Running head: ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 1 Implementing a School-Wide Literacy Strategy: Oral Reading Fluency Instruction for ELL Learners Using an RtI Model of Intervention Timothy D. Irish American College of Education Author’s Note Timothy D. Irish, ED520 Tim Irish is the Elementary Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Principal at the Universal American School in Hawally, Kuwait. Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Tim Irish at his personal email address. Contact: email@example.com
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 2 Implementing a School-Wide Literacy Strategy: Oral Reading Fluency Instruction for ELL Learners Using an RtI Model of InterventionLiteracy Need: In the first paper of this series, the identified area for growth in the author’s school wasthe infrastructure to support implementation of a balanced literacy program. Without asystematic approach to identifying and addressing students’ academic needs, individual teacherswill find it challenging to have lasting impact on their students’ academic achievement. In theUnited States, the intervention model that has become most prevalent is Response to Interventionor RtI. (Linan-Thompson, Vaughn, Parker, & Cirino, 2006; Mesner & Mesner, 2008). In 2004, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) revised the method foridentifying students with disabilities. Rather than rely on testing to demonstrate discrepanciesbetween IQ and achievement, schools were given the option to consider student response toinstructional interventions to determine the need for additional services. The 2004 IDEA revisionalso allowed federal special education funds to be spent on preventative instructionalinterventions. Thus, students did not have to be identified as special education students in orderto receive support from a special education teacher. (Linan-Thompson, Vaughn, Parker, &Cirino, 2006). In order to address these changes in the written law, RtI developed as analternative education model that placed more emphasis on classroom teachers and resourceteachers working together to provide early intervention to address student needs. (Mesner &Mesner, 2008). Most RtI models are structured with three “tiers” of intervention. Tier I focuses onresearch based instruction, which if done well, statistically provides sufficient support for 80% ofschool children to succeed. Tier II interventions – up to 30 minutes per day of additional support
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 3– are provided to 20% of students who require support beyond Tier I instruction. Studentresponse to Tier II interventions is closely monitored, leading ideally to a return to Tier Iinstruction. Tier III interventions are provided for approximately 5% of the school populationwho need more than what is offered through Tier II interventions. (Linen-Thompson et.al,Mesner & Mesner).Instructional Focus: Oral Reading Fluency An RtI model must begin with effective Tier I instruction, using research-basedinstructional approaches to address a wide range of student needs . If Tier I instruction lacksintegrity, the system will end up with too many students in need of Tier II and Tier IIIinterventions. In the last ten years, one area of reading instruction research has emphasized theimportance of reading fluency as a prerequisite to comprehension. (Hudson, Lane & Pullen,2005; Kuhn & Stahl, 2003; Kuhn, 2004; Rasinski, 2004; Stahl & Heubach, 2005; Turner, 2010).Oral reading fluency research emphasizes the concept that before children can focus on makingmeaning from complex text, they must move through the steps of phonological awareness,phonics, and fluency. Fluency is broken into three component parts: accuracy, automaticity andprosody. If students struggle to read with prosody, they have difficulty applying sufficient brainpower to comprehending as they slowly move through words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs(Kuhn, Schwanenflugel & Meisinger, 2010; Rasinski, 2000; Stahl & Heubach, 2005). The oral reading fluency lessons described in this paper are intended as Tier I instruction.If research-based instructional strategies are used to develop oral reading fluency, an estimated80% of the school population will develop sufficient levels of prosody to comprehend complextext. The remaining 20% will need additional instructional support (Tier II interventions) fromclassroom teachers, resource teachers and assistants. This structure speaks to the importance of aschool-wide structural system combined with effective instruction within individual classrooms.(Mesner & Mesner, 2008).
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 4Practical Application: Practice Makes Permanent! A School-Wide Poetry Jam. In order for students to apply sufficient energy to the challenging task of reading withcomprehension, they need to develop their ability to read with prosody (Rasinski, 2003; Stahl &Heubach, 2005). Arab students find this particularly challenging for two reasons. First, Arabicphonetics and spelling are significantly different than English. Spanish speaking students at leasthave similar sounds and the same letters! Although young Arab students can and do learnEnglish letter/sound correlations, they struggle to develop automaticity and prosody, in partbecause their first language is so different. Secondly, Arabic is written and read right to left,which complicates the development of automaticity for some students. Research on ELLstudents whose first language has a very different phonological base is limited, but Han & Chen,(2010) found that repeated reading of English texts had positive effects for Chinese ELLstudents. By reading the same story or text to reach performance level, students can slow down andlearn to hear the words in their head, taking time to develop the phasing and rhythm required tocomprehend the text. Research indicates that multiple readings of the same text transfers to moreincreased fluency and comprehension on new text. (Rasinski, 2004; Stahl & Heubach, 2005;Turner, 2010). In order for repeated reading to be effective, instruction should include howinflection and phrasing can help student interpret the text. Once students can read the lines, theycan put more energy into reading between the lines, asking and answering questions, bringingout deeper meanings, as well as making connections to their own lives. A poetry performance offavorite children’s poems creates motivation to rehearse, while addressing a number of readingstandards.
