Welcome to ‘The Essential Components of Teaching Reading’, an interactive learning tool:

This tool was originally designed to assist community college students in articulating into four-year college licensure programs. It is also helpful to inservice teachers who want to upgrade their reading teaching skills or make sense of current trends in teaching reading. The tool is built around the National Reading Panel report and includes the components they identified as supported by scientifically-based research: phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. In addition, the tool addresses the essential component of writing and different ways to organize a balanced literacy program.

Dr. Melissa Cain of The University of Findlay developed these modules as part of a grant of Rhodes Community College. A former first grade teacher, Dr. Cain has been teaching literacy at The University of Findlay for 15 years.

How to use the Learning Module:

To the left is a sample Learning Module. Each module begins with a pretest designed to check the participant’s existing knowledge and provide some focus for working through the modules. The Definition of Terms button helps participants learn the vocabulary that is necessary for understanding the topic of each module. Background Information includes related literature, concepts, and links and provides the basic information needed to understand the topic. Teaching Strategies tells how to teach the topic to children in classrooms. Assessment Strategies includes assessments that teachers can quickly and easily use to determine how well individuals in their classrooms are doing with the concepts of the topic. Self-Evaluation is an opportunity to revisit the pretest and reflect upon how the participant’s teaching will be changed as a result of the knowledge and skills learned in the module. Throughout the modules, participants are asked interactive questions to help them process the information.

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Additional Information:
With the release of the findings of the National Reading Panel (NICHD, 2000), there is a national expectation that teachers are able to apply scientifically based reading research to their classroom practice. This web site is designed to help teachers make sense of that expectation in five ways.
1. Examining current thinking about teaching reading,
2. Developing background knowledge about teaching reading,
3. Learning effective ways to teach reading,
4. Learning ways to informally assess reading, and
5. Reflecting upon how the new information will impact future teaching.

The National Reading Panel was charged with sifting through the reading research for studies that used the scientific method. Specifically:
• The studies had to utilize an experimental design.
• The subjects sample size needed to be large enough to represent larger populations.
• The studies had to be replicable and replicated.
• The studies had to be approved by experts in the field of reading beyond the panel, i.e. they were published in juried journals.

Techniques supported by scientifically based reading research are a recommended by the No Child Left Behind Act and the Reading First Initiative. The five essential components of reading identified by the National Reading Panel are:
1. Phonemic Awareness Instruction
2. Phonics Instruction
3. Fluency Development
4. Vocabulary Acquisition
5. Comprehension

In addition, the NRP suggested that instruction must be systematic and explicit.
Systematic instruction is characterized by the following:
1. It occurs in a logical sequence. As an example, sounds that are more common or useful will be taught first.
2. Lesson plans are written with defined objectives stated as what students will do.
3. Multiple opportunities for practice are provided, with independence of the skills being the goal.
4. Opportunities are provided for students to apply the skills.
5. Assessments monitor the students’ use of the skills, application of them, retention of skills over time, and independence of use.

Explicit instruction involves the teacher clearly stating the skill that is being taught and modeling its use.
Assessments must be valid and reliable. Valid means that they must test what they are designed to test. Reliable means that results must be consistent over time. For a more expanded definition of validity and reliability, see http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/research/relval/. For a more complete description of the No Child Left Behind Act, see http://www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml.

 
 
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This interactive teaching tool was funded through a collaboration between Rhodes State Community College and The University of Findlay

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