month of reading here in Christina’s tweet via learning from Penny Kittle.
Archive from the chat – Link
And after all, what are a student’s rights?
What will you do to ensure quality implementation of Independent Reading?
What is your first step?
Clevern tweet from NY Public Library
Kelli Westmoreland – Research on Independent Reading
Barbara Moss – Independent Reading
Matt Renwick – Silent Reading vs. Independent Reading
Children’s Book Council – The Value of Independent Reading for Kids
ala.org – Independent Reading
Stephen Krashen – What Does it Take to Develop a Long-Term Pleasure Reading Habit? **
#SOL19: Phonics Reprise
“The cat sat on the mat.
The fat cat sat on the mat.
The rat sat on the mat.
The fat cat sat on the mat.
The fat cat and the fat rat sat on the mat.”
“What are we working on today?” I inquired.
“I am practicing ‘the’,” was the earnest reply from the first grader.
“Can you show me where you see the word ‘the’?”
“All of them?” she queried as she pointed to two examples.
“They aren’t the same,” she added. “These begin with upper case and these begin with lower case.”
“Tell me more.” (falling back on that favorite response)
“These line up in a row,” pointing to the The in a vertical column. “And these don’t.”
“What did you learn in this story?” I asked.
“”That cats and rats can sit together,” was the response.
What was the goal?
I saw that the student practiced the page three times as directed and then recorded it onto the iPad on a fourth reading. It was flawless. Every word was pronounced correctly. The student stopped appropriately for end punctuation (periods) and it sounded okay . . . just a bit “sing-songingly” with an attempt to have some rhythm/intonation in the reading.
Is this reading?
What role does this have in reading?
What happens if this becomes a “major portion of a steady diet” for a reader?
Valinda Kimmel had a great post about Guided Reading here last week, “Why Does Guided Reading Get Top Billing?”. Please go read it and consider “WHERE” you believe the above reading work fits in.
Phonics, Spelling and Word Work?
In this instance, the student self-reported that this reading was her fluency practice that she has to do before Independent Reading. Short passage with words she knew. Focus was on sight words “and”, “the”, and “on” according to the posted learning targets.
Fluency has many definitions that include:
reading like an author intended with phrasing, intonation, accuracy, rate, and expression
but all contain some reference to “fluency to support comprehension”.
Fluency – one of the “Five Pillars” of reading from the National Reading Panel report.
And I digress . . . Or do I?
Have I switched topics from Phonics (the title) to Fluency now?
In the classroom next door, the learning target was “practice /at/ phonograms in text and decoding cvc words with short vowel sound made by a.
How did the practice support word work?
37 words total
the – 11 repetitions
on -5 repetitions
and – 1 appearance
/at/- 20 (cat – 4, sat – 5, mat – 5, fat – 4, rat – 2)
This is an example of “decodable” text. Some might call this “barking at print” because the text can be read but there is no deep meaning attached to the words, phrases, sentences or passage. Worse yet, this might be something a student would be required to read multiple times, quickly, without hesitation in 30 seconds or less to meet some pre-determined correct words per minute goal. (Fluency, Automaticity, Word Work in “connected text” might be ways this text would be named._
Phonics – this post listed Faux Pas from the past
A need for Due Diligence and understanding Reading Research was the focus here
and yet . . . doubt remains
Check out Stephen Krashen’s response as well . . .
Comments on Morning Edition, January 2, 2019, What is Wrong with the APM report . . .
“There is no evidence that “Millions of kids can’t read …”. But there is
overwhelming evidence that low reading ability is related to poverty, contrary to
the claim in American Public Media’s report.”
The Case Against Intensive Phonics
and Basic Phonics.
What do we need?
Increased clarity of purpose by teachers?
A potpourri of effective strategies and methodologies?
I celebrate the questions that lead informed conversations and decisions about the best instruction possible for students!
Alfie Kohn – phonics added! Link
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Letter – Sound Relationships
One part of learning to read
One part that serves the reader in his/her meaning making reading work!
“Avoiding Instructional Missteps in Teaching Letter-Sound Relationships“
Go read it. Bookmark it. Download it. Study it!
7 Pitfalls from the past . . .
How to teach phonics . . .
How not to teach phonics . . .
“Specific, Applicable Generalizations
Simplistic, broad generalizations or “rules” do not work. For example, if we say that silent e signals a long vowel sound all the time, then we have a lot of issues. But if the generalization is made more specific, it is more applicable. For example, the silent e pattern is consistent more than 75 percent of the time in a_e, i_e, o_e, and u_e, but only consistent 16 percent of the time with e_e.”
Details matter. The quote above came from #7 in the linked article. Perhaps you skimmed over that section. I believe it is probably one of the most critical sections. And in case you missed it, #7 is
7. Missing Essential Elements of Phonics Instruction
Teach Letter – Sound Relationships.
