Archive for February, 2010

1. How does a Preliterate (Emergent) speller read and write?


-scribbles letter and numbers

-Lack the concept of a word

-Lack letter-sound correspondence

-represent most words with a single letter

-Pretend to read and write

These students have limited reading and writing abilities, but they should be encouraged to finger-point rhymes, dictations, and simpler pattern books that the student may have memorized, sort pictures by beginning sound, and read to these students while encouraging oral language activities.

2. How does a Letter Name-Alphabetic speller read and write?


– Represents beginning and ending sounds

– Uses letter names to invent spellings

– Has rudimentary or functional concept of word

– Reads word by word in beginning reading materials

These students are reading word-by-word and are beginning to recognize individual sounds. These students should have continued encouragement of oral language activities, be read to frequently, record and reread personal dictations, and should be sorting pictures and words by beginning sounds.

3. How does a Within Word Pattern speller read and write?


– Spells most single-syllable, short vowel words correctly

– Spells most beginning consonant digraphs and two-letter consonant blends

– Attempts to use silent long vowel markers

– Reads silently and with more fluency and expression

– Writes more fluently and in extended fashion

– Can revise and edit

These students are beginning to be able to use vowels correctly as well as having the ability to read independently of and adult. These students should continue to be read to out loud, have guided silent reading of simple chapter books, and should have the opportunity to write each day. Word study should focus on comparing “r”-influenced words, exploring less common vowels, and examining triple blends and complex consonant units.

4. How does a Syllable and Affixes speller read and write?


– Spells most single-syllable words correctly

-Make errors at syllable juncture and in unaccented syllables

– Reads with good fluency and expression

– Reads faster silently than orally

– Writes responses that are sophisticated and critical

These students should be working on plural endings, compound words, consonant doubling and inflected endings, studying open and closed syllables, studying base words and affixes, as well as studying stress or accent in two-syllable words.

5. How does a Derivational Relations speller read and write?


– Has mastered high frequency words

– Makes errors on low frequency, multi-syllabic words (usually derived from Latin or Greek)

– Reads with good fluency and expression

– Reads faster silently than orally

– Writes responses that are sophisticated and critical

These students are pretty far along in their word comprehension and usage. These students should be benefiting from silent reading and writing, focusing on literary analysis, and focusing on common and less common roots, prefixes and suffixes,  studying Greek and Lating word roots/stems, and they should be learning about absorbed or assimilated prefixes.

6. What is the existing research evidence on the relationship between spelling and reading. Briefly describe research findings discussed on page 20.

The research on page 20 shows that spelling and reading have a significant correlation with each other. Those students who receive additional spelling instruction typically perform better on reading tasks such as oral reading and silent reading comprehension. The range in which students fell between in reading and spelling are .68 and .86. This range represents the prediction of  Ehri and Cataldo (1992) that spelling is the most consistent predictor of a student’s success in reading achievement. This proves that students benefit more from practicing spelling which will improve reading rather than the other way around.


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Stahl (2008) Assignment

1. Describe in broad stokes the reading processes that take place during comprehension of informational text (p. 362, under Construction of Meaning and Concept Development with Informational Texts).

Reading processes that take place during comprehension of informational texts are:

-Accessing accurate, relevant knowledge

-Managing mental processes (both top-down and bottom-up)

-Constructing a coherent mental representation (usually through pruning and organizational processes)

2. Specify the effect that background knowledge may have on constructing mental representations from informational text. Why should teachers be concerned about activating prior knowledge?

Background knowledge can be used by children while interacting with texts because the text may activate relevant knowledge from prior experience that will help support the text, but it can also cause comprehension issues with the student.  Teachers should be concerned with background knowledge because the child may be relying on inaccurate or inapplicable prior knowledge. Children sometimes over generalize situations and can be mislead by information that they assume to be correct.

3. What are the three instructional approaches that can be used to help primary-grade students comprehend informational text? Describe their common (p. 365) and distinctive features (p. 363-365).

