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What Can Be Learned from Progress Monitoring
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  2. The Roles of School Leaders and the Literacy Team
  3. Literacy assessment based upon the National Reading Panel’s Big Five components
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However, it is no longer a free service. Thus, one direction is early screening of all students using a couple of simple tests. When more detailed testing is required, what areas are most fruitfully explored? It seems appropriate to focus on the areas deemed by the National Reading Panel to be pivotal to reading development. There is strong consensus among researchers that phonemic awareness is a robust predictor of future reading progress, markedly better than is intelligence Stanovich, Phonological or phonemic awareness is an auditory skill enabling the recognition that the spoken word consists of individual sounds.

It appears to follow a developmental sequence: from simple Do cat and comb begin with the same sound? A study by Schatschneider et al. There are a number of screening tests available, but fewer with norms, the TOPA being one that has an age range of 5. Another advantage of this instrument is its facility for group-testing. Another test is the Phonological Awareness Screening Test Henty, developed in Tasmania for which the author has been attempting to obtain normative data. There are at least two phonological skills besides phonemic awareness, and they are beginning to assume importance in the research literature because of their capacity to add discrimination power to test batteries Badian, ; Cornwall, ; Felton, ; Hurford et al.

They will often form part of the more comprehensive assessment in the two-tier screen approach. Humans store the internal representations of words in sound form known as phonological segments. These representations need to be clearly distinguishable from other stored sound segments, or else the wrong word may be selected when, for example, one is asked to name an object presented in a picture, or a written number, or letter.

Not only must the representations be distinct, but they must be quickly and accurately accessible. Students with reading difficulties often display significant difficulty with rapidly retrieving and accessing names for visual material, even though the relevant names are known to them. Savage and Frederickson found that alphanumeric naming capacity was particularly strongly associated with reading fluency.

These speed and accuracy problems may be evident even prior to experience with print. Naming speed for pictures or objects may be slow, as too, subsequently, naming of known numbers and letters. A number of researchers have noted the predictive power of naming-speed tasks, using pictures, numbers, and letters.

Both naming speed and sight word reading depend on rapid, automatic symbol retrieval. Bowers argues that slow naming speed is specific to reading disability, and not common to children with either broad-based reading problems, or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This issue is important because there may be a group whose phonemic awareness is developing normally, and who would be unidentified by a phonemic awareness screen, but who may subsequently have reading difficulties.

Additionally, there may be a group of students who have deficits in both phonemic awareness and rapid naming. Their dual difficulty may well lead them to be especially resistant to the standard procedures in reading instruction. Wolf and colleagues have described this as the Double Deficit Hypothesis. Identifying this group before the failure process commences is obviously worthwhile, because it enables the marshalling of resources to provide very intense evidence-based instruction to this targeted group.

A study by Lovett, Steinbach, and Frijters underlines the importance of recognising such treatment resisters. They noted that, when intensive phonologically-based instruction was implemented, even the Double Deficit students made progress commensurate with their less disabled single deficit peers.

Without such carefully planned intervention, they tend to be the most severely disabled readers, and their difficulties are not relieved by maturation Lovett, et al. Wiig, Zureich, and Chan argue for pictures and colours as more suitable because of the exceptionally automatised nature of letter and number knowledge. The beginning reader is required to decode a series of graphemes, and temporarily order them to allow the cognitively expensive task of blending to occur.

This skill has been found to be an important determinant of early reading success. The CTOPP is designed to identify individuals from prep to tertiary level whose reading would benefit from development of their phonological skills. One version, developed for children aged 5 and 6 has seven core subtests and one supplementary test. The second version ages 7 to 24 years contains six core subtests and six supplementary tests. Individual administration requires about 30 minutes for the core subtests.

Even though rapid naming tasks assist in the prediction of early reading success, there is as yet little evidence that directly training those tasks improves reading Spear-Swerling, That is not to say that such efforts can never be fruitful. The additions emphasise orthographic pattern recognition, semantic development, and retrieval strategies. Independent evaluations are as yet incomplete. Gillam and Van Kleeck reported a study in which pre-school aged children with speech and language disorders improved both in phonemic awareness and phonological working memory following a phonemic awareness training program.

Further, they noted that children with poor initial phonological working memory were as responsive to the intervention as were those with better phonological working memory. No studies thus far have supported the value of directly teaching naming or short term memory skills. Elbro, Nielsen, and Petersen argue that poor phonological representations of words form the core deficit in disabled readers. In this view, lexical access and working memory are restricted not because of specific modular deficits in these processes, but rather because what is sought in the lexicon, or to be held in working memory, is lacking in readily distinguishing features.

They noted the confusion of similar sounding words, and the less distinct word-naming in such readers. This view also finds support in a study by Eden, Stein, Wood, and Wood a; b. The phonological representation explanation allows for the possibility that improved phonemic awareness may lead to an assessed improvement in one or more of these other phonological processes. In fact, Rubin, Rottella, Schwartz, and Bernstein found that training Year 3 children in phonemic awareness had a significantly beneficial effect on the picture naming speed of both the good and poor readers.

Teachers may anticipate that students with difficulties solely in phonological awareness tasks are likely to require additional care in the teaching of decoding skills, while those with problems solely with naming speed may be expected to require assistance in whole word recognition, and careful attention to fluency development. As noted earlier, Wolf and Bowers argue that students who have difficulty with both phonological awareness tasks and naming speed tasks are very likely to be more resistant to reading instruction than are those with a problem in one area only.

Progress may be slow and hard earned, but attention to detail in instruction and vastly increased opportunities for practice can make a great difference to the prognosis. Phonemic awareness becomes important when beginners are faced with the challenge of making sense of the English alphabetic system of writing.

The phonological skills of blending and segmenting act upon the knowledge of letter-sound correspondences to enable the decoding of the written word. The facility with which students can do so to decode words not before seen is a necessary step on the way to effortless fluent reading. While it may appear to be a task only obliquely related to reading, the measure ensures that memory for words and contextual cues can be ruled out as explanations when the non-words are read accurately.

