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.
And yet thorough . . .
Some of the descriptors that I apply to P. David Pearson, author, teacher, and researcher who was featured at #TCRWP’s Supper Club last night.
I tweeted this . .
Make a plan.
One step. One action.
It sounds like an old joke: How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time!
What are you willing to do? When will you begin? How will you hold yourself accountable?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.
SAP (Student Achievement Partners) announced the results of a review that many in the press and social media have hailed as the gospel.
Immediately questions arose:
But according to whom?
What was the criteria for selection of the “review panel”?
What conflicts of interest did the “reviewers” reveal before, during and / or after the review?
What were the criteria that were being “reviewed / evaluated”?
Did the “reviewers” conduct a thorough study of the resources?
Where was the line between opinion and fact?
What would any other panel of seven qualified literacy reviewers say?
Where is the evidence of the scientific study of the research (and subsequent results) the “reviewers” were quoting as the magic elixir for all children to read at high levels?
Here’s the response from #TCRWP: Link
Note the FIVE concerns with Methodology:
- Not independent
- Not peer reviewed
Read and reflect on the response from #TCRWP: Link
A reviewer who did not read . . .
During the last five daily blog posts, I have worked my way through the five rules from P. David Pearson and the #ILA19 panel session at 7 a.m. Saturday titled: “What Research Says About Teaching Reading and Why that Still Matters.”
Understanding the research in today’s world takes some work, some thinking, and a good hard look at the evidence, the word that appears in both rule 3 and rule 5.
A week ago, this was how I started my first draft for the series. I quickly discovered as I wrote that this look at the Big Picture was the ending of the series instead of the beginning. The REAL beginning was the panel presentation that recentered some beliefs in processes and brought back a review process used by our Statewide Literacy Team in the past.
So let’s get started. “It was a dark and stormy night.” (I love how Snoopy works that into every story!)
Compare these headlines:
- ‘No Progress’ Seen in Reading or Math on Nation’s Report Card
- Screen Time Up as Reading Scores Drop. Is There a Link?
- The One And Only Lesson To Be Learned From NAEP Scores
- Mississippi: Miracle or Mirage – 2019 NAEP Reading Scores Prompt Questions Not Answers
Match the quotes with the titles above. 1. #Headlines
_____ NAEP is extraordinarily clear that folks should not try to suggest a causal relationship between scores and anything else. Everyone ignores that advice, but NAEP clearly acknowledges that there are too many factors at play here to focus on any single one.
_____ In reading, Mississippi was the only state to improve in 2019 in 4th grade and Washington, D.C. (considered as a state) was the only one to improve in 8th grade. (The District of Columbia, in fact, showed the fastest gains this year of any state or large school district.)
_____ Todd Collins has raised another important caveat to the 4th-grade reading gains in Mississippi because the state has the highest 3rd-grade retention percentages in the country. . .
_____ Mississippi was the only state in the country to improve reading scores, and was number one in the country for gains in fourth-grade reading and math, according to newly released test results.
_____ Students have actually lost ground since 2017 on both of the NAEP’s main reading content areas: literary experience, such as fiction analysis, and reading for information, such as finding evidence to support an argument. Both grades declined significantly in both areas from 2017 to 2019, but the drop was larger for literary skills.
Which ones seemed pretty obvious?
Which ones took a bit more thought?
And then which two came from the same publisher?
. . .
. . .
#1 Headlines and text that supports or matches the headline.
3, 1, 5, 4, 2.
Same Publisher: 1 and 2 were both EdWeek
Of the five articles, where would you expect to see research?
Tip: #2 showed that data was reported but not research in article #4.
What is the best evidence?
When I return to “Results are in: Mississippi Students #1 in the Country for Reading Gains,” I actually have more questions after more reading. Especially after reading this article: “Here’s What All the NAEP coverage missed.”
What if the reading gains are the result of higher beginning points every year?
2.#Research Applied Evenly
What would be worthy of studying?
- Is the gain the result of instruction delivered to the students?
- Is the gain the result of the professional development provided for the teachers since 2013?
- Is the gain the result of the addition of coaches in the lowest buildings (in the fall of 2018)?
- Is the gain the result of the retention policy?
And that takes me back to Paul Thomas’s blog (#5 above). And this updated section:
- UPDATE: Todd Collins has raised another important caveat to the 4th-grade reading gains in Mississippi because the state has the highest 3rd-grade retention percentages in the country:
But Mississippi has taken the concept further than others, with a retention rate higher than any other state. In 2018–19, according to state department of education reports, 8 percent of all Mississippi K–3 students were held back (up from 6.6 percent the prior year). This implies that over the four grades, as many as 32 percent of all Mississippi students are held back; a more reasonable estimate is closer to 20 to 25 percent, allowing for some to be held back twice. (Mississippi’s Department of Education does not report how many students are retained more than once.)
