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The six elements of effective reading instruction don't require much time or money—just educators' decision to put them in place. "Every child a reader" has been the goal of instruction, education research, and reform for at least three decades. We now know more than ever about how to accomplish this goal. Yet few students in the United States regularly receive the best reading instruction we know how to give. Instead, despite good intentions, educators often make decisions about instruction that compromise or supplant the kind of experiences all children need to become engaged, successful readers. This is especially true for struggling readers, who are much less likely than their peers to participate in the kinds of high-quality instructional activities that would ensure that they learn to read. Six Elements for Every Child Here, we outline six elements of instruction that every child should experience every day. Each of these elements can be implemented in any district and any school, with any curriculum or set of materials, and without additional funds. All that's necessary is for adults to make the decision to do it.
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Content may be subject to copyright.
Richard L. Allington
and Rachael E. Gabriel
Every child a reader” has been the goal
of instruction, education research, and
reform for at least three decades. We
now know more than ever about how to
accomplish this goal. Yet few students in
the United States regularly receive the best reading
instruction we know how to give.
Instead, despite good intentions, educators often
make decisions about instruction that compromise
or supplant the kind of experiences all children
need to become engaged, successful readers. This is
especially true for struggling readers, who are much
less likely than their peers to participate in the kinds
of high-quality instructional activities that would
ensure that they learn to read.
Six Elements for Every Child
Here, we outline six elements of instruction that
every child should experience every day. Each of
these elements can be implemented in any district
and any school, with any curriculum or set of mate-
rials, and without additional funds. All that’s nec-
essary is for adults to make the decision to do it.
1. Every child reads something he or she chooses.
The research base on student-selected reading
is robust and conclusive: Students read more,
understand more, and are more likely to continue
reading when they have the opportunity to choose
what they read. In a 2004 meta-analysis, Guthrie
and Humenick found that the two most powerful
instructional design factors for improving reading
motivation and comprehension were (1)student
access to many books and (2)personal choice of
what to read.
Every Child,
Every Day
The six elements of effective reading instruction don’t require
much time or money—just educators’ decision to put them in place.
Allington.indd 10 2/6/12 1:41 PM
We’re not saying that students should never read
teacher- or district-selected texts. But at some time
every day, they should be able to choose what they
The experience of choosing in itself boosts moti-
vation. In addition, offering choice makes it more
likely that every reader will be matched to a text
that he or she can read well. If students initially
have trouble choosing texts that match their ability
level and interest, teachers can provide limited
choices to guide them toward successful reading
experiences. By giving students these opportunities,
we help them develop the ability to choose appro-
priate texts for themselves—a skill that dramati-
cally increases the likelihood they will read outside
school (Ivey & Broaddus, 2001, Reis et al., 2007).
Some teachers say they find it difficult to provide
a wide selection of texts because of budget con-
straints. Strangely, there is always money available
Allington.indd 11 2/7/12 8:02 AM
Educational l EadErship / March 2012
for workbooks, photocopying, and com-
puters; yet many schools claim that they
have no budget for large, multileveled
classroom libraries. This is interesting
because research has demonstrated that
access to self-selected texts improves
students’ reading performance (Krashen,
2011), whereas no evidence indicates
that workbooks, photocopies, or com-
puter tutorial programs have ever done
so (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998;
Dynarski, 2007).
There is, in fact, no way they ever
could. When we consider that the
typical 4th grade classroom has students
reading anywhere from the 2nd to the
9th grade reading levels (and that later
grades have an even wider range), the
idea that one workbook or textbook
could meet the needs of every reader is
absurd (Hargis, 2006). So, too, is the
idea that skills developed through iso-
lated, worksheet-based skills practice
and fill-in-the-blank vocabulary quizzes
will transfer to real reading in the
absence of any evidence that they ever
have. If school principals eliminated
the budget for workbooks and work-
sheets and instead spent the money on
real books for classroom libraries, this
decision could dramatical ly improve
students’ opportunities to become better
2. Every child reads accurately.
Good readers read with accuracy
almost all the time. The last 60 years of
research on optimal text difficulty—a
body of research that began with Betts
(1949)—consistently demonstrates
the importance of having students
read texts they can read accurately and
understand. In fact, research shows
that reading at 98percent or higher
accuracy is essential for reading accel-
eration. Anything less slows the rate
of improvement, and anything below
90percent accuracy doesn’t improve
reading ability at all (Allington, 2012;
Ehri, Dreyer, Flugman, & Gross, 2007).