These are the three distinct instructional approaches that can be used to help primary-grade students along when it comes to comprehending informational text:

Picture Walk (PW)– This approach is used for pre-reading conversation that helps children with “leveled text” (“small paperbacks that have been leveled, using a narrow gradient readability scale based on qualitative text features”) where questions are asked only about the pictures through the book and on the cover. This is a great tool to help students with predictions according to what they can see in the pictures as well as being able to learn 2-3 new vocabulary words through this experience. The PW method is used to promote fluency and comprehension that focuses on the students’ needs as well as distracting the children from the complexity of the texts.

Know-Want to Learn-Learn (KWL)– In this situation, the teacher plays off of prior knowledge of the students to help them develop their own purpose of reading expository texts. This method is used to generate discussions about the text topic where the teacher uses a chart or worksheet to record the students’ responses to each of the topics of the KWL.

Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA)– This method views reading as a problem to be solved in a social context. The teacher is responsible for dividing any text used for this method into meaningful sections and asking questions to facilitate discussion and predictions of the students. The student is responsible for finding their own purposes for reading as well as generating and modifying predictions based on the information given. Research has found that students end up recalling more story elements than those students who simply listened to a narrative text without being engaged in discussions throughout the text.

4. What is the purpose of the experimental study reported?

The purpose of this experimental study was to explore how PW, KWL, and DRTA methods might influence the comprehension when used in informational texts with primary school students.

5. Who were the subjects?

The subjects in this study were 31 second-grade students who were in the same school district, two demographically similar schools, and who were located in a midsized Midwest city.

6. Describe the reading materials used during the intervention.

During this intervention, the reading materials that were used were texts on topics in which most second graders would be familiar. The progression of the topics in the texts were spiders, the moon, how water changes form, and insects.

7. How long did the experiment last?

Information was gathered over a 10 week period where there were 2 four-week periods that were held within that time frame.

8. What were the experimental conditions?

The experimental conditions included a pre-experimental screening, a 45 minute orientation with each of the groups, and a 12 day intervention (3 consecutive days for each of the 4 consecutive weeks). When the group received treatment, they would have an evaluation on the third day and the day following the conclusion of the intervention cycles, the students were given an interview to check for comprehension and instructional preferences.

9. Describe the procedures specific to the Picture Walk, KWL, DRTA, and the Control Group conditions.

Picture Walk– Present a brief overview of the text to the students, then engage them in an interactive discussion about the book as the teacher works through the book, page-by-page, while talking about the pictures. With each question, make sure to engage the students’ prior knowledge as well as the students’ ability to make and modify predictions about the story in accordance with the pictures. It is good to use these questions to guide the students through the discussion about the book: “What words would you use to describe what you see happening on this page?” or “What do you think the writer is going to be teaching us about on this page?” This method is specifically designed to aid in the students expanding their vocabulary even before the text has been read. After the PW, the students discussed amongst themselves about the text. After reading the text, there should be a discussion in regards to the students’ predictions were correct or not.

KWL– The students and teacher made a KWL map interactively. Once the topic was introduced, the teacher and students discussed the topic and what they Know about the topic and what they Want to Know are written on a chart. The students were to organize these ideas into lists. Specifically when they discussed what they want to know, the teacher went through the table of contents or text headings with the children so that their questions would have a better chance of being answered by the text. After the students read the text, they helped the teacher fill out the What I Learned column on their chart.

DRTA– Before reading the text, the students formulated and justified their predictions about the text in accordance to what they saw on the cover, from prior knowledge, and table of contents (if there is one). The students discussed amongst themselves about their ideas, then the text was read to the children. After completion of the specific section of the text, there would be a discussion to summarize the information from the text, verify their predictions, and generate new predictions for the next section of the text. At the end of the entire text, there was minimal discussion about the whole text.

10. What measures were used to determine the relative effectiveness of the treatments? Describe the measures briefly.

Vocabulary Recognitions Task (VRT)– The students were asked to answer yes/no tasks that were designed to estimate vocabulary recognitions in a specific content area as well as to confirm that groups had similar levels to each other. This task consisted of 25 words: 18 of which were related to the content and 7 were unrelated foils. Students were to circle those words that they were able to read and were related to the topic.

Maze– Consists of multiple choice cloze modification. This task was a timed (3 minutes), group-administered.

Free Recall– The students individually provided a free recall of the day’s text by responding to this prompt: “Please tell me everything you can remember about the book. Also tell me anything the book made you think of.”