Share argued that students must achieve a certain level of facility with decoding before a self-teaching mechanism allows them to make continuous independent progress from that stage, eventually employing for the most part the orthographic strategy that enables rapid, accurate, effortless reading. In struggling readers, there is little activity in the left hemisphere but considerably more in the less helpful right hemisphere Simos et al.

This internal representation is maintained in the occipito-temporal region of the left hemisphere. Subsequent recognition of that word becomes automatic, taking less than milliseconds less than a heartbeat. The development of orthographic processing, the key to fluent reading, depends upon the occipito-temporal region. However, the occipito-temporal region does not assume responsibility for the task without first the parieto-temporal region regularly being engaged Richards et al.

Not all children have a strong phonological talent, and there may be both genetic and environmental influences to create these individual differences. NWF below 5 is considered at risk, between 5 and 12 at some risk, and 13 or more at low risk. It has norms from age 6 to 25 years. These tests add another quality to the other tests mentioned above -- that of fluency of decoding. Fluency provides information beyond mastery, separating those who are accurate, but slow, from those for whom decoding is effortless and automatic.

Our research highlights the importance of using measures that assess the fluency or automaticity of skill development i. The TOWRE is helpful for a number of purposes, such as in monitoring the growth in efficiency of phonemic decoding and sight word reading skills during the primary school years. It also highlights any differences between the two skills in the same student. This has implications for any intervention that may required by a student. The two subtests can be administered to a child in less than 5 minutes, and there are two parallel forms of each subtest.

It has been suggested that assessment at the level of the single word, as in lists rather than employing only authentic literature, are in some way not real tests of real reading, because it involves fractionating the reading process Goodman, However, two studies by Landi, Perfetti, Bolger, Dunlap, and Foorman have pointed to the potential for list-type assessment to provide a purer measure of orthographic and phonological skills, because when beginning readers read words in context, they may depend on context to attempt to circumvent their inadequacies in reading unfamiliar words.

A general reading assessment will provide some information. It will provide an idea of the length of time it may take for the child to achieve a reasonable level of reading skill i. Older students demonstrate a broad and complex range of difficulties related to reading. We examined several syntheses on interventions for secondary students with reading difficulties to identify effective interventions to meet this range of reading difficulties.

Edmonds et al. Analyses revealed a mean weighted effect size in the moderate range in favor of treatment students over comparison students. Promising approaches were those that provided targeted reading intervention in comprehension, multiple reading components, or word-recognition strategies Vaughn et al. Normed reading tests may continue to be used for older students, bearing in mind the various problems they have in specifying precise grade levels.

Reading accuracy tests do not adequately discriminate between those students who have memorised whole words and those students who additionally have the capacity to decode words not recognised. The Woodcock has a significant advantage over the Neale because of the inclusion of a Word Attack subtest that indicates the degree to which the student can apply his phonemic awareness to the task of reading sometimes called phonological recoding.

Additionally, it is normed to an adult level. Rate also provides information about the attentional capacity a reader has available to commit to the task of reading comprehension. In its beginnings, reading fluency is the product of the initial development of accuracy and the subsequent development of automaticity in underlying sublexical processes, lexical processes, and their integration in single-word reading and connected text.

These include perceptual, phonological, orthographic, and morphological processes at the letter, letter-pattern, and word-level; as well as semantic and syntactic processes at the word-level and connected-text level. After it is fully developed, reading fluency refers to a level of accuracy and rate, where decoding is relatively effortless; where oral reading is smooth and accurate with correct prosody; and where attention can be allocated to comprehension p. Oral reading fluency has particular relevance during the alphabetic stage of reading development because this is the phase during which self-teaching begins Share, In the early alphabetic stage, simple letter pattern-to-sound conversion begins to provide a means of decoding unknown words, though the process is necessarily laborious as is any new skill prior to its automatization.

As they progress with their understanding of the function of the alphabet, students begin to appreciate that each time they decode an unfamiliar word its recognition subsequently becomes easier and faster.

Practising decoding enables them to become adept at storing letter-patterns -- orthographic information that can dramatically hasten word recognition of these and new words Torgesen, These are not simply visual images, but alphabetic sequences. It is in reaching the stage of automaticity that the apparent magic of skilled reading becomes evident — whole words are recognised as quickly as are individual letters. The issue of variation in the effort required to make sense of print has been addressed by employing neuro-imaging techniques when both capable and struggling students are engaged in reading.

Richards et al. This difference was not observed when non-language tasks were presented. It is unsurprising that a lack of motivation to read is a serious secondary obstacle for dysfluent readers. In fact, Shinn, Good, Knutson, Tilly, and Collins found that oral reading fluency in the early grades was as valid a measure of reading comprehension as of decoding ability.

Others have reported correlations as high as. Both standardised and informal assessments of oral reading accuracy and rate are recommended in the National Reading Panel Report National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, The report also recommends guided oral reading as a valuable fluency enhancing activity, yet both fluency assessment and instruction are notably absent from the reading curricula of many schools.

Perhaps the National Curriculum eventually will incorporate such an emphasis, give that the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy recommended both assessment and structured teaching of reading fluency. While suggested rates vary among writers, Howell and Nolet recommend the following benchmarks for text appropriately graded.

From early Year 1 to late Year 1, the anticipated progression is from 35—50 words correct per minute; whilst from early Year 2 to late Year 2, the target is from 70— correct wpm; and from early Year 3 to late Year 3 the progression is from — correct wpm. A slightly different trajectory is suggested by Binder, Haughton, and Bateman They anticipate a more rapid progression throughout Year 1 reaching between correct wpm. They also provide additional yearly expectations: Year 2—Year 3 — correct wpm; Year 4—Year 5 — correct wpm; Year 6—Year 8 — correct wpm; and Year 9 and above — correct wpm.

Numerous graded passages are provided, and students read the appropriate passages orally for one minute each. The median score words correct per minute of the cold reading of each of three passages forms the data. Performance-based benchmarks allow the identification of children who are doing well in their reading instruction, and detects those whose response to instruction places them at risk for experiencing later reading difficulties.