This last concern means that significant numbers of students in states with 3rd-grade retention based on reading achievement and test scores are biologically 5th-graders being held to 4th-grade proficiency levels. Grade retention is not only correlated with many negative outcomes (dropping out, for example), but also likely associated with “false positives” on testing; as well, most states seeing bumps in 4th-grade test scores also show that those gains disappear by middle and high school.
After several questions about “retention” and/or “intervention” and/or “multiple attempts on the state assessment,” maybe this is a focus for research. What data do we have? What data do we need to collect? What other questions bubble up?
- Did students who did not meet the proficiency level have higher absenteeism that proficient students?
- Did any specific classrooms have higher growth than others?
- What do we know about the implementation of the teacher training?
This “study” may require some additional data collection but it could be undertaken relatively quickly to form some general ideas yet this year.
Because I want to reduce the need for intervention, I might also explore this chapter from Regie Routman’s, Read, Write, Lead. (Link) 3.#Best Evidence 4.#Full portfolio of methodology
What I wouldn’t do is:
Give the 4 point credit to ANY of the above areas without study.
Blame teachers for not implementing “enough” or “correctly” without study.
Say that Mississippi has a program that should be replicated in every state because we don’t know the amount of resources that it took to get these results that are not sustained through 8th grade . . . without study. 5. Evidence, not a straw person.
The purpose of this post was to pull together a topic currently in the literacy field, generate some questions, look at the data, and apply the 5 rules from the Research presentation. In less than an hour my questions were generated and this post was written. A beginning application. A beginning look at the Big Picture.
You can do this.
You must do this.
You need to verify the accuracy of what you are reading. Find a partner and get started!
Today’s post considers Rule 5 from P. David Pearson’s presentation as a part of the #ILA19 panel titled: “What Research Says About Teaching Reading and Why that Still Matters.” (The links for Rules 1-4 are at the bottom!)
Read Rule #5 again.
Does it sound familiar?
The hue and cry that no one is teaching phonics . . . is almost hysterical in light of this report from EDWeek that Reading First (2001-2008) failed to make gains in reading comprehension due to toooooooooooooo (o’s added for emphasis) much focus on skills like phonics. I personally know of school buildings that were spending an hour each day in the primary grades on phonics in the Reading First era. And a few spent more than an hour because of some slick salespersons.
What didn’t work?
Reading First required all 5 pillars from the National Reading Panel
- phonemic awareness
with the measure of success being an assessment of comprehension which had the lowest amount of time out of reading instruction. So of course, the data for reading comprehension didn’t improve when phonics and fluency were the most popular and most often tested pillars!
Reading First ended. The Common Core State Standards became the next “great golden goose” and whiplash hit teachers when they were told that “close reading” meant no introduction to the story/book and annotations were now the activity of the day. Cold reads. Master individual standards.
. . .
Phonemic Awareness instruction did not disappear.
Phonics instruction did not disappear.
Fluency instruction did not disappear.
Vocabulary instruction did not disappear.
Comprehension instruction did not disappear.
All five areas were still a part of the CCSS standards. And yes, when writing was finally back in vogue, we did celebrate. Under Reading First, writing was pushed out of the 90 minute uninterrupted reading block. In some instances, writing totally disappeared or appeared briefly as a Monday weekend journaling. One day out of five days for 15-20 minutes was eked out for some assigned writing prompt.
When I hear:
No one is teaching phonics.
Teachers don’t know how to teach phonics.
Teachers weren’t trained to teach reading.
I have to take a deep breath. And sometimes a second breath. And even a third breath.
It isn’t ALL teachers as often reported.
Teachers in Iowa under Reading First were required to have 40 hours of professional development each year in those five pillars. And in our region, we offered similar training for districts that did not qualify for Reading First grants because they also needed the knowledge. It wasn’t withheld from anyone. It was research-based, systematic and explicit.
The very nature of these reports that feel like accusations come from high school teachers (yep, they didn’t have that unless they trained in Reading); teachers who come from alternative licensing (didn’t attend a traditional college licensing program); curriculum/marketing personnel and journalists. No pro/con reporting of more than one side of an issue. Instead, reporting on the state of the nation on the basis of a few states. Sometimes even stating their biases although they have never, ever taught a student to read.
Raising your hackles?
Just last week, I had one of those parent calls. A parent whose child had an IEP meeting. The child is currently a junior in high school. They (IEP team) wanted to write a goal for phonemic awareness. (I had to literally cover my mouth on the phone to make sure that I was listening and not expressing my opinion.) Phonemic awareness – sound manipulation – no print included for a 17 year old student with three semesters left in the public school system.