Cued Recall– After a free recall, the students were asked to recall three explicit and three implicit questions based on the text of the day.

Post-intervention Interview– interviews of the person doing the intervention that were recorded on audiotape and were transcribed.

11. Which treatment(s) were found to be more effective in increasing students’ vocabulary knowledge and maze performance (p. 381)?

All methods showed an improvement of the student’s recall and comprehension of the text, but DRTA and PW did a better job. It was proven that when the students were asked to recall information from the text, the DRTA and PW helped the students associate a mental picture to the information from the text than did the KWL.

12. Students’ comprehension of the texts was greater under the DRTA condition than KWL and the control conditions. What do you think explains DRTA’s advantage over the KWL condition (p. 382)?

I think that the DRTA has an advantage over the KWL method simply because the DRTA causes the students to stay actively engaged throughout the entire text. From before the text was even read all the way to the final discussion, the students were asked to answer questions about important information as the information arose.

13. It was found that the treatments did not differ in the quality and quantity of students’ retellings (p. 384). In other words, students were not differentially affected by the treatments in the way they integrated textual information with prior knowledge. What does this finding mean in terms of the different emphases employed by experience-based (KWL) vs. text-based (DRTA) treatments?

These results show that both DRTA and KWL are good methods for aiding students’ retention of the information. Both of these methods aid in the information being retained by the students, well enough where they could recall and show they comprehended the information after reading the texts.

14. In light of the findings from this study, what conclusions can you draw about the role of teacher support in children’s construction of mental representations from informational text?

Teacher support throughout texts is incredibly important because it is up to us to give the students the correct cues for comprehension throughout the texts for the children to have successful recall and comprehension. It is important that we engage students throughout the texts because from us, students learn what questions they should ask themselves when reading texts in the future without the support of the teacher. Students also use the questions that we ask them before, during, and after reading texts to help create a mental image about the important parts in the text, and without the teacher, comprehension would drop dramatically.

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Curt Assignment

1. Look at the spelling errors that Curt makes. What stage of word knowledge is Curt in? Why do you pick this stage of development? What are the key characteristics?

When taking a closer look at Curt’s spelling mistakes, he seems to fall in between the Letter Name stage and the Within-Word Pattern stage. This is evident because Curt is spelling what he hears, but sometimes mixes up the letters’ order, he is getting the use of his long-vowels correct and is using some of his short-vowels correctly.

2. Describe partner reading.

Partner reading is a type of guided reading where the tutor will “walk through” the pictures discussing and attempting to predict what will take place in the story according to the first four to six pages. After discussing what the child and tutor think will happen in the book, they will return to the beginning and take turns reading pages. This is a way to take the pressure off of children when they are attempting to read out loud as well as being used for a comprehension check by the tutor by asking the child various questions when they have completed the story.

3. Which is harder for a student, partner reading or DRTA?

DRTA(Directed Reading-Thinking Activity) is more difficult for children because it makes the children think about the book in a more in-depth fashion. In DRTA, the student is asked to think more critically of the story as well as form and re-form their hypotheses. Also, the students are aided in gathering a more in-depth comprehension of the book and what happened.

4.  In planning a DRTA, what is important about selecting places to stop?

Stopping points should be chosen carefully. The way you pick a stopping point is paying attention to where the story has a natural break in it. This is an opportunity to answer any questions which may arise as well as an opportunity for the tutor to ask any questions about the story so far so the child has to collect their thoughts of the story and put those thoughts into words.

5. In planning a DRTA, what is important about deciding questions to ask? What kind of questions? How many?

When planning a DRTA, the tutor must choose the stopping places in the book where the story has questions that need to be answered. By asking questions where there is a natural break in the story-line, you are able to ask questions that will cause the child to think and form ideas and hypotheses. By asking questions at the right time, you allow the student’s comprehension of the story to grow as well as aid in developing higher-level thinking skills. Opportunities for asking questions might include (stop 1) making a prediction by showing the student the cover of the book while encouraging the student to create an idea of what the story is about and(stop 2) the tutor should ask about key information in the story (Eg. What is her [Lita’s] job each day?). Make sure not to ask too many questions because the student my get distracted by the questions and forget about the story.

