The D-TRL was developed in 1991 by MichelleCommeyras, an Assistant Professor at the University ofGeorgia and an investigator at the National ReadingResearch Center. She conducted research on criticalthinking.This approach grew out of Commeyras’ exploration ofways to infuse critical thinking into the reading instructionwhile teaching sixth grade pupils. She developed a critical-thinking reading lesson format to use with stories in basalreader, and further developed that format for a researchstudy she conducted with fifth grade pupils who hadlearning disorders. She called this elaborate lesson formata Dialogical-Thinking Reading Lesson (thereafter refferedto as D-TRL).
The goal of each D-TRL is to engage pupils inreasonable reflective thinking in order to decide whatthey believe about a story-specific issue. D-TRLsencourage the pupils to return to the text to verify orclarify information, to consider multiple interpretations,and to evaluate the acceptability and relevance ofcompeting or alternative interpretations.
2 Phases of D-TRL•The Reading PhaseAn important element in D-TRL is the story to be read anddiscussed. It is important to select a story that lends itself todiscussion of an issue or question that can be consideredfrom more than one perspective and that the pupils will findit significant or intriguing.•The Discussion PhaseThe discussion phase of each lesson consumes most of thetime because it is conceptually the most important part.Another key element of the discussion phase is getting thepupils to evaluate the truth and relevance of their reasons. Ifall the reasons have been filtered through the teacherjudgement, the pupils will denied the opportunity to evaluatetheir own thinking.
Drawing conclusionsAt the end of each D-TRL, the pupils are always given theopportunity to say what they believe about the centralquestion given all the thinking they have done on the topic.Central to critical thinking is knowing when to withholdjudgement. It is entirely possible that even after a gooddiscussion some students will not feel ready to draw aconclusion. An alternative to discussing the pupils’conclusions is to have them write about their conclusionsand then share their written responses later.
The ultimate goal of D-TRLs should be for thepupils to engage in thoughtful and in depthdiscussions of their reading without the teacherserving as discussion leader. Instead, the teachermight participate as an equal partner or to be freeto work with another group of pupils
Diagnostic procedures begin with a study of the children’sinstructional needs based on the expectancies of theirchronological age, mental age, and grade placement.The teacher seeks to discover why a pupils read as they do,what they can read, and what the do read successfully. Theteacher needs to know if the pupils are having problems inreading and, if so, what they are and what are their causes.The teacher wishes to know the pupil’s general abilities andtheir reading development. In short, the teacher needs toknow the strengths and weaknesses of the pupils.
Diagnosis is a logical process based on a consideration of allthe available data concerning a particular individual or groupof individuals.The analysis of these data and their interpretation in the lightof knowledge gained from past experience enables theteacher to suggest necessary developmental or remedialmeasures.
Principle of DiagnosisA diagnosis is always directed toward formulatingmethods of improvement.diagnosis involves far more than appraisal of readingskills and abilities.A diagnosis must be efficient – going as far as and nofurther than necessary.Only pertinent information should be collected and by themost efficient means.Whenever possible, standardized test procedures shouldbe used.Informal procedures may be required when it is necessaryto expand a diagnosis.A diagnosis should be continuous.
Steps in Diagnosis1. Secure as much information as possible about the pupil and record them on a case history bank.2. Obtain the most accurate measure possible of the level at which the child should be able to read.3. Administer a standardized reading survey test.4. Analyze the data to determine whether the child has a reading problem.5. A detailed analysis of the child’s reading problem is made.6. Collate all the data secured and interpret the results as accurately as possible.7. An attempt is made to identify the factors which may be inhibiting reading progress.8. Make appropriate recommendations for remedial therapy.
A study of problem readers, then, must include the realitythat classroom teachers not only are in the best position tohelp students, but also are professionally responsible tocontinue the education of the students as in intelligentlyand efficiently as they can.
Characteristics of Problem Readers1.They do not read as well as their abilities indicate they should. They should not be judged by their reading skills in relation to their grade levels in school, but rather in relation to their potentials.2.Students may be considered problem readers when, with the exception of a specific skill deficiency, all other measures of their reading are up to their levels of potential.3.Students also may be considered problem readers when, in spite of reading skills in good relationship to their potential, they lack the desire to read.
Problem readers are not only a problem to themselvesbut eventually cause problems in school and at home
In SchoolIn school, where students often are pressured to achieve acertain grade level of performance, problem readers aresource of never ending disappointments. Teachers mayreact by giving up on them or by feeling that they areindifferent, lazy or troublesome. Frustration by the rejectionand the labels which they have received; problem readerseither cannot or will not work independently.Not at all problems readers become school dropouts;however, the strained school-pupil relationship increasesdropout possibilities. Psychological dropouts are in everyschool; they generally create problems for both the teacherand students who are there to work.
With PeersPeers often treat them kindly, it is not uncommon forproblem readers to be teased and taunted. They are notwith the “in” group and are often found alone at play aswell as in the classroom. Rejection encourages them toseek companionship with others in the “out” group. Afurther complication is problem readers’ repetition ofgrade, which places them one year behind their peers.
With ParentsParents become anxious when their children are notsucceeding in school. They may try to solve the problem byurging or forcing the children to make greater efforts.Students are not blind to this shame and rejection, and theytoo will look for someone to blame.By observing problem readers, it can be concluded thatramifications of their problems are felt not only bythemselves but also by the school, peers, and family. Theirinability to solve their own problem causes the future tolook dark indeed.