Check the research on teaching letter-sound relationships.
Check the instruction in your classrooms.
Then check the student learning.
What work with Letter-Sound relationships have your PLN’s been doing?
Arm yourself with knowledge!
How do you know what students understand about letter-sound relationships?
By their writing.
What do they use? How do they apply their knowledge?
Have you studied these? Utility of Phonics Generalizations
“If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, quacks like a duck . . . ”
probably a duck!
Unfortunately, there’s “Trouble in River City” as there are a ton of snake – oil salesmen who preach “Research says . . .”, “Research says . . .”, and “Research says . . .” who are “building on their own self-interests to increase fear and doubt in public schools and teachers. Every one who has attended a public school or not (Betsy DeVos to name one) has an opinion about education.
Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the fear mongering. Be BRAVE. Think. Exercise Due Diligence.
- Read the resources.
- Check the author’s credentials.
- Fact check the statements. (By the way when national normed tests are used, 100% of the population is not going to be successful. They would renorm the test and change the percentages. Assessment 101)
- Take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this even logical?”
- What do the researchers really say?
Research: What does every educator need to know? Please download Nell Duke’s document below and have it ready to email to teachers in your own community. Those you can listen to and respond to. Your community. Where you can also be proactive. Showcase what you are already doing and your own results.
A. Nell Duke – “10 Things to Know about Research” Today’s focus is on #9.
“9. Where and How Research Is Published or Presented Requires Particular Attention
Consider a particular news item and the range of different ways it is covered, for
example, by the New York Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Economist,
Fox News, or the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. These sources will cover the same
story in substantially different ways. Similarly, literacy research in different
outlets, and by different writers, may be reported very differently . . .”
New York Times. NPR.
What is the goal of an author for those sources?
What is the type of information presented?
B. Instructional Practices Matter
Round robin reading is not OK. Neither is popcorn reading or “bump reading”. NOT.OK. NEVER! And “BUT my kids like it” is only an excuse and not an acceptable excuse. What should teachers be doing instead? Check out Evan Robb’s post here.
Do you have these three types of reading in upper elementary and secondary classrooms?
- Instructional Interactive Read Aloud
- Instructional Reading
- Independent Reading
In addition to Read Alouds?
C. Equity Matters
Regie Routman covers this beautifully in Literacy Essentials as it it one third of the content. Expectations matter for all learners. Check out this blog post – “9 Key Actions We Can and Must Take to Ensure Equity for All” link
“3. Become professionally knowledgeable. No shortcut here! Until we become highly knowledgeable as teachers of literacy—regardless of what subject we teach–we will always be seeking the “right” program, text, or expert to tell us exactly what to do. Equity for all requires that we teachers and leaders know relevant, research-based and principled literacy practices and how and when to apply those practices in all content areas.”
What do you believe and value?
How does that align with your professional knowledge?
D. Dear Media, Stop Misrepresenting Reading Instruction, Please link
Who does it profit?
“Here is a final note worth emphasizing: Phonics-intense and phonics-only reading instruction is a gold mine for textbook publishers, reading program shills, and the testing industry.
Consider carefully the who and why of public commentaries screeching about reading instruction, especially when the arguments are full of easily identifiable holes in their credibility and logic.”
Why are those who are NOT certified to teach so blindly convinced that they hold “THE ANSWER” to teaching reading?
There are many other great resources . . . blogs, facebook, and twitter.
THINK of that student in front of you!
2018: In the Rear View Mirror
What a year!
What does the data say?
Looking back is something of a habit as the New Year dawns. Here were my reflective posts from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. It was fun to see where the emphasis has changed over time.
My Top 5 Most Viewed Blog Posts of all time are:
5. How do we know students are making progress in writing? (2014)
4. Generative Writing as a Formative Assessment (2015)
3. Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity (2013)
2. Close Reading in Kindergarten? Is it possible? (2013)
1. #TCRWP and a Teacher’s Toolkit for Writing (2014)
Data analysis is interesting. Four of the five posts were in my top 5 all time last year. #2 this year is a new addition to the top 5. It leapfrogged to #2 by passing up three previous “all time” posts.
I continue to wonder if my OLD writing is more popular than my newer writing with two posts from 2013 in the top 5. “Or does the popularity mean that these posts are STILL topics/issues that present day literacy teachers are struggling with?” Maybe these are topics that I need to review during the course of the year. They are definitely already on my March Slicer “To Write About” list.
My Top 8 Posts (by the number of readers) out of the 109 posts that were written in 2018 were:
8. #SOL18: Lit Essentials – Regie Routman’s Literacy Essentials with an entire section dealing with Equity!