They are simple, quick, and cost-effective free measures that are more sensitive to small changes over time than are most standardised tests. There are multiple passages for each grade level, making them easily repeatable for continuous progress monitoring. Using DIBELS, all students are expected to be assessed three times a year, while those receiving intervention are typically assessed fortnightly or monthly.

It follows a similar protocol, and has multiple passages up to a Year 8 level. An issue sometimes arises about the appropriateness of tests in Australia employing only US norms. Obviously, it would be an advantage to have local norms for all the tests we wish to use; however, the huge cost of properly norming tests is prohibitive for many local developers.

There are some grounds for defending US normed tests of reading. We speak and write the same language, and, in most Australian states, we commence school at about the same age. In international comparisons e. The implication of this disparity is that tests using US norms may slightly flatter our students. When students do not do well on such a test, it is likely that they would actually be lower on that test using local norms than is indicated by the test manual.

So, if a student, for example, scores below the 30 th percentile on the TOWRE the cut-off for being classified as at-risk , any error caused by the non-local norms is likely to lead to an underestimate of their level of difficulty. Vocabulary produces correlations with reading comprehension of between.

It is acknowledged that early vocabulary development is important for later literacy, and that there are marked differences in the vocabulary levels of children at school entry. Hart and Risley ; observed that on average parents with professional jobs spoke about 2, words an hour to toddlers. For working-class parents, the rate averaged 1, words an hour, and for those receiving welfare only words an hour.

Hart and Risley concluded that by age 3, children receiving welfare have heard 30 million fewer words than children of professional families. There may in the near future be the means for very early identification of language development Swingley, Young toddlers tend to look at images or objects that are named by an adult.

Through eye movement tracking while a child observes two objects e. If schools are to attempt to compensate for these dramatic discrepancies noted by Hart and Risley, then vocabulary assessment needs to be included in the planning. However, there are a number of uses of the term: receptive and expressive vocabulary, oral and reading vocabulary, reading and writing vocabulary. The National Reading Panel National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, described numerous studies that emphasised the way in which vocabulary develops.

So, much of the development must be dependent upon reading. So, the initial gap is inclined to widen. Why is reading such a source of vocabulary growth? Even popular magazines have 3 times as many opportunities for new word learning as prime-time television and adult conversation Stanovich, Reading stories to children appears not to adequately compensate for a lack of reading experience. So, the extent of vocabulary knowledge is both a cause and a consequence of reading development.

It is fair to say that the field of vocabulary assessment is less well developed than some of the other dimensions of reading. A great deal of the research employed experimenter-designed tests, and hence there has not arisen a clear consensus about which type of vocabulary assessment is most helpful in relation to reading development. According to the NRP, standardized tests should only be used to provide a baseline, as they offer only a more general measure of vocabulary.

For evaluating instruction, more than a single measure of vocabulary should be utilised, preferably measures associated with the teaching curriculum. In standardized tests, one way of assessing vocabulary is to have the student select a definition for a word from a list of alternatives. There is no reading involved; the task is to identify the one picture of four that matches the word spoken by the test administrator.

The Wechsler task is to provide definitions for various, progressively more complex words. Vocabulary deficits may impede reading comprehension, but reasons for students performing poorly on a comprehension measure are not immediately obvious from only the comprehension measure. Was low attainment caused by a decoding problem, or did inattention preclude correct answers.

Did the student forget the passage details because of short term memory problems, or might anxiety have interfered? Was it a metacognition failure in which the student has simply never learned strategies to aid comprehension, or was it due to a vocabulary lag? The vocabulary test can assist with this diagnosis, but is insufficient of itself. As the basic decoding and word recognition skills become automatised, comprehension strategies become an area of variability among students.

Strategies that were adequate in simple text may become insufficient for the increasingly complex language semantics and syntax in the upper primary and secondary grades. Without the automatisation of basic processes, reading comprehension progress stalls. The growth of these largely oral comprehension skills is partly dependent upon the quality and extent of oral language activities in their curriculum. However, text is not simply transcribed speech.

It has its own formats, and additional comprehension strategies assume importance over the longer period of reading sophistication. Those with a history of problems will have had reduced exposure to text that hampers subsequent progress impeding their vocabulary development Nagy, , as discussed earlier. The research into enhancing comprehension has lagged behind that for the underpinning word-level processes, though there is some agreement about a few promising components. For example, the student who interrogates the text is likely to understand more than one who passively reads it National Reading Panel, ; Pressley, Useful strategies, including prediction, analyzing stories with respect to story grammar elements, question asking, image construction, and summarizing, may be intuited by some students.

Unfortunately, many comprehension activities in schools involve only testing students reading a text and subsequently answering questions rather than actually providing instruction. Good readers are aware of why they are reading a text, gain an overview of the text before reading, make predictions about the upcoming text, read selectively based on their overview, associate ideas in text to what they already know, note whether their predictions and expectations about text content are being met, revise their prior knowledge when compelling new ideas conflicting with prior knowledge are encountered, figure out the meanings of unfamiliar vocabulary based on context clues, underline and reread and make notes and paraphrase to remember important points, interpret the text, evaluate its quality, review important points as they conclude reading, and think about how ideas encountered in the text might be used in the future.

Young and less skilled readers, in contrast, exhibit a lack of such activity e. Pressley, , p. Given the under-developed state of research into reading comprehension, it is unsurprising that current testing instruments also have their problems. Much of the intervention research has involved experimenter-devised tests, and these have produced rather larger effect sizes than have standardised tests when evaluating the same instructional method. For the studies on question generation, the average effect sizeaveraged about 0.

The pattern was similar for the multiple strategy instruction experiments in which for experimenter-written tests the average effect size was 0. Clearly some consensus is needed about what forms of comprehension assessment are optimal for a specific given purpose. Standardised comprehension tests are predicated on the assumption that there is a consensus on what are appropriate, progressively increasing grade levels of comprehension.

However, there are many variables to cloud interpretation of results. Grade level materials can be analysed on the basis of their readability, usually utilising one or other algorithms based upon word length, word prevalence, and sentence length. However, difficulty levels of vocabulary and syntax can vary significantly across tests, and are not quantified by readability measures.

