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TEACHING & LEARNING READING MORE EFFECTIVELY

This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.

This is a PASS/FAIL course. Therefore, SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning

Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated list of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.

For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [http://www.xxx.com] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.

This work may be emailed to me at ozpk100@aol.com, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 923 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.


No other skill taught in school and learned by school children is more important than reading. It is the gateway to all other knowledge. If children do not learn to read efficiently, the path is blocked to every subject they encounter in their school years.

The past five years have brought major breakthroughs in our knowledge of how children learn to read and why so many fail. These new insights have been translated into techniques for teaching reading to beginning readers, including the many students who would otherwise encounter difficulties in mastering this fundamental skill. Researchers have come to appreciate that early identification and treatment of such students can make all the difference. Researchers have also documented the problems—personal, social, and educational—that too often result when early attention and intervention do not occur.
--from "Reading: The First Chapter In Education" in site #1 below.

Essential Question 1: Based on links from the sites below, define the focus and scope of the problem of helping all students learn to read and read to learn.

  1. Reading: The First Chapter In Education -- Builds the case for a balanced, research-based approach to both learning to read and reading to learn.
  2. Learning To Read, Reading To Learn -- Extremely enlightened site from the ERIC Clearinghouse.
  3. Transforming Ideas for Teaching and Learning To Read -- A "state of the art" government report.
  4. Early Literacy Development -- A wise and resouceful site from the Bank Street College
  5. ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English and Communication -- Numerous links and resources
  6. Balanced Reading Instruction: Review of Literature -- Simple, but not easy: balance phonics and meaning-making approaches and give plent of time for actual reading and writing.
  7. What Is Balanced Literacy? -- A graphic chart showing the elements of a balance approach
  8. The Four Blocks Literacy Center -- A widely acclaimed and extremely adaptable reading program with resources for all levels
  9. ERIC Resources on Phonics Instruction -- Taking phonics instruction seriously is part of balanced instruction.
  10. The Phonics Room -- Poems, songs, literature, and activities listed for every letter of the alphabet
  11. What Does Research Say About Reading? -- A comprehensive, concise review reflecting the movement from traditional views of reading based on behaviorism to visions of reading and readers based on cognitive psychology


Essential Question 2: Based on links from the sites below, define the focus and scope of the problem of helping students delayed in their effort to learn to read and read to learn.

  1. Toward a Definition of Dyslexia -- "In short, the data support the development of informed, balanced approaches to the teaching of reading."
  2. Academic Interventions for Children with Dyslexia -- Resources for understanding the need for phonics instruction in particular for these students.
  3. Dyslexia, The Gift -- From a multiple intelligences angle we can see the strengths of the dyslexic student.
  4. Special Education Inclusion -- Since most delayed readers will also be inclusion students, the profiles and suggestions on this page give important emphasis, including the focus needed on higher level thinking skills.
  5. Reading Recovery -- Reviews the existing literature in the ERIC database regarding the effectiveness of Reading Recovery
  6. Every Child Reading: An Action Plan -- The Learning First Alliance lists a number of helpful publications
  7. Why Children Succeed or Fail at Reading -- Research from NICHD's Program in Learning Disabilities
  8. Reading Strategies -- Great list of brief annotations for each of more than a dozen reading approaches
  9. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children -- On-line portions a book, extremely valuable in themselves; reinforces a balanced approach.
    From the Report:
    "Reading is essential to success in our society. The ability to read is highly valued and important for social and economic advancement. Of course, most children learn to read fairly well. In this report, we are most concerned with the large numbers of children in America whose educational careers are imperiled because they do not read well enough to ensure understanding and to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive economy. Current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining absolute levels of literacy. In a technological society, the demands for higher literacy are ever increasing, creating more grievous consequences for those who fall short."
    " All members agreed that reading should be defined as a process of getting meaning from print, using knowledge about the written alphabet and about the sound structure of oral language for purposes of achieving understanding. All thus also agreed that early reading instruction should include direct teaching of information about sound-symbol relationships to children who do not know about them and that it must also maintain a focus on the communicative purposes and personal value of reading."


