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Steps for Developing Instructional Approaches EGRA Workshop March 12-14, 2008 Marcia Davidson Sandra Hollingsworth University of Maine University of California, Berkeley Orono, ME 04469 Berkeley, CA Developing a Pilot Instrument

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steps for developing instructional approaches egra workshop march 12 14 2008

Steps for Developing Instructional ApproachesEGRA WorkshopMarch 12-14, 2008

Marcia Davidson Sandra Hollingsworth

University of Maine University of California, Berkeley

Orono, ME 04469 Berkeley, CA

developing a pilot instrument
Developing a Pilot Instrument

Conceptual framework for assessment probes

General Outcome Measure (GOM) rather than a Mastery Measure

GOM means that progress is linear over time and the measure is sensitive to small increments in performance. The monitoring is always on a goal reading passage – not instructional level.

Efficient and simple to administer and score

Provides valid and reliable information on reading proficiency

class or student level report individual student performance profile or student history
Class or Student Level Report: Individual Student Performance Profile or Student History

An individual student progress summary provides both a numerical and pictorial display of student performance on one measure across a year(s) in relation to the established goal.

One student’s Oral Reading Fluency Progress Across Years

Harn (2005)


Harn (2005)

step 4 how to graph reading scores
Step 4: How to Graph Reading Scores

The vertical axis is labeled with the range of student scores.

The horizontal axis is labeled with the number of instructional weeks.

measures developed for the gambia
Measures Developed for The Gambia

Letter Name Knowledge: naming random list of upper and lower case letters in one minute. Total of 100 letters.

Phoneme Segmentation: This measure is more challenging and asks children to count the number of sounds and then make the sounds. It can be difficult and it is possible that a poor performance is not due to poor phonological sensitivity but to poor working memory.

more on phoneme segmentation
More on Phoneme Segmentation

Why is this task considered important?

Phonological processing is key to success in reading. Children need to know the sounds in words so that they are able to map the sounds/phonemes to letters/graphemes and can acquire the alphabetic principle.

There are developmental phases of phonological awareness.

Phoneme segmentation as well as phoneme blending are predictive of reading success.

phonemes are most difficult
PHONEMES Are Most Difficult

Phonological Awareness




Slide developed by Linda Farrell

Really Great Reading Company

there are levels of phonological awareness
There are levels of phonological awareness

We know that phonemic awareness is the highest level of the phonological awareness skills.


/ n /

/ ī /



/ īn /







Slide developed by Linda Farrell

Really Great Reading Company

When children have difficulty with phonemes, we need to “back up” along the phonological continuum.
familiar word identification
Familiar Word Identification

What does a student’s performance on this measure tell us?

If a child is sounding out each word, letter by letter, then they have not developed automaticity in word recognition, a necessary skill for fluent reading.

A child needs to see a word from 4-10 times and recognize it accurately before it can become automatic. Children need to read words they are learning many times in context and practicing reading words in isolation is sometimes very helpful.

If a child is not able to sound out words successfully, they need to learn basic phonics skills, followed by more advanced word study.

simple unfamiliar nonword decoding
Simple Unfamiliar Nonword Decoding

Children read a list of pseudowords/non words. Why do we ask them to do this?

It is the only way to know how they decode words. If we ask them to read real words, they may have memorized many and we cannot know if they understand the sound/symbol (phoneme/grapheme)relationship. We must ask them to read nonwords so that we can see whether they understand how speech to print works.

passage reading
Passage Reading

Students are asked to read connected text aloud for 60 seconds.

Why is reading connected text fluently important?

Why does rate and accuracy matter when reading aloud?

Students are asked a series of questions about what they read to make sure they are not just saying words without understanding what they are reading.

listening comprehension
Listening Comprehension

This task involves reading a short passage to a student aloud and then asking questions about the passage to find out whether the student understood what was read to him/her.

Why is this important? Consider the simple view of reading:

decoding X listening comprehension = reading


The student is asked to listen to a short sentence that is read aloud and is asked to write the sentence. The sentence is repeated two more times more slowly.

What skills does this task address?

Working memory, spelling skills, phonological/orthographic memory

instructional implications
Instructional Implications

Five key components of reading

Phoneme awareness/sensitivity





All are important and they are NOT a sequence of instruction.

instructional implications from the gambia egra instrument
Instructional Implications from The Gambia EGRA Instrument

Children need to learn:

phonological awareness

letter names and sounds to automaticity

decoding Skills to automaticity

vocabulary and comprehension skills

phonological phonemic awareness
Phonological/Phonemic Awareness

Playing with the sounds of language.

Teaching PA in the dark!