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 5Instructional Standards: From Common Core State Standards Speaking and Listening 3.1: Engage effectively in a range or collaborative discussions (one-on-one, group, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. Speaking and Listening 3.2: Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood. Speaking and Listening.3.3: Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail. Speaking and Listening.3.5: Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details. Foundation Skills 4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. a. Read on-level text with purpose and understanding. b. Read on-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings c. Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary. Reader’s Strategies Predicting, summarizing, inferring, visualizing, connecting, determining importance, word solving, maintaining fluency, analyzing, synthesizing. Self-correcting Skills: Reread, read ahead, use visual and context clues, ask questions, retell, use meaningful substitutions, clarify terminology, seek additional information, stop and think,Objectives/ Learning Outcomes: Short term objectives for the lesson focus on the Speaking / Listening and FoundationSkills Standards listed above. Teachers will need to make professional choices about how toinclude objectives for Reader Strategies, Self-correcting Skills, and comprehension. The intentis for the poetry jam to set the stage for continued work throughout the year on the fluency /comprehension connection. For students, the objectives are focused on performance goalsdefined by the assessment rubric. The objectives below emphasize that the poetry jam connectsto broader long term goals:
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 6 1. Students at all grade levels will make significant gains on DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency assessment, measured in September, January, and June. 2. Students at all grade levels will make significant gains on Running Record assessments, measuring independent reading levels for accuracy and comprehension, measured in October, January, and June.Materials, Resources and Technology: The whole class reading of the same text, resources may include classroom sets ofliterature books, science books, social studies texts, or multiple copies of songs and poems. Forthis lesson, the teacher will provide multiple copies of poems or story books. Potential sourcesinclude A.A Milne, Dr. Zues, Shell Silversteen, Bruce Lansky, Jack Prelutsky, Alan Katz , ornursery rhymes. Additional resources could include on-line poems that students can read whilethe computer “reads” out loud, or books on tape.Research Base1: The National Reading Panel In his review of the National Reading Panel Report, Shanahan (2006) indicates threeessential elements of effective fluency instruction: students need to read orally on a regular basis;they need to read the same text repeatedly; and they need constructive feedback, preferably one-on-one with an adult. Given the realities of an elementary classroom, one-on-one time for oralreading feedback is difficult to schedule, but partner or small group oral reading can also beeffective. Shanahan cautions against the use of Readers’ Theater because students can end upwaiting too long for their part, but choral poetry readings can overcome this drawback. In orderfor oral reading sessions with other students to be effective, students need a clear understandingof what fluent reading sounds like, as well as clear expectations of how to structure practice.Texts should be at instructional or frustration level. Flexible grouping is important so that strongreaders do not become “tutors” for less fluent readers. The lesson plan includes a mix of oral
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 7reading experiences, with the teacher modeling echo reading for the rehearsal of some poems,followed by partner or small group practice of other selections. In order for students to fullyappreciate the concept of prosody, teachers need to carefully review the assessment rubric.Before assessing their own performances, students should become familiar with the rubric byassessing the teacher as she reads poems with different levels of prosody. Shanahan also advisesthat poetry reading should be mixed with oral reading of fiction and nonfiction sources.Research Base2: Fluency Oriented Instruction (FORI) In the week two assignment, Fluency Oriented Instruction (FORI) was suggested as awhole group instructional approach emphasizing repeated readings of the same text throughout aschool week. (Stahl & Heubach, 2005). The FLORI model allows teacher to model and promoteprosodic reading while encouraging higher percentages of time on task than round-robin orreader’s theater models. Turner’s (2010) study of the FORI model incorporated vocabulary, writing and a range ofliteracy activities with oral reading practice as part of a balanced literacy program. He presenteda five day lesson plan that focused on repeated reading with the teacher followed by repeatedreadings at home. For a unit that emphasizes oral reading fluency with poetry, Table 2 offers analternative form of daily oral reading fluency instruction with a stronger emphasis on partnerreading combined with additional literacy work on poetry writing and vocabulary development.Table 2: The FLORI model applied to preparing a class for a poetry presentations.Mon Tuesday Wednesday Thursday FridayPre-reading Echo reading warm- Class choral Mini lesson Morningactivities: Teacher up / review, but this reading or on using rehearsalsintroduces the time students are longer passages context clues focus on theconcept of prosody: given a copy of the of echo reading. to determine finer points ofgood readers read poem. The teacher Mini-lesson on the nuance of oralnot only introduces the oral how intonation vocabulary presentation,automatically, but poetry rubric and and pitch can word organization,with expression and familiarizes the change the meaning props, etc.phrasing. Reading students, going over interpretation of within the Whole classwith prosody helps vocabulary within characters and context of choral reading
