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Improving adolescent literacy effective classroom and intervention practices

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  • 1. IES PRACTICE GUIDE WHAT WORKS CLEARINGHOUSEImproving Adolescent Literacy:Effective Classroom andIntervention PracticesNCEE 2008-4027U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
  • 2. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) publishes practice guides in educationto bring the best available evidence and expertise to bear on the types of systemicchallenges that cannot currently be addressed by single interventions or programs.Authors of practice guides seldom conduct the types of systematic literature searchesthat are the backbone of a meta-analysis, although they take advantage of such workwhen it is already published. Instead, authors use their expertise to identify themost important research with respect to their recommendations, augmented by asearch of recent publications to ensure that research citations are up-to-date.Unique to IES-sponsored practice guides is that they are subjected to rigorous exter-nal peer review through the same office that is responsible for independent reviewof other IES publications. A critical task for peer reviewers of a practice guide is todetermine whether the evidence cited in support of particular recommendations isup-to-date and that studies of similar or better quality that point in a different di-rection have not been ignored. Because practice guides depend on the expertise oftheir authors and their group decisionmaking, the content of a practice guide is notand should not be viewed as a set of recommendations that in every case dependson and flows inevitably from scientific research.The goal of this practice guide is to formulate specific and coherent evidence-basedrecommendations that educators can use to improve literacy levels among adoles-cents in upper elementary, middle, and high schools. The target audience is teach-ers and other school personnel with direct contact with students, such as coaches,counselors, and principals. The guide includes specific recommendations for edu-cators and the quality of evidence that supports these recommendations.
  • 3. IES PRACTICE GUIDE Improving Adolescent Literacy: E ective Classroom and Intervention Practices August 2008 Panel Michael L. Kamil (Chair) STANFORD UNIVERSITY Geo rey D. Borman UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN—MADISON Janice Dole UNIVERSITY OF UTAH Cathleen C. Kral BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS Terry Salinger AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH Joseph Torgesen FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY Sta Xinsheng “Cindy” Cai Fiona Helsel Yael Kidron Elizabeth Spier AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCHNCEE 2008-4027U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
  • 4. This report was prepared for the National Center for Education Evaluation and Re-gional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences under Contract ED-02-CO-0022.DisclaimerThe opinions and positions expressed in this practice guide are the authors’ and donot necessarily represent the opinions and positions of the Institute of Education Sci-ences or the U.S. Department of Education. This practice guide should be reviewedand applied according to the specific needs of the educators and education agencyusing it, and with full realization that it represents the judgments of the reviewpanel regarding what constitutes sensible practice, based on the research that wasavailable at the time of publication. This practice guide should be used as a toolto assist in decisionmaking rather than as a “cookbook.” Any references within thedocument to specific education products are illustrative and do not imply endorse-ment of these products to the exclusion of other products that are not referenced.U.S. Department of EducationMargaret SpellingsSecretaryInstitute of Education SciencesGrover J. WhitehurstDirectorNational Center for Education Evaluation and Regional AssistancePhoebe CottinghamCommissionerAugust 2008This report is in the public domain. While permission to reprint this publication isnot necessary, the citation should be:Kamil, M. L., Borman, G. D., Dole, J., Kral, C. C., Salinger, T., and Torgesen, J. (2008).Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices: A Prac-tice Guide (NCEE #2008-4027). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evalu-ation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department ofEducation. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc.This report is available on the IES Web site at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc.Alternative FormatsOn request, this publication can be made available in alternative formats, such asBraille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette. For more information, call theAlternative Format Center at (202) 205–8113.
  • 5. Improving Adolescent Literacy:Effective Classroom and Intervention PracticesContentsIntroduction 1 The What Works Clearinghouse standards and their relevance to this guide 3Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices 4 Overview 4Scope of the practice guide 8Checklist for carrying out the recommendations 9Recommendation 1. Provide explicit vocabulary instruction 11Recommendation 2. Provide direct and explicit comprehensionstrategy instruction 16Recommendation 3. Provide opportunities for extended discussion of textmeaning and interpretation 21Recommendation 4. Increase student motivation and engagement inliteracy learning 26Recommendation 5. Make available intensive and individualized interventionsfor struggling readers that can be provided by trained specialists 31Conclusion 37Appendix A. Postscript from the Institute of Education Sciences 38Appendix B. About the Authors 41Appendix C. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest 42Appendix D. Technical information on the studies 43References 52 ( iii )
  • 6. IMPROvIng ADOLESCEnT LITERACy: EffECTIvE CLASSROOM AnD InTERvEnTIOn PRACTICESList of tables1. Institute of Education Sciences levels of evidence for practice guides 22. Recommendations and corresponding levels of evidence to support each 7 ( iv )
  • 7. Introduction reading instruction, we use this informa- tion to make broader points about im-The goal of this practice guide is to present proving practice. In this guide we havespecific and coherent evidence-based rec- tried to take findings from research orommendations that educators can use to practices recommended by experts andimprove literacy levels among adolescents describe how recommendations might ac-in upper elementary, middle, and high tually unfold in school settings. In otherschools. The panel purposefully included words, we aim to provide sufficient detailstudents in 4th and 5th grades within the so that educators will have a clear senserealm of adolescents because their in- of the steps necessary to make use of thestructional needs related to literacy have recommendations.more in common with those of studentsin middle and high school than they do A unique feature of practice guides is thewith students in early elementary grades. explicit and clear delineation of the qual-Many students in grades 4 and up experi- ity—as well as quantity— of evidence thatence difficulty acquiring the advanced lit- supports each claim. To do this, we usederacy skills needed to read in the content a semi-structured hierarchy suggested byareas.1 The target audience for the practice IES. This classification system uses bothguide is teachers and other school person- the quality and the quantity of availablenel who have direct contact with students, evidence to help determine the strength ofsuch as coaches, counselors, and princi- the evidence base grounding each recom-pals. The practice guide includes specific mended practice (table 1).recommendations for educators along witha discussion of the quality of evidence that Strong refers to consistent and generaliz-supports these recommendations. able evidence that a practice causes bet- ter outcomes for students in measures ofWe, the authors, are a small group with reading proficiency.2expertise on this topic. The range of evi-dence we considered in developing this Moderate refers either to evidence fromguide is vast, ranging from experimental studies that allow strong causal conclu-studies in which reading was the depen- sions but cannot be generalized with as-dent variable, to trends in the National As- surance to the population on which a rec-sessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) ommendation is focused (perhaps becausedata, to correlational and longitudinal the findings have not been widely repli-studies, again with reading as the major cated) or to evidence from studies thatvariable of interest. For questions about are generalizable but have more causalwhat works best, high-quality experimen- ambiguity than offered by experimentaltal and quasi-experimental studies—such designs (statistical models of correlationalas those meeting the criteria of the What data or group comparison designs forWorks Clearinghouse (http://www.ies. which equivalence of the groups at pretested.gov/ncee/wwc)—have a privileged is uncertain).position. In all cases we pay particularattention to findings that are replicated Low refers to expert opinion based on rea-across studies. sonable extrapolations from research and theory on other topics and evidence fromAlthough we draw on evidence aboutthe effectiveness of specific practices in 2. Following What Works Clearinghouse guide- lines, we consider a positive, statistically signifi-1. Biancarosa and Snow (2004); Heller and Green- cant effect or large effect size (greater than 0.25)leaf (2007). as an indicator of positive effects. (1)
  • 8. InTRODuCTIOnTable 1. Institute of Education Sciences levels of evidence for practice guides In general, characterization of the evidence for a recommendation as strong requires both studies with high internal validity (i.e., studies whose designs can support causal conclusions) and studies with high external validity (i.e., studies that in total include enough of the range of participants and settings on which the recommendation is focused to support the conclusion that the results can be generalized to those participants and settings). Strong evidence for this practice guide is operationalized as: • A systematic review of research that generally meets the standards of the What Works Clearing- house (WWC) (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/) and supports the effectiveness of a program, prac- tice, or approach with no contradictory evidence of similar quality; OR Strong • Several well-designed, randomized controlled trials or well designed quasi-experiments that gen- erally meet the WWC standards and support the effectiveness of a program, practice, or approach, with no contradictory evidence of similar quality; OR • One large, well-designed, randomized controlled, multisite trial that meets the WWC standards and supports the effectiveness of a program, practice, or approach, with no contradictory evi- dence of similar quality; OR • For assessments, evidence of reliability and validity that meets the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.a In general, characterization of the evidence for a recommendation as moderate requires studies with high internal validity but moderate external validity, or studies with high external validity but mod- erate internal validity. In other words, moderate evidence is derived from studies that support strong causal conclusions but where generalization is uncertain, or studies that support the generality of a relationship but where the causality is uncertain. Moderate evidence for this practice guide is opera- tionalized as: • Experiments or quasi-experiments generally meeting the WWC standards and supporting the ef- fectiveness of a program, practice, or approach with small sample sizes and/or other conditions of implementation or analysis that limit generalizability and no contrary evidence; OR • Comparison group studies that do not demonstrate equivalence of groups at pretest and there- Moderate fore do not meet the WWC standards but that (a) consistently show enhanced outcomes for par- ticipants experiencing a particular program, practice, or approach and (b) have no major flaws related to internal validity other than lack of demonstrated equivalence at pretest (e.g., only one teacher or one class per condition, unequal amounts of instructional time, highly biased outcome measures); OR • Correlational research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning influ- ence of endogenous factors and no contrary evidence; OR • For assessments, evidence of reliability that meets the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testingb but with evidence of validity from samples not adequately representative of the popula- tion on which the recommendation is focused. In general, characterization of the evidence for a recommendation as low means that the recommenda- tion is based on expert opinion derived from strong findings or theories in related areas and/or expert Low opinion buttressed by direct evidence that does not rise to the moderate or strong levels. Low evidence is operationalized as evidence not meeting the standards for the moderate or high levels.a. American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measure- ment in Education (1999).b. Ibid. (2)
  • 9. InTRODuCTIOnstudies that do not meet the standards for studies with no design flaws and ran-moderate or strong evidence. domized controlled trials that have problems with randomization, attri-The What Works Clearinghouse tion, or disruption.standards and their relevance tothis guide • Does Not Meet Evidence Screens for studies that do not provide strong evi-In terms of the levels of evidence indicated dence of causal validity.in table 1, we rely on What Works Clearing-house (WWC) evidence standards to assess Appendix D provides more technical in-the quality of evidence supporting educa- formation about the studies and our de-tional programs and practices. The WWC cisions regarding the level of evidenceaddresses evidence for the causal validity for each recommendation. To illustrateof instructional programs and practices the types of studies reviewed, we de-according to WWC standards. Informa- scribe one study for each recommenda-tion about these standards is available at tion. Our goal in doing this is to providehttp://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc. The technical interested readers with more detail aboutquality of each study is rated and placed the research designs, the interventioninto one of three categories: components, and the way impact was measured.• Meets Evidence Standards for random- ized controlled trials and regression Dr. Michael Kamil discontinuity studies that provide the Dr. Geoffrey D. Borman strongest evidence of causal validity. Dr. Janice Dole Cathleen C. Kral• Meets Evidence Standards with Res- Dr. Terry Salinger ervations for all quasi-experimental Dr. Joseph Torgesen (3)
  • 10. Improving Adolescent attention to the challenges of improvingLiteracy: Effective reading instruction in upper elementary, middle, and high school. Yet reading in-Classroom and struction as a formal part of the curricu-Intervention Practices lum typically decreases as students move beyond upper elementary grades.Overview To acquire the skills they need, students must work hard to refine and build uponData from the 2007 National Assessment their initial reading skills, and teachersof Educational Progress (NAEP) in read- in upper elementary grades and in mid-ing report that 69 percent of 8th grade dle and high school classes should helpstudents fall below the proficient level in students acquire more advanced skillstheir ability to comprehend the meaning once they understand the demands thatof text at their grade level.1 Equally alarm- content area tasks actually present, es-ing, 26 percent of students read below the pecially to students who struggle withbasic level, which means that they do not reading.7 However, many teachers re-have sufficient reading ability to under- port feeling unprepared to help their stu-stand and learn from text at their grade dents or do not think that teaching read-level. When these data are coupled with ing skills in content-area classes is theirreports showing that even high school responsibility.8students with average reading ability arecurrently unprepared for the literacy de- For more than 50 years9 the realities of stu-mands of many workplace and postsec- dent reading difficulties and teacher lackondary educational settings, the need for of preparation to address them have beenimproved literacy instruction of adoles- met by calls for more instruction in higher-cents is apparent.2 level reading skills for adolescents and for professional development in content-Reading ability is a key predictor of achieve- area reading instruction for middle andment in mathematics and science,3 and the high school teachers. Although the debateglobal information economy requires to- about the role of content-area teachers inday’s American youth to have far more ad- reading instruction continues,10 the timevanced literacy skills than those required has come to consider seriously the supportof any previous generation.4 However, as that needs to be given to struggling read-long-term NAEP data5 and other studies ers and the role that every teacher needsshow,6 improvements in the literacy skills to play in working toward higher levels ofof older students have not kept pace with literacy among all adolescents, regardlessthe increasing demands for literacy in the of their reading abilities.workplace. These studies, and those men-tioned earlier, suggest the need for serious A significant difficulty in working toward higher levels of literacy involves struc- tural barriers at the middle and high1. Lee, Griggs, and Donahue (2007). school levels that need to be overcome.2. Pennsylvania Department of Education (2004);Williamson (2004). 7. Heller and Greenleaf (2007).3. ACT (2006). 8. Heller and Greenleaf (2007).4. Snow, Burns, and Griffin (1998). 9. Artley (1944); Moore, Readence, and Rickman5. Perie and Moran (2005). (1983).6. ACT (2006). 10. Heller and Greenleaf (2007). (4)
  • 11. OvERvIEWResearchers11 have found that some teach- English.15 The search for sources focuseders circumvent the need for students to only on studies of reading programs con-read texts by adjusting their assignments ducted within a school or clinical settingor methods of presenting content, rather and excluded those offered in organizedthan helping students learn the discipline- after school programs. These decisionsspecific strategies needed for content-area narrowed the number of empirical stud-work. Another researcher12 found that ies from which recommendations couldcontent-area teachers expressed resis- be drawn.tance to the work of the high school read-ing specialists, whose job is to provide Finally, the research that met the crite-students with additional help outside their ria for inclusion in this guide includedregular class structure. And still others13 few studies involving the use of com-have suggested that teachers who strive puter technology. Despite great inter-primarily to cover the content of their est in and increasing use of software fordisciplines are unaware that by increas- reading instruction in middle and highing students’ ability to read their assign- schools, there is little experimental orments they could actually increase the quasi-experimental research demonstrat-depth and breadth of content that could ing the effectiveness of that work. Mostbe covered efficiently. A final barrier14 recently, the National Evaluation of Edu-is that when schools actually institute cational Technology16 assessed the ef-programs to help struggling adolescent fectiveness of four software packages forreaders, they are housed within special literacy instruction at the 4th grade level,education programs and thus serve only using an experimental design with a na-a small proportion of the students whom tional sample of 45 schools, comprisingthey could benefit. 118 teachers and 2,265 students. Although the individual products were not identi-In determining what to include in the ado- fied by specific results, none of the testedlescent literacy practice guide, the panel software products produced statisticallyrecognized that recommendations for in- significant improvements in student read-structional strategies must be evidence- ing achievement at the end of the first ofbased. That is, rigorous studies have two years of the study. At the same time,shown the practices to be associated with the National Reading Panel suggested thatimprovements in students’ reading pro- there is some promise in using computersficiency. While fully understanding that to supplement classroom instruction; how-all aspects of literacy are important for ever, these conclusions do not rise to thesuccess in middle and high school, panel level of a supported endorsement.members decided to focus specifically onstudies about reading, that is, studies in A major source for identifying strategieswhich reading was a dependent variable. that can have an immediate impact onAlthough aware of the challenges faced by student reading achievement was the Re-English language learners, we also focused port of the National Reading Panel,17 es-on students whose first language was pecially its sections on comprehension 15. The Institute of Education Sciences has pub-11. Schoenbach et al. (1999). lished a practice guide on effective literacy in-12. Darwin (2003). struction for English language learners, which can be accessed at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee.13. Kingery (2000); O’Brien, Moje, and Stewart(2001). 16. Dynarski et al. (2007).14. Barry (1997). 17. National Reading Panel (2000a). (5)