Are the questions literal or inferential? Inferential questions are usually considered harder than literal questions, but both have difficulty levels along a continuum. To further complicate the issue, domain knowledge about a topic dramatically influences task success Hirsch, , as can command of English. It has also been observed that speed of comprehension is slower and test scores are lower when unfamiliar topics are read than when familiar topics arise. A weakness, then, of comprehension measures is that the methods chosen are only indirect indicators of whether the reader has got it, and to what extent.

Perhaps, future brain imaging techniques will provide more insight into the process of comprehension. Of particular interest is to compare attainment on a reading comprehension task to that on a listening comprehension task. The Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills-Revised Brigance, has the capacity to provide such a comparison, with its reading comprehension and listening comprehension subtests up to Year 9.

So too does the Spadafore Diagnostic Reading Test Spadafore, , and it has an advantage in that it is normed to Year The interest lies in the degree to which performance differs on the two tasks. For the average child, if reading is fluent, then the two scores should be similar. Comparing the results of listening comprehension to reading comprehension offers the capacity to define those children who have a major problem only at the level of print. They will perform well on the listening comprehension tasks, using their impressive general language skills to answer questions about a story read to them.

On the reading comprehension task, however, they will do relatively poorly as their under-developed decoding skills prevent them bringing into play their well-developed general language skills. When required to decode a passage unassisted, these students struggle, as do their garden-variety peers -- those with a non-modular, broad-based reading problem Stanovich, b. On the other hand, the garden-variety students would be expected to perform similarly on both tasks. Their reading problems are general rather than specific, and they have more than just one or two reading subskills restricting their development.

Their decoding skill is commensurate with their other language skills, such that if they know the meaning of a word or phrase, or sentence , they can comprehend it whether it is presented orally or in print. The consequence for the high listening comprehension-low reading comprehension child should be intensive assistance at the decoding level. For the low listening comprehension-low reading comprehension child, intensive assistance at both the decoding and comprehension levels is indicated.

Other possible outcomes are high listening comprehension-high reading comprehension, a result predictable from an all-round good reader; and low listening comprehension-high reading comprehension, a rare result, possibly from a student with acute attentional, hearing, or short-term memory problems. In this case, the permanence of text would allow the student to use his intact language comprehension skills; whereas, the ephemeral nature of the spoken story precludes such access.

Hyperlexic students a less common sub-group with excellent word recognition but poor reading comprehension would not be detected by this discrepancy analysis, because their listening comprehension parallels their reading comprehension Sparks, Hyperlexic students should not be confused with the oft seen older struggling reader who may appear to decode adequately, and have only under-developed comprehension skills.

These latter students usually have a long history of inadequate decoding skills and fluency -- a history that has compounded across domains. Despite some apparent improvement in decoding, their fluency tends to remain problematic. This listening comprehension - reading comprehension discrepancy represents an alternative definition of the group sometimes described as dyslexic ; however, as with the IQ discrepancy-defined dyslexic , an issue is how great a discrepancy should be considered significant. Some have considered a two year discrepancy to be very significant Anderson, , given the extent of commonality of the tasks.

However, this is clearly an arbitrary figure, its significance being higher the younger is the age of the child. This is its major value since the intervention techniques employed include systematic synthetic phonics instruction whether the difficulty is described as dyslexic or garden-variety. Although not covered here, a full assessment would also include a measure of spelling, and one of written expression.

Spelling is closely related to reading — correlations between 0. Teaching writing has benefits in enhancing reading, and thus assessment of written expression is also relevant Todd et al. The relationship is noted in the following quotations:. A large body of data supports the view that movement plays a crucial role in letter representation and suggests that handwriting contributes to the visual recognition of letters.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging recordings indicatedthat the response mode during learning is associated with distinctpathways during recognition of graphic shapes. Greater activityrelated to handwriting learning and normal letter identificationwas observed in several brain regions known to be involved inthe execution, imagery, and observation of actions, in particular,the left Broca's area and bilateral inferior parietal lobules.

The empirical evidence that the writing practices described in this report strengthen reading skills provides additional support for the notion that writing should be taught and emphasized as an integral part of the school curriculum. It has eight subtests: Eight subtests: Vocabulary -- write a sentence including a specified word; Writing style -- writing sentences from dictation using proper punctuation and capitalization; Spelling -- writing sentences from dictation and spelling is also assessed; Logical sentences -- edit an illogical sentence so it makes sense; Sentence combining -- several short sentences are combined to make one grammatically correct sentence; Contextual connections -- write a story about a picture capitalization, spelling, punctuation and other writing elements are assessed ; Contextual language -- the story from the previous subtest is evaluated for vocabulary, sentence construction and grammar; Story construction-- the story is evaluated for quality of plot, prose, development of characters, interest to the reader, and other compositional aspects.

There is a newer version TOWL-4 available. Assembling the results of the various assessments for a particular student leads to some interpretation of cause and possible interventions. One purpose for the fine-grained, domain-specific assessments described in this paper is to enable the assigning any intervention precisely to the area that is seen to be impeding student progress. This targeting enables a more efficient use of scarce school resources, and increases the likelihood of rapid progress for the student. If identified and addressed early, impediments to progress can be removed before the debilitating Matthew Effects Stanovich, are able to force the student into the familiar and depressing downward trajectory.

The scripted nature of these programs is a great benefit when training parents to work effectively with their children. The next major step involves policy reform that takes as its primary source the scientific theory of reading development and empirically validated approaches that incorporate this theory.

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When combined with wisely used, salient assessment instruments, the potential for the education system to enter a self-sustaining improvement cycle is very exciting. All that is needed is for the education industry and political bureaucracies to see the light. As a first step, they might devise explicit, measurable standards, and insist upon close, transparent progress monitoring to evaluate instructional adequacy. Straightforward really! Kate Devine B. Prof Kerry Hempenstall B. Jacob is 15 years and 2 months old and lives at home with his mother, Elly, his father, Jim, his sister Faye 16 years , and his brother Tony 9 years.

