Snow adolescent literact
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Snow adolescent literact



Ms. Snow is a reknown expert on literacy strategies and speaks around the US. This is extremely helpful info for anyone interesting in teaching reading.

Ms. Snow is a reknown expert on literacy strategies and speaks around the US. This is extremely helpful info for anyone interesting in teaching reading.



Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



1 Embed 1 1



Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Snow adolescent literact Snow adolescent literact Presentation Transcript

  • Adolescent Literacy: The Crisis and the Solutions Catherine E. Snow Harvard Graduate School of Education Ohio Summit on Literacy in Secondary Schools 26 March 2007
  • The state of reading, writ large
    • Its importance heavily emphasized in policy
    • Considerable attention from the federal government to the details of practice
    • Lots of funding, relatively speaking
    • Focus on assessments/accountability
    • But the scores that count are not improving
    • While demands for improved literacy outputs are rising
  • What’s the crisis?
    • Academic achievement depends on better literacy skills
    • But the data are alarming
      • International comparisons of 15 year olds’ literacy: PISA (A. Schleicher)
      • NAEP scores
      • Dropout rates
      • Postsecondary remediation
  • Average performance of 15-year-olds in reading literacy High reading performance Low reading performance
  • NAEP 12 th grade Reading Assessment results
      • 37% at Basic level & 23% at Below Basic level
      • Fewer than half of twelfth graders perform at or above the level expected by NAEP standards
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, NAEP 1998 Report Cards, 1999
  • Drop-out Rates
    • Almost half of African-American and Latino students fail to graduate from high school in 5 years (Greene & Forster, 2003; Orfield, Losen, Wald, & Swanson, 2004)
    • High school drop-out rates among 16 to 24 year-olds in 2000:
    • 10.9% overall
    • 13.1% among African-Americans
    • 27.8% among Hispanics
      • 44.2% among immigrants born outside the U.S.
      • 15.9% among second (or greater) generation immigrants
    Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, October 2000
  • Post-secondary Remediation
    • Only 30% of high school students graduate as proficient readers who are college-ready (Greene & Forster, 2003)
    • 35 - 40% of high school graduates do not have the sophisticated reading and writing skills that employers seek (Achieve, Inc., 2005; Kaestle et al., 2001; National Commission on Writing, 2004)
    • Half of all high school graduates or GED recipients exhibit the lowest levels of literacy (Kaestle et al., 2001)
  • Two adolescent literacy challenges
    • Dealing with the struggling readers
      • Wide array of skills present in the post-primary classroom
      • Some students need intensive re-teaching
      • Some need serious remediation
      • All strugglers need help to make up for missed learning opportunities
    • Teaching the normally developing readers new skills
      • New vocabulary and academic language
      • Content-specific literacy skills
      • New purposes for reading
  • The price of success: Reading Excellence and Reading First
    • Inoculation has become the default model —focusing efforts exclusively on the early grades
    • “ Research-based practice” can mean we are like the drunk looking under the streetlamp for his keys
      • E.g., we interpret adolescent literacy problems as primary reading problems postponed
      • E.g., we implement PA interventions rather than struggling to teach comprehension
  • What can we learn from reading excellence?
  • PRD Starting Points
    • Prevention, not instruction
      • primary, secondary, and tertiary
      • structural as much as instructional
      • implies assessment to guide decisions
    • Emergent literacy, not readiness
    • Research consensus about
    • skilled reading
  • PRD Recommendations: Instruction to promote…
    • Language and metalinguistic skills
    • Understanding the functions of written language
    • Both grasping and mastering the alphabetic system
    • Motivation and positive affect around literacy
  • The accomplishments of Reading Excellence: Agreement that…
    • Excellent early reading instruction is part of a solid foundation for on-going achievement
    • Investing time in effective teaching and not wasting time on ineffective teaching are key
    • We need to coordinate literacy instruction across the preprimary, primary, and later grades
    • We can identify and correct weaknesses in early literacy programs
  • Reading First
    • Focus on instruction, not prevention
    • Mandated use of assessments for accountability
    • Presumption regarding central role of teacher/school expectations in influencing student achievement
    • Perverse incentives regarding high standards
    • Important but tricky disaggregation strategy
    • Attention to AYP rather than growth
  • National Reading Panel Report Recommendations about Instruction
    • Phonological awareness (15-18 hrs)
    • Systematic phonics instruction
    • Fluency
    • Vocabulary
    • Comprehension strategies
  • What’s missing?
    • For primary grades
    • Attention to variety of genres
    • Sustained silent reading
    • Comprehension instruction
    • Motivation and interest
    • Establishing a purpose for reading
    • For post primary grades
    • Other kinds of comprehension instruction
    • Content-area-specific literacy skills
    • Writing
    • Motivation and interest
    • Establishing a purpose for reading
  • Reading comprehension
    • The goals of primary reading instruction are really high school academic achievement
    • There is too little focus on comprehension during primary reading instruction
    • And too little reading instruction of any kind after grade 3
  • RAND Reading Group Study (RRSG) Goals
    • Create agenda for R&D programs focused on reading comprehension
    • Promote constructive debate about the agenda
    • Increase communications among members of reading research and practice communities
    • Submit agenda to U.S. Dept. of Education to support appropriations proposals
  • RRSG’s definition of reading comprehension
    • The process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language.
  • A Heuristic for Thinking about Reading Comprehension   Sociocultural Context ACTIVITY READER TEXT
  • RRSG-based conclusions
    • Comprehension can be taught starting in preschool.
    • And needs to be taught across all grades.