7. #TCRWP: 3 Tips – Patterns of Power (Jeff Anderson), Mentor Texts with Simone Frazier and Heart Maps with Georgia Heard
6. #SOL18: Reading Research – Is all reading research equal?
5. Bloom’s and Thinking – Reconceptualizing Bloom’s Taxonomy
4. #SOL18: March 25 – Updated Reprise of #3 above “Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity (2013)
3. #NCTE18: Digging Deeper #1 – Kass Minor, Colleen Cruz & Cornelius Minor
2. #SOL18: March 15 – Barriers to Learning, Allington’s Six T’s, Student Progress
1.#SOL18: March 11 – Increasing Writing Volume
And this – Reading Research from the end of October and both a November post about NCTE and a December post can make it into the “Most Read in 2018” list within 4 – 8 weeks of the end of the year. So Interesting!
What patterns do you see?
Which topics did you find most compelling?
What work do you review annually or over even longer time frames?
Wrapping up Curious with a Focus on being Joyful for this first chance to CELEBRATE!
#SOL18: Reading Research
What was the first thing that came to mind when you saw that blog title?
Which emoji matches your thinking?
Reading the Research
that someone else has done?
Research about Reading?
These are not necessarily the same. So let’s explore just a bit. If I put “reading research” into “The Google” – this is what I get:
Think about it. 695,000,000 results and the first one that comes up is Reading Rockets. It’s a “.org” so I can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not a commercial site so I don’t have to worry about ads or someone selling things. Reading Rockets link
How reputable is Reading Rockets?
Who runs it?
Where does the information come from?
What biases exist?
When would I use this site?
Some of those questions can be answered from the “About Page”. Some require a bit more clicking. The information is reasonable and the classroom strategies might be a source to use as a quick survey or “screen” of what’s available.
And just in case you did not click and go to Reading Rockets, here is part of their home page.
But is this a source you can trust?
. . . It depends.
What do you need? What are you looking for?
If instead I go to Google Scholar (which is on my toolbar for quick access), here’s what the same “reading research” search results look like.
The results are fewer. About 5,030,000. And the very first citation is the National Reading Panel Report from 2000. I can see the number of times this source has been cited as well as related articles. If you’ve moved on to a major eye roll because you did not need “Research 101′ in this blog post, just stop and think. How many of your peers know the difference? How many of your administrators know the difference? (And if you think it’s old, 2000, do remember that it was the last independently convened panel to study reading research . . . despite its flaws!) (Krashen, S. (2004) False claims about literacy development. Educational Leadership 61: 18-21. https://tinyurl.com/y9nhlmo7 )
Why does it matter?
If the solution to a questions is a Google search, I have just shown you the difference. Terms that are thrown around in the education world a lot are “research-based, evidence-based, and scientifically research-based.” And they are NOT without a great deal of controversy.
A Second Example
The following blog post was referenced on both Twitter and Facebook. Hmmm . . . sometimes nefarious social media platforms. Sometimes NOT. Sometimes a great source. In my farming background, again, how do we sort out the wheat from the chaff?
I don’t know Lindsay, but I do plan to find out if she will be at #NCTE18 to connect. DOL is one old, out-dated practice that has to stop. Over 50 years of research has proven that grammar instruction does NOT improve writing. Writing improves writing. Showcasing “golden sentences” in personal work and patterning writing after others. Some brilliant minds like Jeff Anderson and Dan Feigelson have published examples as well as many chapters in other books have research-based examples.
A Third Example
This list. Research-Based Programs
“Where did it come?
What criteria was used to curate the list?
Who developed the “protocol” that was used to evaluate the programs?
Where are the reviews/protocols of the programs on the list?
What can I learn from the URL?
What questions remain after a quick perusal of the list?
How do I find answers to these questions?”
Who do I turn to when I need answers? Who are my sources? Who are my most trusted sources? Who are my experts? Who are my “super-experts”?
One source that I can always trust is Dr. Nell Duke. Her article “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research” is a MUST READ. Every. Educator. in. EVERY. building. link
Tune in Thursday night to the #G2Great chat at 7:30 CST/ 8:30 EST for a lively conversation about just this topic. #BetterTogether
Per usual, my #OLW “Curious” brought me to this point. On October 2, 2013, I blogged about the research on the “Effectiveness of K-6 Supplementary Computer Reading Programs” here. Do those same considerations apply? Do you now have data that supports that those programs work for your students in your building? Or are you still in search of the one perfect program?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Another Resource: Link
Truth & Research: What to Consider Before Selecting Literacy Curriculum and Programs
The Straw Man aka Balanced Literacy is NOT Whole Language Link
Problems with the National Reading Panel Report – From the Teacher in the Room – Link
ILA and NCTE Research – #ILA19