  • 12. OvERvIEWand vocabulary. What makes the National marginal at best, and also those who strug-Reading Panel evidence so important is gle with reading. The first two recommen-that the eligible research for vocabulary dations focus on strategies for vocabularyconsisted mostly of studies of students in and comprehension instruction: Providegrades 3 and above, while the research on explicit vocabulary instruction (Level ofcomprehension involved mostly students evidence: Strong) and provide direct andin grades 4 and above. The analysis of explicit comprehension strategy instruc-adolescent literacy practices presented in tion (Level of evidence: Strong) (table 2).summary form in Reading Next: A Visionfor Action and Research in Middle and High Although its research base is not as strongSchool Literacy18 has also been influential as that for vocabulary and comprehension,in shaping discussions on adolescent lit- the third recommendation concerns dis-eracy and has provided a starting point cussion of and about texts. Most, if not all,for developing this guide. the studies that examined instruction in comprehension strategies indicated the im-Adolescent literacy is a complex concept portance of practicing those strategies inbecause it entails more than the scores the context of discussions about the mean-that students achieve on standardized ing of texts. Further, there is evidence thatreading tests. It also entails reading to encouraging high-quality discussion aboutlearn in subjects that present their ideas texts, even in the absence of explicit in-and content in different ways. Students struction in reading comprehension strate-need to be able to build knowledge by gies, can have a positive impact on readingcomprehending different kinds of texts, comprehension skills. Small- and large-mastering new vocabulary, and sharing group discussions also provide teachersideas with others. Although causal links with an important window into students’have not been empirically established thinking that can inform future instruc-between improvements in reading and tion. Therefore, the third recommendationincreases in course grades and scores on focuses on the use of discussion in improv-subject-based tests, students’ reading dif- ing the reading outcomes of students: Pro-ficulties will obviously impede their ability vide opportunities for extended discussionto master content-area coursework fully. of text meaning and interpretation (LevelTest score data and research continually of evidence: Moderate).confirm that many adolescents first needto improve their reading comprehension The fourth recommendation concerns stu-skills before they can take full advantage dent motivation and engagement. Theseof content-area instruction. two factors are widely recognized as im- portant moderators for learning, but thereIn determining what to include in this is limited scientific evidence that linkspractice guide, panel members also recog- these factors directly to student achieve-nized that recommendations must be prac- ment in reading. Nonetheless, all teacherstical. Teachers must perceive the value of can recognize the importance of bolster-each recommendation so that they envi- ing students’ motivation and finding wayssion themselves integrating the recom- to increase students’ engagement withmendations into their instruction to make the material they are asked to read. Thecontent-area reading assignments acces- recommendation provided in this prac-sible to all students—those who are learn- tice guide ties motivation and engage-ing to make sense of new and unfamiliar ment specifically to literacy outcomes:academic areas, those whose skills are Increase student motivation and engage- ment in literacy learning (Level of evi-18. Biancarosa and Snow (2004). dence: Moderate). (6)
  • 13. OvERvIEWTable 2. Recommendations and corresponding levels of evidence tosupport each Recommendation Level of evidence 1. Provide explicit vocabulary instruction. Strong 2. Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction. Strong 3. Provide opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and Moderate interpretation. 4. Increase student motivation and engagement in literacy learning. Moderate 5. Make available intensive and individualized interventions for strug- Strong gling readers that can be provided by trained specialists.Panel members also recognized that some strong and focused instruction, they willstudents need more intense help to im- continue to struggle to make sense of theprove literacy skills than classroom teach- materials assigned to them in their course-ers can provide. Because of this, our fifth work, and they are at serious risk of beingrecommendation concerns struggling read- unable to use literacy skills successfully iners, those students who probably score well their postsecondary lives. However, if theybelow their peers on state reading tests and are identified from among their peers aswhose reading deficits hinder successful being struggling readers and if their weak-performance in their coursework. Under nesses in reading are carefully assessed bynormal classroom instructional conditions, trained specialists using measures that de-these students are unable to make needed tect strengths and weaknesses, and this as-improvements in their reading skills, so sessment is followed by intensive interven-they typically cannot meet grade-level tions that are focused on their particularstandards in literacy throughout middle needs, they will have more opportunities toand high schools. They need additional improve their literacy skills substantially.help that the classroom teacher cannot This improvement should then translatebe expected to provide. Unless their read- into gains in content-area achievementing growth is dramatically accelerated by (Level of evidence: Strong). (7)
  • 14. Scope of the because the formal evidence base for thesepractice guide methods is not yet sufficiently developed. The fifth recommendation refers to read- ing interventions that in many cases mustThis practice guide provides five recom- be provided by reading specialists or spe-mendations for increasing the reading cially trained teachers.ability of adolescents. The first three rec-ommendations are strategies that class- In offering these recommendations, we re-room teachers can incorporate into their mind the reader that adolescent literacy isinstruction to help students gain more complex. There are many reasons why ad-from their reading tasks in content-area olescents have difficulty making sense ofclasses. The fourth recommendation offers texts, and there are many manifestationsteachers strategies for improving students’ of these difficulties. Addressing students’motivation for and engagement with learn- needs often requires coordinated effortsing. Together, the recommendations offer from teachers and specialists.a coherent statement: specific strategiesare available for classroom teachers and Readers should also note that appropri-specialists to address the literacy needs of ate professional development in read-all adolescent learners. The fifth recom- ing has been shown to produce highermendation refers specifically to adolescent achievement in students.19 Providing pro-struggling readers, those students whose fessional development to content-areapoor literacy skills weaken their ability to teachers focused on instructional tech-make sense of written material. niques they can use to meet the literacy needs of all their students, including thoseAlthough not an exhaustive list, the rec- who struggle, is highly recommended inommendations are representative of panel this practice guide. Professional develop-members’ thinking about methods that ment also needs to address the specifichave the strongest research support and literacy demands of different disciplines.those that are appropriate for use with One attempt at specifying these demandsadolescents. The first four recommenda- describes specific skills in mathematics,tions can be implemented easily by class- science, social studies, and English.20 Fo-room teachers within their regular in- cusing on these skills would be an idealstruction, regardless of the content areas starting point for professional develop-they teach. Recommendations for teaching ment for content-area teachers who wantstudents about the discourse patterns of to incorporate elements of literacy instruc-specific subjects that adolescents study tion in their content area instruction.(for example, different ways of present-ing information, creating arguments, or 19. National Reading Panel (2000a).evaluating evidence in science comparedwith history) are not included in this guide 20. International Reading Association (2006). (8)
  • 15. Checklist for carrying out the Recommendation 3.recommendations Provide opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning andRecommendation 1. interpretationProvide explicit vocabulary instruction Carefully prepare for the discussion by Dedicate a portion of regular classroom selecting engaging materials and developinglessons to explicit vocabulary instruction. stimulating questions. Provide repeated exposure to new words Ask follow-up questions that help pro-in multiple contexts, and allow sufficient vide continuity and extend the discussion.practice sessions in vocabulary instruction. Provide a task or discussion format that give sufficient opportunities to use new students can follow when they discuss textvocabulary in a variety of contexts through in small groups.activities such as discussion, writing, andextended reading. Develop and practice the use of a spe- cific “discussion protocol.” Provide students with strategies to makethem independent vocabulary learners. Recommendation 4. Increase student motivation andRecommendation 2. engagement in literacy learningProvide direct and explicitcomprehension strategy instruction Establish meaningful and engaging content learning goals around the essential Select carefully the text to use when ideas of a discipline as well as around thebeginning to teach a given strategy. specific learning processes used to access those ideas. Show students how to apply the strate-gies they are learning to different texts. Provide a positive learning environ- ment that promotes student autonomy in Make sure that the text is appropriate learning.for the reading level of students. Make literacy experiences more relevant use a direct and explicit instruction les- to student interests, everyday life, or impor-son plan for teaching students how to use tant current events.comprehension strategies. Build classroom conditions to promote Provide the appropriate amount of higher reading engagement and conceptualguided practice depending on the difficulty learning through such strategies as goal set-level of the strategies that students are ting, self-directed learning, and collaborativelearning. learning. Talk about comprehension strategieswhile teaching them. (9)
  • 16. ChECkLIST fOR CARRyIng OuT ThE RECOMMEnDATIOnSRecommendation 5. Make availableintensive individualized interventions Select an intervention that provides anfor struggling readers that can be explicit instructional focus to meet each stu-provided by qualified specialists dent’s identified learning needs. use reliable screening assessments to Provide interventions where intensive-identify students with reading difficulties ness matches student needs: the greaterand follow up with formal and informal as- the instructional need, the more intensivesessments to pinpoint each student’s instruc- the intervention. Assuming a high level oftional needs. instructional quality, the intensity of inter- ventions is related most directly to the size of instructional groups and amount of in- structional time. ( 10 )
  • 17. Recommendation 1. One caveat is critical to interpreting theProvide explicit research on vocabulary instruction. While all of these studies show effects on vo-vocabulary instruction cabulary learning, only some show that explicit vocabulary instruction has effects on standardized measures of reading com-Teachers should provide students prehension. Although reading comprehen-with explicit vocabulary instruction sion is clearly the ultimate goal of readingboth as part of reading and language instruction, it is important to note that thearts classes and as part of content- construct of comprehension includes, butarea classes such as science and social is not limited to, vocabulary. While it isstudies. By giving students explicit likely that the cumulative effects of learn-instruction in vocabulary, teachers help ing vocabulary would eventually showthem learn the meaning of new words effects on reading comprehension, we be-and strengthen their independent skills lieve additional research is necessary toof constructing the meaning of text. demonstrate this relationship.Level of evidence: Strong Brief summary of evidence to support the recommendationThe panel considers the level of evidencesupporting this recommendation to be In the early stages of reading most of thestrong, based on six randomized con- words in grade-level texts are familiar totrolled experimental studies and three students as part of their oral vocabulary.well designed quasi-experiments that dem- However, as students progress throughonstrated group equivalence at pretest.1 the grades, print vocabulary increasinglyAn additional six studies with weaker de- contains words that are rarely part of oralsigns provided direct evidence to support vocabulary. This is particularly the casethis recommendation.2 A single subject de- for content-area material. In many content-sign study also provided evidence about area texts it is the vocabulary that carries athe effect of vocabulary instruction on stu- large share of the meaning through special-dents’ outcomes.3 The research supporting ized vocabulary, jargon, and discipline-re-explicit vocabulary instruction includes lated concepts. Learning these specializedstudents in upper elementary, middle, vocabularies contributes to the success ofand high schools from diverse geographic reading among adolescent students. Re-regions and socioeconomic backgrounds search has shown that integrating explicitand addresses a wide variety of strategies vocabulary instruction into the existingof vocabulary instruction. curriculum of subject areas such as science or social studies enhances students’ ability1. Barron and Melnik (1973); Baumann et al. (2002); to acquire textbook vocabulary.4Baumann et al. (2003); Bos and Anders (1990);Brett, Rothlein, and Hurley (1996); Lieberman Children often learn new words inciden-(1967); Margosein, Pascarella, and Pflaum (1982); tally from context. However, accordingNelson and Stage (2007); Xin and Reith (2001). to a meta-analysis of the literature, the2. Beck, Perfetti, and McKeown (1982); Jenkins, probability that they will learn new wordsMatlock, and Slocum (1989); Koury (1996); Rud- while reading is relatively low—about 15dell and Shearer (2002); Stump et al. (1992); Ter- percent.5 Therefore, although incidentalrill, Scruggs, and Mastropieri (2004).3. Malone and McLaughlin (1997). The standards 4. Baumann et al. (2003); Bos and Anders (1990).for judging the quality of a single subject designstudy are currently being developed. 5. Swanborn and de Glopper (1999). ( 11 )
  • 18. 1. PROvIDE ExPLICIT vOCABuLARy InSTRuCTIOnlearning helps students develop their vo- prose, expository texts, and specializedcabulary, additional explicit instructional word lists.9support needs to be provided as part ofthe curriculum to ensure that all students Explicit vocabulary instruction is a nameacquire the necessary print vocabulary for for a family of strategies that can be di-academic success. In many academic texts, vided into two major approaches: direct in-students may use context clues within the struction in word meaning and instructiontext, combined with their existing seman- in strategies to promote independent vo-tic and syntactic knowledge to infer the cabulary acquisition skills. Direct instruc-meaning of unfamiliar words.6 Explicit tion in word meaning includes helping stu-vocabulary instruction may be essential dents look up definitions in dictionariesto this development of these types of in- and glossaries, read the words and theirference skills. definitions, match words and their defini- tions, participate in oral recitation, memo-Words are best learned through repeated rize definitions, and use graphic displaysexposure in multiple contexts and do- of the relationships among words and con-mains. Many content-area texts, such as cepts such as semantic maps. Strategies tothose in biology and physics, however, promote independent vocabulary acqui-include specialized vocabulary, jargon, sition skills include analyzing semantic,and discipline-related concepts that stu- syntactic, or context clues to derive thedents may not encounter outside their meaning of words by using prior knowl-textbooks. This aspect of presenting edge and the context in which the word iscontent-area material limits the amount presented. Research shows that both ap-of exposure students will have with these proaches can effectively promote students’unfamiliar terms. If students encounter vocabulary.10 The first approach can addunknown words in almost every sen- to students’ ability to learn a given set oftence in a textbook, learning the content words, whereas the second approach hasbecomes daunting and discouraging. Ex- the added value of helping students gen-plicit instruction in specialized vocabu- eralize their skills to a variety of new textslaries is an important way to contribute in multiple contexts. In that respect, theto successful reading among adolescent two approaches are complementary ratherstudents.7 than conflicting.Research has shown that integrating ex- Some students acquire words best fromplicit vocabulary instruction into the ex- reading and writing activities, whereasisting content-area curriculum in content other students benefit more from visualareas such as science or social studies and physical experiences.11 For exam-enhances students’ ability to acquire text- ple, short documentary videos may helpbook vocabulary.8 Additional studies that students learn new concepts and termsexamined students’ scores on the vocab- because they provide a vivid picture ofulary subtests of standardized reading how the object looks in the context of itstests demonstrated that explicit vocabu-lary instruction had a substantial effecton students’ vocabulary acquisition in the 9. Barron and Melnik (1973); Baumann et al. (2002); Beck et al. (1982); Brett et al. (1996); Nel-context of a variety of texts, including son and Stage (2007) 10. Baumann et al. (2003); Bos and Anders (1990);6. Swanborn and de Glopper (1999). Jenkins et al. (1989)7. Beck et al. (1982). 11. Barron and Melnik (1973); Xin and Reith8. Baumann et al. (2003); Bos and Anders (1990) (2001). ( 12 )