Essential Question 3: Based on links from the sites below, how might the Internet be used as a resource for developing and improving reading?

  1. Reading On-line -- Resources and research for using internet technology in reading instruction at all levels
  2. Curriculum Access in the Digital Age -- New technology-based strategies offer hope that students of all abilities will have the opportunity to thrive in school; especially note "Thinking Reading."
  3. The Talking Page Literacy Organization -- A neurolinguistics based reading method that takes 9 weeks, 30 minutes a day, to teach a child to read
  4. The Reading Genie -- Links and lessons about learning to read including research based methods
  5. Training Wheels for Literacy -- Traces the history of reading problems and identifies the underlying problem as "ambiguity-overwhelm."
  6. Elementary English Language Arts -- "...divided into sections according to the developmental level of the child: Emergent, Beginning, and Developing are the levels we most likely find in elementary school. Under each developmental heading, you can find a profile of the typical student, descriptions of some of the language arts outcomes, hints for instruction, and even some sample lesson plans. It is designed to provide a deeper understanding of the curriculum, and provide practical lessons, ideas, and materials that may be used in delivering it."
  7. Navigating the Reading Sea: Reading in the Content Areas -- Instructional strategies to improve secondary students' reading
  8. NOTE: Many other links on this page are examples of using the Internet to develop and improve reading.
  9. Teacher Web.com is a site that makes it easy for teachers to creat web pages and course segments; many of the links in this course could be used on such a page, and both students and parents could access it any time.

Essential Question 4: Based on links from the sites below, how might you use "reading to learn" and Story Telling as resources for developing and improving reading?

  1. Reading Tips for Classroom, Homework, and Assessment Activities -- Tips to help students score higher on achievement tests
  2. Metacognition and Reading To Learn. ERIC Digest -- Researchers consistently show that metacognition plays an important role in reading. Metacognition involves both the conscious awareness and the conscious control of one's learning.
  3. Reading to Learn: (Grades 4 – 8); & High School and Beyond -- Useful Florida site with high quality links
  4. Extending Learning and Reading: Community Involvement
  5. ISLMC Literacy-Teaching in the Language Arts -- Particularly note Learning Partners
  6. The Myth of Learn to Read/Read to Learn -- "Many researchers have now shown is that for all children, learning to read and reading to learn should be happening simultaneously and continuously, from preschool through middle school — and perhaps beyond. And teaching comprehension has now emerged as a critical piece of learning to read, which the narrow emphasis on phonics and sight words in the early years of reading fails to address."
  7. Reading and Study Links -- A rich source for links particularly relevant beyond 3rd grade, where study skills have higher correlation to reading improvement than reading programs
  8. Study Guides and Strategies -- An astounding array of study and subject learning guides, many for older students
  9. Learning To Learn -- Numerous, interesting resources
  10. Reading To Comprehend and To Learn -- Directions for text study
  11. Literature Circles -- "Literature Circles is a small group structured format for reading and discussing literature. Literature Circles can be used with any grade level or in any content area."
  12. Storytelling Travel Adventures to Legendary Destinations -- Storytelling is a powerful aspect of balanced literacy
  13. Story Arts Online -- Great classroom resources
  14. International Storytelling Center Resources -- The Six Stories You Need to Know How to Tell
  15. Story-Maker, Story-Teller: Narrative Structures in Curriculum -- The narrative way of knowing in the work of several teachers

Essential Question 5: Based on links from the sites below, how might you help bilingual, English language learning students develop and improve their reading?