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1. What was the hypothesis tested by the researchers?

The hypothesis that Rosenthal and Ehri tested was, will students learn the pronunciations and meaning of words better when they are able to see the new words during the study period than when they do not see them in their study period.

2. Who were the subjects?

The subject group consisted of twenty second graders who were considered to be reading on grade level, but in accordance with the Peabody picture vocabulary test, their vocabulary was below average. These childrens’ average ages where seven years and seven months. These children were enrolled in an urban school where the minority population was large. The second group of subjects were a group of fifth graders who were from the same school, but there were fourteen higher than grade level readers and eighteen  lower than grade level readers.

3. What were the experimental conditions?

These students were worked with individually where they were taught the meaning and the correct pronunciation of two sets of six words.  The student was given a minimum of six and a maximum of nine trials to get this task correct, but they had to get three perfect in a row. These trials tested the students ability to recall the pronunciation and the meaning of the words presented to them previously. When introducing the students to the new words, the students were  presented with picture cards, definitions, and the word used in multiple sentences.

4. What did the treatment involve?

The treatment involved was the students being presented with unfamiliar words that are spoken and shown visually.

5. Which group (spelling-present vs. spelling-absent) gained more in vocabulary learning?  How were the groups’ recall of pronunciations affected by the treatment?

The group with the spelling present group naturally gained more vocabulary skills over the spelling absent group. Pronunciation and meaning recall was better in the spelling present group and over time, the pronunciation got even better for the second graders.

6. Why do you think that fifth graders who were high on a word reading task benefited more from the spelling aids than their peers with less orthographic experience and knowledge, even though the two groups did not differ on receptive vocabulary knowledge?

I think the fifth grade students who were high on the word reading task benefited more because they were more developed in their grapho-phonemic units and had a higher ability on their multi-syllabic units. This higher knowledge allowed the students to create the connections necessary for the students to store all of this new information.

7. What general conclusions were derived from the study findings by the authors? What implications were offered for vocabulary learning and instruction?

In this study, the fifth and the second graders were more easily able to recall the definitions of the new words over the pronunciation as a whole.  Also, those students who were presented with the spellings of the words were much better able to recall the information required of them. This shows that when we teach children the correct pronunciation and meaning of words, it is best to show the child the word in conjunction with this information, that way, the students have a visual to help cue the information that needs to be recalled.

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Words Their Way

1. Emergent (Pre-literate)– This stage includes children who are in Pre-K to the middle of 1st grade (ranging from 0-5 years old). In this stage children are making random marks, sometimes with some legitimate letters mixed in that have meaning and sound to the child even though the stage mostly does not involve phonetic awareness (prephonetic). This is the stage in which children learn the alphabet and begin to recognize letters as well as putting names and words to familiar people, places, or things.

2. Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage-The students who are included in this stage are those who range from Kindergarten to the middle of second grade (usually 5-8 years old). Students begin to pair the name of the letter to represent their sound and meaning. Also, students are recognizing phonemes and are beginning to be able to break down words into sounds, and in written words are using specific letters to represent words because of their sounds (eg. “R” and “U” for “are” and “you”). These students typically mix up their vowels when spelling words by what thay think the word sounds like. Sometimes vowels to students are confusing because some have similar sounds. By the end of this stage, students are able to segment their phonemes by being recognizing specific sounds when letters go together such as letters in digraphs and consonant blends.

3. Within Word Pattern Spelling-Students in this stage are able to quickly recognize words in text and are able to write many words correctly to which they have been exposed. This stage ranges in grade from 2nd into 4th grade (usually 7-10 years of age). These students get to this stage by being able to correctly spell single-syllable words, short vowel words, consonant blends, digraghs, and preconsonatal nasals (nasals which come before a consonant). These students move from letter-to-letter word recognition and begin to recognize a string of words or word by word recognition. During this stage, students study long-vowel patterns as well as ambiguous vowel (vowel sounds that are neither short, nor long) and homophones where two vowels are placed together to create one sound.

4. Syllables and Affixes Spelling– This stage usually begins in the fourth grade and continues from here until the student masters these skills (usually ages 9-14). Many of the mistakes that these students make lie within the spelling of multi-syllable words, unaccented final syllables, and affixes that are added to words to change their meaning. The most important hurtle that students must jump in this stage is studying the root words and then are able to add affixes to them correctly as well as knowing their meaning once those words are made.