Although the idea that students read
better when they read more has been
supported by studies for the last 70
years, policies that simply increase the
amount of time allocated for students to
read often find mixed results (National
Reading Panel, 2000). The reason is
simple: It’s not just the time spent with
a book in hand, but rather the intensity
and volume of high-success reading,
that determines a student’s progress in
learning to read (Allington, 2009; Kuhn
et al., 2006).
When students read accurately,
they solidify their word-recognition,
decoding, and word-analysis skills.
Perhaps more important, they are likely
to understand what they read—and, as
a result, to enjoy reading.
In contrast, struggling students who
spend the same amount of time reading
texts that they can’t read accurately are
at a disadvantage in several important
ways. First, they read less text; it’s slow
going when you encounter many words
you don’t recognize instantly. Second,
struggling readers are less likely to
understand (and therefore enjoy) what
they read. They are likely to become
frustrated when reading these difficult
texts and therefore to lose confidence in
their word-attack, decoding, or word-
recognition skills. Thus, a struggling
reader and a successful reader who
engage in the same 15-minute inde-
pendent reading session do not neces-
sarily receive equivalent practice, and
they are likely to experience different
Sadly, struggling readers typical ly
encounter a steady diet of too-
challenging texts throughout the school
day as they make their way through
classes that present grade-level material
hour after hour. In essence, traditional
instructional practices widen the gap
between readers.
3. Every child reads something
he or she understands.
Understanding what you’ve read is the
goal of reading. But too often, struggling
readers get interventions that focus on
basic skills in isolation, rather than on
Allington.indd 12 2/6/12 1:42 PM
reading connected text for
meaning. This common
misuse of intervention
time often arises from a
grave mis interpretation
of what we know about
reading difficulties.
The findings of neuro-
logical research are some-
times used to reinforce the
notion that some students
who struggle to learn to
read are simply “wired dif-
ferently” (Zambo, 2003)
and thus require large
amounts of isolated basic
skills practice. In fact, this
same research shows that
remediation that empha-
sizes comprehension can
change the structure of
struggling students’ brains.
Keller and Just (2009)
used imaging to examine
the brains of struggling
readers before and after
they received 100 hours of reme-
diation—including lots of reading and
rereading of real texts. The white matter
of the struggling readers was of lower
structural quality than that of good
readers before the intervention, but it
improved following the intervention.
And these changes in the structure of
the brain’s white matter consistently
predicted increases in reading ability.
Numerous other studies (Aylward
et al., 2003; Krafnick, Flowers, Napo-
liello, & Eden, 2011; Shaywitz et al.,
2004) have supported Keller and Just’s
findings that comprehensive reading
instruction is associated with changed
activation patterns that mirror those
of typical readers. These studies show
that it doesn’t take neurosurgery or
banging away at basic skills to enable
the brain to develop the ability to read:
It takes lots of reading and rereading
of text that students find engaging and
The findings from brain research
align well with what we’ve learned
from studies of reading interven-
tions. Regardless of their focus, target
population, or publisher, interventions
that accelerate reading development
routine ly devote at least two-thirds of
their time to reading and rereading
rather than isolated or contrived skill
practice (Allington, 2011). These
findings have been consistent for the
last 50 years—yet the typical reading
intervention used in schools today has
struggling readers spending the bulk of
their time on tasks other than reading
and rereading actual texts.
Studies of exemplary elementary
teachers further support the finding
that more authentic reading develops
better readers (Allington, 2002; Taylor,
Pearson, Peterson, & Rodriguez, 2003).
In these large-scale national studies,
researchers found that students in more-
effective teachers’ classrooms spent a
larger percentage of reading instruc-
tional time actually reading; students
in less-effective teachers’ classrooms
spent more time using worksheets,
answering low-level, literal questions,
or complet ing before-and-after reading
activities. In addition, exemplary
teachers were more likely to differentiate
instruction so that all readers had books
they could actually read accurate ly,
fluent ly, and with understanding.