  • 19. 1. PROvIDE ExPLICIT vOCABuLARy InSTRuCTIOnenvironment or specialized use.12 Using respect to the effects of such instructioncomputer software to teach vocabulary is on general measures of comprehension.an effective way to leverage instructional Only a small number of the studies ontime and provide a variety of practice explicit vocabulary instruction includedmodes—oral, print, and even multimedia comprehension outcome measures andelaborations of words and concepts. Pro- found meaningful increases in students’grams that allow students to engage in reading comprehension. It may be thatindependent practice can free teachers to whereas limited vocabulary interfereswork with other students in other instruc- with comprehension, additional literacytional modes. skills are needed for successful reading comprehension.Other studies have shown that studentsalso learn vocabulary through rich discus- How to carry out thesions of texts (see recommendation 3). For recommendationinstance, one study showed that discus-sion improved knowledge of word mean- 1. Dedicate a portion of the regular class-ings and relationships for students reading room lesson to explicit vocabulary instruc-biology texts.13 Discussion was also used tion. The amount of time will be dictated byin another study as part of the interven- the vocabulary load of the text to be readtion.14 Discussion seems to have its effects and the students’ prior knowledge of theby allowing students to participate as both vocabulary. Making certain that studentsspeakers and listeners. While this is not are familiar with the vocabulary they willexplicit instruction, it does have some encounter in reading selections can helpadditional benefits. For example, discus- make the reading task easier. Computer in-sion might force students to organize vo- struction can be an effective way to providecabulary as they participate, even testing practice on vocabulary and leverage class-whether or not the vocabulary is used ap- room time.propriately. It also presents opportunitiesfor repeated exposure to words, shown to 2. use repeated exposure to new words inbe a necessary condition for vocabulary multiple oral and written contexts and allowlearning. Vocabulary learning in these sufficient practice sessions.15 Words are usu-cases did not result from explicit instruc- ally learned only after they appear severaltion, but teachers who recognize potential times. In fact, researchers16 estimate that itof this kind of learning can supplement could take as many as 17 exposures for athese interactions with new vocabulary student to learn a new word. Repeated ex-with brief, focused explicit instruction posure could be in the same lesson or pas-to ensure that students share a common sage, but the exposures will be most effec-understanding of unfamiliar words and tive if they appear over an extended periodterms and have an opportunity to practice of time.17 Words that appear only once ornew vocabulary. twice in a text are typically not words that should be targeted for explicit instructionAlthough the research noted so far dem- because there may never be enough prac-onstrates the positive effects of explicit tice to learn the word completely. Studentsvocabulary instruction on vocabulary should be provided with the definitions ofacquisition, there are mixed results with these infrequent words.12. Xin and Reith (2001). 15. Jenkins et al. (1989).13. Barron and Melnik (1973). 16. Ausubel and Youssef (1965).14. Xin and Reith (2001). 17. Ausubel and Youssef (1965). ( 13 )
  • 20. 1. PROvIDE ExPLICIT vOCABuLARy InSTRuCTIOn3. give sufficient opportunities to use new Content-area textbooks are loaded with toovocabulary in a variety of contexts through much specialized vocabulary and jargon.activities such as discussion, writing, and Teachers need to select carefully the mostextended reading. This will ensure that stu- important words to teach explicitly eachdents begin to acquire a range of productive day. Several popular methods of selectingmeanings for the words they are learning words for vocabulary instruction are avail-and the correct way to use those words in able. Two methods seem important for ado-addition to simply being able to recognize lescent readers:them in print. • One method uses as a criterion the4. Provide students with strategies to make frequency of the words in instruc-them independent vocabulary learners. One tional materials.20 This, again, is moreway is to give them strategies to use com- important for elementary materialsponents (prefixes, roots, suffixes) of words where the vocabulary is selected fromto derive the meaning of unfamiliar words; a relatively constrained set of instruc-another is to make use of reference ma- tional materials. For most adolescents,terial such as glossaries included in their this constraint on vocabulary in in-textbooks.18 structional materials diminishes over time, making the frequency method ofPotential roadblocks and solutions selecting words less useful for teach- ing adolescent students reading con-1. Students may vary in their response to tent. However, for adolescent studentsdifferent vocabulary instruction strategies. who have limited vocabularies, select-for example, some students respond better ing high-frequency, unknown wordsto sensory information than to verbal infor- remains an important instructionalmation about word meaning. Teachers need strategy.to combine multiple approaches in provid-ing explicit vocabulary instruction.19 for in- • Another method uses three categoriesstance, as described above, it is helpful to of words: Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III.expose students to vocabulary numerous This concept has been applied mosttimes either in one lesson or over a series of effectively for literary texts with stu-lessons. It is also helpful to combine this re- dents at elementary levels. Tier I wordspeated exposure with a number of different are those typically in readers’ vocab-explicit instruction strategies, such as using ularies and should not be the focusdirect instruction techniques (getting stu- of instruction. These high-frequencydents to look up definitions in dictionaries), words are usually acquired very early.helping promote students to independently Tier III words are rare words that areacquire vocabulary skills (using context clues recommended for instruction onlyto derive meaning), offering students the when they are encountered in a text.opportunity to work on the computer using That leaves Tier II words as the focusvarious software, and allowing students to of explicit vocabulary instruction priordiscuss what they have read. to reading a text. The criteria for what constitutes membership in each tier2. Teachers may not know how to select are not sharply defined, but are looselywords to teach, especially in content areas. based on frequency and the utility for future reading.2118. Baumann et al. (2002); Baumann et al.(2003). 20. Biemiller (2005); Hiebert (2005).19. Lieberman (1967). 21. Beck et al. (1982). ( 14 )
  • 21. 1. PROvIDE ExPLICIT vOCABuLARy InSTRuCTIOn• For adolescent readers of content mate- 3. Teachers may perceive that they do not rials, vocabulary should be selected on have time to teach vocabulary. Teachers are the basis of how important the words often focused on the factual aspect of stu- are for learning in the particular disci- dents’ content-area learning and find little pline, rather than the tier in which the time to focus on other issues in reading. word is located. For example, in a 9th- Whenever reading is part of a lesson, a few grade biology text, the word “cytoskel- minutes spent on explicit vocabulary in- eton” might be a target for prereading struction will pay substantial dividends for instruction in a chapter on cell biology, student learning. Some effort in teaching even though it would generally be con- students to become independent vocabu- sidered a Tier III word because it al- lary learners will lessen the amount of time most never appears in general reading required by teachers as part of the lesson.22 or conversation. Most of the words for Making students even slightly more inde- adolescent readers should be selected pendent vocabulary learners will eventually on the basis of how important they are increase the amount of content-area instruc- to understanding the content that stu- tional time. dents are expected to read. For much content material, the words that carry Using computers can give teachers the op- the burden of the meaning of the text portunity to provide independent practice are rare words, except in texts and ma- on learning vocabulary. Teachers will be terials related to a specific discipline. able to leverage instructional time by hav- Despite the rarity of the words, they are ing students work independently, either often critical to learning the discipline before or after reading texts. content and thus should be the subject of explicit instruction, which is almost 22. Baumann et al. (2002); Baumann et al. the only way they can be learned. (2003). ( 15 )
  • 22. Recommendation 2. Level of evidence: StrongProvide direct and The panel considers the level of evidenceexplicit comprehension supporting this recommendation to bestrategy instruction strong, on the basis of five randomized experimental studies25 and additional evi- dence from a single subject design study26Teachers should provide adolescents that examined the effects of teaching mainwith direct and explicit instruction in idea summarization on adolescents’ com-comprehension strategies to improve prehension of narrative and informationalstudents’ reading comprehension. texts. In addition, this body of researchComprehension strategies are is supported by numerous other studiesroutines and procedures that readers that vary in research design and qualityuse to help them make sense of and by additional substantive reviews oftexts. These strategies include, but the research.27are not limited to, summarizing,asking and answering questions, Brief summary of evidence toparaphrasing, and finding the main support the recommendationidea. Comprehension strategyinstruction can also include specific Approaches for teaching reading com-teacher activities that have been prehension to adolescents are a commondemonstrated to improve students’ concern among middle and high schoolcomprehension of texts. Asking teachers because many adolescent stu-students questions and using graphic dents have a hard time comprehendingorganizers are examples of such their content-area textbooks.28 Therefore,strategies. Direct and explicit teaching helping students comprehend these textsinvolves a teacher modeling and should be a high priority for upper elemen-providing explanations of the specific tary, middle, and high school teachers.strategies students are learning, giving Using comprehension strategies may beguided practice and feedback on the a new idea for many teachers. However,use of the strategies, and promoting comprehension strategy instruction hasindependent practice to apply the been around for some time and is the topicstrategies.23 An important part of of a number of resource books availablecomprehension strategy instructionis the active participation of students 25. Hansen and Pearson (1983); Katims and Har-in the comprehension process. In ris (1997); Margosein et al. (1982); Peverly andaddition, explicit instruction involves Wood (2001); Raphael and McKinney (1983).providing a sufficient amount of 26. Jitendra et al. (1998). The standards for judg-support, or scaffolding, to students ing the quality of a single subject design studyas they learn the strategies to ensure are currently being developed.success.24 27. Dole et al. (1991); Gersten et al. (2001); Na- tional Reading Panel (2000b); Paris, Lipson, and Wixson (1983); Paris, Wasik, and Turner (1991); Pearson and Fielding (1991); Pressley, Johnson23. Brown, Campione, and Day (1981); Dole et al. (1989); Pressley, Symons et al. (1989); Rosen-et al. (1991); Kame’enui et al. (1997); Pearson shine and Meister (1994); Rosenshine, Meis-and Dole (1987); Pressley, Snyder, and Cariglia- ter, and Chapman (1996); Weinstein and MayerBull (1987). (1986).24. Brown et al. (1981); Palincsar and Brown 28. Biancarosa and Snow (2006); Chall and Con-(1984); Pearson and Gallagher (1983). rad (1991); Kamil (2003); Moore et al. (1999). ( 16 )
  • 23. 2. PROvIDE DIRECT AnD ExPLICIT COMPREhEnSIOn STRATEgy InSTRuCTIOnto help teachers teach strategies to their the page because they are not activelystudents.29 Four ideas about teaching com- processing the meaning of what they areprehension strategies that are important reading. Instruction in the application offor teachers to understand can be gleaned comprehension strategies may help thesefrom the research: students become active readers.The effectiveness of a number of different Most of the research studies comparedstrategies has been demonstrated in the the use of one or more strategies againstsmall set of experimental studies meet- a control condition that typically includeding the WWC standards. These strategies traditional, or “business as usual” instruc-included having students summarize main tion. So, it is really not possible to compareideas both within paragraphs and across one or more strategies against another.texts, asking themselves questions about We cannot say that paraphrasing is morewhat they have read, paraphrasing what powerful than main-idea summarizing,they have read, drawing inferences that or that drawing inferences on the basis ofare based on text information and prior text information and prior knowledge isknowledge, answering questions at dif- better than answering questions at differ-ferent points in the text, using graphic or- ent points in the text. Very little researchganizers, and thinking about the types of tells us that. We can say that it appearsquestions they are being asked to answer. that asking and answering questions, sum-It appears that teaching these specific marizing, and using graphic organizersstrategies is particularly powerful. How- are particularly powerful strategies. Butever, other strategies have been evaluated even with these strategies we cannot sayin the literature and demonstrated to be which ones are the best or better thanuseful as well.30 The point here is that it others for which students and for whichmay not be the particular strategies that classrooms.make the difference in terms of studentcomprehension. Many researchers think It appears that multiple-strategy trainingthat it is not the specific strategy taught, results in better comprehension than sin-but rather the active participation of stu- gle-strategy training. All the strong stud-dents in the comprehension process that ies that support this recommendation in-makes the most difference on students’ clude teaching more than one strategy tocomprehension.31 The strategies listed the same group of students. For example,above might be particularly useful for one study used finding the main ideas andmiddle and high school teachers students summarizing to help students compre-who are passive readers. These students’ hend texts better.32 Another study taughteyes sometimes glaze over the words on students to make connections between new text information and prior knowledge,29. Blanchowicz and Ogle (2001); Harvey and make predictions about the content of theGoudvis (2000); Keene (2006); Keene and Zim- text, and draw inferences.33 This findingmerman (1997); McLaughlin and Allen (2001); is consistent with those from the NationalOczkus (2004); Outsen and Yulga (2002); Stebick Reading Panel, which also found benefitsand Dain (2007); Tovani (2004); Wilhelm (2001); from teaching students to use more thanZwiers (2004). one strategy to improve their reading com-30. Brown et al. (1996); Cross and Paris (1988); prehension skills.34Dewitz, Carr, and Patberg (1987); Idol (1987);Klingner, Vaughn, and Schumm (1998); Paris, 32. Katims and Harris (1997).Cross, and Lipson (1984); Pressley (1976); Re-utzel (1985). 33. Hansen and Pearson (1983).31. Gersten et al. (2001); Pressley et al. (1987). 34. National Reading Panel (2000a). ( 17 )
  • 24. 2. PROvIDE DIRECT AnD ExPLICIT COMPREhEnSIOn STRATEgy InSTRuCTIOnDirect and explicit instruction is a power- 1. Select carefully the text to use when firstful delivery system for teaching compre- beginning to teach a given strategy. Althoughhension strategies. This finding comes strategies can be applied to many differentfrom one of the five strong studies and texts, they cannot be applied blindly to allfrom a number of other studies.35 Direct texts. for example, using main-idea summa-and explicit instruction involves a series rizing is difficult to do with narrative textsof steps that include explaining and mod- because narrative texts do not have cleareling the strategy, using the strategy for main ideas. Main-idea summarizing shouldguided practice, and using the strategy be used with informational texts, such as afor independent practice. Explaining and content-area textbook or a nonfiction trademodeling include defining each of the book. Similarly, asking questions about astrategies for students and showing them text is more easily applied to some textshow to use those strategies when reading than to others.a text. Guided practice involves the teacherand students working together to apply the 2. Show students how to apply the strate-strategies to texts they are reading. This gies they are learning to different texts, notmay involve extensive interaction between just to one text. Applying the strategies tothe teacher and students when students different texts encourages students to learnare applying the strategies to see how to use the strategies flexibly.36 It also allowswell they understand the particular text students to learn when and where to applythey are reading. Or, it may involve having the strategies and when and where the strat-students practice applying the strategies egies are inappropriate.37to various texts in small groups. Indepen-dent practice occurs once the teacher is 3. Ensure that the text is appropriate for theconvinced that students can use the strat- reading level of students. A text that is tooegies on their own. At that point, students difficult to read makes using the strategyindependently practice applying the strat- difficult because students are strugglingegies to a new text. with the text itself. Likewise, a text that is too easy eliminates the need for strategiesHow to carry out the in the first place. Begin teaching strategiesrecommendation by using a single text followed by students’ applying them to appropriate texts at theirUpper elementary, middle, and second- reading level.ary school teachers can take several ac-tion steps to implement explicit strategy 4. use direct and explicit instruction forinstruction, which involves helping stu- teaching students how to use comprehen-dents actively engage in the texts they sion strategies. As the lesson begins, it isread. A number of different strategies can important for teachers to tell students spe-be taught directly and explicitly to stu- cifically what strategies they are going todents and applied to content-area texts learn, tell them why it is important for themthey read. Assisting students in learn- to learn the strategies,38 model how to useing how to apply these strategies to their the strategies by thinking aloud with a text,39texts will empower them and give them provide guided practice with feedback somore control over their reading and un- that students have opportunities to practicederstanding. Specifically, to implementexplicit strategy instruction, teachers can 36. Pressley and Afflerbach (1995).do the following: 37. Duffy (2002); Paris et al. (1983). 38. Brown et al. (1981)35. Duffy et al. (1987); Fuchs et al. (1997); Kling-ner et al. (1998); Schumaker and Deshler (1992). 39. Bereiter and Bird (1985) ( 18 )
  • 25. 2. PROvIDE DIRECT AnD ExPLICIT COMPREhEnSIOn STRATEgy InSTRuCTIOnusing the strategies, provide independent Potential roadblocks and solutionspractice using the strategies, and discusswith students when and where they should 1. Most teachers lack the skills to provide di-apply the strategies when they read and rect and explicit comprehension strategy in-the importance of having the will to use the struction. Most teacher education programsstrategies along with the skill. Even if stu- do not prepare preservice teachers to teachdents know how to use strategies as they strategies. In addition, teachers may find itread, research demonstrates that they have particularly challenging to model their ownto make the effort to actually use them when thinking by providing thinkaloud of howthey read on their own.40 they use strategies as they read. Many teach- ers use various strategies automatically as5. Provide the appropriate amount of guided they read and are not aware of how theypractice depending on the difficulty level of use the strategies they are teaching. Profes-the strategies that the students are learn- sional development in direct and explicit in-ing. for example, the strategy of predict- struction of comprehension strategies willing can be demonstrated briefly and with assist all teachers, including language artsa few examples. however, summarizing a and content-area teachers, in learning howparagraph or a passage may require several to teach strategies. One component of pro-steps within guided practice. first, provide fessional development should be coachingsupport for students in cooperative learning teachers in the classroom as they teach. Ingroups. As students work in these groups, addition, it is often helpful for teachers toassist them directly if necessary by modeling practice thinking aloud on their own. Theyhow to use a given strategy again or by ask- can take a text and practice explaining howing questions to generate ideas about how they would go about summarizing the textthey would use it. If necessary, give students or finding the main idea. Teachers will needdirect answers and have them repeat those to become conscious of many of the readinganswers. Second, as students become better processes that are automatic for them.at using the strategies, gradually reduce thesupport, perhaps by asking them to break 2. Content-area teachers may believe that theythe cooperative learning groups into pairs are not responsible for teaching comprehen-so they have fewer peers to rely on. Third, sion strategies to their students. They mayreduce support further by asking students also believe that they do not have enoughto use the strategies on their own with texts time to teach these strategies because theythey read independently.41 have to cover the content presented in their curriculum guides and textbooks. Because6. When teaching comprehension strategies, teaching comprehension strategies improvesmake sure students understand that the goal students’ ability to comprehend their text-is to understand the content of the text. Too books, it is a valuable classroom activity formuch focus on the process of learning the content-area teachers, not just language artsstrategies can take away from students’ un- teachers. Teaching comprehension strategiesderstanding of the text itself.42 Instead, show should expand students’ long-term learningstudents how using the strategies can help abilities. Although it may take a short timethem understand the text they are reading. to teach several strategies, that time shouldThe goal should always be comprehending pay off in the long term by helping studentstexts—not using strategies. learn more independently from their text- books and other source material they are40. Paris et al. (1991); Pressley et al. (1987) asked to read in their classrooms. After all, the goal of using comprehension strategies41. Brown et al. (1981) is improved comprehension—of all text ma-42. Pearson and Dole (1987) terials that students read. ( 19 )
