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Effective Intervention for Children with Literacy Difficulties

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  1. Effective Intervention for Children with Literacy Difficulties Dr Mary Nugent NEPS

  2. An Overview • What do we know about teaching literacy? • Components of Good Practice • What’s out there that works? • What do I need to do?

  3. West Dunbartonshire Literacy Initiative McKay (2007) Something that has never been done before: ‘the eradication of illiteracy from an entire education authority’

  4. West Dunbartonshire • A 10 year project • In the second most disadvantaged local authority in Scotland • In 2007 only 3 children left secondary school who were not functionally literate

  5. Need for Structured Interventions ‘It can be argued that teaching anything in a systematic way will be more successful than much existing practice, particularly when the intervention targets reception chidlren, where teaching approaches are less formal than with other children’ Solity et al (2000)

  6. Focus on Intervention ‘We are only at the beginning point in systematic, controlled research on intervention methods for children with severe reading disabilities’. Torgesen et al 1997

  7. Swanson and Hoskyn 1998 • Meta-analysis • Considered over 900 studies from 1972-1997 • Eventually included only 180 studies

  8. Swanson and Hoskyn Findings • Not all treatments are equally effective • A combined model of direct instruction and strategy instruction is relatively more effective than other methods • Small group settings and individual tuition is more effective than larger groups • Structured, specialist tuition is more effective than eclectic approaches

  9. Vaughan, Gersten & Chard 2000 • Reviewed 68 studies • Reiterated findings reported above and • Suggest that small interactive groups and pairs with highly qualified teachers may be as effective as a one to one model • Using a student with a disability as a cross age tutor is the most effective form of peer reading

  10. National Reading Panel An initiative of the federal government of the USA ‘A national panel to assess the status of research-based knowledge, including the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children to read’. Reported in 2000

  11. Findings from the National Reading Panel • Phonemic awareness • Phonics instruction • Fluency • Comprehension • Teacher Education • Computer Instruction

  12. Phonemic Awareness (PA)(sounds in spoken language) • Teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective • The effects of PA instruction on reading lasted well beyond the end of training • Most effective PA included explicit & systematic teaching

  13. Phonics Instruction(how written letters relate to sounds) • Systematic synthetic phonics instruction works better than other approaches for children from low social economic groups and those with specific reading disability • Explicit, systematic phonics instruction is a valuable & essential part of a successful classroom reading programme • Phonics teaching is a means to an end • It is only part of a total reading programme

  14. Fluency (speed and accuracy) Guided Reading Aloud • Repeated oral reading, that included guidance from others had a significant & positive impact on word recognition, fluency and comprehension Independent Silent Reading • Not sufficient research evidence that such efforts reliably increase how much students read or improve their reading skills

  15. Comprehension Vocabulary Instruction • Does lead to gains in comprehension, but must be appropriate to age and ability of the reader Teaching Comprehension Strategies (Summarising, generating/ answering questions/ mind maps) • Specific programmes to generate definite benefits

  16. Teacher Education In-service professional development produced significantly higher student achievement

  17. Computer Instruction • All studies reported positive results • Use of word processors may be very useful, given that reading instruction is most effective when combined with writing instruction

  18. West Dunbartonshire-10 Strands of Intervention • Phonological awareness and the alphabet • A strong and structured phonics emphasis • Extra classroom help in the early years • Fostering a ‘literacy environment’ • Raising teacher awareness thru’ focussed assessment • Increased time spent on reading • Identification and support of children failing • Lessons from research in interactive learning • Home support for encouraging literacy • Changing attitudes, values and expectations

  19. What works best? • Systematic, structured teaching of phonics (National Reading Panel 2000) • Synthetic (or small unit) approaches to phonics are preferable to analytic (or large unit) approaches (Macmillan 1997, McGuinness 1997) • Frequency of teaching with distributed rather than massed practice (Solity 2002) • A declaration of the intention to achieve (McKay 2007)

  20. What works best cont. • A multi-element approach • exposure to high quality books • emphasis on language development • importance of fluency and comprehension • developing a sight vocabulary • including spelling and writing skills • shared reading experiences

  21. What about spelling? • Even the best, most effective literacy interventions have a modest impact of spelling • Children with dyslexia tend to make most progress in the area of reading comprehension, some progress in word reading and relatively poor progress in spelling

  22. 3 components of Evidence Based Practice ‘The aim of evidence based practice is to help professionals to base their practice on best current evidence’ Fox 2003 • Research should provide the evidence on which professional practice is based • Professionals will change and adapt their practice on best available research evidence • By keeping accurate outcome measures, services can monitor the effects of their interventions

  23. Interventions • We are only focusing on literacy interventions for children with literacy difficulties, not preventative approaches • The interventions can be used with children of low ability and/ or with children with dyslexia and/ or children where the origin of the reading difficulty is unknown

  24. Key Text What Works for Children with Literacy Difficulties- The Effectiveness of Intervention Schemes By Greg Brooks & National Foundation for Educational Research (Nfer) (2007) Published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Ref 00688-2007 BKT-EN

  25. Quality of Research Importance of: • Pre and post intervention data • Use of control groups • Longitudinal studies • Use of standardised tests • Tests of reading (not just component elements, such as blending)

  26. How much progress should we expect? • Shiel,Morgan & Larney (1998) found that Irish children receiving remedial teaching made gains of 3.41 standard score points • However, some made little or no progress, and children attending schools designated as disadvantaged did not improve, but maintained their relative position in achievement.