4. Every child writes about something
personally meaningful.
In our observations in schools across
several states, we rarely see students
writing anything more than fill-in-the-
blank or short-answer responses during
their reading block. Those who do have
the opportunity to compose something
longer than a few sentences are either
responding to a teacher-selected prompt
or writing within a strict structural
formula that turns even paragraphs and
essays into fill-in-the-blank exercises.
As adults, we rarely if ever write to
a prompt, and we almost never write
about something we don’t know about.
Writing is called composition for a good
reason: We actually compose (construct
something unique) when we write. The
opportunity to compose continuous text
about something meaningful is not just
something nice to have when there’s
free time after a test or at the end of the
school year. Writing provides a different
modality within which to practice the
skills and strategies of reading for an
authentic purpose.
When students write about some-
thing they care about, they use conven-
tions of spelling and grammar because
it matters to them that their ideas are
communicated, not because they will
lose points or see red ink if they don’t
(Cunningham & Cunningham, 2010).
They have to think about what words
will best convey their ideas to their
readers. They have to encode these
words using letter patterns others will
recognize. They have to make sure they
use punctuation in a way that will help
their readers understand which words
go together, where a thought starts and
ends, and what emotion goes with it.
They have to think about what they
know about the structure of similar
texts to set up their page and organize
their ideas. This process is especially
important for struggling readers because
Students read more, understand more, and are
more likely to continue reading when they have
the opportunity to choose what they read.
© Monalyn Gracia/corbis
Allington.indd 13 2/6/12 1:43 PM
Educational l EadErship / March 2012
it produces a comprehensible text
that the student can read, reread, and
5. Every child talks with peers about
reading and writing.
Research has demonstrated that con-
versation with peers improves compre-
hension and engagement with texts in a
variety of settings (Cazden, 1988). Such
literary conversation does not focus
on recalling or retelling what students
read. Rather, it asks students to analyze,
comment, and compare—in short, to
think about what they’ve read. Fall,
Webb, and Chudowsky (2000) found
better outcomes when kids simply
talked with a peer about what they read
than when they spent the same amount
of class time highlighting important
information after reading.
Similarly, Nystrand (2006) reviewed
the research on engaging students in lit-
erate conversations and noted that even
small amounts of such conversation (10
minutes a day) improved standardized
test scores, regardless of students’ family
background or reading level. Yet strug-
gling readers were the least likely to
discuss daily what they read with peers.
This was often because they were doing
extra basic-skills practice instead. In
class discussions, struggling readers
were more likely to be asked literal
questions about what they had read,
to prove they “got it,” rather than to be
engaged in a conversation about the
Time for students to talk about their
reading and writing is perhaps one
of the most underused, yet easy-to-
implement, elements of instruction. It
doesn’t require any special materials,
special training, or even large amounts
of time. Yet it provides measurable ben-
efits in comprehension, motivation, and
even language competence. The task of
switching between writing, speaking,
reading, and listening helps students
make connections between, and thus
solidify, the skills they use in each. This
makes peer conversation especially
important for English language learners,
another population that we rarely ask to
talk about what they read.
6. Every child listens to a fluent
adult read aloud.
Listening to an adult model fluent
reading increases students’ own fluency
and comprehension skills (Trelease,
2001), as well as expanding their vocab-
ulary, background knowledge, sense
of story, awareness of genre and text
structure, and comprehension of the
texts read (Wu & Samuels, 2004).
Yet few teachers above 1st grade
read aloud to their students every day
(Jacobs, Morrison, & Swinyard, 2000).
This high-impact, low-input strategy
is another underused component of
the kind of instruction that supports
readers. We categorize it as low-input
because, once again, it does not require
special materials or training; it simply
requires a decision to use class time
more effectively. Rather than conducting
whole-class reading of a single text that
fits few readers, teachers should choose
to spend a few minutes a day reading to
their students.