  • 26. 2. PROvIDE DIRECT AnD ExPLICIT COMPREhEnSIOn STRATEgy InSTRuCTIOn3. Some teachers and students may “lose the A critically important part of professionalforest for the trees.” Teachers may misunder- development is the focus on the end goalstand or misinterpret the research on teach- of comprehension. As teachers learn howing comprehension strategies, such that they to teach the various strategies, they needthink teaching comprehension is all about to keep this goal in mind. Likewise, teach-teaching a specific sequence of comprehen- ers need to emphasize to students the ideasion strategies, one after the other. Likewise, that the end goal of strategy use is compre-students too may misunderstand and misin- hension, not just the use of many strate-terpret teachers’ emphasis on strategies, such gies. It is important for teachers to ensurethat they inappropriately apply strategies to that students understand that using strat-the texts they are reading. Teachers and stu- egies is a way to accomplish the goal ofdents may miss the larger point of the strate- comprehension.gies, that is, active comprehension. ( 20 )
  • 27. Recommendation 3. the quasi-experimental studies45 as wellProvide opportunities as the large correlational study is that the quality of written responses to writingfor extended discussion prompts was the outcome assessment,of text meaning and rather than a more direct standardized test of reading comprehension. Among theinterpretation four quasi-experimental studies, one used rigorous design that demonstrated pretest group equivalence46 and the other threeTeachers should provide opportunities used less rigorous designs with low inter-for students to engage in high- nal validity. 47 The small body of researchquality discussions of the meaning identified to directly support this recom-and interpretation of texts in various mendation is supplemented by a recentlycontent areas as one important way to completed meta-analysis of 43 studiesimprove their reading comprehension. that used slightly more lenient inclusionThese discussions can occur in whole criteria than the literature search for thisclassroom groups or in small student practice guide,48 as well as a large descrip-groups under the general guidance tive study of middle and high schools thatof the teacher. Discussions that are were selected because they were “beatingparticularly effective in promoting the odds” in terms of their student literacystudents’ comprehension of complex text outcomes.49are those that focus on building a deeperunderstanding of the author’s meaning Brief summary of evidence toor critically analyzing and perhaps support the recommendationchallenging the author’s conclusionsthrough reasoning or applying Arguably the most important goal for lit-personal experiences and knowledge. eracy instruction with adolescents is toIn effective discussions students have increase their ability to comprehend com-the opportunity to have sustained plex text. Further, the goal is not simplyexchanges with the teacher or other to enable students to obtain facts or lit-students, present and defend individual eral meaning from text (although that isinterpretations and points of view, use clearly desirable), but also to make deepertext content, background knowledge, interpretations, generalizations, and con-and reasoning to support interpretations clusions. Most state and national literacyand conclusions, and listen to the points standards require middle and high schoolof view and reasoned arguments of students to go considerably beyond literalothers participating in the discussion. comprehension to be considered proficient readers. For example, the revised frame-Level of evidence: Moderate work for the NAEP indicates that 8th grad- ers who read at the proficient level shouldThe panel considers the level of evidence be able to “summarize major ideas, pro-for this recommendation to be moderate, on vide evidence in support of an argument,the basis of four small quasi-experimentalstudies 43 and one large correlational 45. Reznitskaya et al. (2001).study.44 A potential limitation in one of 46. Reznitskaya et al. (2001). 47. Bird (1984); Heinl (1988); Yeazell (1982).43. Bird (1984); Heinl (1988); Reznitskaya et al.(2001); Yeazell (1982). 48. Murphy et al. (2007).44. Applebee et al. (2003). 49. Langer (2001). ( 21 )
  • 28. 3. PROvIDE OPPORTunITIES fOR ExTEnDED DISCuSSIOn Of TExT MEAnIng AnD InTERPRETATIOnand analyze and interpret implicit causal students’ interactions with one another,relations.”50 They should also be able to and with the teacher as they apply various“analyze character motivation, make in- strategies give students multiple opportu-ferences…, and identify similarities across nities to discover new ways of interpretingtexts.”51 and constructing the meaning of text. One brief study of strategy instruction with aThe theory underpinning discussion- diverse group of 4th graders mentionedbased approaches to improve reading explicitly that the assignment to practicecomprehension rests on the idea that stu- making predictions, clarifying confusions,dents can, and will, internalize thinking and paraphrasing in small groups was aprocesses experienced repeatedly during very useful way to stimulate high-qualitydiscussions. In high-quality discussions discussions of the meaning of texts.52students have the opportunity to expresstheir own interpretations of text and to The most convincing evidence for thehave those positions challenged by others. effectiveness of discussion-oriented ap-They also have the opportunity to defend proaches to improve reading comprehen-their positions and to listen as others de- sion comes from studies that focused onfend different positions. Good discussions developing interpretations of text eventsgive students opportunities to identify or content or on a critical analysis of textspecific text material that supports their content.53 Within these general guidelines,position and to listen as other students do one feature of effective discussions is thatthe same. In the course of an effective dis- they involve sustained interactions thatcussion students are presented with mul- explore a topic or an idea in some depthtiple examples of how meaning can be con- rather than quick question and answerstructed from text. Thus, for teachers one exchanges between the teacher and stu-key to improving comprehension through dents.54 One large study of the extent ofdiscussion is to ensure that students expe- this type of sustained discussion in lan-rience productive ways of thinking about guage arts classes in middle and hightext that can serve as models for them to schools found, on average, only 1.7 min-use during their own reading. utes out of 60 devoted to this type of ex- change, with classrooms varying betweenA challenge to finding empirical research 0 and slightly more than 14 minutes. Class-to demonstrate the unique value of high- rooms that were more discussion-orientedquality discussions in improving compre- produced higher literacy growth duringhension is that in instructional research, the year than those in which sustaineddiscussion is often combined with strategy discussions were less frequent.55instruction. Most successful applicationsof strategy instruction involve extended Another characteristic of high-quality dis-opportunities for discussing texts while cussions is that they are usually based onstudents are learning to independently text that is specifically selected to stimu-apply such strategies as summarizing,making predictions, generating and an-swering questions, and linking text to pre-vious experience and knowledge. In effect, 52. Klingner et al. (1998). 53. Murphy et al. (2007).50. National Assessment Governing Board (2007,p. 46). 54. Applebee et al. (2003); Reznitskaya et al. (2001).51. National Assessment Governing Board (2007,p. 46). 55. Applebee et al. (2003). ( 22 )
  • 29. 3. PROvIDE OPPORTunITIES fOR ExTEnDED DISCuSSIOn Of TExT MEAnIng AnD InTERPRETATIOnlate an engaging discussion.56 Questions 1. Carefully prepare for the discussion. Inthat lead to good discussions are fre- classes where a choice of reading selectionsquently described as “authentic” in that is possible, look for selections that are en-they ask a real question that may be open gaging for students and describe situationsto multiple points of view, such as “Did or content that can stimulate and have mul-the way John treat Alex in this story seem tiple interpretations. In content-area classesfair to you?” or “What is the author trying that depend on a textbook, teachers canto say here?” or “How does that informa- identify in advance the issues or content thattion connect with what the author wrote might be difficult or misunderstood or sec-before?”57 Very different from questions tions that might be ambiguous or subject toasked primarily to test student knowledge, multiple interpretations. Alternatively, briefthis type of question is designed to pro- selections from the Internet or other sourcesvide an opportunity for exploration and that contain similar content but positionsdiscussion. Although it should be possible that allow for critical analysis or controversyto identify expository texts that could be can also be used as a stimulus for extendedthe basis for productive discussion, most discussions.experimental studies of discussion-basedapproaches thus far have used narrative Another form of preparation involves se-texts, a limitation in the research base at lecting and developing questions that canpresent. stimulate students to think reflectively about the text and make high-level connec-Discussions that have an impact on stu- tions or inferences. These are questionsdent reading comprehension feature ex- that an intelligent reader might actuallychanges between teachers and students wonder about—they are not the kind ofor among students, where students are questions that teachers often ask to de-asked to defend their statements either by termine what students have learned fromreasoning or by referring to information the text. Further, the types of discussionin the text.58 In a large-scale investigation questions appropriate for history textsof classrooms that produced strong liter- would probably be different from thoseacy outcomes, it was noted that teachers for science texts, as would those for socialprovided many opportunities for student studies texts or novels. Because part of theto work together to “sharpen their under- goal of discussion-based approaches isstandings with, against, and from each to model for students the ways that goodother.”59 readers construct meaning from texts, it seems reasonable to suggest that discus-How to carry out the sions of history texts might be framed dif-recommendation ferently from those of science texts.To engage students in high-quality discus- 2. Ask follow-up questions that help pro-sions of text meaning and interpretation, vide continuity and extend the discussion.teachers can: Questions that are used to frame discussions are typically followed by other questions56. Bird (1984); Heinl (1988); Reznitskaya et al. about a different interpretation, an expla-(2001); Yeazell (1982). nation of reasoning, or an identification of the content from the text that supports the57. Applebee et al. (2003); Bird (1984); Heinl student’s position. In a sustained discussion(1988); Reznitskaya et al. (2001); Yeazell (1982). initial questions are likely to be followed58. Bird (1984); Heinl (1988); Reznitskaya et al. by other questions that respond to the stu-(2001); Yeazell (1982). dent’s answer and lead to further thinking59. Langer (2001, p. 872). and elaboration. ( 23 )
  • 30. 3. PROvIDE OPPORTunITIES fOR ExTEnDED DISCuSSIOn Of TExT MEAnIng AnD InTERPRETATIOnIf the reading comprehension standards their positions and the reasoning behindthat students are expected to meet in- them, model reasoning processes by think-volve making inferences or connections ing out loud, propose counter arguments oracross different parts of a text or using positions, recognize good reasoning whenbackground knowledge and experience it occurs, and summarize the flow and mainto evaluate conclusions, students should ideas of a discussion as it draws to a close.routinely have the opportunity to discuss To be effective these types of discussionsanswers to these types of questions in all do not need to reach consensus; they justtheir reading and content-area classes. need to give students the opportunity to think more deeply about the meaning of3. Provide a task, or a discussion format, that what they are reading.students can follow when they discuss textstogether in small groups. for example, as- Potential roadblocks and solutionssign students to read selections together andpractice using the comprehension strategies 1. Students do not readily contribute theirthat have been taught and demonstrated. In ideas during discussions because they arethese groups students can take turns playing either not engaged by the topic or afraid ofvarious roles, such as leading the discussion, getting negative feedback from the teacherpredicting what the section might be about, or other students. Students might not ac-identifying words that are confusing, and tively participate in text-based discussionssummarizing. As these roles are completed, for a number of reasons, but these two areother students can then respond with other the most important. One strategy to dealpredictions, other things that are confusing, with the first problem is to create opportu-or different ways of summarizing the main nities for discussion by using text that hasidea. While students are working together, a very high interest level for students in thethe teacher should actively circulate among class but may only be tangentially related tothe groups to redirect discussions that have the topic of the class. for example, a news-gone astray, model thinking strategies, or paper article on the problem of teen preg-ask students additional questions to probe nancy might be integrated in a biology class,the meaning of the text at deeper levels. one on racial profiling in a social studies class, or one on child labor practices in a his-4. Develop and practice the use of a specific tory class. Students typically find discussion“discussion protocol.” Because it is challeng- and interaction rewarding, and once a gooding to lead the type of discussion that has an pattern is established, it can be generalizedimpact on students’ reading comprehension, to more standard textbook content.it may be helpful for teachers to identify aspecific set of steps from the research or best It is also important to establish a non-practice literature.60 This could be done ei- threatening and supportive environmentther individually or collaboratively in grade- from the first class meeting. As part of thislevel or subject-area teams. An example of supportive environment, it is importanta discussion protocol is provided in one of to model and encourage acceptance of di-the research studies used to support this verse viewpoints and discourage criticismrecommendation.61 In this study teachers and negative feedback on ideas. Teacherswere trained to follow five guidelines: ask can help students participate by callingquestions that require students to explain on students who may not otherwise con- tribute, while asking questions they know these students can answer.60. Adler and Rougle (2005); Beck and McKeown(2006). Student-led discussions in small groups61. Reznitskaya et al. (2001). can be another solution for students who ( 24 )
  • 31. 3. PROvIDE OPPORTunITIES fOR ExTEnDED DISCuSSIOn Of TExT MEAnIng AnD InTERPRETATIOnare hesitant to engage in whole-classroom discussions can create challenges for class-discussions. As mentioned before, the room control that may not occur in other in-quality of these discussions can be in- structional formats. Most teachers will needcreased, and student participation broad- some form of professional development toened, if teachers provide an organizing build their skills as discussion leaders ortask or activity that students can focus on organizers. Within schools, it could be veryas discuss the content of a text. helpful for content-area teachers to experi- ence these kinds of discussions themselves2. Discussions take classroom time, and too as a way of learning what it feels like to par-much time spent on an extended discussion ticipate in effective, open discussions. Also, aof a single topic may interfere with cover- number of useful books on this topic can beage of all the content in the curriculum. This the basis for teacher book study groups. Theproblem may require district- or state-level following resources provide helpful informa-intervention. If curriculum standards require tion and strategies related to improving theshallow coverage of a very wide range of quality of discussions about the meaningcontent, the pressure teachers feel to teach and interpretation of texts:the curriculum may limit opportunities forextended discussion of particular issues. • Adler, M., & Rougle, E. (2005). BuildingPressure to cover a very broad curriculum literacy through classroom discussion:could also limit teachers’ freedom to bring Research-based strategies for devel-in additional material on a specific topic that oping critical readers and thoughtfulmight help stimulate more engaging discus- writers in middle school. New York:sions. however, if literacy standards require Scholastic.students to think deeply (that is, to makeconnections, criticize conclusions, and draw • Applebee, A. N. (1996). Curriculum asinferences), many students will require the conversation: Transforming traditionsopportunity to acquire these skills by being of teaching and learning. Chicago: Uni-able to observe models of this type of think- versity of Chicago Press.ing during discussions. In the absence of ad-justments to the curriculum, teachers should • Beck, I. L., & McKeown, M. G. (2006). Im-carefully identify a few of the most impor- proving comprehension with Question-tant ideas in their content area for deeper ing the Author: A fresh and expandedconsideration through extended classroom view of a powerful approach. New York:discussion that focuses on building mean- Guilford.ing from text. • Beers, K. (2003). When kids can’t3. Teachers lack the skills in behavior man- read—what teachers can do: A guideagement, discussion techniques, or critical for teachers 6–12. Portsmouth, NH:thinking to guide productive discussion and Heinemann.analysis of text meanings. Leading instruc-tive discussions requires a set of teaching • Langer, J. A. (1995). Envisioning litera-skills that is different from the skills required ture: Literary understanding and liter-to present a lecture or question students in ature instruction. New York: Teachersa typical recitation format. It is also true that College Press. ( 25 )