Jim runs a bricklaying company and Elly manages the bookkeeping for the business and their rental properties. Jacob was reported to be walking by 12 months of age. In terms of dietary intake, Jacob was reported to have been on several diets in the past in an attempt to overcome his behavioural difficulties. According to Elly, Jacob is currently taking Risperidone daily to assist with these problem behaviours.

Berle, a consultant child psychiatrist. Jacob has a long history of bed wetting and has sleep difficulties according to Elly. Following completion of primary school, Jacob made the transition into Smithfield Secondary College. According to Elly, Jacob was subjected to bullying and harassment which precipitated her removing Jacob from school after Term Three. Jacob did not attend school for a considerable amount of time for over months , until he was enrolled in the Mid WestSpecialistSchool.

Since beginning at the Specialist School, Elly reported that Jacob has been suspended for extended periods of time the most recent was reported to be 4-weeks due to his difficult behaviours. Elly indicated that Jacob has difficulties regulating his emotions and needs one-on-one support in the classroom to assist him with being able to control his frustration.

Jacob was assessed in Jacob was administered. Jacob was generally cooperative during the assessments and applied himself during most activities. Over the course of the day, regular breaks were provided. At times, Jacob became distracted and innattentive for example, looking around the room ; however, he returned to the task after being instructed and praised by the clinician. The WISC-IV contains 10 individual tests that measure a variety of skills and abilities thought to be important in overall intellectual functioning.

The 10 individual tests assess four areas of intellectual functioning: Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed. Scores from each test are combined to give a total, of Full Scale, IQ score. The Full Scale IQ score is considered to be the best measure of cognitive ability and is a strong predictor of academic achievement. This is a characteristic of intellectual assessment tools that attempt to produce an estimate of general intelligence through a range of multiple subtests assessing different elements thought to comprise intelligence.

If the results diverge too widely then simply averaging them does not produce a valid IQ. However, this criterion was not met as the difference between Jacob Verbal Comprehension and Perceptual Reasoning index scores exceeded 23 points. This places his performance in the Borderline range.

The Working Memory Index assessed how well Jacob is able to attend to, hold and manipulate information in his short-term memory. The Processing Speed Index assessed how quickly Jacob can process simple visual material without making errors. It is important to remember that full scale scores on cognitive tests such as the WISC-IV reflect various problem solving abilities and retained facts, and are usually reasonably good predictors of learning and academic success.

When results of the intellectual assessment vary as dramatically as do those of Jacob, and IQ is not able to be determined, it is necessary to consider his academic skills to determine the degree to which intellectual factors, such as his very low processing speed and low verbal comprehension may have contributed to his current circumstances. For instance, factors such as motivation, creative talent, curiosity, work habits, and study skills are not ascertained by this assessment. As will become clear from the educational assessment, functionally Jacob has the same needs as a student whose low full scale IQ score invites eligibility for assistance from programs for students with disability.

Full scale IQ is not as strong a predictor of literacy success as is often believed. Phonological processing is a much better predictor of reading ability. A deficit in one or more of these kinds of processing is viewed as the most common cause of learning disabilities in general, and of reading disabilities in particular. In addition to their role in reading, phonological processing abilities also support writing, spelling, and mathematics.

Jacob was required to repeat a word with one phoneme deleted e. The Blending Word test assessed how well Jacob is able to blend individual sounds together to make words. His performance on this test was at the 25 th percentile. Apart from the common difficulty that struggling readers have with phonemic awareness, some can also be characterised by another highly specific deficit in speech and language development - the ability to rapidly name visually presented material. These individuals have significant difficulty with rapidly retrieving and accessing names for visual material, even though the relevant names are known to them.

A number of researchers have noted the predictive power of naming speed tasks in assessing reading difficulty - tests use pictures, numbers, and letters. Efficient retrieval of phonological information and execution of sequences of operations are required when readers attempt to decode unfamiliar words. A lack of fluency in reading is a likely consequence of problems in this area, as are resultant comprehension problems. Together, these results indicate Rapid Naming capacity is below the 1 st percentile, indicating that Jacob has a significant deficit in this important area.

Phonological memory refers to the ability to hold and manipulate phonological information in short term memory. On Memory for Digits , Jacob was required to repeat a group of digits that were read aloud. Jacob performed at the 2 nd percentile. On Nonword Repetition , a series of non-words were read aloud, and Jacob was asked to repeat the words.

The Roles of School Leaders and the Literacy Team

Jacob achieved a score at the 37 th percentile. This test allows the assessment of speed and accuracy in reading, known as reading fluency. The ability to recognize letters or words automatically enables a student to allocate more attention to understanding what they are reading. Thus, reading fluency is strongly associated with reading comprehension, and provides more information than does the untimed reading of word lists. The TOWRE contains two subtests to assess two important aspects of reading fluency — the ability to rapidly recognize familiar words, and the ability to sound out unfamiliar words.

The Sight Word Efficiency subtest assesses the number of real printed words that can be read correctly within 45 seconds. The Phonemic Decoding Efficiency subtest measures the number of pronounceable printed non-words that can be accurately decoded within 45 seconds. Jacob's performance on the Sight Word Efficiency is below the 1 st percentile, demonstrating that he has extreme difficulties correctly identifying printed words in a timely manner. Given this, it is understandable that Jacob is having difficulties reading, as he is unable to recognize a considerable number of words.

Jacob also achieved a Phonemic Decoding Efficiency score below the 1 st percentile. This means that he also struggles with new words not before seen , because he has not developed the capacity to attack words. His ability to use phonic strategies are under-developed, and this could be an area for intervention, as it is pivotal to his progress in reading, and progressively, in all areas of the curriculum. Taking these results together, Jacob achieved a Total Word Reading Efficiency score below the 1 st percentile.

These results suggest that without intensive intervention Jacob will continue to have difficulties decoding both familiar and unfamiliar words as he progresses through schooling. This will limit his ability to comprehend the nature of the texts he is required to read. His reading rate of 22 words read correctly in a minute WCPM is considerably below the average when compared with his same age peers, the average of which is reported to range between and WCPM. When provided with an easier Year 3 passage, his fluency was measured at 32 words correct per minute; whereas, the average Year 3 range is reported as between 66 and WCPM.