  1. Reading in a Second Language: What Every Teacher Needs to Know -- An extremely rich and useful site
  2. Why Bilingual Education? -- "The knowledge that children get through their first language helps make the English they hear and read more comprehensible. Literacy developed in the primary language transfers to the second language."
  3. FreeTranslation.com -- Free translation of web sites and text for Spanish, French, and German to English and English to Spanish!
  4. A Road Map for Effective Biliteracy Instruction -- A Knowledge Base and Teaching Strategies
  5. Mora's Modules -- On-line course modules for teaching cross-language literacy

Essential Question 6: Based on links from the sites below, what position do you take--and why-- on highly structured (scripted) programs like "Success For All" to help students develop and improve their reading?

  1. Success for All: A Summary of Evaluations -- The ERIC/CUE Digest, a thoughtful review
  2. What Makes "Success for All" So Successful? -- "More than 1,100 schools nationwide have chosen the Success for All program as their key to academic achievement. What makes Success for All so popular with so many educators?"
  3. Success for All: An Independent Look -- A number of articles raising questions about Slavin's work and research

Essential Question 7: Based on links from the sites below, how might you motivate students develop and improve their reading?

  1. Student Motivation To Learn -- From ERIC, a good, concise summary
  2. The Junior Great Books Program -- "By combining age-appropriate literature with the shared inquiry method of discussion, Junior Great Books brings literature to life and helps students discover a joy of reading they will carry with them into adulthood."
  3. Motivating Low Performing Adolescent Readers. ERIC Digest -- "Building confidence is essential to improving the performance of secondary readers. Assisting and motivating low performing students is a requisite to improved performance."
  4. Examples of Writing to Learn Activities -- These brief writing formats externalize and motivate comprehension
  5. Millard Central Middle School Reading Links
  6. Children's Literature & Language Arts Resources -- Focuses on children's literature in education
  7. Carol Hurst's Chldren's Literature Site -- A collection of reviews of great books for kids, ideas of ways to use them in the classroom and collections of books and activities about particular subjects, curriculum areas, themes and professional topics
  8. Lycos Directory for Children's Literature -- Over 1,000 sites categorized by authos, levels, language and literary genre
  9. Using Adolescent/Young Adult Literature -- Specially appealing to "reluctant" readers, middle school students, and self-motivated readers
  10. Multicultural Book Reviews for Grades K-12 -- Rich resource
  11. Reading Resources -- From Family Education
  12. Picture Books for Younger Children
  13. Fun Brain.com -- Learning games and quizzes
  14. NOTE: Many links under Essential Question 4 also enhance student motivation


Essential Question 8: Based on links from the sites below, how might you use assessment to help students develop and improve their reading?

  1. Portfolio: An Envelope for the Mind, A Celebration of Learning -- Assessing a student portfolio; great guiding questions
  2. The Case for Authentic Assessment -- An ERIC digest based on materials prepared for the California Assessment Program
  3. Creating Eager Readers -- Informal assessments help students mine text for meaning.
  4. Critique of Miscue Analysis -- A thoughtful rebuttal of key assumptions in this assessment method
  5. International Literacy Rates -- Profile relative literacy rates in various world regions
  6. Ensuring Equity with Alternative Assessments -- "If American students are to be held responsible for achieving high educational standards, it is ethically imperative that educators develop assessment strategies that ensure equity in assessing and interpreting student performance."
  7. Electronic Portfolios -- Questions that need to be asked (and answered) before decisions are made about a major implementation such as electronic portfolios or using technology to support observational assessment
  8. ACCOUNTABILITY & ASSESSMENT in BILINGUAL EDUCATION -- A variety of useful links and articles
  9. PRACTICAL IDEAS ON ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTS FOR ESL STUDENTS -- "Alternative assessment refers to procedures and techniques which can be used within the context of instruction and can be easily incorporated into the daily activities of the school or classroom." An ERIC site.
  10. Assessment Matters! Toward Authentic Assessment -- Varied aspects of assessment from over 50 sites
  11. Assessment Issues in Inclusion/Special Education -- Is it equitable and fair to test all students with the same tests, even though all do not have the same abilities? How should included students be assessed? What modifications are warranted for them? How should students be screened to qualify for special education services? How should they be periodically re-evaluated?