  • 32. Recommendation 4. two meta-analyses66 also provided addi-Increase student tional evidence to support this recommen- dation.67 The recommendation to improvemotivation and adolescent literacy through classroom in-engagement in structional practices that promote motiva- tion and engagement is further supportedliteracy learning by substantial theoretical support for the role of motivation and engagement to sup- port long-term growth in complex literacyTo foster improvement in adolescent skills.68literacy, teachers should use strategiesto enhance students’ motivation to Brief summary of evidence toread and engagement in the learning support the recommendationprocess. Teachers should help studentsbuild confidence in their ability to Although the words motivation and en-comprehend and learn from content- gagement are often used interchangeably,area texts. They should provide a they are not always synonymous. Whereassupportive environment that views motivation refers to the desire, reason, ormistakes as growth opportunities, predisposition to become involved in aencourages self-determination, and task or activity, engagement refers to theprovides informational feedback about degree to which a student processes textthe usefulness of reading strategies deeply through the use of active strategiesand how the strategies can be and thought processes and prior knowl-modified to fit various tasks. Teachers edge. It is possible to be motivated toshould also make literacy experiences complete a task without being engaged be-more relevant to students’ interests, cause the task is either too easy or too dif-everyday life, or important current ficult. Research shows that the messagesevents. teachers communicate to students—inten- tionally or unintentionally—can affect stu-Level of evidence: Moderate dents’ learning goals and outcomes.69The panel considers the level of evidence to Correlational evidence suggests that moti-support this recommendation to be moder- vation to read school-related texts declinesate, on the basis of two experiments62 and as students progress from elementary toone quasi-experimental study that had nomajor flaws to internal validity other that considered low because the reasoning measureslack of demonstrated baseline equiva- included did not directly measure literacy skills.lence.63 Three studies of weaker design,64six experimental and quasi-experimental 66. Deci, Koestner, and Ryan (1999); Tang andstudies with low external validity,65 and Hall (1995). The meta-analyses described in these two articles were considered to have low exter- nal validity because they focused on the general psychological concept of the motivation to learn62. Schunk and Rice (1992). This article contains rather than the motivation to read or improve-two studies. ment in literacy skills.63. Guthrie et al. (1999). 67. Graham and Golan (1991); Grolnick and Ryan (1987); Guthrie et al. (2000).64. Graham and Golan (1991); Grolnick and Ryan(1987); Guthrie, Wigfield, and VonSecker (2000). 68. See, for example, Sweet, Guthrie, and Ng (1998).65. Mueller and Dweck (1998). The external valid-ity of the six studies detailed in this article was 69. Graham and Golan (1991). ( 26 )
  • 33. 4. InCREASE STuDEnT MOTIvATIOn AnD EngAgEMEnT In LITERACy LEARnIngmiddle school.70 The strongest decline is their achievement is an indicator of theirobserved among struggling students.71 To intelligence or ability. These students arepromote students’ motivation to engage in likely to develop performance goals—literacy activities, teachers should use in- for example, the goal of achieving goodstructional strategies that spark students’ grades or looking smart. When faced withinterest. Initial curiosity (or “situational failure, students with performance goalsinterest”) can then serve as a hook to cre- might infer that they do not have the re-ate long-term, personal interest (or “gen- quired ability and seek only those oppor-erative interest”). tunities that make them look smart. On the other hand, students praised for theirTeachers may believe that they can en- effort might view ability as an expandablecourage students’ learning by emphasiz- entity that depends on their effort. Theseing external incentives and reminding stu- students are likely to develop learningdents of the impact of learning on grades. goals—for example, the goal of enjoyingHowever, research has suggested that this explorations and challenges or acquiringstrategy actually has detrimental effects new skills and knowledge. They might in-on students’ motivation and engagement. terpret failure as an indicator of their lackWhen teachers put pressure on students of effort rather than lack of ability. 75to work hard to achieve good grades, stu-dents’ levels of text recall and reading Research also shows that when teacherscomprehension are lower than when teach- stress performance outcomes, studentsers note that they are interested in the develop performance goals. Likewise,amount of information that students can when teachers put more emphasis on theremember and understand and that it is learning process and provide a supportiveup to students to determine how much environment where mistakes are viewedthey would like to engage in learning.72 as growth opportunities instead of fail-Two meta-analyses of the literature have ures, students are more likely to developshown that providing extrinsic rewards learning goals. Studies have consistentlyto students may increase students’ initial shown that students who have learningmotivation to read as well as their plea- goals are more motivated and engagedsure and interest in learning about the and have better reading test scores thanworld.73 Earning tangible rewards, such students who have performance goals.76as toys, food, and prizes, and avoiding In one experimental study researcherspunishments were found to have more randomly assigned students to one of twodetrimental effects than receiving verbal conditions. In the first condition they toldrewards.74 students that many people make mistakes at the beginning of a task and becomeVerbal rewards or praises for student edu- better with practice. They encouragedcational performance can be categorized students to see the task as a challengeby focus: ability or effort. Praising stu- and to have fun trying to master it. In thedents for being smart, fast, or knowledge- other condition students were told thatable can lead to students’ perception that people are either good or not so good at certain tasks and that their completion of the task would indicate how good they70. Gottfried (1985). are at it. The researchers found that stu-71. Harter, Whitesell, and Kowalski (1992).72. Grolnick and Ryan (1987). 75. Mueller and Dweck (1998).73. Deci et al. (1999); Tang and Hall (1995). 76. Graham and Golan (1991); Grolnick and Ryan74. Deci et al. (1999). (1987); Schunk (2003). ( 27 )
  • 34. 4. InCREASE STuDEnT MOTIvATIOn AnD EngAgEMEnT In LITERACy LEARnIngdents in the first condition put more effort processes relevant to the discipline. Provideinto deep processing of semantic meaning explicit feedback to students about theirof words and had better memory of the progress. When teachers set goals to reachwords learned.77 a certain standard, students are likely to sustain their efforts until they achieve thatThe points raised above emphasize the standard. Learning goals may be set by theimportance of helping students acquire teacher or the student. however, if studentsauthentic, personally meaningful learning set their own goals, they are more apt to begoals. An important part of the process in- fully engaged in the activities required tovolves teacher feedback. Students’ motiva- achieve them.tion is highest when they receive feedbackthat is informational but not controlling— 2. Provide a positive learning environmentfor example, when it is not perceived as that promotes students’ autonomy in learn-pressure to attain a particular outcome.78 ing. Allowing students some choice of com-Students benefit from informational feed- plementary books and types of reading andback that conveys realistic expectations, writing activities has a positive impact onlinks performance to effort, details step students’ engagement and reading compre-by step how to apply a reading strategy, hension.81 Empowering students to makeand explains why and when this strategy is decisions about topics, forms of communi-useful and how to modify it to fit different cation, and selections of materials encour-tasks.79 Students who receive such feed- ages them to assume greater ownershipback believe more in their ability to apply and responsibility for their engagement inreading strategies in different contexts learning.82and have better reading performance thanstudents who do not receive this kind of 3. Make literacy experiences more relevantfeedback.80 This is not to say that teachers to students’ interests, everyday life, or im-should prioritize the process over the de- portant current events.83 Look for opportuni-sired outcome—increased knowledge and ties to bridge the activities outside and insideskill. On the contrary, teachers should help the classroom. Tune into the lives of studentsstudents engage in a process that achieves to find out what they think is relevant andstronger outcomes by developing learning why, and then use this information to designrather than performance goals. instruction and learning opportunities that will be more relevant to students.84 ConsiderHow to carry out the constructing an integrated approach to in-recommendation struction that ties a rich conceptual theme to a real-world application. for example, use1. Establish meaningful and engaging con- a science topic in the news or one that stu-tent learning goals around the essential dents are currently studying, such as adoles-ideas of a discipline as well as the specific cent health issues, to build students’ reading,learning processes students use to access writing, and discourse skills.those ideas. Monitor students’ progress overtime as they read for comprehension and 4. Build in certain instructional conditions,develop more control over their thinking such as student goal setting, self-directed learning, and collaborative learning, to77. Graham and Golan (1991). 81. Guthrie et al. (1999).78. Ryan (1982). 82. Guthrie and McCann (1997).79. Henderlong and Lepper (2002); Schunk andRice (1992). 83. Guthrie et al. (2000).80. Schunk and Rice (1992). 84. Biancarosa and Snow (2004). ( 28 )
  • 35. 4. Increase student motIvatIon and engagement In lIteracy learnIngincrease reading engagement and concep- 2. some students may think that textbookstual learning for students.85 this type of im- are boring and beyond their ability to un-plementation has several common themes: derstand. many high school texts do not have enough supplementary explanation• Connections between disciplines, such that fleshes out disconnected information, as science and language arts, taught which might contribute to difficulty in com- through conceptual themes. prehension. If students cannot comprehend the text that they read and the textbook is• Connections among strategies for the basis of curriculum, their sense of fail- learning, such as searching, compre- ure grows larger. complementary materials hending, interpreting, composing, and should be available to students, including a teaching content knowledge. set of reading materials on the same topic that range from very easy to very challeng-• Connections among classroom activi- ing or supplemental trade materials, to pro- ties that support motivation and social vide resources on various content topics to and cognitive development. help students develop deeper background knowledge relevant to course content.Potential roadblocks and solutions 3. many content-area teachers do not real-1. some teachers think that motivational ac- ize the importance of teaching the read-tivities must entertain students and there- ing strategies and thinking processes thatfore create fun activities that are not nec- skilled readers use in different academicessarily focused on learning. rewarding disciplines and do not recognize the benefi-students through contests, competitions, cial effects of such instruction on students’and points might entice them to do home- ability to engage with their learning. too fewwork, complete tasks, and participate in content-area teachers know how to empha-class. though meaningful goals, these might size the reading and writing practices spe-not result in meaningful learning. teachers cific to their disciplines, so students are notare often exhausted from running contests encouraged to read and write and reason liketo get students to read, and the external mo- historians, scientists, and mathematicians.tivation of such activities often makes stu- literacy coaches should emphasize the roledents dependent on the teacher or activity of content-area teachers, especially in sec-to benefit from reading.86 teachers should ondary schools in promoting literacy skills,help students become more internally moti- and the role of reading skills in promotingvated. they should closely connect instruc- performance in various content areas suchtional practice and student performance to as history, science and social sciences. thislearning goals. teachers should set the bar can be accomplished through a coordinatedhigh and provide informational feedback for schoolwide approach that provides profes-depth of learning, complex thinking, risk tak- sional development in content literacy. manying, and teamwork. students should be en- resources available on the Internet providecouraged to reflect on how they learn, what information about strategic reading in con-they do well, and what they need to improve tent areas. content-area teachers should alsoon. the more students know themselves as develop formative assessments that allowlearners, the more confident they will be- students to make their thinking visible andcome and the better able they will be to set that provide evidence of the problem-solvingtheir own goals for learning. and critical-thinking strategies students use to comprehend and construct meaning. teachers can use these assessments to make85. Guthrie et al. (1999); Guthrie et al. (2000). informed decisions about lesson planning,86. Guthrie and Humenick (2004). instructional practices and materials, and ( 29 )
  • 36. 4. InCREASE STuDEnT MOTIvATIOn AnD EngAgEMEnT In LITERACy LEARnIngactivities that will be more appropriate and through learning about and understandingengaging for students. students’ reading histories. These activities will help teachers get to know their students.4. Adolescent students who struggle in read- for many students, having a personal con-ing do not expect to do well in class. As nection with at least one teacher can make athese students progress through school, difference in their response to school. know-most teachers do not expect them to do well ing students’ interests makes it easier foreither and often remark that they should teachers to choose materials that will hookhave learned the material in earlier grades. students and motivate them to engage inMany adolescents do not express confidence their own learning. Teachers should providein their own ability—they do not trust or multiple learning opportunities in which stu-value their own thinking. The strengths of dents can experience success and can beginstudents can be identified through interest to build confidence in their ability to read,surveys, interviews, and discussions, and write, and think at high levels. ( 30 )
  • 37. Recommendation 5. of knowledge and skill required for the comprehension of complex texts.Make available These elements include: fundamentalintensive and skills such as phonemic awareness, phonemic decoding, and other wordindividualized analysis skills that support wordinterventions for reading accuracy; text reading fluency; strategies for building vocabulary;struggling readers strategies for understanding andthat can be provided using the specific textual features that distinguish different genres;by trained specialists and self-regulated use of reading comprehension strategies. DeterminingSome adolescents need more support students’ skill levels, helping studentsto increase literacy skills than regular learn specific reading strategies, andclassroom teachers can provide. providing intensive and individualizedStudents who are unable to meet instruction appear to be especiallygrade-level standards in literacy often promising methods for improving therequire supplemental, intensive, and outcomes of struggling readers. forindividualized reading intervention to example, students who have difficultyimprove their skills. Such interventions using the skills needed to recognizeare most often provided by reading words need different intervention thanspecialists or teachers who have do students whose primary deficits areundergone thorough training to help figuring out the meaning of unfamiliarthem understand the program or words or comprehension of extendedapproach they will use and to deepen prose.their understanding of adolescentstruggling readers. Level of evidence: Strong The panel considers the level of evidenceThe purpose of intensive supporting this recommendation to beinterventions is to accelerate literacy strong, based on 12 small experimentaldevelopment so that students are design studies,87 1 well-designed quasi-able to make substantial progress experimental study,88 and 1 meta-analysistoward accomplishing reading tasks study.89 Comparative and correlationalappropriate for their current grade research provided additional support.level. Placement in interventions is Together, the studies examined variousoften a two-step process, beginning methods for improving literacy outcomeswith an initial screening assessment to of struggling adolescent readers. In someidentify those students who need extra studies the participants were characterizedhelp. This step should be followed byassessment with diagnostic tests to 87. Allinder et al. (2001); Bos and Anders (1990);provide a profile of literacy strengths DiCecco and Gleason (2002); Johnson, Graham,and weaknesses. and Harris (1997); Lovett et al. (1996); Lovett and Steinbach (1997); Peverly and Wood (2001); Rooney (1997); Therrien, Wickstrom, and Jones (2006); Wilder and Williams (2001); Williams et al.Because the cause of adolescents’ (1994); Xin and Reith (2001).difficulties in reading may differ from 88. Englert and Mariage (1991).student to student, interventions mayfocus on any of the critical elements 89. Scammacca et al. (2007). ( 31 )
  • 38. 5. MAkE AvAILABLE InTEnSIvE AnD InDIvIDuALIzED InTERvEnTIOnS fOR STRuggLIng READERSas students with learning disabilities, while special study of oral reading showed thatin others the participants struggled in 4th grade students reading below the basicreading for various reasons. The interven- level demonstrated low accuracy whentions evaluated in the studies took place they were asked to read a passage aloud.92in different contexts, including urban and This suggests that they have not reachedsuburban schools and clinical treatment the level of word-reading ability typical forfacilities, and served struggling readers their grade. A recent meta-analytic study,93from a variety of socioeconomic and racial which used slightly more lenient criteriaand ethnic backgrounds. Several common for selecting studies than were used forstrategies and practices emerged from this this guide, supports the appropriatenessbody of evidence and provide a framework of word-level interventions for middle andfor helping educators carry out the recom- high school students. The study demon-mendation in practice. strated that interventions focused at the word level resulted in both improved read-Brief summary of evidence to ing accuracy and improved reading com-support the recommendation prehension in older struggling students. Further, a small experimental study ofOn the most recent NAEP reading assess- students with reading disabilities showedment in 2007, about a third (33 percent) of that systematic training in metacognitive4th graders and over a fourth (26 percent) decoding skills, such as subsyllabic seg-of 8th graders in the United States per- mentation, transferred to accurate read-formed below the basic level, meaning that ing of regular and irregular multisyllabicthose students have only partial mastery of words.94the prerequisite knowledge and skills thatare fundamental for reading at their grade Descriptive and correlational evidencelevel.90 For students who perform below suggests that struggling adolescent read-the basic level, the panel recommends in- ers tend to use less efficient reading com-tensive supplemental interventions in addi- prehension strategies than do more skill-tion to the reading support they might re- ful readers. In light of these observations,ceive in their regular classrooms. Because it is not surprising that many interventionsfailure to read at grade level may be caused in the studies that we reviewed tended toby several different factors, including de- include efforts to help struggling readersficiencies in decoding skills, vocabulary, become more engaged, active, and stra-background knowledge, and inefficient use tegic readers. This body of evidence alsoof comprehension strategies,91 the choice suggests that educators can use multipleof supplemental interventions needs to be approaches to help struggling readers be-guided by initial formative assessments come more active and strategic readers.that gauge the specific learning needs of The approaches should involve structuredstruggling readers and individualized to and explicit instruction where teachersmeet students’ identified needs. model and explain the specific strategies being taught and provide feedback on stu-There is accumulating evidence that an dents’ use of the strategies. Instructionalinadequate ability to decode printed text activities should provide scaffolding toaccurately and fluently may be one rea- ensure that students understand the skillsson for students’ failure to meet grade- they need to acquire.level standards in reading. A 2002 NAEP 92. Daane et al. (2005).90. Lee et al. (2007). 93. Scammacca et al. (2007).91. Riddle Buly and Valencia (2002). 94. Lovett and Steinbach (1997). ( 32 )
