Saturday, October 04, 2014

Reading Instruction from the Master

Richard Allington, in his recent article at Educational Leadership has some concrete steps that teachers can take to improve reading instruction.   He unmasks two villians of poor reading instruction 1) Overusing and misusing  oral reading and 2) Asking Low Level Questions.  Here is his remedy for oral reading.

  1. Use oral reading selectively. By the middle of 1st grade, most reading should be done silently.
  2. If you elect to have students read a text aloud, consciously bite your tongue as they read. Wait until the student has completed at least a full sentence before you interrupt, and then interrupt with a comment that encourages the student to self-regulate.
  3. Ensure that other students who might be following along or listening to the student read aloud also do not interrupt the reader.
  4. If you're concerned that you cannot monitor the accuracy of students' reading when they read silently, remember that all you really need to do is ask them to retell what they've read. Misreadings become obvious during retellings.

(numbers not in original, because bullets drive me crazy.)

And here is what he prescribes in place of Low Level Questions

In a study of high-poverty schools, Taylor and colleagues (Taylor, Pearson, Clark, & Walpole, 2000; Taylor, Pearson, Peterson, & Rodriguez, 2003) found that more effective teachers asked five times as many higher-order questions and offered twice as many opportunities for discussion as less effective teachers did.  The more effective teachers were also more likely to ask students to respond in writing to higher-order questions.

He goes on to describe a familiar routine of turn pair and share that is an excellent structure in which to engage students in literate conversations answering high level questions, while also including writing about what they are reading.

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