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 8the reader the rubric, then gives setting in poetry. and smallunderstand what the various levels of poetry. Students group poemswriting is about. The performance for the Students are work on are polishedbest way to get children to rate. asked to finding and for “dressreally good at rehearse two defining rehearsal.prosody is to read versions of their words in their Poetry Jamthe same story, poem to show selected performancespoem, or text many how their voice poems. scheduled intimes. can change the the afternoon. interpretation.Teacher shares a The teacher suggests Students Students are Continuedgroup poem, reading that beyond the rehearse group set up in triad options forit with various levels individual poems, poems and groups, so literacyof prosody so class will be individual that each activities:children get a sense working on poems. Teacher group illustrations,of the goal. The class preparing a poetry circulates and performs for word work,rehearses the poem performance for a meets with once, then vocabularyusing echo-reading: given audience small groups listens to two development,teacher reads the (parents, another according to group writing.line, then the class class, or in-class need. performancesrepeats from performance) – but . Rubric ismemory for that, we are reviewed and going to have to groups self practice a lot! The assess their teacher models progress. effective group rehearsalStudents are given Students are paired Homework Continuedsets of three poems in pre-assigned includes having reading ateach and asked to small groups or pairs an experienced home forread each one, then to rehearse poems reader read the students whochose one that they that match the group text with the needwould like to and student ability child. additionalpractice and perform levels. practice toon their own, for the developteacher. prosody.Research Base3: RtI Progress Monitoring A third research-based instructional strategy that relates to the long term goals of thelesson is to use DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency assessments to identify at-risk students, establishTier II interventions, then progress monitor those students to assess student response. Mesmer &Mesmer (2008) provide a concise overview of the RtI model and the practical application ofbenchmarking and progress monitoring using curriculum based measures (CBM). Beginning
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 9this year, all 1st to 4th grade students were assessed using DIBELS ORF probes in September.Benchmark assessments will be given again in January and June. Students who scored below the15th percentile according to DIBELS national norms for Fall assessment are being set up toreceive Tier II interventions to improve reading fluency. Classroom teachers, assistants,intervention teachers, and specialist teachers with extra planning time are scheduled to providethese students two-on-one oral reading support at least three times a week. These students areprogress monitored on DIBELS ORF assessments every two weeks in grades 1 and 2, and everyfour weeks in grades 3 and 4. It is important to note that DIBELS ORF assessments are only an indicator, not adiagnostic assessment, of reading difficulties. Teachers need to understand that the instructionalapproach should not be to drill students on oral reading so that they can read faster. Teachersneed to provide comprehensive reading instruction that includes vocabulary word work,comprehension, phonics and writing instruction, with additional support for at-risk students toaddress their specific needs. A positive response to these interventions may be reflected inimproved ORF scores, but a wide range of assessments must be considered to determine astudent’s response to interventions. Additional research is needed to explore the use of an RtImodel to determine the specific learning needs of ELL students. (Linan-Thompson, Vaughn,Parker, & Cirino, 2006).Student Groupings: Students will be organized in mixed ability groups of variable sizes to match the assignedpoem. Stronger oral readers can support group members or partners during practice sessions.Fluency lessons will begin each day with rehearsal of whole class poems, with the teachermodeling effective phrasing and intonation through echo reading. After rehearsal of wholegroup poems, students will move into small groups to rehearse their assigned poems. Groupleaders will be assigned to take the role of teacher, using echo reading and choral reading to
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 10develop fluent interpretations for the members of the group. In order to develop presentations,students will need to assign parts for individual and choral lines. The teacher will model thisprocess with a small group while the rest of the class watches, emphasizing the values of mutualrespect and shared responsibility.Presentation: The culminating activity will involve inviting other classes or parents to a poetry jam.The presentation can take on a variety of formats: evening performances in the auditorium;traveling to other classrooms for reading buddy exchanges; grade level rotations; or a single-class parent presentation.Assessment/Evaluation: A poetry reading rubric is presented in Table 3. The rubric was developed afterreviewing several on-line oral reading rubrics. Plans for developing student understanding of therubric are included in the FORI lesson plan for the week (Table 2). A more student friendlyrubric would be needed for grades 1 and 2.Closing Reflection: In my early years as a teacher, I was often guilty of focusing on learning activities for mystudents without looking at my instruction from a backwards design perspective. What does itlook like and feel like when students are truly fluent readers? How do we assess their ability,and what do we do when our assessments show they have not learned (or had already achievedthe standard before we taught it to them)? Poetry reading and readers’ theater were fun andseemed to help students get better at reading, but without reading the research, I didn’t knowwhy. I also missed out on the finer points of instruction and did not provide clear expectations orassessment rubrics. The more I learn about the science of teaching, the more I realize I still havea lot to learn. The lesson plans outlined in this assignment are certainly an improvement overmy early years of teaching. Implementing these lessons with other teachers, in the context of a
ORAL READING FLUENCY INSTRUCTION 11systematic approach to improved literacy instruction, will continue to be a significant challenge,but it is a challenge I look forward to.
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