Things That Really Matter
Most of the classroom instruction
we have observed lacks these six
research-based elements. Yet it’s not
difficult to find the time and resources
to implement them. Here are a few
First, eliminate almost all worksheets
and workbooks. Use the money saved to
purchase books for classroom libraries;
use the time saved for self-selected
reading, self-selected writing, literary
conversations, and read-alouds.
Second, ban test-preparation activities
and materials from the school day.
Although sales of test preparation
materials provide almost two-thirds of
the profit that testing companies earn
(Glovin & Evans, 2006), there are no
studies demonstrating that engaging stu-
dents in test prep ever improved their
reading proficiency—or even their test
performance (Guthrie, 2002). As with
eliminating workbook completion, elim-
inating test preparation provides time
and money to spend on the things that
really matter in develop ing readers.
It’s time for the elements of effective
instruction described here to be offered
more consistently to every child, in
Allington.indd 14 2/10/12 8:54 AM
every school, every day. Remember,
adults have the power to make these
decisions; kids don’t. Let’s decide to
give them the kind of instruction they
need. EL
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Richard L. Allington is a professor at
the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; Rachael E.
Gabriel is assistant professor at the Uni-
versity of Connecticut in Storrs; rachael
First, eliminate
almost all worksheets
and workbooks.
Allington.indd 15 2/6/12 1:43 PM
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... Within the related literature, authentic literacy tasks and activities have also been referred to as open literacy tasks (Parsons, 2012;Perry, 1998;Perry et al., 2004;Vaughn, 2014b), which are beneficial for motivating student learning and increasing engagement, and multiple settings (Bhattacharyya et al., 2013;Dotson & Foley, 2017;Jennings & Lauen, 2016;Lubke & Dabney, 2017;Pogrow, 2017;Tefera et al., 2019;Zoch, 2016). Other researchers have also found that open literacy instruction elevated opportunities for student voice (Fusarelli, 2016;Hanushek et al., 2019;Karoly, 2015;Lacoe, 2016), facilitated student autonomy (Madison et al., 2019;Saye et al., 2018), and encouraged collaboration (Allington & Gabriel, 2016;Dagen & Morewood, 2016;Zijlstra et al., 2020). However, while studies examined facilitation of authentic literacy tasks and activities among elementary grade-level learners (Hart & Risley, 1995, 2003Holopainen & Hakkarainen, 2019;Reed et al., 2014;Zijlstra et al., 2020), studies into this phenomenon among middle level learners are rare in the literature, and even more so within qualitative studies Vaughn et al., 2016;Vaughn et al., 2020). ...
... A traditional definition of this term would be literacy education is the process of expanding students' knowledge of reading and writing to develop their thinking and learning to understand their selves and their world (Allington & Gabriel, 2016;Parsons, 2008a;Roberts & Billings, 2008;Scharer et al., 2016). ...
... Overall, the ACCESS studies demonstrate the more academic tasks are designed to encourage ACCESS for students, engagement, and motivation increases. Such is an important revelation, as students who are English language learners or are below grade level often receive a steady diet of basic knowledge and skills-based literacy instruction (Allington & Gabriel, 2016;Schmoker, 2018). Moreover, when students are not challenged academically, self-determination and self-direction/regulation also suffer; as Ryan and Deci (Deci, 2016;Ryan & Deci, 2002 found, having a sense of relatedness, competence, and autonomy is vital to one's sense of success and well-being. ...
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The problem addressed by this study was that educators struggle with knowing which authentic literacy instructional practices and strategies were effective for improving student engagement and achievement levels in the middle grades. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory multiple case study was to examine the instructional strategies related to authentic literacy that educators believed to be effective in high-performing, high-growth public middle schools in Washington state. This study was approached from the conceptual and theoretical lens of sociocultural theory. The participant sample (n=9) was comprised of three different role groups: teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators. These groups served as the different cases for analysis in the multiple case study. Three research questions guided the study. Zoom video-recorded interviews and their transcriptions served as the main source for data collection and analysis. Using NVivo qualitative software, a cross-case analysis and synthesis method for multiple case study research was employed, and three different phases of coding were conducted. The findings of this study provided a better understanding of how experienced educators have incorporated authentic literacy strategies in classrooms to improve academic and engagement outcomes. Six themes and various subthemes were explored in the findings: Recommendations for practice were organized across three themes: literacy instruction and activities, professional learning and training, and curriculum and instructional planning. A logical next step for future research is that researchers should employ other qualitative approaches, such as phenomenology, to examine the lived experiences of teachers and students in classrooms where authentic literacy strategies are being used. This study moves the research forward by examining what experienced literacy educators believe to be best practices and strategies to improve academic outcomes for student in the middle grades. ii Acknowledgements
... Tällöin yhteisölliseen lukemiseen kannustava oppimisympäristö on tärkeää etenkin niille oppilaille, joiden kotona tai muussa vapaa-ajan ympäristössä ei ole kirjallisia resursseja. Yhteisöllisen kirjallisuuskasvatuksen tavoitteena on, että kirjat näyttäytyvät merkityksellisinä sekä oppilaalle itselleen että hänen lähipiirilleen (Allington & Gabriel, 2012;Alsup, 2015). ...