Taken together, these results consistently show extremely low levels of reading attainment. An important foundation of reading success — the capacity to get the words off the page accurately and speedily has barely commenced. The capacity to comprehend is the ultimate outcome of reading development. It is the ability to understand the meanings of individual printed words and connected text.

This task requires the respondent to read passages silently, and then answer questions related to the passages, going from level to level until correct answers fall below 4 questions out of 5 correct. Jacob was able to read at no higher than the Lower Third Grade Level on this assessment. This result indicates that Jacob is reading well below his expected level, and is having extreme difficulties extracting meaning from written text. This subtest requires the student to listen to a short story, and then answer oral questions directly related to the story.

This is sometimes observed in students who are distractible. Their listening attention is more vulnerable to distraction than their reading attention, perhaps because the concreteness of print helps maintain focus. Additionally, the student can refer back to the story for the answer to a reading comprehension question, but not for a listening comprehension question. Spelling skills are closely related to phonological and reading skills, often considered the other side of the same coin. Jacob performed within the 1 st percentile for his age, which equates to the extremely low range.

It is not unusual for spelling to be in this range when there is below average word reading ability, as these two related skills usually develop closely together. To illustrate the difficulties that Jacob had, the following examples are provided, whach for watch; kichin for kitchen; ejucat for educate. Although not assessed, Jacob appears to have difficulties with his fine motor skills, as demonstrated by his hand writing.

Unless handwriting is automated, the cognitive load required for the physical act of writing can interfere with more complex processes that require conscious thought for developing and sequencing ideas, and monitoring of accuracy and clarity of expression. Jacob was able to complete 24 letters in 60 seconds. Jacob, 15 years and 2 months old, was referred to the RMIT University Psychology Clinic for a cognitive and academic assessment to support his application into a special school.

His overall cognitive ability on the WISC-IV cannot be summarised with one score due to the discrepancy between his nonverbal reasoning abilities e. These results are consistent with previous cognitive assessments. Assessment of his academic skills revealed that Jacob has profound deficits in reading comprehension, spelling, and written expression. Taken together, these results indicate that Jacob has exceptional learning needs and requires appropriate educational resources and support.

Given the late stage of his educational career and the degree of his educational needs, he should be treated as though he meets the normal eligibility criteria for programs for students with disabilities. ACER PISA in Brief. ACER releases results from latest international studies of student achievement.

Literacy assessment based upon the National Reading Panel’s Big Five components

Australian Council for Educational Research. Adams, M. Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Phonemic awareness in young children. Baltimore, MA: Brookes Publishing. Adkins, D. The proficiency illusion. Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Al Otaiba, S. Reading First kindergarten classroom instruction and students' growth in phonological awareness and letter naming—decoding fluency. What is the alphabetic principle? The alphabetic principle is the concept that an alphabetic system has letters to represent the speech sounds in spoken words.

What is the difference between phonics and phonemic awareness? What is the difference between explicit and embedded phonics? Explicit phonics instruction requires direct instruction that follows a specific sequence and is cumulative in nature. Embedded phonics instruction occurs more randomly during reading of connected text. As such, it is less explicit and not as carefully sequenced. As a result, some students will learn how to decode and encode but many will not. It includes letters and sounds as well as a spelling assessment. It can be used as a progress monitoring measure to ensure that students are learning the phonics skills that are being taught.

The Nonsense Word Test. Scholastic Professional Books. Fluent performance is more easily achieved and measured for lower-level subskills, such as phonics. The ability to process orthographic information effortlessly plays a critical role in the development of automatic word recognition, which supports reading fluency.

Each language has a unique sound i. Results from a recent study indicated that integrating coding and decoding instruction in first-grade classrooms, as well as supplemental intervention programs, may be the missing links to decreasing and possibly preventing future reading problems for students previously at risk for reading disabilities Weiser, Explicit phonics instruction is an essential component of a reading block, particularly in grades K Students who are learning various phonetic features benefit from practice with decodable text.

Notice some of the following as evidence that the teacher is stimulating decoding behaviors: Lessons are planned using an appropriate developmental sequence that builds cumulative knowledge of the code. Phonics lessons include practice with decoding and encoding spelling the same patterns to support word reading accuracy and automaticity. Research Good readers usually decode more words than they can encode or spell Berninger et al. Spelling proficiency supports reading Moats, , Accurate spelling requires the integration of three linguistic systems — phonological, orthographic, and morphological Ehri, Young children encouraged to use invented spellings seem to develop word recognition and phonics skills sooner than those not encouraged to spell the sounds they hear in words Clarke, The correlation between spelling and reading comprehension is high because both depend on a common denominator: proficiency with language.

The more deeply and thoroughly a student knows a word, the more likely he or she is to recognize it, spell it, define it, and use it appropriately in speech and writing Joshi et al. Berninger, V. Why spelling is important and how to teach it effectively. Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development pp. Gentry, J. Fall The importance of direct, systematic spelling and handwriting instruction in improving academic performance.

White Paper. Columbus, OH: Saperstein Associates. Helman, L. Malatesha Joshi, R. How words cast their spell. How spelling supports reading. Oulette, G. Child Development 79 4 , Reed, D. Why teach spelling? Templeton, S.

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Wolter, J. Follow the same developmental sequence that is used for decoding instruction when teaching the spelling patterns. These are the most transparent i. Be sure that your students have mastered the spelling pattern before moving on. Provide plenty of practice. Students will spell words more accurately and automatically if they write the words frequently. Teach spelling and decoding together. After teaching a phonetic element for decoding and having students practice reading the pattern in text, dictate some of those same words for students to practice encoding them.

Include a sentence or two in the dictation to give them practice writing the words in context. These dictations can also serve as an informal assessment to determine their mastery of the patterns that you have previously taught. Hold students accountable for spelling words correctly in their written work. Many teachers have been told not to penalize their students for misspellings in their writing. If you have explicitly taught the spelling pattern, students should be expected to spell the words accurately.