  • 39. 5. MAkE AvAILABLE InTEnSIvE AnD InDIvIDuALIzED InTERvEnTIOnS fOR STRuggLIng READERSResearch, such as that conducted on recip- As noted in another source, instructionrocal teaching (dialogue which students with a focus on the theme of stories andand teachers take turns leading; this in- on the potential application of the themevolves summarizing, generating ques- beyond the stories enabled students totions, clarifying, and predicting),95 sug- learn higher-order comprehension skillsgests that the most effective instructional and generalize what they had learned toapproach is to provide explicit instruction other reading material and to their real-lifeon strategies proven to help students read experiences.99 Likewise, after adolescentsand comprehend material more effectively with reading disabilities received specificthan they had in the past. Student collab- instruction on text structures, organiza-oration in comprehension strategies has tional patterns, and linguistic conventionsalso shown promise, effectively transfer- commonly found in expository texts, theyring control of strategy instruction to the were able to transfer these skills to inde-students themselves.96 This approach, pendent reading tasks with unfamiliar ex-like reciprocal teaching, relies on teacher- pository material.100guided instruction and interaction amongstudents to promote the internalization of These strategies, shown to be effectivereading strategies, development of self- in experimental studies that were oftenregulation, and transfer of strategy control designed to test single interventions andfrom teachers to students. with populations of students who had been diagnosed as learning disabled, pres-Other experimental studies have also high- ent a catalog of possible ways to help ado-lighted the promising effects of helping lescents become more active and efficientstudents organize the information pre- readers of diverse kinds of text. Integratedsented within the classroom. For instance, into regular classroom instruction andtwo studies demonstrated the promise into classes designed to improve students’of intensive instruction and the use of reading, these strategies can help manygraphic organizers to help students at- students become stronger readers.tain relational knowledge from exposi-tory text.97 Creating graphic organizers, Many struggling readers, however, needwhich are visual portrayals or maps of more intensive, explicit instruction ad-the relationships among key concepts dressing their specific deficiencies, ac-represented in texts, can help struggling companied by extensive guided practicereaders integrate and process informa- to ensure that they understand and cantion. Other methods for helping struggling apply the new strategies. Struggling read-readers organize and process written and ers can be identified by initial screen-oral information were demonstrated by ing measures or consistently low scoresanother set of researchers, whose experi- on yearly reading tests. Students fallingmental work suggested that using themes, below a designated threshold are oftenmessages, or morals attached to a core assigned to an intervention class withoutconcept within stories, could help strug- further testing. Although it is a costly ap-gling readers improve comprehension.98 proach, initial identification of students who are struggling with reading should95. Englert and Mariage (1991); Lovett et al. be followed by a group or individually- ad-(1996). ministered diagnostic assessment to deter- mine students’ specific needs. Intervention96. Englert and Mariage (1991).97. DiCecco and Gleason (2002); Lovett et al.(1996). 99. Wilder and Williams (2001).98. Williams et al. (1994). 100. Lovett et al. (1996). ( 33 )
  • 40. 5. MAkE AvAILABLE InTEnSIvE AnD InDIvIDuALIzED InTERvEnTIOnS fOR STRuggLIng READERSmodels have been investigated in some severe needs group-administered, standard-experimental studies, but their impacts, ized or criterion-referenced tests can servewhile promising, have not been fully con- as a starting point for determining an appro-firmed. Programs such as Talent Develop- priate intervention.103 Individually or group-ment101 and the Enhanced Reading Op- administered tests provide information thatportunities102 (ERO) model have shown allows the specialist to perform the in-depthpromise in increasing students’ reading diagnosis that is often needed to match inter-achievement and potentially their aca- vention approaches to students’ needs.demic achievement as well. In Talent Devel-opment schools half a semester of English 2. The identification of students’ learningis replaced by double blocks of reading needs should be followed by the selectioninstruction, followed by a transition back of an intervention that provides an explicitto regular English instruction. In the ERO instructional focus targeted to meet thosemodel a full year of intense reading in- needs. Such instruction might include vary-struction (approximately 225 minutes per ing areas of need and rely on teaching dif-week) is offered as a supplement to regular ferent strategies to meet them. however, theEnglish or language arts instruction. Mod- teaching strategies selected should provideels such as these and others are currently students with explicit strategies, techniques,being studied in the federally funded Striv- principles, knowledge, or rules that enableing Readers evaluation as well as in other them to solve problems and complete tasksprograms. independently.104How to carry out the Central to the effective use of an inter-recommendation vention is working with students to set goals for improvement, followed by a de-Supplemental interventions for struggling scription of the strategy to be mastered,readers can offer the learning opportuni- modeling of the strategy verbal, continuedties that student need to make substantial practice and feedback, and generalizationprogress toward grade-level standards. of the strategy to other tasks.105 Provid-However, because adolescents’ reading ing students with learning aids can helpneeds are varied and complex, schools them understand the purpose of the les-should first take steps to understand the son, a rationale for the lesson, the learninglearning needs they must address. expectations, and how the content to be taught relates to what they have learned1. Although classroom teachers can some- previously and what they may learn in thetimes pinpoint students’ learning needs by future.106 Examples of these include ad-using informal assessment tools or even ob- vance organizers to prepare them for read-servation, a more reliable method for iden- ing and activate prior knowledge, graphictifying struggling readers includes use of organizers or maps to track ideas duringan initial screening test or a threshold score reading, and graphic displays that encour-on a required reading test and subsequent age students to make link between whatuse of a diagnostic reading test that mustbe administered, scored, and interpreted 103. Allinder et al. (2001); Bos and Anders (1990);by a specialist. for some students, formal, Englert and Mariage (1991).individually administered diagnostic as- 104. Allinder et al. (2001); Bos and Anders (1990);sessments are needed; for others with less Englert and Mariage (1991). 105. Ellis et al. (1991).101. Kemple, Herlihy, and Smith (2005). 106. DiCecco and Gleason (2002); Wilder and Wil-102. Kemple et al. (2008). liams (2001); Williams et al. (1994). ( 34 )
  • 41. 5. MAkE AvAILABLE InTEnSIvE AnD InDIvIDuALIzED InTERvEnTIOnS fOR STRuggLIng READERSthey know and the content about which Potential roadblocks and solutionsthey are reading. 1. Some middle and high schools may not3. Even though explicit strategy instruction have the specialized personnel, time, andand various forms of structuring effective resources to conduct efficient screeningstrategy instruction show promise, it also assessments for students to identify theirseems clear that many struggling readers reading needs. Timely and proper screen-require more intensive efforts than do stu- ing, diagnosis, and treatment of the sourcedents who are performing at or near grade of struggling readers’ difficulties are centrallevel.107 The intensiveness of the intervention to the success of an intervention strategy.should be matched to the needs of students Teacher recommendations can be the moti-who struggle—the greater the instructional vation for initiating assignment to an inter-need, the more intensive the intervention. vention, but it is more likely that studentsTwo methods for increasing the intensity of will be identified through a screening testinstruction are to provide additional instruc- or data analysis of reading tests to identifytion time or to work with students individu- scores falling below a specific threshold. Inally or in small groups. The most practical some cases students might have an individu-method for increasing instructional intensity alized education plan that contains informa-for smaller numbers of struggling readers is tion about previous testing.to provide supplemental small group instruc-tion, usually for extended periods of time or For the most seriously disabled readers,as a distinct pull-out class. Within these small however, it is crucial that the major sourcegroups, teachers can more readily monitor of the students’ reading difficulties bestudent progress and help students learn the identified so that interventions can beparticular strategies that will help them at- targeted to the most critical areas. Previ-tain grade-level reading skills. All the studies ous results from standardized tests canthat informed this recommendation offered be used as a baseline to determine whichinterventions that provided more intensive students are reading below grade level. Ifinstruction for struggling readers through such data are unavailable, regular middlesmaller classes, increased time for learning, and high school teachers can administeror both. group screening tests that will indicate which students may be having reading4. Additionally, intensive interventions problems. After students with severe read-might involve repeated reading, provision ing difficulties are identified, further test-of adjunct questions to scaffold comprehen- ing is usually needed. This testing shouldsion, and questioning for understanding to be administered and interpreted by read-improve the reading outcomes of adoles- ing specialists or special education teach-cents.108 These strategies can be offered in ers with advanced knowledge of readingsmall group intervention sessions. Although difficulties.not as interventions per se, these strategiesalso serve the needs of poorly prepared Finding the resources to administer andreaders when adopted for use in content- interpret these various formal and infor-area classrooms. mal assessments can be a challenge. We suggest that educators consider reallocat- ing resources to carry out timely assess- ments and avoid far more serious future costs to the system, such as retentions in107. Gersten et al. (2001). grade, and costs to individual students,108. Peverly and Wood (2001); Therrien et al. including dropping out of school.(2006). ( 35 )
  • 42. 5. MAkE AvAILABLE InTEnSIvE AnD InDIvIDuALIzED InTERvEnTIOnS fOR STRuggLIng READERSAcquiring appropriate intervention ma- designed to make content-area texts moreterials, equipment, and programs; train- accessible to all students, including thoseing teachers in use of the interventions; who struggle with literacy. Professional de-and allocating space for instruction of velopment sessions that provide clear, easy-individuals and small groups also pose to-understand information about the extentchallenges in many schools. But the im- of the reading difficulties that students ex-portance of addressing and remediat- perience and about the steps that all teach-ing students’ deficits in reading cannot ers can take to address students’ problemsbe underestimated. The resources can emphasize that a school faculty as a wholecome from programs such as Title I and has responsibilities for meeting the needsother supplemental state and local fund- of all students. Professional development,ing sources, or professional development which needs to acknowledge the demandsinitiatives can be supported by Title II of all content areas, can include the model-dollars. Business partnerships, private ing and reinforcement of effective strategiesgrants, and other parent and commu- to increase students’ abilities to comprehendnity-based fundraising initiatives may their textbooks and other resource materi-also help augment existing resources. als. Content-area teachers can use teachingFinally, establishing strong administra- aids and devices that will help strugglingtion and faculty support to make literacy readers better understand and remembera schoolwide priority will certainly help the content they are teaching. for instance,raise awareness about the importance of graphic organizers, organizing themes, andsupporting these efforts and will garner guided discussions can help students under-greater commitment to make the needed stand and master the curriculum content. Ifalterations to schedules and resources. schoolwide coordination is achieved through professional development, common plan-2. Many middle and high school content-area ning periods, and informal opportunities forteachers, in areas such as science, math, and teachers to collaborate and communicatesocial studies, do not possess the informa- across the content areas, teachers can moretion or skills needed to teach reading and easily provide mutually reinforcing readingdo not believe that it is their job to teach opportunities to better prepare students toreading strategies. To compound this prob- meet identified standards in all areas. Ide-lem, the typical departmental structure of ally, content-area teachers should work withsecondary schools combined with the lack language arts teachers, literacy specialists,of regular communication among teachers and other content-area teachers to provideacross departments can lead to a lack of coherent and consistent instruction that en-coordination across the curricula. Content- ables students to succeed in reading acrossarea teachers should not be responsible the curriculum.for carrying out intensive interventions forstruggling readers. however, content-areateachers can be taught to use strategies ( 36 )
  • 43. Conclusion readers that the final recommendation in this guide is directed. Strengthening the lit-This practice guide presents five recom- eracy skills of struggling adolescent read-mendations that are supported by re- ers is not easy, and improvement usuallysearch. The NAEP data discussed in the does not come quickly. Assessing students’overview make it clear that many adoles- literacy strengths and weaknesses is oftencents lack the robust literacy skills they a necessary first step in determining theneed for success in school and in the work- appropriate interventions to use. Someplace. Many of these students can benefit students’ deficiencies are so complex thattremendously when their classroom teach- a diagnostic assessment, administereders adjust their instruction in ways that and interpreted by a specialist, is neededthis practice guide recommends. The first to provide a profile of what these studentsfour recommendations provide evidence- can and cannot do. The resulting profilesbased strategies that can usually be imple- will point toward interventions focused onmented by regular classroom teachers, identified weaknesses. Some adolescentthose who teach content areas to students. struggling readers might need help withThree of the recommendations—providing the most basic reading skills required toexplicit vocabulary instruction, direct and decode words, whereas others might bene-explicit comprehension strategy instruc- fit from explicit and intense work on strate-tion, and opportunities for discussion gies to increase vocabulary or deepen com-of text—are relatively easy to implement prehension. Whatever the needs, it is oftenwithin English language arts and other necessary for the intervention to be tar-content-area classrooms. These strategies geted, intense, and provided by a specialisthelp content-area teachers adapt their in- who can monitor students’ progress morestruction so that all students, even those effectively than a classroom teacher.who struggle with reading, have easier ac-cess to the special language and text struc- For those struggling readers who haveture of content-area materials. less severe deficiencies, interventions of a more general nature—for example, aThe fourth recommendation concerns program designed to strengthen compre-the importance of increasing students’ hension and vocabulary skills in general—motivation for and engagement with lit- might boost their skills enough to moreeracy learning. Motivation and engage- successfully participate in school. Suchment seem to decline as students enter programs, often offered as supplementaryadolescence. This is especially true for courses or electives, provide the help stu-those students who have experienced dents need to build on existing readingmany years of instruction and often many skills. When classroom teachers provideyears of frustration as they try to make complementary instruction because theysense of literacy activities. When teach- have adapted their instruction with strate-ers make efforts to build motivation and gies such as those presented in this prac-engagement, students are more likely to tice guide, students benefit even more.establish and act on personally meaning-ful learning goals, becoming autonomous, Overall, this practice guide recognizesself-directed learners. the needs of all adolescent readers, those whose weak literacy skills require individ-However, the data also show that there is ualized and intense intervention and thosea cohort of students whose reading skills remaining students whose skills can beare so deficient that they need help beyond strengthened when content-area teacherswhat classroom teachers alone can pro- make practical alterations to their regularvide. It is toward this cohort of struggling instructional practices. ( 37 )
  • 44. Appendix A. particular types of studies for drawingPostscript from causal conclusions about what works. Thus, one typically finds that a strongthe Institute of level of evidence is drawn from a body ofEducation Sciences randomized controlled trials, the moder- ate level from well designed studies that do not involve randomization, and theWhat is a practice guide? low level from the opinions of respected authorities. Levels of evidence can also beThe health care professions have em- constructed around the value of particularbraced a mechanism for assembling and types of studies for other goals, such as thecommunicating evidence-based advice to reliability and validity of assessments.practitioners about care for specific clini-cal conditions. Variously called practice Practice guides can also be distinguishedguidelines, treatment protocols, critical from systematic reviews or meta-analyses,pathways, best practice guides, or simply which employ statistical methods to sum-practice guides, these documents are sys- marize the results of studies obtainedtematically developed recommendations from a rule-based search of the literature.about the course of care for frequently en- Authors of practice guides seldom conductcountered problems, ranging from physi- the types of systematic literature searchescal conditions, such as foot ulcers, to psy- that are the backbone of a meta-analysis,chosocial conditions, such as adolescent although they take advantage of such workdevelopment.1 when it is already published. Instead, au- thors use their expertise to identify thePractice guides are similar to the prod- most important research with respect toucts of typical expert consensus panels their recommendations, augmented by ain reflecting the views of those serving search of recent publications to assure thaton the panel and the social decisions that the research citations are up-to-date. Fur-come into play as the positions of individ- thermore, the characterization of the qual-ual panel members are forged into state- ity and direction of evidence underlying aments that all panel members are willing recommendation in a practice guide reliesto endorse. Practice guides, however, are less on a tight set of rules and statistical al-generated under three constraints that do gorithms and more on the judgment of thenot typically apply to consensus panels. authors than would be the case in a high-The first is that a practice guide consists quality meta-analysis. Another distinctionof a list of discrete recommendations that is that a practice guide, because it aims forare actionable. The second is that those a comprehensive and coherent approach,recommendations taken together are in- operates with more numerous and moretended to be a coherent approach to a contextualized statements of what worksmultifaceted problem. The third, which is than does a typical meta-analysis.most important, is that each recommen-dation is explicitly connected to the level Thus practice guides sit somewhere be-of evidence supporting it, with the level tween consensus reports and meta-analysesrepresented by a grade (strong, moder- in the degree to which systematic pro-ate, low). cesses are used for locating relevant re- search and characterizing its meaning.The levels of evidence, or grades, are Practice guides are more like consensususually constructed around the value of panel reports than meta-analyses in the breadth and complexity of the topic that1. Field and Lohr (1990). is addressed. Practice guides are different ( 38 )