... Sekä kirjallisuuden parissa vietetty aika että luetusta keskusteleminen ovat tärkeitä lukemisen tukemisessa. (Allington & Gabriel, 2012) Esimerkiksi kirjallisuuskeskustelut kehittävät merkittävästi oppilaiden motivaatiota lukemista kohtaan ja kehittävät oppilaiden lukutaitoa (Nevo & Vaknik-Nusbaum, 2020). Kirjallisuuskeskusteluissa kirjat alkavat ikään kuin elää lukijoiden vuorovaikutuksessa ja lukuinto ja -ilo leviävät oppilaiden oman aktiivisuuden kautta Cremin, 2014). ...
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Tässä tutkimuksessa selvitettiin suomalaisten koulujen kirjavalikoimien monikielisyyttä sekä opettajien kokemuksia koulujensa luokka- ja koulukirjastojen laadusta. Kyselyyn vastasi ala- ja yläkoulujen opettajia ympäri Suomea (N = 83). Opettajat olivat koulukirjastoihin enemmän tyytyväisiä kuin luokkakirjastoihin: puolet alakoulun opettajista ja yli puolet yläkoulun opettajista oli tyytyväisiä koulukirjastoonsa. Opettajat, jotka pitivät koulu- tai luokkakirjastoaan hyvinä, kokivat, että heidän koulussaan arvostettiin kirjallisuutta ja lukemista. Ero oli tilastollisesti merkittävä opettajiin, jotka olivat tyytymättömiä koulunsa kirjavalikoimiin. Opettajat mainitsivat luokka- ja koulukirjastojen puutteiksi kirjojen vähyyden ja niiden vanhan iän, sekä sen, ettei koululla ole resursseja ylläpitää koulukirjastoa. Lisäksi havaittiin, että koulujen kirjavalikoimissa on tarjolla vähän monikielistä kirjallisuutta. Hieman alle puolet opettajista vastasi koulukirjastostaan löytyvän kirjallisuutta vain yhdellä kielellä. Yleisimmät kielet suomen lisäksi olivat englanti ja ruotsi, joiden jälkeen venäjä, ranska ja arabia. Noin viidesosa alakoulun opettajista mainitsi koulustaan löytyvän kirjallisuutta oppilaidensa kotikielillä. Book selections in schools as part of language awareness in literature education Abstract In this study we investigated multilingualism in the book selections of school libraries in Finland and teachers’ experiences of the quality of their classroom and school libraries. Our research survey was participated by teachers around Finland in basic education (N = 83), including teachers both in the primary and lower secondary levels. Teachers were more satisfied with their school libraries than individual classroom libraries: half of the primary school teachers and over half of the lower secondary school teachers were satisfied with their school libraries. Those teachers who found their school and classroom libraries satisfactory thought that literature and reading were valued in their schools. There was a statistically significant difference compared to the teachers who were dissatisfied with the book selection in their schools. Teachers mentioned as demerits of classroom and school libraries the shortage of books in general and the lack of recently published books. Also, the lack of resources to maintain a school library was mentioned as a defect. Teachers noted that book selections in their schools offered very little multilingual literature. A little less than half of the teachers said that their school library housed literature written in one language only. In addition to the literature in Finnish, school libraries most commonly offered books in English and Swedish. In addition, books in Russian, French, and Arabic were found in some libraries. Approximately 20 per cent of the primary school teachers mentioned that their school library offered literature in the first language of their students. Keywords: reading, multilingualism, school libraries, linguistic and cultural awareness in libraries
... Interactive read-alouds are important for numerous reasons such as, immersing children in vocabulary, exposing them to real-world issues, building diverse perspectives, fostering their curiosity about the world, enhancing their fluency and comprehension, and cultivating a love of reading (Allington & Gabriel, 2012;Harvey & Ward, 2017). Miller (2014) states that reading books aloud allows for building community, exposing children to various books, authors, and genres they might not discover on their own or may avoid, supporting developing readers, and reinforcing that reading is enjoyable. ...