If not, they will continue to spell the words incorrectly. Students who are avid readers tend to be better spellers because they see the words in print in multiple contexts and have well-defined mental images of the words. Watch this video about invented spelling. After teaching my students the spelling rules explicitly and sequentially, most of them ace the spelling test. Days later, they forget how to spell the words or they continue to misspell them. How can I help?

The next step is to ensure that they are practicing to mastery and that you assess that mastery see Tips above. Inventive spelling is appropriate for students who have not had explicit spelling instruction. Look at this example. What did this child write? Should I give my students a weekly spelling test? As these three linguistic connections are made and solidified, students are well on their way to becoming fluent readers and spellers. See Assessments to Inform Instruction. The capacity to spell words accurately, with minimal effort, contributes to writing fluency.

Learning to spell cements the connection between letters and sounds. As noted in the phonics section, this is the path to automatic word recognition, which improves reading fluency. Use invented spelling as a window to the perception of English sounds. Listen to Margie Gillis discuss dyslexia and spelling in this live chat from Understood. Be sure that reading and spelling are taught together.

They are mutually beneficial so this will create more opportunities for students to practice applying common patterns. Discourage teachers from using weekly spelling tests as an instructional practice. For example, the word once is usually listed under the letter O. Requires students to apply knowledge to spelling, words and dictated sentences. Vocabulary is foundational to reading but its role in comprehension is complex McCardle et al.

Vocabulary is the best predictor of reading and language comprehension by grade 3 or 4 Biemiller, Robust vocabulary instruction is not only effective for learning meaning of words, but also for affecting reading comprehension Beck et al. The challenge of complex texts.

American Educator , , Biemiller, A. Reading Psychology 24 , Dutro, S. Garcia Ed. Perspectives on Language and Literacy 41 3 : Hart, B. The early catastrophe. The 30 million word gap. Feldman, K. Narrowing the achievement gap: The case for explicit vocabulary instruction. Read About: Scholastic professional paper. Nagy, W. Learning words from context. Reading Research Quarterly, 20 2 , Neuman , S. June The Elementary School Journal 4 , Neuman, S. The magic of words. Teaching vocabulary in the early childhood classroom. Delve into different genres, such as prose and poetry, narrative and informational texts.

Present student-friendly definitions Collins Cobuild Student Dictionary , explore varied contexts, create student-generated definitions, facilitate instructional conversations with peers, and provide interactive and responsive engagement. Foster word consciousness. Kindle an interest in, and awareness of the power and usefulness of words and phrases.

Provide exposure to different meaning of words and multiple ways to remember word meanings. These also include connecting words, prepositions and prepositional phrases. Use it to help identify which words to teach and for what purpose—e. Text Project. Word lists provided. It is especially useful in supporting Dual Language Learners. Why is explicit instruction in vocabulary so important?

Students need to practice saying new words and using them in context to make them part of their lexicons mental dictionaries. Do students learn the meanings of words from context? Context clues can be misdirective or nondirective.

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In order to maintain new vocabulary, students must use words in all contexts, developing a depth and breadth of word learning. In order to further develop vocabulary, what would be a good research-based activity? Select and teach words that can be used in multiple contexts. Give students examples and non-examples of words. The CORE Vocabulary Screening is most useful for identifying students who haves insufficient vocabulary knowledge for monitoring student progress.

Expressive Vocabulary Tes t Pearson, measures expressive vocabulary and word retrieval. In addition, students have a much more difficult time learning to read words that are not already part of their oral vocabulary, which has obvious implications for reading fluency. The most important determiner of text comprehension in DLLs who have broken the code is often the amount of vocabulary an DLL knows.

Key vocabulary instruction is contextualized through simple explanations, demonstrations, concrete experiences, realia, models and graphic organizers. Instruction includes a focus on synonyms, multiple meanings, and cognates. Vocabulary instruction needs to be explicitly taught before, during, and after reading to help DLLs catch up with the words they are missing Calderon, DLLs need discussions about word knowledge : cognates, affixes, pronunciation, decoding, multiple meanings, phrasal clusters, and idioms using the word in question Calderon et al.

August, D. May Developing academic language in English-language learners. Academic Monograph. DLLs need more exposures to new vocabulary than do monolingual students. Our more common words get, make, have may be especially tricky because they have multiple meanings and are in many idioms. Most native speakers are not aware of the difficulties these common words may cause. DLLs must learn vocabulary at a faster rate than monolingual students in order to reach parity with their peers. Vocabulary instruction should occur throughout the day and in all subjects—language arts, match, science, social studies, etc.

Lead the creation of a culture of word learning in your school, such as word of the day or week announcements, word posters and family involvement. Provides direct instruction for any words needed for comprehension prior to reading e. Utilizes explicit strategies to introduce and promote understanding of vocabulary such as contextual examples, cognates, morphemic analysis, antonyms and synonyms, definitions, semantic feature analysis.

Actively maintains a vocabulary wall, listing words and providing picture supports. Provides repeated opportunities for students to practice new vocabulary in writing and speaking, encouraging students to use words during the school day and at home. Language Standards. Vocabulary scaling helps students understand shades of meaning. The words in most primary stories contain numerous morphemes, especially suffixes Ebbers, Many roots and affixes, including those of Latin and Greek origin, can readily be learned in the primary grades Biemiller, ; Mountain, Words that are connected to each other in meaning should be grouped together to teach.

When students connect a new word to an existing schema, including background knowledge and related words, they will learn the word more easily Wolf, Morphology should be taught within the context of vocabulary instruction as a strategy for understanding the relationships among words based on their shared roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Teach prefixes, suffixes, and roots that appear most frequently in English and have the greatest utility for language arts and content area materials. Students should learn to deconstruct and reconstruct words. They can then reconstruct the original word from its component morphemes. See this sample word card. Use word webs to teach a word and its derivative forms. This activity helps students see the interconnections among words; this facilitates word storage and word retrieval. Provide older students with an explanation of the Latin and Greek layers of language to help set the stage for the study of roots.