5. Derivational Relations Spelling– This stage is the final stage in this model, some students arrive in this stage as early as 4th or 5th grade and this stage can last through middle school and high school. This stage focuses on root words and base words where the meaning can be applied in multiple settings especially when suffixes and prefixes come into play. In the stage, the student also learns the sound of the “schwa” and are able to recognize when the sound applies to other words.

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1. What is the Simple View of Reading? Explain how it works.

The Simple View of Reading is broken down into two factors which are Decoding (D) and Language Comprehension (C). These two factors are put into an equation which reads RC= D x C. RC stands for Reading comprehension which is the main goal when teaching children to read. Each of these factors rely on each other when calculating a child’s reading comprehension. When either of these factors get close to zero, so does the child’s reading comprehension score.

What part of the Simple View of Reading does storybook reading most likely impact?

Storybook reading in the Simple View of Reading is most likely impacted by language comprehension and word recognition.

2. What are Ehri’s 4 stages of word recognition? Name each and give a short description.

1- Visual Cue Reading- recognize words through certain visual features

2- Phonemic Cue Reading/Partial Alphabetic Coding- begins to recognize letters in the word, usually the first letter

3- Full Alphabetic Decoding- the child begins to attend to all letter of the word

4-Phonemic Awareness/ Consolidated Word Recognition- the combination of letters is recognized without attending to each individual letter.

3. On page 368, there is a good definition of Phonemic Awareness. What is it?

Stahl defines phonemic awareness as part of phonological awareness. This part of phonological awareness, phonemic awareness is the part which deals with phonemes, rather than syllables or onsets and rhymes. Phonemic awareness also involves skills that children eventually possess that causes them to “attend to, think about, and intentionally manipulate the phonological aspects of spoken language.” This means that children eventually learn to pay attention to and work with each individual sound of each word in which they come in contact.

4. On page 370, we learn that knowledge of the alphabet is necessary for beginning to learn to read and spell words. There is a developmental sequence to learning about the alphabet: What is it?

Worden and Boettcher (1990) found that there is a distinctive developmental sequence that applies to most children when learning their alphabet and applying that knowledge. This developmental sequence is reciting the letters of the alphabet (usually singing the ABC song), naming each letter, writing in print each letter, and identifying each letter’s distinctive sound.

5. What is the value in “reading to” or having children “read” alphabet books?

When reading to or having children read alphabet books, they begin to look at words in having individual sounds within the word. When children realize that words are made up of individual sounds, then they begin to realize that they can break those words down to build back up and figure out the word. Also, when children get exposure to alphabet books, they begin to recognize the print of each letter as well as the ability in connecting a picture to the word in which it belongs.

6. What is the value in children’s fingerpointing as they read?

Fingerpointing for children plays a crucial role in the child’s ability to recognize the intial phonemic sound of a word.  This teaching tool is helpful in children connecting print words to speech where matching these forms are important for furthering a child’s understanding of print words. Eventually, the child is able to break down the word because of fingerpoint drawing the child’s attention to the other letters in the word.

7. What is a prdictable book and what is its value in helping children learn to read?

Predictable books are those which have a “repeated linguistic pattern” that the child can predict the sounds that will occur throughout the book. These books are used mostly to aid in the child’s attention to the words rather than the text where they are more encouraged to read these books on their own more and more. They are most clearly intended as a teaching tool rather than for simple pleasure. Because of the repetition, children typically ask more questions and comments about the words during these types of books because there is a rhythm and a predictable word pattern.

8. So, in the end, what role does story book reading play in helping children learn to read? Specifically, what role does story book reading play in developing vocabulary and comprehension? Word recognition skills? What other things can help with children’s development of word recognition skills?

Storybook reading plays an incredibly important role in helping children with word recognition because it helps them with phonemic awareness and vowel sounds. When aiding children with vocabulary, storybook reading helps children connect the visual word with the speech and meaning. When the child and connect these things together, their comprehension sky-rockets. Things that can also help children’s development of word recognition is alphabet books, predictable books, and fingerpointing.