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Disasters, natural and human-made, occur within children’s lives and often have traumatic effects on their well-being. Early childhood educators must be prepared to support children’s social-emotional learning related to disasters. When teachers use quality picturebooks for interactive read-alouds, they can promote opportunities for children to share their thoughts and views and consider the feelings of others while developing empathy. This article will define disasters, social-emotional learning, and interactive read-alouds. Next, the benefits of incorporating interactive read-alouds into the early childhood classroom will be discussed. Building social-emotional learning through the use of picturebooks will be shared. In addition, incorporating children’s picturebooks about disasters and text selection, with an annotated list of literature that relates to disasters and supports children’s social-emotional learning, is included. Finally, connecting with children’s families and encouraging read-louds in the home to support social-emotional learning will be described.
... To motivate teenagers to read, it is necessary to avoid presenting these readers with books that are either too easy or too difficult to read or involve topics unappealing to them which could diminish their interest in reading [4]. In fact, finding the right books for the right audience is not easy. ...
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It is clearly established that spending time reading is beneficial for an individual’s development in terms of their social, emotional, and intellectual capabilities. This is especially true for teenagers who are in the growing process and reading can improve their memory, vocabulary, concentration and attention span, creativity and imagination, and writing skills. With the overwhelming volume of (online) books available these days, it becomes a huge challenge to find suitable and appealing books to read. Current book recommender systems, however, do not adequately capitalize teenagers’ specific needs such as readability levels, emotional capabilities, and subject’s comprehension, that are more at the forefront for teenage readers than adults and children. To make appropriate recommendations on books for teenagers, we propose a book recommender system, called TBRec. TBRec recommends books to teenagers based on their personal preferences and needs that are determined by using various book features. These features, which include book genres, topic relevance, emotion traits, readers’ advisory, predicted user rating, and readability level, have significant impact on the teenagers’ preference and satisfaction on a book. These distinguished parts of a book, which are premeditated and essential criteria for book selection, identify the type, subject area, state of consciousness, appeal factors, (un)likeness, and complexity of the book content, respectively. Experimental results reveal that TBRec outperforms Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and LibraryThing, three of the widely used book recommenders, in making book recommendations for teenagers, and the results are statistically significant.
... Most educators now agree that children's literature should have a significant role in elementary literacy programs (e.g., Allington & Gabriel, 2012;Gallagher, 2009;Krashen, 2004), but this has not always been the case. In the 1880s and through the early 1900s, elementary reading materials consisted largely of specially authored texts designed to teach ethics, citizenship, and the alphabet code (Applebee, 1974;Smith, 1934Smith, /2002Tunnell & Jacobs, 2013). ...
... The work of pre-service tutors with early grade readers provides a unique perspective on an important finding researchers have advocated for several decades: As a literacy community, we know what works to teach nearly every child to read. Unfortunately, we do not always do what works when teaching children to read (Clay, 2005;Allington 2011aAllington , 2011bAllington , 2012Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998;Taylor, Peterson, Pearson, & Rodriguez, 2010). In light of space limitations, we highlight key findings from two important lines of research and instruction that have informed the state of reading instruction in the early grades. ...
When preservice teachers were no longer able to visit schools due to the pandemic, their university professor partnered with an alum who teaches fourth grade to design and implement virtual book clubs. The preservice teachers created book trailers for the fourth graders to view and choose from for their book club. The groups connected using a variety of digital platforms and modalities to discuss the selected books. Through this virtual experience, the preservice teachers learned how to individualize their responses using the Four‐N‐Framework as a guide to nurture and nudge each reader through virtual book club conversations.
