The Savvy Teacher\’s Guide: Reading Interventions That Work

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The Savvy Teacher's Guide: Reading Interventions That Work   Jim Wright ( www.interventioncentral.org)   2




Introduction
I created the manual, The Savvy Teacher's Guide: Reading Interventions That Work, for
classroom instructors who need to have a range of reading interventions available for
students with diverse learning needs.

The great majority of the interventions described in this manual were selected because
they had been cited as effective in the recent National Reading Panel (2000) report, a
comprehensive meta-analysis of successful reading strategies.

All interventions presented here are research-based. In most cases, I attempted to
reconstruct the reading strategy from the cited research articles with few if any changes.
In some instances, however, I did make adaptations to the interventions to make them
more classroom-friendly.

Instructors who want to remain current on school-based interventions being added to this
manual series are encouraged to visit my website, www.interventioncentral.org.

Jim Wright
July 2001




References:
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based
assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for
reading instruction. (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Washington, DC: National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development.
The Savvy Teacher's Guide: Reading Interventions That Work   Jim Wright ( www.interventioncentral.org)             3




The Savvy Teacher's Guide: Reading Interventions That Work
---------------------------------------
Contents:
Introduction....................................................................................................... 2
Introducing Academic Strategies to Students: A Direct-Instruction Approach...... 4
Techniques to Promote Error Correction............................................................ 9
  Word Supply .................................................................................................10
  Sentence Repeat ..........................................................................................10
  `Word Attack' Hierarchy.................................................................................11
  Error Word Drill.............................................................................................11
Techniques to Promote Reading Fluency .........................................................13
  Assisted Reading Practice.............................................................................14
  Listening Passage Preview ...........................................................................15
  Paired Reading.............................................................................................17
  Repeated Reading ........................................................................................19
Techniques to Build Text Comprehension.........................................................21
  Advanced Story Map Instruction....................................................................22
  "Click or Clunk?" A Student Comprehension Self-Check ................................25
  Keywords: A Memorization Strategy..............................................................28
  Main-Idea Maps............................................................................................33
  Mental Imagery: Improving Text Recall..........................................................36
  Oral Recitation Lesson..................................................................................38
  Prior Knowledge: Activating the `Known' ......................................................40
  Question-Generation.....................................................................................44
  Reciprocal Teaching: A Reading Comprehension Package............................46
  Text Lookback ..............................................................................................52
The Savvy Teacher's Guide: Reading Interventions That Work   Jim Wright ( www.interventioncentral.org)   4



Introducing Academic Strategies to
Students: A Direct-Instruction
Approach
Teachers know how difficult it often is to get students to understand and use a new
academic strategy. A number of roadblocks can prevent students from successfully
applying strategies. For example, students may initially learn the steps of a strategy
incorrectly and become discouraged when they discover that it does not help them with
their work. Even if students become proficient in using a strategy, they may fail to
recognize those academic situations when the strategy should be applied. (An unused
strategy is equal to no strategy at all!) Or students may know full well when they are
supposed to use a strategy (e.g., proofreading a homework assignment) but simply be
unmotivated to do so.

Fortunately, you can follow a direct-instruction sequence to increase the probability that
your students will both correctly master and actually use effective academic strategies.
This framework includes four major stages: (1) you explicitly show students how to use
the skill or strategy, (2) students practice the skill under your supervision--and you give
frequent corrective feedback and praise, (3) students use the skill independently in real
academic situations, and (4) students use the skill in a variety of other settings or
situations ("generalization"). To avoid overloading your students with more new
information than they can absorb, teach only one strategy at a time and make sure that
your students have thoroughly mastered each strategy before teaching them another.

     1. "Show them!": The teacher demonstrates to students how to use the
        skill. The goal in this introductory step is to demonstrate the strategy so clearly
        that students will have a firm understanding and foundation for their later mastery
        of the skill. In most cases, you should
        devote at least a full session to demonstrating
        the strategy. (More complex strategies may
        require additional time.) During the lesson,
        students should be actively engaged and
        responding, rather than passively listening.
        If possible, make the session fast-paced,
        interactive, and fun!

          Introduce the skill. To build a rationale for
          using the skill, discuss the problem or
          difficulty that it can resolve.

              You might, for example, introduce the use of keywords (a strategy for
               memorizing factual information) by holding up a classroom science text and
               saying, "You will need to remember hundreds of important facts from your
The Savvy Teacher's Guide: Reading Interventions That Work   Jim Wright ( www.interventioncentral.org)   5


               science reading. Today we are going to learn a strategy that can help you to
               do this."

              You can also stimulate student interest and motivation and activate the class's
               prior knowledge of the topic by having the group briefly share their own
               favorite techniques for accomplishing the same academic goal (e.g., "What
               are some of your favorite ways to memorize lots of facts?").

          Describe & demonstrate the skill. Present the main steps of the strategy in simple
          terms. List the same main steps on a wall poster or in a handout so that students
          can refer back to them as needed. Use overhead transparencies or other visual
          aids to display examples of text, academic worksheets, or other materials that you
          will use to demonstrate the strategy. Consider handing out student copies of the
          same materials so that your class can work along with you. Take students through
          several demonstrations in which you walk through the steps of the strategy. Use a
          "think-aloud" procedure to share your reasoning with students as you apply the
          strategy. Start with simple examples that most students should be able to
          understand without difficulty. Introduce increasingly complex examples until you
          are demonstrating the strategy using grade-appropriate content.

          Elicit student participation. Run through several more demonstrations of the
          strategy, inviting student volunteers to come to the front of the room to walk the
          class through the strategy. Or call on different students to share how they would
          apply each step. Give gentle, corrective feedback as needed. Praise students
          frequently and give them specific positive feedback whenever they correctly use a
          step in the strategy.

          Assess student understanding. The class is ready the move to the next stage of
          instruction when most students appear to have a general understanding of the
          steps in the strategy, and guidelines for when to use it. You should be able to tell
          through the quality of student responses whether the class grasps the strategy.

     2. "Watch them & praise them!": Students practice the skill under
        teacher supervision. At this stage, students have begun to acquire the
        strategy but need opportunities to practice it under teacher supervision. Teacher
        oversight and feedback is especially important to prevent students new to the skill
        from practicing it incorrectly.

          Start by giving students simple examples. As students become more skilled in
          using the strategy, give them more advanced academic materials, until the
          examples are equal to grade-level work.

          For this stage, you may want to pair students and have them alternate roles: one
          student applies the strategy to an example, while the other acts as the observer
          who checks the posted strategy steps to be sure that all steps were correctly
          followed. As students work, you can walk around the room to monitor the dialog,
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