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1. When Fraatz uses this phrase “paradox of collective instruction,” he means that first grade teachers must provide reading instruction for everyone in his/her class. While providing reading instruction for everyone, he/she must also simultaneously address individual differences among students.

2. Three critical components of learning to read are: (1) attend to individual sounds within words, (2) decode printed words by matching letters to sounds, and (3) automative decoding or word-level processing so the mind can concentrate on the meaning of what is being read.

3. The four tasks of the individual children’s reading ability assessment are (1) alphabet, (2) concept of word in text, (3) spelling, and (4) word recognition. Alphabet knowledge is knowing the child is able to recognize upper- and lower-case letters. Concept of word in text is the child’s ability of pointing to the correct word being read during finger pointing. Spelling is the child’s ability to sound out and spell words correctly. Finally, word recognition is the ability of a student to look at sight words as well as short vowel words and read them to the teacher.

4. Round robbin reading is the reading of an entire class where the students read around a circle and they must read at the same speed of the first person. Supported Oral Reading (SOR) is a small-group teaching routine that is an order of practice over a couple of days. The flow of this small-group practice is previewing and echo reading, partner reading, and expert reading.

5. Deciding what level of books to use for each student is extremely important because each reader is on a different level and it is important not to overwhelm a child with a book that is over their head because it will discourage the child and frustrate them even more than they were to begin with. Also, it is important to challenge the reader a little bit as well or else they will get bored by reading and will stop learning how to read better.

6. Following the developmental sequence for each child while they learn the basic concepts of letters and words. This format is important because children need to begin with the most basic of concepts and build upon that. This continuum consists of moving from left to right on the word study chart gradually moving along the continuum that allows each child to move at their own pace by their mastery of concepts. Mastery of beginning consonants allows the child to move to word-family sorts. Proficiency in reading and spelling short-vowel rhyming words allows the child to move to five-short vowel patterns. Mastery of the shor-vowel words allows the child to move to the knowledge to one syllable vowel-pattern stage.

7. Assessing the placement of a beginning reader on the continuum of word recognition skills by taking a look at the child’s concept of consonants and vowels in their spelling. Children who have beginning and ending consonant and medial vowel awareness should be given more attention to short-vowel word families where he/she will most likely pick up these skills quickly. Children who have beginning and ending consonant awareness should also be worked with on short-vowel families, but may take a little bit more time picking up these skills. Children who have only beginning consonant awareness should be given beginning consonant instruction and slowly build on that skill until this child is able to master these skills.

8. Word sorting activities begin with sorting picture cards into columns by beginning consonant sound, then to sound letter pairing. As the child begins to master sound-letter pairing, it is good to begin to move to short-vowel families where the student will study the five short vowel sounds one at a time in a rhyming word format. Following this long, very productive stage is sorting under three letter header words where the teacher models the skill of sorting by the last phoneme, then the children follow suit.

9. Word sorting skills aid children in everyday reading where they are reading short stories that use similar words where the first consonant sound is changed and they are more quickly able to pick up on the word. This is what allows them to add more words into their vocabulary.

10. Pacing is a strategy that teachers use to guide their students through their reading curriculum. This is incredibly important because this can maximize the child’s improvement throughout the year during first grade. There are four influences that affect teachers’ pacing and these include (1) difficulty of the classroom reading materials, (2) time allocated to reading instruction, (3) number of low readers in the classroom, and (4) the teacher’s years of experience teaching.

11. Independent writing comes highly recommended by this author because it helps develop phoneme awareness, allows first graders to be an author of their own work, it affords them continual opportunities to read and reread text, and it also gives the child an outlet for experimenting with, practicing, and eventually internalizing letter sounds, spelling patterns, and sight words.

12. Three tasks that can be used to assess end-of-year reading achievement are (1)word recognition, (2) passage reading, and (3) spelling. Word recognition tests the child’s ability to read a list of forty words that get progressively harder and range from early first grade reading level to mid-second grade reading level. Passage reading tests the child’s ability to read aloud six passages that range from early first grade to mid-second grade where they get progressively harder. Finally, spelling ability of a child is tested by the child’s ability to spell fifteen words and how their ability fits into the Morris and Perney (1984) developmental rubric.

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