  27. Brooks (2007) • Good Impact- sufficient to at least double the standard rate of progress- can be achieved and it is reasonable to expect it

  28. Ratio Gains The gain in reading during a chronological time span, expressed as a ratio of that time span • A ratio gain of 1.0 is exactly standard progress • A ratio gain of 1.4 is impact of educational significance • A ratio gain of less that 1.4 is impact of doubtful educational significance

  29. Effect Sizes The average gain of the experimental group, minus the average gain of the control group, expressed as standard deviation. All standardised tests have an implied control group, so the effect size is the gains of the group, divided by 15 • An effect size of 0.25 or above is impact of educational significance • An effect size of less than 0.25 is impact of doubtful significance

  30. Key Points (Brooks 2007) • Ordinary teaching is not enough • Working on Children’s self-esteem and reading in parallel has definite potential • ICT approaches only work if precisely targeted • Large scale schemes (expensive and requiring teacher training) can give good value for money (Phono-graphix, Reading recovery)

  31. Key points cont. • Where reading partners are available and can be trained and supported, partnership approaches can be very effective • Success with some children with the most severe difficulties is elusive, therefore the need for skilled, intensive 1:1 intervention • Interventions for longer than 1 term do not necessarily produce proportionally greater benefits.

  32. Interventions • Jolly Phonics • Toe by Toe • Paired Reading • Phono-Graphix • Acceleread/ Accelewrite • Precision Teaching (SNIP) • Reading Recovery

  33. Jolly Phonics- Consists of… • Photocopiable Master Handbook • Readers • Videos • Grammar Book • Involves quite a lot of initial organisation and photocopying • Is relatively cost effective

  34. Jolly Phonics-Suitable for… • A whole class approach to teaching phonics in the early years • An alternative to Letterland • Suitable for use with children accessing learning support/ resource • Best suited to younger children, (up to 2nd class)

  35. Jolly Phonics- A Multi-sensory Method • A story • A picture • An action • A sound • Tracing of letter • Intensive blending and segmentation

  36. Jolly Phonics • Involves very rapid learning of letters • Includes homework component • It as synthetic phonics approach • Minimises sound learning, with an emphasis on blending

  37. Jolly Phonics- Research • Tends to rely on research about synthetic phonics, rather than research explicitly about Jolly Phonics After 16 week programme children were: • 7 months ahead of CA in reading • 8 months ahead of CA in spelling After a year of Jolly Phonics: • 11 months ahead of CA in reading • 1 month ahead of CA in spelling (Johnston and Watson 1999)

  38. Toe by Toe, suitable for… • An individualised approach • Suitable for children from the age of 6, but more appealing to older primary/ secondary students • Has been used effectively in the prison service • Use of one workbook, provides both teacher direction and student programme • Each book costs approx. €40

  39. Toe by Toe • Highly structured phonics programme • Involves teaching skills to a level of fluency • Use on non-words puts focus on underlying skills of decoding • Considerable emphasis on recording progress

  40. Claims Made (Toe by Toe) ‘Any student who successfully completes the Toe by Toe scheme will have dramatically improved reading age. Their spelling will also have improved and – most importantly- their self-esteem will have been transformed…It is not an exaggeration to say that this book changes lives..’

  41. Toe by Toe- Research Evidence • Pre- and post data over one year • 24 secondary aged pupils • Matched pairs • Experimental group- Toe by Toe • Control Group- ‘normal learning support’ • Toe by Toe group were taught individually for 20 minutes per day, five days per week, for average of 3 months

  42. Toe by Toe –research findings cont. ‘The results were definitive. The experimental group made average gains of three and a half years. The control group made average gains of five months’ MacKay & Cowling Literacy Today, March (2004)

  43. Paired Reading • Largely based on the work of Keith Topping, Centre for Paired Learning, University of Dundee • PAL-Peer Assisted Learning ‘It is clear that PAL is not a diluted and inferior substitute for direct professional teaching- it has quite different strengths and weaknesses and to deploy it to maximum effect teachers need to be aware of these’. Topping (2001)

  44. Paired reading /Duolog reading • A specific and structured technique • Selecting a book • Reading aloud together • The tutee gives prompt when ready to read alone • Tutor supplies difficult words directly (no sounding out/ guessing) • The tutor praises the tutee

  45. Paired Reading • A range of formalised approaches • Considered cost-effective • Needs on-going organisation including: Training of tutors Monitoring of progress Maintenance (some form of reward system?)

  46. Paired reading-research findings • Brooks (2007) reports studies involving 2,372 children in 155 projects in 71 schools Ratio Gains of 3.3 in reading and 4.3 in comprehension (effect sizes of .87 for reading and .77 for comprehension) Social gains also widely reported

  47. Paired reading/ Duolog Reading ‘The general picture in published studies is that Paired readers progress at about 4.2 times ‘normal’ rates in reading accuracy during the initial period of commitment. Follow-up studies indicate that gains are sustained and do not ‘wash out’ over time.’ Topping 2004

  48. Peer Reading in Ireland The Reading Partners Programme in a special school (See Nugent 2001, British Journal of Special Education) ‘Helpers’ made 17.4 months progress (control group made 7.16 months progress) Learners made 6.55 months progress (compared to typical gains of 3 months progress)

  49. Paired Reading • Cross-aged tutoring seems particularly effective Practical applications • Transition students reading with first year partners • Traveller child, reading with younger (settled) child • Older sibling reading with younger sibling

  50. Phono-Graphix, suitable for… • Also known as Reading Reflex • Can be used throughout the age range • Intended for use in one to one or small group tuition • Uses a teacher/ parent manual, €40 approx. • Highly structured and directed delivery