The PhotoVoice tool invites participants to create photographs that reflect aspects of their surroundings that they find problematic and to elaborate on them in writing. Participants then share their photographs and written accounts with an influential audience with the hope of resolving the highlighted concerns. Aiming to connect the classroom to the students’ community, the author, a teacher-educator, and her college students implemented PhotoVoice at Palestinian-Israeli schools, guiding small groups of elementary-level EFL pupils throughout the writing process. Children’s powerful presentations to the invited audience proved how creative and proficient EFL learners can be when provided with sufficient support to write and discuss social issues pertinent to their lives. Inspired by critical literacy pedagogy, this approach for improving literacy skills while promoting change challenges the teaching of EFL as a set of linguistic skills detached from reality. This tool can foster an engaging approach to language education that connects literacy teaching with social action.
Using literature in multilingual and second language classes promotes literacy skills and helps children to adapt to second language instruction. This chapter presents the theoretical framework and practical implementations for enhancing the use of literature in multilingual environments employing Stories Make Readers (StoRe)–project as an example. StoRe concept helps to promote the use of fictional literature and to increase the reading materials and reading time at school and at home. An important aim is to offer, in multilingual groups, reading materials that correspond to the reading abilities and interest of the readers, and to connect different collaborative, child-centered, and multidisciplinary activities in reading. The multilingual line of the StoRe project, called Creating Innovative Approaches to Language Education (IKI), identifies and promotes innovative models for the use and development of language in education and creates research-based, pedagogical maps that help teachers develop and improve their pedagogical practices.
This chapter presents a need to understand the diversity of the English learner population. Within this large multi-lingual group of students, there is a richness of diversity in languages, skills, histories, abilities, and experiences. Teaching for differences begins by learning about the students in the classroom. English learners collectively share language needs, but as individuals require attention to their own personal assets and abilities and ongoing learning needs. This chapter presents suggestions for teaching English learners through the lens of differentiation and extends to individualization and personalization. Strategies for supporting the unique needs within and across the multi-lingual learning population are presented. A focus on maximizing thinking shows a strong correlation to language development. Therefore, this chapter presents instruction for English learners as rigorous and challenging to promote thinking and language development.
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Congress posed questions about the effectiveness of educational technology and how effectiveness is related to conditions and practices. The study identified reading and mathematics software products based on prior evidence of effectiveness and other criteria and recruited districts, schools, and teachers to implement the products. On average, after one year, products did not increase or decrease test scores by amounts that were statistically different from zero. For first and fourth grade reading products, the study found several school and classroom characteristics that were correlated with effectiveness, including student-teacher ratios (for first grade) and the amount of time products were used (for fourth grade). The study did not find characteristics related to effectiveness for sixth grade math or algebra. The study also found that products caused teachers to be less likely to lecture and more likely to facilitate, while students using reading or mathematics software products were more likely to be working on their own. The results reported here are based on schools and teachers who were not using the products in the previous school year. Whether products are more effective when teachers have more experience using them is being examined with a second year of data. The study will involve teachers who were in the first data collection (those who are teaching in the same school and at the same grade level or subject area) and a new group of students. The second-year study will also report results separately for the various products.
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In the current research climate favoring rigorous experimental studies of instructional scripts using randomly chosen treatment and control groups, education and literacy researchers and policy makers will do well to take stock of their current research base and assess critical issues in this new context. This review of research on classroom discourse as it affects reading comprehension begins by examining 150 years of research on classroom discourse, and then findings and insights shaped by intensive empirical studies of both discourse processes and reading comprehension over the last three decades. Recent sociocultural and dialogic research supports claims that classroom discourse, including small-group work and whole-class discussion, works as an epistemic environment (versus script) for literacy development. New studies examine situated classroom talk in relation to educational outcomes and cultural categories that transcend the classroom.
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Using data from a lengthy study of first-and fourth-grade teachers in six states, Mr. Allington concludes that enhanced reading proficiency rests largely on the capacity of classroom teachers to provide expert, exemplary reading instruction -instruction that cannot be packaged or regurgitated from a common script because it is responsive to children's needs.