Student-invented words can be presented as dictionary entries with their definition, part of speech, and a sentence example using the word in context. Explain to students that when figuring out a word from its morphemes, they should usually read the meaning backwards e. Similarly, both words in a compound typically contribute to meaning, with the base meaning often found in the second word e.

Point out to students that sometimes, even if a word contains a spelling that appears to be a prefix e. It is only a prefix if, after removing the letters un -, what remains is a known word e. Retrieved from Realspellers. Students understand and use basic morphological knowledge as early as kindergarten and first grade.

When students understand these endings, called inflectional morphemes, move on to compound words cowboy, moonlight. Do the terms root and base word mean the same thing? Root and base word are two different concepts. Base word refers to a word stripped of its affixes. For example, spell is the base word in spelling and misspell; whereas, a root refers to a word part from an original language, such as Latin or Greek.

For example, cred is the root in incredible and credit. Unlike a base word, a root cannot stand alone but is used to form a family of words with related meanings. What is the difference between word division by syllable vs. Syllables are units of sound organized around a vowel, and they do not necessarily convey meaning.

In contrast, morphemes are units of meaning that can be found across multiple English words. The same word may be divided differently depending on whether it is broken down by syllable sound or morpheme meaning. For example, the word contradiction may be divided by syllable con-tra-dic-tion or by morpheme contra-dict-ion. As long as students understand the difference, this should not be confusing.

Proficient readers analyze words at the morpheme level because it enables them to directly get at the meaning of words. Derivational Suffix Test Green, Since Spanish is a Latin-based language, an understanding of morphology can support cognate instruction as a bridge to learn English i. Recent research conducted by Ramirez et al.

Morphological awareness can be instructed, and is particularly effective for Language Minority learners backgrounds. An intervention by Kieffer and Lesaux was successful in producing gains in morphological awareness and in generative vocabulary knowledge. Many practical strategies can be found in Graves, M. Teaching vocabulary to English language learners. Teachers College Press. Increasing morphological awareness has important implications, especially for students who have difficulties with reading and spelling.

Morphological instruction can improve the literacy outcomes for struggling students i. Select one of the recommended articles and have teachers discuss it at a grade-level meeting. Ask teachers to provide one example of how they plan to teach morphology more explicitly and a time of day when you might observe this practice. During reading and writing tasks the teacher shows the applicability of morphological knowledge e. The presence of a word wall with words grouped by meaning based on a shared prefix or root indicates that the teacher is helping students use morphology to see the relationship among words.

Words worth teaching. The key vocabulary routine. King, D. Morgan, K. Dynamic roots. Research The development of reading comprehension is explained by several skills including general cognitive ability, vocabulary knowledge and word reading. Discourse skills inference and integration, comprehension monitoring, and knowledge and use of story structure make an additional and important contribution Cain, Understanding what we read actually involves more the modification of the knowledge that we already have than the collection of new knowledge Kintsch, Students need instruction in how to ask higher-level questions that help them learn from informational text.

Akhondi, M. February How to teach expository text structure to facilitate reading comprehension. The Reading Teacher 64 5 , American Federation of Teachers. Entire issue. The fourth grade plunge. The cause. The cure. Reading comprehension and vocabulary: Is vocabulary more important for some aspects if comprehension? Dymock, S. Comprehension strategy instruction.

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Teaching narrative text structure awareness. The Reading Teacher 61 2 , Strategies for composition and self-regulation in the writing process. Hogan, T. Increasing higher level language skills to improve reading comprehension. Focus on Exceptional Children 44 3 , Tempo Weekly Reader. Moss, B. Teaching expository structures though information trade book retellings. The Reading Teacher 57 8 , Recht, D. Journal of Education Psychology 80 1 McKoon, G.

July Meaning through syntax. Psychology Review 3 : Reading for understanding. Westby, C. Summarizing expository texts. Wexler, N. January Willingham, Daniel T. The usefulness of brief instruction in reading comprehension strategies. American Educator 30 , Text comprehension is the meeting of oral language and fluent reading of text. Readers comprehend by making meaning from text.

Proficient comprehension of text is influenced by: Knowledge of cohesive ties i. Center on Instruction Frankfurt International School. The Iris Center Moats, L. Sopris West. Narrative text structure is effective in instructing young children in comprehension. Is there a single best task that is a reliable measure of reading comprehension? Short answer—no! Reading comprehension is complex and, therefore, explained in many different ways. Tests that measure reading comprehension use different formats depending on how the construct is defined—e.

Reading fluency is influenced by the development of rapid rates of processing in all the components of reading, including the higher-order processes of comprehension such as inferring and integrating information. Sample results for a classroom of students in MAP Reading Fluency Notice the color-coding to simplify the display of expansive data. Although MAP Reading Fluency offers an effective reading assessment for students, an additional feature puts this program over the top.

These resources align to the particular set of strengths and weaknesses of the individual student. Teachers can easily print these valuable practice materials that reinforce the next reading skills necessary to advance. The strategies support teachers in individualizing instruction for the unique needs of every child.

Additionally, teachers can use these exercises to partner with parents. Finally, the growth opportunities continue as teachers gather together for professional development. The research collected by the National Reading Panel and the U. As teachers share their analysis of student data along with best instructional practices, these teacher partnerships support the effective use of assessment data for the benefit of our students.

MAP Reading Fluency does not replace the countless hours our teachers spend working one-on-one with individual students. Instead, the technology supports individualized instruction. With the time saved, teachers and students can focus on the specific skills that will promote optimal growth for each young reader.

As assessment results continue to compile and follow our students year after year, students, teachers, and parents can celebrate the accomplishments of our kids as they grow in literacy skills. Christian Life School is a ministry of Journey Church. Toggle navigation. Once mastered, learners understand that words generate from these combinations. At first, a reader may produce the sounds in c-a-t. However, many challenging words are still decodable with phonics skills.

Therefore, early mastery of decoding benefits advanced readers as well. Vocabulary : To read and understand a passage, students must have experience with the vocabulary. Fluency goals include accuracy and expression in reading. This feedback is beneficial to the student, teacher, and parent. These often occur at the end of a unit of study. Therefore, a fixed level of reading expectation is unrealistic and irrelevant in an assessment.