  • 45. APPEnDIx A. POSTSCRIPT fROM ThE InSTITuTE fOR EDuCATIOn SCIEnCESfrom both consensus reports and meta- of the panelists be a practitioner withanalyses in providing advice at the level considerable experience relevant to theof specific action steps along a pathway topic being addressed. The chair and thethat represents a more-or-less coherent panelists are provided a general templateand comprehensive approach to a multi- for a practice guide along the lines of thefaceted problem. information provided in this postscript. They are also provided with examplesPractice guides in education at the of practice guides. The practice guideInstitute of Education Sciences panel works under a short deadline of 6–9 months to produce a draft document. TheThe Institute of Education Sciences (IES) expert panel interacts with and receivespublishes practice guides in education to feedback from staff at IES during the de-bring the best available evidence and ex- velopment of the practice guide, but theypertise to bear on the types of systemic understand that they are the authors and,challenges that cannot be addressed by thus, responsible for the final product.single interventions or approaches. Al-though IES has taken advantage of the One unique feature of IES-sponsored prac-history of practice guides in health care to tice guides is that they are subjected toprovide models of how to proceed in edu- rigorous external peer review through thecation, education is different from health same office that is responsible for inde-care in ways that may require that prac- pendent review of other IES publications.tice guides in education have somewhat A critical task of the peer reviewers of adifferent designs. Even within health care, practice guide is to determine whether thewhere practice guides now number in the evidence cited in support of particular rec-thousands, there is no single template in ommendations is up-to-date and whetheruse. Rather, one finds descriptions of gen- studies of similar or better quality thateral design features that permit substan- point in a different direction have not beential variation in the realization of practice ignored. Peer reviewers also are asked toguides across subspecialties and panels evaluate whether the evidence grade as-of experts.2 Accordingly, the templates signed to particular recommendations byfor IES practice guides may vary across the practice guide authors is appropriate.practice guides and change over time and A practice guide is revised as necessary towith experience. meet the concerns of external peer reviews and gain the approval of the standards andThe steps involved in producing an IES- review staff at IES. The process of externalsponsored practice guide are first to se- peer review is carried out independent oflect a topic, which is informed by formal the office and staff within IES that initiatedsurveys of practitioners and spontaneous the practice guide.requests from the field. Next, a panel chairis recruited who has a national reputa- Because practice guides depend on thetion and up-to-date expertise in the topic. expertise of their authors and their groupThird, the chair, working in collaboration decision-making, the content of a practicewith IES, selects a small number of panel- guide is not and should not be viewed as aists to co-author the practice guide. These set of recommendations that in every caseare people the chair believes can work well depends on and flows inevitably from sci-together and have the requisite expertise entific research. It is not only possible butto be a convincing source of recommen- also likely that two teams of recognizeddations. IES recommends that at least one experts working independently to produce a practice guide on the same topic would2. American Psychological Association (2002). generate products that differ in important ( 39 )
  • 46. APPEnDIx A. POSTSCRIPT fROM ThE InSTITuTE fOR EDuCATIOn SCIEnCESrespects. Thus, consumers of practice the authors are national authorities whoguides need to understand that they are, have to reach agreement among them-in effect, getting the advice of consultants. selves, justify their recommendations inThese consultants should, on average, pro- terms of supporting evidence, and un-vide substantially better advice than edu- dergo rigorous independent peer reviewcators might obtain on their own because of their product. Institute of Education Sciences ( 40 )
  • 47. Appendix B. Cathleen C. Kral is the instructionalAbout the Authors leader of literacy and the director of lit- eracy coaching for Boston Public Schools. She earned an M.Ed. in curriculum andMichael L. Kamil is a professor of educa- instruction from Lesley University and antion at Stanford University. He is a mem- M.A. in English from Northeastern Univer-ber of the Psychological Studies in Edu- sity. She has written articles and presentedcation Committee and is on the faculty widely on Boston’s professional develop-of the Learning, Design, and Technology ment coaching model, Collaborative Coach-Program. He earned his Ph.D. in psychol- ing and Learning. In addition to her workogy from the University of Wisconsin— in Boston Public Schools, she contributesMadison. His current research focuses to adolescent literacy and literacy coachingon the effects of recreational reading on at the national level.reading achievement, instruction for Eng-lish language learners, and the effects Terry Salinger is a managing directorof technology on literacy and literacy and chief scientist for reading research atinstruction. the American Institutes for Research. She earned her Ph.D. in reading, with dual em-Geoffrey D. Borman is a professor in the phases on Statistics and Curriculum De-Departments of Educational Leadership sign, from New Mexico State University.and Policy Analysis, Educational Psychol- Her research focuses on reading and liter-ogy, and Educational Policy Studies at the acy instruction and assessment. Dr. Salin-University of Wisconsin—Madison. He ger previously held positions as a schoolearned his Ph.D. in measurement, evalua- teacher, a professor of reading and earlytion, and statistical analysis from the Uni- childhood education, and a researcher atversity of Chicago. His main substantive Educational Testing Service.research interests focus on social stratifi-cation and the ways in which educational Joseph Torgesen is the Morcom Profes-policies and practices can help address sor of psychology and education at Floridaand overcome inequality. State University and director emeritus of the Florida Center for Reading Research.Janice Dole is director of the Utah Cen- He also serves as the director of readingter for Reading and Literacy and associate for the Center on Instruction K–12 in Read-professor of education at the University ing, Math, and Science. He earned his Ph.D.of Utah. She earned her Ph.D. in reading in developmental and clinical psychol-education from the University of Colorado. ogy from the University of Michigan. HisHer research focuses on comprehension research has focused on the psychologyinstruction, professional development in of reading and interventions for studentsreading, and school reform in reading. with reading difficulties. ( 41 )
  • 48. Appendix C. further muted by the requirement thatDisclosure of potential they ground their recommendations in evidence that is documented in the prac-conflicts of interest tice guide. In addition, the practice guide undergoes independent external peerPractice guide panels are composed of in- review prior to publication, with par-dividuals who are nationally recognized ticular focus on whether the evidenceexperts on the topics about which they related to the recommendations in theare rendering recommendations. The In- practice guide has been appropriatelystitute of Education Sciences (IES) expects presented.that such experts will be involved profes-sionally in a variety of matters that relate The professional engagements reportedto their work as a panel. Panel members by each panel member that appear mostare asked to disclose their professional closely associated with the panel recom-involvements and to institute deliberative mendations are noted below.processes that encourage critical exami-nation of the views of panel members as Dr. Dole is a coauthor of a basal readingthey relate to the content of the practice program for elementary grades (K–6), butguide. The potential influence of panel this program is not referenced in the prac-members’ professional engagements is tice guide. ( 42 )
  • 49. Appendix D. districts throughout the United States.Technical information About 33 percent of the studies showed a positive impact specifically for studentson the studies reading below grade level.Recommendation 1. Several of the studies taught students toProvide explicit vocabulary become independent learners by analyz-instruction ing semantic and syntactic features of words and building on relationships be-Level of evidence: Strong tween new words and previously acquired vocabulary.4 In addition, several stud-The panel considers the level of evidence ies used multiple methods (for example,that supports this recommendation to be syntactic and semantic analysis, contextstrong. This rating is based on six random- clues and semantic analysis, semanticized controlled experiments and three well analysis and multiple sensory experiences)designed quasi- experiments that dem- to promote vocabulary acquisition.5 Inonstrated group equivalence at pretest.1 one study, middle school students withAn additional six studies provided direct learning disabilities were randomly as-evidence to support this recommenda- signed to one of four conditions: seman-tion but were weaker for various reasons, tic mapping, semantic feature analysis,such as quasi-experimental studies that semantic/syntactic feature analysis, anddid not show equivalence between inter- definition instruction.6 Immediate post-vention and control groups at pretest, a test and follow-up findings showed thatlack of a comparison group, and a teacher- interactive instruction (that is, semanticintervention confound.2 Moreover, a single mapping, semantic feature analysis, se-subject design study with a counter-bal- mantic/syntactic feature analysis) is moreanced time-series design also provided effective than just learning and practicingevidence about the effect of vocabulary the meaning of words in helping studentsinstruction on students’ outcomes.3 Of understand the context-related meaningthis body of scientific evidence, nine stud- of vocabulary presented in a passage. Inies included students in upper elementary addition, students in the interactive con-schools, and the remaining seven studies ditions outperformed students in the def-focused on students in middle and high inition instruction condition on readingschools. The body of evidence supporting comprehension. In a second study, middleexplicit vocabulary instruction represents school students were randomly assignedstudent populations from low, middle, to either a semantic mapping instructionand upper-middle socioeconomic sta- group or a context-clue instruction group.7tus in urban, suburban, and rural school Results favored students in the semantic mapping group over students in the con-1. Barron and Melnik (1973); Baumann et al. text clue group on a vocabulary test and(2002); Baumann et al. (2003); Bos and Anders a researcher-developed definitions test.(1990); Brett et al. (1996); Lieberman (1967); Mar-gosein et al. (1982); Nelson and Stage (2007); Xin 4. For example, Baumann et al. (2002); Baumannand Reith (2001). et al. (2003); Bos and Anders (1990); Margosein2. Beck et al. (1982); Jenkins et al. (1989); Koury et al. (1982) .(1996); Ruddell and Shearer (2002); Stump et al. 5. Beck et al. (1982); Brett et al. (1996); Lieberman(1992); Terrill et al. (2004). (1967); Xin and Rieth (2001).3. Malone and McLaughlin (1997). The standards 6. Bos and Anders (1990).for judging the quality of a single subject designstudy are currently being developed. 7. Margosein et al. (1982). ( 43 )
  • 50. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIESIn another study students in upper ele- context and morphemic clues, teachersmentary school with learning disabilities directed students to look for definitionswere randomly assigned to either vocab- in their textbook glossaries or the class-ulary instruction with video technology room dictionaries.10 To motivate studentsor vocabulary instruction without video in both conditions to focus on vocabulary,technology.8 Students who received video- the researchers constructed the lessonsassisted vocabulary instruction outper- around an adaptation of the television se-formed students who received the same ries The X-Files. The students were asked toinstruction without video technology on be Vocabulary-Files (V-Files) agents. Theya word definitions vocabulary test. were part of the Federal Vocabulary Insti- tute (FVI) and their mission was to figure out the meaning of words as they learnedExample of an intervention that uses about the Civil War.explicit vocabulary instruction According to the study authors, the resultsIn the example study a research team con- of this study showed that students in theducted a randomized controlled trial with TV group showed a better acquisition of157 5th-grade students in ethnically di- textbook vocabulary than students in theverse classrooms from four urban schools MC group. This result was statistically sig-in the Southeast.9 Whole classrooms were nificant. However, students in the MC groupassigned to conditions and explicit vo- were better able to figure out the meaningscabulary instruction was provided, using of vocabulary that could be deciphered bymorphemic and contextual analysis in- using morphemes presented in isolationstruction (MC) or the more traditional text- than students in the TV group. This resultbook vocabulary instruction (TV). For 25 was also statistically significant. Other out-instructional days vocabulary instruction comes investigated in this study (effectswas embedded within 45-minute social on students’ understanding of words instudies periods and delivered by regular context, students’ comprehension of twoclassroom teachers in both conditions. chapters from the textbook, and students’Within each lesson, in both conditions, comprehension of new social studies text)teachers focused on the social studies showed no differences between the differ-textbook content for 30 minutes and on ent conditions, and the effect sizes werevocabulary instruction for 15 minutes. relatively small. In this study explicit vo-Students in the MC group received instruc- cabulary instruction was used in both con-tion in morphemic and contextual analysis ditions and showed a positive impact onstrategies. Morphemic analysis included different vocabulary outcomes. Because alooking for word-part clues (root words, business as usual control group was notprefixes, suffixes). Contextual analysis adopted, the study did not directly addressincluded looking for different types of the impact of explicit vocabulary instruc-context clues (definitions, synonyms, ant- tion on literacy development. Rather, itonyms, examples, general clues) in thesentences around the word. Students inthe TV group received the same amount 10. Some of the strategies taught in the interven-of vocabulary instruction as the MC group. tion condition—engaging in prior knowledge and prediction activities—were taught in the com-However, instead of teaching students parison condition as well. For example, studentshow to derive the meaning of words from completed a know, want to know, and learned chart (Ogle 1986, as cited in Baumann et al. 2003), responded to questions, constructed a semantic8. Xin and Rieth (2001). map, and made an entry in their vocabulary logs9. Baumann et al. (2003). with illustrations related to the reading. ( 44 )
  • 51. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIESdemonstrated the relative merits of differ- reading level as well as literal and inferen-ent types of explicit vocabulary instruction tial questions about a common story noton reading achievement. at the students’ reading level. The literal questions could be answered by using in-Recommendation 2. formation verbatim from the story. The in-Provide direct and explicit ferential questions could only be answeredcomprehension strategy instruction by interpreting the text using other knowl- edge. In addition to being scored “correct”Level of evidence: Strong or “incorrect,” the inferential questions were also scored using a weighting schemeThe panel considers the level of evidence to incorporate the quality of the students’that supports this recommendation to responses. Results indicated that for thebe strong. This rating is based on five story at the students’ reading level, theexperiments,11 with additional evidence intervention group significantly outper-from a single subject design study with formed the control group on the literalmultiple probe design across students.12 questions and the inferential questionsOf this body of scientific evidence, two for the poor readers only. For the com-studies included students in upper ele- mon story, the intervention group scoredmentary schools, and the remaining stud- statistically significantly better than theies focused on students in middle and high control group on the inferential questionsschools. The body of evidence supporting and the weighted inferential questions forexplicit comprehension strategy instruc- both good and poor readers.13 In a secondtion represents student populations in study the researchers examined the effectsurban, suburban, and rural school dis- of summarizing and paraphrasing on thetricts in the Northeastern, Central, and reading comprehension test scores of lowother regions of the United States. About socioeconomic status 7th-grade students67 percent of the studies showed a posi- and found that the intervention grouptive impact specifically for students read- scored statistically significantly bettering below grade level. than a comparison group.14 In another study the effect of a graphic organizer (se-Most of the studies shared common fea- mantic mapping) on the comprehensiontures of implementation: direct and ex- and vocabulary achievements of 7th- andplicit comprehension strategy instruction, 8th-grade students was examined. The re-question answering, and summarization searchers found that students in the inter-strategies. In one study the researchers vention group scored statistically signifi-examined the effects of teaching 4th-grade cantly better on measures of vocabularystudents comprehension strategies—in- but not comprehension.15cluding activating background knowledge,answering questions, and making predic-tions—on the students’ comprehension Example of an intervention thatachievements. The authors asked good uses comprehension strategies forand poor readers literal and inferential expository textsquestions about a story at the students’ In the example study a research team11. Hansen and Pearson (1983); Katims and Har- conducted a randomized controlled trialris (1997); Margosein et al. (1982); Peverly andWood (2001); Raphael and McKinney (1983). 13. Hansen and Pearson (1983).12. Jitendra et al. (1988). The standards for judg- 14. Katims and Harris (1997).ing the quality of a single subject design studyare currently being developed. 15. Margosein et al. (1982). ( 45 )