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In this study we investigated the effects of teaching on students' reading achievement. More specifically, based on a framework of reading instruction maximizing students' cognitive engagement in literacy learning, curricular and teaching variables, including aspects of word-recognition and comprehension instruction, approaches to teaching such as telling versus coaching, and the enabling of students' active versus passive responding to literacy activities, were investigated to explain growth on reading comprehension, fluency, and writing measures over a school year in grade 1-5 classrooms. Participants included 88 teachers and 9 randomly selected students per classroom in 9 high-poverty schools across the United States that were engaged in a literacy instruction reform project. Teachers were observed 3 times across the school year during a reading lesson. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that a number of teaching variables explained substantial variation in student growth on several measures of reading achievement. Looking across all of the data, the most consistent finding was that teachers who emphasized higher-order thinking, either through the questions they asked or the tasks they assigned, promoted greater reading growth among the 9 target students in their classrooms. We examine the results of our work in relation to a framework of teacher effectiveness maximizing students' cognitive engagement in literacy learning.
There is abundant evidence demonstrating that free voluntary reading (henceforth FVR) is highly beneficial for language acquisition and literacy development, far more beneficial than direct instruction (Krashen, 1993). In this paper, I briefly review this evidence, and also present evidence suggesting that FVR has other advantages:
Can we define a level of achievement that accurately reflects what students should master at each grade level? Mr. Hargis suggests that setting standards at the student level makes more sense.
Elementary teachers have been encouraged to share literature with their students by reading to them daily and recommending books. Although such suggestions are common, little is known about the number of teachers who read to their students regularly and how often this practice occurs across the elementary grades. In this study, 1,874 elementary teachers were surveyed nationally to determine how often they read to their students. Teachers reported how many of the last ten school days they read to their students. Results include the finding that much more teacher reading of books to students occurs in the primary grades compared with the intermediate grades. Also, primary-grade teachers frequently read picture books to their students while intermediate grade teachers read chapter books most often. Informational books are not often read by teachers to students in any of the elementary grades. Discussion of the results centers around reading aloud in the primary and intermediate grades, picture and chapter-book reading, informational book reading, and introducing and recommending books.
The Reading Rescue tutoring intervention model was investigated with 64 low–socioeconomic status, language-minority first graders with reading difficulties. School staff provided tutoring in phonological awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. Tutored students made significantly greater gains reading words and comprehending text than controls, who received a small-group intervention (d = 0.70) or neither intervention (d = 0.74). The majority of tutored students reached average reading levels whereas the majority of controls did not. Paraprofessionals tutored students as effectively as reading specialists except in skills benefiting nonword decoding. Paraprofessionals required more sessions to achieve equivalent gains. Contrary to conventional wisdom, results suggest that students make greater gains when they read text at an independent level than at an instructional level.
Middle school students are often characterized as disinterested readers (McKenna, Kear, & Ellsworth, 1995), yet studies of adolescent reading typically do not feature students' voices about classroom practices (Alvermann, 1998). This study used students as primary informants about what motivates them to read in their middle school classrooms. We surveyed 1,765 sixth-grade students in reading/language arts classrooms in 23 diverse schools in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. Students described how classroom environments motivated their reading through open-ended responses, short answers, and checklist items. To obtain richer data about positive instructional environments, we conducted follow-up interviews with 31 students in 3 classrooms in which students reported high engagement with reading. Using qualitative methodology, we conducted a content analysis of the survey responses and compared these findings with the interview data. We identified several overall findings about positive features of instruction. First, students valued independent reading and the teacher reading out loud as part of instructional time. Second, when asked what they liked most about time spent in the class, students focused more on the act of reading itself or personal reasons for reading rather than on social aspects or activities related to reading. Third, when students were asked what motivated them to read at school, they emphasized quality and diversity of reading materials rather than classroom setting or other people. When considering how middle school classrooms measure up, issues emerged about access to reading materials in the classroom and lack of diverse reading materials at school. These findings raise questions about the range of materials used for middle school reading/language arts instruction and the place and purpose of student independent reading.