    • Building oral language skills is a key component of reading comprehension instruction across the grades.
    • Too much focus on print skills may decrease attention to comprehension precursors.
  • Is a focus on comprehension by itself adequate to solve the problem?
    • Not really, because….
  • Adolescent readers have to master…
    • Word reading accuracy
    • Word reading fluency
    • Making inferences from the text
    • Integrating new text-based knowledge with pre-existing knowledge
    • Understanding the language of the texts
    • Having the background knowledge presupposed by the texts
    • Motivation and interest in the text
    • Establishing a purpose for reading
  • Successful practitioners with adolescent readers have to…
    • Integrate reading instruction with content learning goals
    • Manage the distributed structures of middle/high schools
    • Find a place to focus on reading
      • English teachers focus on literature, not reading
      • Other content area teachers rarely prepared, sometimes unwilling, to teach reading
    • Design practice based on a relatively scanty research base
  • Reading Next Challenges
    • New reading tasks even for children prepared very well at pre-K – Grade 3.
    • Aspects of pre-K – Grade 3 instruction key for comprehension still not being adequately implemented
    • Thus too many current 4 th – 12 th graders are struggling
  • The problem of comprehension in the content areas among grade 4-12 students
    • Widespread
    • Inevitable if there is a mismatch between reader and text, reader and activity, text and activity
    • A problem that should become a focus of instruction
  • And what do we know from work on early literacy?
    • Solid research provides a basis for making progress
    • Assessment is a key step in organizing instruction
    • Consensus serves the field better than dissensus
    • Models of excellent instruction should be studied
    • Wisdom of practice has been undervalued
  • Steps to helping all students read better
    • Identify student literacy needs, at group and individual levels
    • Teach all students systematically
    • Teach all students reading for learning in every class
    • Give struggling students extra help
    • designed to address their needs
  • A collaborative effort
    • Donald Deshler
    • David Francis
    • John Guthrie
    • Michael Kamil
    • James McPartland
    • Gina Biancarosa and Catherine Snow (eds.)
    • Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Fifteen key elements: nine instructional improvements
    • Direct, explicit comprehension instruction
    • Effective instruction embedded in content
    • Motivation and self-directed learning
    • Text-based collaborative learning
    • Strategic tutoring
    • Diverse texts
    • Intensive writing
    • A technology component
    • Ongoing formative assessment of students
  • Fifteen key elements: six infrastructure improvements
    • Extended time for literacy
    • Professional development
    • Ongoing summative assessment of students and programs
    • Teacher teams
    • Leadership
    • Comprehensive and coordinated literacy program
  • 15 – 3 = 0
    • Indispensable elements are:
    • Professional development
    • Ongoing formative assessment of students
    • Ongoing summative assessment of students and programs
  • Getting from here to there
    • We need research
    • But we can’t wait for the research
    • We also need to use the knowledge available from effective practitioners
    • And effective leaders
  • Research: Small scale efforts
    • Basic experimental research
    • Demonstration pilots
    • Con: Affects P ro: Adds to
    • few students the knowledge base
  • Research: Large scale efforts
    • Program-specific evaluations
    • Large-scale implementations
    • Con: Adds little Pro: Affects
    • to knowledge base numerous students
  • Research: A middle ground
    • Planned variation of program elements
    • Evaluation of common outcomes across programs
    • Pro: Adds to the Pro: Affects
    • knowledge base many students
  • Research: Planned variation of key program elements Key program elements Programs 1 2 3 4 5 6 Direct, explicit comprehension instruction ● ● ● ● ● ● Effective instructional principles embedded in content ● ● ● ● Motivation and self-direction ● ● ● ● ● Text-based collaborative learning ● ● Strategic tutoring ● ● ● ● Diverse texts ● ● ● ● ● Writing intensive ● Technology component ● Extended time for literacy ● ● ● Professional development ● ● ● ● ● ● Summative and formative assessments ● ● ● ● ● ● Teacher teams ● ● ● ● Leadership ● ● ● ● Comprehensive and coordinated literacy program
  • Getting from here to there
    • We need research: collaborations among schools/districts and universities to
      • Examine new initiatives systematically
      • Use the data now available in the districts
      • Upgrade the data available in the districts
    • But we can’t wait for the research
    • So we also need to start by using the knowledge available from effective practitioners and leaders
      • To define the problems of greatest urgency
      • To critique current practices
      • To suggest effective practices
  • The Strategic Education Research Partnership SERP - BPS Middle School Literacy Project
    • A Research Collaborative coordinated by Boston Higher Education Partnership
    • Participants: researchers from Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Lesley, MIT, Wheelock, and practitioners including BPS administrators and teachers, Boston Plan for Excellence, and seven Boston middle schools
    • Cross-university doctoral course
    • Ongoing research
  • The BPS Middle School Literacy Project: SERP Principles
    • Accumulating usable knowledge
    • Embedding research in the challenges of practice
    • Systematizing the wisdom of practice
    • Operating simultaneously at three levels: student, teacher, school
    • Contributing to collaborative tool-building
    • Planning ahead so improvements can ‘travel’
  • The SERP-BPS Middle School Literacy Project: Accomplishments
    • Establishment of a mechanism for working together
    • Solid understanding of the teachers’ and the students’ literacy challenges
    • Development of a suite of tools
      • Surveys focused on literacy and internal accountability
      • SERP Reading Inventory and Scholastic Evaluation
      • Word Generation, an academic language intervention
    • Converting academic researchers
    • Training doctoral researchers
  • In conclusion, we need…
    • To learn from research and practice
    • To launch cross-site, systematic efforts
    • To work towards consensus in guiding policy
  • More information