  • 52. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIESwith 10 classes of 7th-grade students (N = comprehension scores than students in207) from a low socioeconomic district.16 the control group. This result was statisti-Twelve percent of the students had learn- cally significant.ing disabilities. Because the interventionwas designed to help students who had Recommendation 3.problematic comprehension strategies for Provide opportunities for extendedexpository texts, 21 students who had a discussion of text meaning andscore at or above 90 percent on the com- interpretationprehension test using passages from TimedReadings17 were excluded from the data Level of evidence: Moderateanalysis. Literacy instruction using summa-rizing and paraphrasing to promote read- The panel considers the level of evidenceing comprehension was provided. As part that supports this recommendation to beof the intervention, students in the control moderate. This rating is based on one wellgroup were given the district-mandated designed quasi-experiment19 that demon-Reading Workshop,18 which gave students strated group equivalence at pretest andlearning opportunities in reading, writing, one large correlational study with strongand discussion experiences using both fic- statistical controls.20 Three additionaltion and nonfiction reading materials. In quasi-experimental studies provided directaddition to Reading Workshop, students in evidence to support this recommendationthe intervention group were taught the cog- but were not ideal for various reasons in-nitive strategy of paraphrasing for 20 min- volving study design (for example, teacherutes every other school day over a course confound, lack of baseline equivalence).21of six weeks. The intervention emphasized Additionally, a recent meta-analysis22 andsummarizing and paraphrasing strategies. a large descriptive study23 provided evi-Students practiced identifying the main dence to support this recommendation. Ofidea and learned how to ask questions in this body of scientific evidence, four stud-three simple steps: reading a paragraph, ies included students in late elementaryasking questions, and putting the infor- schools, and the remaining studies focusedmation in their own words. During the in- on students in middle and high schools.tervention, the teacher first described and The body of evidence supporting text dis-modeled the strategies to be used, followed cussion represents student populations inby students’ verbal practice of the strate- urban, suburban, and rural school districtsgies using grade-level and advanced grade- in all five regions of the United States (West,level passages. In addition, cue cards and Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast).large posters prompted students to use the About 50 percent of the studies showed astrategies they had learned. Reading com- positive impact specifically for studentsprehension was measured at the start and reading below grade level.end of the intervention with 10 comprehen-sion questions using expository texts. Most of the studies shared common fea- tures of implementation: training of teach-According to the study authors, the re- ers prior to implementation, collaborativesults of this study indicated that studentsreceiving the intervention showed higher 19. Reznitskaya et al. (2001). 20. Applebee et al. (2003).16. Katims and Harris (1997). 21. Bird (1984); Heinl (1988); Yeazell (1982).17. Spargo (1989). 22. Murphy et al. (2007).18. Atwell (1987), as cited in Katims and Harris(1997). 23. Langer (2001). ( 46 )
  • 53. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIESgroup discussion and learning, a focus on issues in stories they had read, taking po-interpretive and logical thinking, summa- sitions on issues and providing supportingrization, and engaging reading material. In evidence from the story for their positions.one study, one of the intervention groups The teacher’s role was to encourage stu-participated in shared inquiry and discov- dents to think reflectively about what theyery by reading a narrative literature selec- had read, to expose students to formal ar-tion and engaging in group interpretation gument devices, and to coach students (toand discussion. Students who participated challenge others’ viewpoints, to providein these discussions showed greater im- counterarguments, to respond using rebut-provements on a standardized measure tals). In addition to these regular discussionof reading comprehension than those periods, students in the intervention groupwho did not, but the effect was statisti- also participated in twice weekly 15-min-cally significant only for the lower ability ute discussions with all other participatingstudents in the group.24 In a second study classrooms, using web-based technology.students discussed controversial issues inthe selections they read and wrote a per- According to the study authors, the resultssuasive essay about a particular story at of this study indicated that students engag-the end of the intervention. Analysis of the ing in collaborative reasoning showed betterwritten essays indicated that the interven- persuasive arguments as indicated by thetion group significantly outperformed the number of arguments, counterarguments,comparison group in terms of variables rebuttals, and use of textual information insuch as number of arguments, counter- essays that the students had written. Thisarguments, rebuttals, formal argument result was statistically significant.devices, and textual information.25 Recommendation 4. Increase student motivation andExample of an intervention that uses engagement in literacy learningtext discussion Level of evidence: ModerateIn the example study a research team con-ducted a quasi-experimental study with se- The panel considers the level of evidencelected classrooms from four public schools that supports this recommendation to beserving students of diverse ethnic and so- moderate. This rating is based on two ex-cioeconomic backgrounds.26 In this study, periments27 and one quasi-experimentalliteracy instruction to promote the persua- study that did not show equivalence be-siveness of written arguments used an oral tween intervention and comparison groupsdiscussion technique known as collabora- at pretest but had no other major flawstive reasoning. As part of the intervention, threatening its internal validity.28 Three ad-students in the collaborative reasoning ditional studies provided direct evidencegroup met in small groups twice a week to support this recommendation but werefor 15- to 20-minute discussions over five weaker for various reasons, such as lackweeks. During these discussion sessions, of an eligible outcome (that is, measuredstudents openly participated (that is, they motivation rather than literacy).29 Six addi-did not need to be called on by a teacher)in oral discussions about controversial 27. Schunk and Rice (1992), which contains two studies; Mueller and Dweck (1998).24. Heinl (1988). 28. Guthrie et al. (1999).25. Reznitskaya et al. (2001). 29. Graham and Golan (1991); Grolnick and Ryan26. Reznitskaya et al. (2001). (1987); Guthrie et al. (2000). Some of these studies ( 47 )
  • 54. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIEStional experimental and quasi-experimental students with opportunities to generatedesign studies30 provided indirect evidence questions, discuss text meaning and inter-for this practice. Although these studies pretation, and communicate their under-did not focus on literacy skills, they dem- standings throughout the process. Resultsonstrated a direct link between the quality indicated that students using CORI signifi-of a teacher’s praise and students’ motiva- cantly increased their strategy use, con-tion. Finally, two meta-analyses of the re- ceptual learning, and text comprehensionsearch about the general effects of extrinsic compared with students taught using a tra-rewards on students’ motivation were also ditional approach.33 In a second study stu-considered for the purpose of this review.31 dents processed words using one of threeAlthough the meta-analyses of the litera- levels that ranged from shallow to deepture included secondary school students, and then participated in one of two condi-all other empirical studies reviewed here tions that manipulated their motivationalfocused on students in elementary schools. state (task-focused or ego-focused). ResultsThe body of evidence supporting motiva- indicated that students in the task-focusedtion and engagement represents student group had significantly higher cued recallpopulations in urban and suburban school scores than students in the ego-focuseddistricts in multiple geographical regions of group.34 In another study students’ mo-the United States. About 33 percent of the tivation was manipulated by leading stu-studies that focused on literacy outcomes dents to believe that they would be gradedshowed a positive impact specifically for on their performance (controlling directedstudents reading below grade level. In addi- learning), not graded but asked questionstion to the empirical studies, a literature re- (noncontrolling directed learning), or askedview and an article summarizing a series of questions to assess their enjoyment andresearch studies provided direct evidence attitudes (nondirected spontaneous learn-to support this recommendation.32 ing). The researchers found that students in the controlling and noncontrolling directedSome of the studies shared common fea- learning groups had better rote learningtures of implementation: a yearlong imple- than students in the nondirected group.mentation, a focus on interdisciplinary But students in the noncontrolling directedthemes, a phased approach to teaching the learning group also had statistically signifi-practice, a focus on extrinsic motivation cantly better learning than students in theor intrinsic motivation for the interven- controlling directed group.35tion group(s), and the linking of correctresponses to comprehension questions tothe correct use of a taught strategy. In one Example of an intervention that usesstudy, an interdisciplinary approach called Concept Oriented Reading Instruction36Concept Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI)was used over one year to teach students In our example a research team conductedlife and earth science topics using a four- two quasi- experimental studies37 withphase teaching framework that provided 33. Guthrie et al. (1999).also failed on duration as defined in the adolescent 34. Graham and Golan (1991).literacy protocol (that is, at least four weeks) but 35. Grolnick and Ryan (1987).were deemed to be of sufficient length to provideadditional support for the recommendation. 36. This nonbranded program is included be- cause it contains many relevant motivation and30. Mueller and Dweck (1998). engagement practices and strategies.31. Deci et al. (1999); Tang and Hall (1995). 37. One study was initially reported briefly in32. Guthrie and McCann (1997); Schunk (2003). Guthrie and McCann (1997) and was described in ( 48 )
  • 55. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIES3rd- and 5th-grade students from class- the CORI teachers met to discuss infor-rooms of mixed races and ethnicities near mation related to progress, strategies,a large city in a mid-Atlantic state.38 In and challenges. The teachers used a four-this study literacy instruction to promote phase approach in the instructional unitsmotivation for literacy, conceptual under- taught over the year: observe and per-standing, strategies for learning, and so- sonalize (hands-on activities and student-cial interaction was provided using Con- developed questions), search and retrievecept Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI). (searching for answers to questions andCORI is based on seven instructional information from varied sources), com-characteristics: prehend and integrate (direct strategies on how to integrate information learned from• Conceptual theme: theme about which each source), and communicate (students learning is organized. communicate what they have learned using various media). In the fall the teach-• Observation: use of hands-on activities ers taught a series of instructional units and real-life experiences for learning. about the life cycles of plants and animals; in the spring, the units focused on earth• Self-direction: supports to student in science, including the solar system and being autonomous in their learning. geological cycles.39 In the traditional class- rooms teachers used the teachers’ guides• Strategy instruction: supports to stu- and manuals. Teachers in both the CORI dent in guided discovery. classrooms and the traditional classrooms had the same instructional goals for lan-• Collaboration: support to help stu- guage arts and science. In one study40 stu- dents work together to learn. dents were assessed over a weeklong pe- riod using a performance assessment that• Self-expression: support to assist stu- tested them either on familiar or unfamil- dents describe their understanding to iar topics to determine their prior knowl- others. edge, strategy use, conceptual learning (drawing and writing), conceptual trans-• Coherence: the link between con- fer, informational text comprehension, ceptual understanding and real-life and narrative interpretation abilities. In experiences. the other study41 students were assessed on their intrinsic motivation (curiosity, in-As part of the intervention, CORI was volvement, and preference for challenge),taught over the course of a year by inte- extrinsic motivation (recognition and com-grating science and language arts. The petition), and strategy use.CORI teachers participated in a summerworkshop for 10 half-day sessions to plan According to the study authors, the resultsthe instruction for the year. Each month, of the first study42 indicated that studentsdetail in Guthrie et al. (1999). The other study was 39. This was the content taught in Guthrie et al.described in Guthrie et al. (2000). This section of (1999). In Guthrie et al. (2000), teachers taughtthe technical appendix is based on information environmental adaptation (life science theme)from all three articles. in the fall and weather (earth science theme) in the spring.38. Although the studies included 3rd- and 5th-grade students, this practice guide focuses only 40. Guthrie et al. (1999).on the results for the 5th-grade students because 41. Guthrie et al. (2000).of the age range specified in the Adolescent Lit-eracy protocol. 42. Guthrie et al. (1999). ( 49 )
  • 56. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIESreceiving CORI showed greater conceptual other types of disabilities, such as speech-learning, motivated strategy use, informa- language impairment, and one study in-tional text comprehension, and narrative cluded students without disabilities whocomprehension than students in the tra- were deemed at risk for failure in reading.ditional classrooms. These results were It is often difficult to determine whetherstatistically significant. Other outcomes in- adolescent struggling readers are in factvestigated in this study (conceptual trans- learning disabled because the characteris-fer) showed no statistically significant tics of their difficulties are often similar.differences between the different condi-tions. Results for the other study43demon- The body of evidence supporting intensivestrated that students who had participated and individualized interventions for strug-in CORI scored statistically significantly gling readers represents student popula-higher than students from traditional tions located in mostly urban and subur-classrooms on measures of curiosity and ban areas across the United States and instrategy use. Other outcomes investigated one province in Canada (Ontario). Overall,in this study (involvement, recognition, several studies demonstrated a positiveand competition) showed no statistically relationship between strategic interven-significant differences between the differ- tions and student outcomes when com-ent conditions. pared with business-as-usual approaches, but comparisons among different types ofRecommendation 5. strategic intervention did not lead to anyMake intensive and individualized clear conclusions about the superiority ofinterventions available for one approach over another.struggling readers that can beprovided by trained specialists The interventions implemented in these studies included such diverse approachesLevel of evidence: Strong as fluency strategies, semantic mapping and semantic feature analysis to showThe panel considers the level of evidence relationships among words, graphic rep-that supports this recommendation to resentations of ideas in text, goal setting,be strong. This rating is based on 12 ex- self-instruction, question answering, iden-periments and one well designed quasi- tification of themes, phonological analysisexperiment that demonstrated group com- and blending, word identification, text con-parability at pretest.44 Of this body of tent and structure, and reciprocal teach-scientific evidence, 12 studies included ing. Several interventions combined twostudents in upper-elementary or middle or more of these strategies. The most suc-school; the remaining study focused on cessful approaches used semantic map-students in high school. All the studies ping, semantic feature analysis, thematicincluded students with learning disabili- or graphic organizers appropriate to genre,ties including specific reading impair- identification of themes, phonological anal-ments. Two also included students with ysis and blending, word identification, text content and structure, or reciprocal teach-43. Guthrie et al. (2000). ing. In one study students45 using semantic44. Allinder et al. (2001); Bos and Anders (1990);DiCecco and Gleason (2002); Englert and Mariage 45. The students had a discrepancy between(1991); Johnson et al. (1997); Lovett et al. (1996); their intellectual functioning in one or more aca-Lovett and Steinbach (1997); Peverly and Wood demic area and one or more deficits in cognitive(2001); Rooney (1997); Therrien et al. (2006); processing. Additionally, the students had aver-Wilder and Williams (2001); Williams et al. (1994); age intelligence but reading was identified as aXin and Reith (2001). focus for remediation. ( 50 )
  • 57. APPEnDIx D. TEChnICAL InfORMATIOn On ThE STuDIESmapping or semantic feature analysis ap- students were receiving educational sup-proaches outperformed students receiving ports for their learning disabilities throughtypical direct instruction on immediate and either resource or self-contained settings.delayed tests of reading comprehension.46 Individual students were assigned to oneIn a second study47 students who used re- of four intervention conditions: Definitionpeated reading and answered factual and Instruction (DI), Semantic Mapping (SM),inferential comprehension questions made Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA), or Se-greater gains on a test of basic literacy skills mantic/Syntactic Feature Analysis (SSFA).than their peers who did not receive the in- Students met in groups of 6–12 for eighttervention.48 In another study students49 50-minute sessions spread out over ap-who used an organizing strategy followed proximately seven weeks.by theme identification and generalizationof story themes to real life performed bet- The DI condition involved directly teach-ter on measures of comprehension than ing students the meaning of vocabularystudents who received typical instruc- words by using a written list of the wordstion.50 All the successful approaches used with their definitions. The other three in-the chosen intervention over the course of terventions were based on interactive in-a month or more, although they varied in structional models. In the SM condition theintensity from just under an hour a week teacher worked with students to constructto two hours a day. a hierarchical relationship map for the vo- cabulary words based on their meaning. In the SFA condition the teacher workedExample of an intervention for with students using a matrix to predictstruggling readers relationships among the concepts repre- sented by the vocabulary words. The ma-In the example study researchers con- trix was created by placing superordinateducted a randomized controlled trial vocabulary at the head of the matrix andwith 61 junior high school students with then subordinate vocabulary below. Thelearning disabilities from two middle- and SSFA condition was identical to the SFAlower-middle-class school districts in the condition except that students also usedSouthwest United States.51 Participating the matrix to guide them in predicting the answers for cloze-type sentences.46. Bos and Anders (1990). According to the study authors, students47. About half of the students had a reading in the SM condition developed better read-learning disability and half were at risk for read- ing comprehension than students in theing failure (that is, reading at least two grade lev- DI condition by the time of posttest. Thisels below actual grade level). effect was statistically significant. In a de-48. Therrien et al. (2006). layed reading comprehension follow up,49. All students had identified learning dis- students in the SFA and SSFA conditionsabilities and discrepancies between actual and outperformed those in the DI condition.expected levels of reading achievement were These effects were statistically significant.greater than 1.5 grade levels. Additionally, the For all the outcomes above, there were nostudents scored at the 11th percentile on the significant differences between the perfor-Degrees of Reading Power Test, a test of reading mances of the students across the threecomprehension. interactive conditions.50. Wilder and Williams (2001).51. Bos and Anders (1990); the students had a deficits in cognitive processing. Additionally, thediscrepancy between their intellectual function- students had average intelligence but readinging in one or more academic area and one or more was identified as a focus for remediation. ( 51 )
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