Phonemic awareness – which by National Reading Panel research was to take 20 hours of instruction and be done in kindergarten.
Phonemic awareness – because of a data point that wasn’t “mastered.”
“What do you want and need for your child?”
Driver’s Ed. so she can get to and from a job.
Ability to get a job.
Ability to keep a job.
To keep her kind, helpful “I will try anything” attitude.
To continue to grow and learn to be a successful adult in the community.
Math so she can figure out a budget, pay rent, expenses, and be as independent as she wants.
Approximately 270 days of school left for this child. A program of study to complete. A student who has had phonics as a part of her reading goal for 10 years. LETRS trained teachers. Phonics program after program.
- first grade
- second grade
- third grade
- fourth grade
- fifth grade
- sixth grade
- seventh grade
- eighth grade
- ninth grade
- first half of junior year
and now some folks who have never worked with the child and could not pick her out of a classroom believe she should have a goal in phonemic awareness because of a data point.
After 11.5 years of phonics instruction, maybe it’s not the child.
Maybe it’s the crappy timed test and she just doesn’t do well under pressure.
Maybe the nonsense words really offend her sense of meaning.
And it makes me incredibly frustrated.
Don’t tell me the students haven’t had phonics!
Where is your evidence?
(Disclaimer: I understand the frustration of not having student needs met. As a special ed teacher I have taught dyslexic students. So many students needed different approaches and methodology. I have used an array of tools and programs. One example: After parental requests and with the permission of my administrator, I tried “Hooked on Phonics.”)
The current Reading War is based on a bunch of untruths, misrepresentations, and straw man arguments.
Spend the time to check your facts!
If you have not been following along, here are the posts to date:
When I return to my cooking thoughts from yesterday, I have to think of methodology and resources. Will I use “glass microwaveable” dishes in the microwave? A double boiler on the stove?
And what about the fudge? Do I really “butter” the pan? Not that nasty cooking spray either! Can I just use parchment paper to line the pan? (Shudder as I think of butter/oleo visible on the 9 x 13 glass casserole plan! Total ICK!)
When do I follow the directions to the letter vs. letting previous experience guide my planning?
Today’s post is considering Rule 4 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.”
So who are the “cousins”? These are some possibilities from the table in “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know About Research.” (Link)
(Note. The information in this table was drawn in part from “Standards for Reporting on Empirical Social Science Research in AERA Publications: American Educational Research Association,” by P.A. Moss, J.W. Pellegrino, B.L. Schneider, R.P. Duran, M.A. Eisenhart, F.D. Erickson, et al., 2006, Educational Researcher, 35(6), 33–40; “Qualitative Analysis on Stage: Making the Research Process More Public,” by V.A. Anfara, Jr., K.M. Brown, and T.L. Mangione, 2002, Educational Researcher, 31(7), 28–38; Literacy Research Methodologies, by N.K. Duke and M.H. Mallette (Eds.), 2004, New York: Guilford; Literacy Research Methodologies (2nd ed.), by N.K. Duke and M.H. Mallette (Eds.), 2011, New York: Guilford; and Educational Research: An Introduction (8th ed.), by M.D. Gall, J.P. Gall, and W.R. Borg, 2007, Boston: Allyn & Bacon.)
The methodology is not set in concrete, but it has to make sense and follow general research principles. All of these involve “science.” ALL. of. these. involve. “science.”
Some seem to over emphasize RCTs – Randomized Controlled Trials. We saw that in the “gold standard” in Reading First. And meta analyses were NEVER allowed but some RCTs just are NOT possible in education. Controlling for every thing in the environment is tough even when two classrooms sit side by side. Equally difficult is the history of single-subject experimental designs. At one point, single-subject experimental designs were the most favored and at other times they were not indicative of “authentic” treatments in classrooms so they were used more infrequently.
Narrowing the field to only one methodology is, in my mind, similar to giving someone a math problem and saying that you can only use addition to solve it. No other process. Just one.
Not helpful. Not logical. Totally restrictive for no real reason.
More productive thinking about the math problem could be multiple routes to solutions with the use of several processes. The solutions could be studied for efficiency or effectiveness . . . or “innovative” status.
What doesn’t count?
Relying on “The Google”
Relying on “Op-Ed” Pieces
Do the Work.
Does this make sense?
What do you need to add to your repertoire to have a “full portfolio of methods?”
Where will you begin?
When will previous experience guide methodology?
If you have not been following along, here are the posts to date:
Third time’s a charm! It was so helpful to dig into additional chapters from this book.
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!
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
Letter – Sound Relationships
One part of learning to read
One part that serves the reader in his/her meaning making reading work!
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!