Sounds in children’s names

Changing the first sound in a name or adding a sound at the end

Counting sounds in names

Hearing a word segmented into phonemes and blending it

Listening to a word and saying the sounds

Pushing a marker into a box for each sound in a word

learning letter names with an alphabet arc
Learning Letter Names with an alphabet arc

From Florida Center on Reading Research: Student Activities - Phonics

more on phonics
More on Phonics

Scope and sequence of teaching children how to decode:

Teaching letter names and sounds: Early on, children need to pay attention to the location of the letter in a word as well as its sound

Poor readers often get the initial letter in a word, but do not do well with the medial or final letters. So they must be taught to attend to every letter in a word.

teaching letter sound relationships
Teaching Letter-sound relationships

Large letter cards

Pocket chart

Letter tiles and magnetic board

(video clips)

Instructional sequence:

Begin with /m/ sound and talk about the sound in several words.

Move to print and show children how the sound /m/ is represented by the letter ‘m’.

Discriminate among words that begin with ‘m’ and those that begin with other letters.

Present an example of a word with the ‘m’ in the final position.

Discriminate among words that end with ‘m’ and words that end in other letters.


Teaching children to decode to automaticity: every word becomes a sight word.

Building decoding skills so that children recognize spelling patterns in words.

Practice reading the word patterns taught in connected text.

Reading with a model for guided oral repeated reading to build fluency.


Never begin with a dictionary definition.

Always explain a word in student-friendly terms. Create a definition that a child would understand.

Example: cinnamon: (American Heritage Dictionary) The aromatic reddish or yellowish-brown bark of certain tropical Asian trees, dried and often ground for use as a spice. (!!!)

Select Tier 2 words to teach. Words that are important for children to understand – not rare and unusual words that they will not see often.

comprehension some examples of strategies
Comprehension (some examples of strategies)

Teaching narrative story structure

Story maps with topic/title in a circle on the middle of the page, and subtopics in surrounding circles.

Teaching text structure: for example, main idea, compare-contrast, classification. How is the text organized?

Focus on Before, During, and After reading

developing teaching strategies building a beginning reading program based on egra data
Developing Teaching Strategies: Building a Beginning Reading Program based on EGRA data

What are some phonological awareness activities that can be taught to a whole class?

What are some approaches to teaching decoding skills?

What are some strategies to help children build fluency in reading connected text?

What are some effective ways to teach children vocabulary?

What are effective ways to teach comprehension skills?

other considerations
Other Considerations

Linking data to instruction

How to decide what to teach

When to consider grouping children (who will teach groups?)

How do you know when they have mastered a skill?

an example of a reading program
An Example of a Reading Program


Systematic Method for Reading Success

smrl is based on these assumptions
SMRL is based on these assumptions

Children in developing countries have UNACCEPTABLE LITERACY LEVELS!!

Being denied an opportunity to learn to read and write in their native languages is oppressive

Teachers in these countries have little training in how to teach literacy

Teachers need a guaranteed method for teaching literacy

given baseline assessments what now
Given Baseline Assessments, What now?
  • From research, we know that students need:
      • Phonemic Awareness
      • Phonics
      • Fluency
      • Vocabulary and
      • Comprehension
the best way to learn phonemic awareness phonics and sight words
The best way to learn phonemic awareness, phonics and sight words

is to introduce them through a systematic program…..

that begins with phonemic awareness, then the slow introduction of one or two letter-sound combinations and one or two sight words that students will be able to practice enough so that when they come to a story containing the sounds and words, they will know how to read them.

Then multi-syllabic words and stories

With an emphasis on comprehension.

the best way to learn to read
The best way to learn to read

is through successful practice every day…from Day 1

Students gradually build up knowledge of letter names, sounds, blending sounds into words, recognizing sight words, so that they NEVER fail when learning to read.

At the end of the systematic program(approximately 75 lessons, depending on the native language patterns), they are competent enough to read any materials.

materials 2 books approx 75 lessons book 1 book 2
Materials: 2 books, approx. 75 lessonsBook 1 Book 2
  • 1. Re-read yesterday’s text
  • 2. Phonemic Awareness
  • 3. Name & sound of letters
  • 4. Blending sounds into Words
  • 5. High frequency sight words
  • 6. Read-aloud for vocabulary & comp
  • 7. Independent reading using letters & words taught
  • 1. Review phonics/sight words (if needed)
  • 2. Sight syllables
  • 3. Reading entire words
  • 4. Spelling & writing
  • 5. Read-aloud for vocabulary and comp
  • 6. Independent reading

di ka di e ni ne ye.

ye di da yan.

e ni ne ye di ye.

e ni ne .

the tools
The tools

Proper materials development

Proper training and commitment of supervisors

Proper training of teachers

Close monitoring of teachers

Mastery test every 10 lessons (to know where every student is and what’s needed)

Celebrations of success!

here are some results from mali niger on correlations of teacher implementation ts 8 sts 390
Here are some results from Mali & Niger on correlations of teacher implementation Ts =8 Sts.= 390

A simple program that would work in every developing literacy country…….if

You had an agreement with your ministry to pilot it

You had supervisors to support the teachers in the beginning

You had a strong management team

And a deep belief that all students deserve to be literate.