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Reading Strategies for High School Students: A Review of the Literature Bill Muth Virginia Commonwealth University Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium Policy & Planning Council Meeting Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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Reading Strategies for High School Students:A Review of the Literature

Bill Muth

Virginia Commonwealth University

Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium

Policy & Planning Council Meeting

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009


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National Assessment of Educational ProgressVirginia 8TH Grade Reading

66%

Less than proficient

National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2005


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Performance of NAEP Reporting Groups Virginia 2007 -- 8th Grade Reading


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proficient readers

  • fluent

  • deep and broad vocabularies

  • read strategically

  • self-directed and engaged


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what works

Kamil et al. (2008)

  • explicit instruction: vocabulary

  • explicit instruction: comprehension strategies

  • extended discussions of text

  • student engagement

  • intensive interventions for struggling readers


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explicit vocabulary instruction

  • 3,000 new words per year, grades 3-12

  • extensive reading, but…

  • direct instruction

    • new words

      • Tier 1,2,3

    • How to learn words independently

  • ↑ word consciousness


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explicit vocabulary instruction

  • multiple exposures in multiple contexts

  • strategies

    • semantic feature analysis, semantic mapping

    • games

    • running records

  • word-rich classrooms

    • dictionaries, thesauruses, word walls, crossword puzzles, Scrabble and other word games, literature, poetry books, and word-play and joke books


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direct instruction of comprehension strategies

  • active comprehension monitoring & fix-up strategies

  • graphic and semantic organizers & story maps

  • question generation

  • summarization and paraphrasing

  • selective rereading


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direct instruction of comprehension strategies

  • content reading strategies

    • win-win solutions

    • boost discipline learning and general reading

  • explicit instruction

    • demonstrations (e.g., teacher think-alouds)

    • Discussion

  • professional development support.


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extended discussion of text

  • engage students in…

    • predicting

    • questioning

    • clarifying

    • summarizing

    • interpreting

    • connecting to prior learning

  • examples:

    • anticipation Guides

    • directed reading and thinking activities

    • reciprocal teaching


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extended discussion of text

  • students scaffold each other

  • model literate thinking

  • ↑ Comprehension of difficult text

  • adjustments to curriculum:

    • tension between depth and breadth


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motivation and engagement

  • interesting and relevant content

  • goals tied to “big picture”

  • being challenged (“academic press”)

  • examples:

    • range of choice and autonomy

    • hands-on learning experiences

    • interesting and accessible tests

    • collaboration through discussions and assignments.


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motivation and engagement

understanding the potential of non-canonical literacies

  • canon of methods

  • ELLs funds of knowledge

  • girls portrayed in traditional & pop culture

  • African American boys and masculinity

  • digital literacies


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intensive interventions

struggling readers triaged:

  • those with word-level proficiency

    • content area reading support for vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

  • those lacking word-level proficiency

    • specialized intensive help

  • if significantly behind, (e.g., 2+ years)

    • system approach such as Response to Intervention


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intensive interventions

all learners, including ELLs and struggling readers,

benefit from:

  • formative assessment

  • differentiated instruction


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formative assessment &differentiated instruction

  • rich questioning & discussion to uncover student thinking

  • comment-only marking

  • sharing (co-constructing) scoring and grading criteria

  • ↑ opportunities for peer- and self-assessment.

  • group review of outcomes from tests.


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formative assessment &differentiated instruction

differentiation starts with accurate assessment

FA starts with clear knowledge of standards & tasks.

classroom-based FA:

  • “unpack” State standards

  • but—some literacy standards point to competencies that have less well-developed “theory of task”

  • e.g., “describe the relationship between theme, setting, and character…”


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formative assessment &differentiated instruction

differentiation starts with accurate assessment

FA starts with clear knowledge of standards & tasks.

intervention classrooms:

  • targeting word-level skills (e.g., phonics)

  • maintain meaningful purposes for reading

  • NAEP is insensitive to instructional needs of struggling readers

  • NAEP treats literacy as general skill, not content specific


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formative assessment &differentiated instruction

challenges: changing attitudes and instructional practices

  • tensions between teachers and administrators

  • educators’ attitudes & beliefs about indicators of student success

  • teachers need concrete FA examples:

    • assessment exemplars

    • discussion questions

    • think alouds

    • text sets

    • student-constructed rubrics


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other findings

  • integrate SOLs “essential knowledge” with instruction

  • buy-in at all levels

  • teachers focus on no more than 2-4 strategies

  • content teachers need incentives & PD

  • content teachers need to know what is and is not expected of them

  • each discipline needs to define its own essential literacy skills.


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conclusions

fostering:

deep knowledge of the tasks

deep understanding of our students

making connections between the two


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