Teacher question: I'm a curriculum and instruction supervisor for a smaller district. We feel like we have a pretty firm grasp on assessing and diagnosing when it comes to phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, and comprehension. However, we're struggling with vocabulary. Is there any assessment you would recommend that would give us a feel if a student is approaching...
June 18, 2019
May 9, 2019
Teacher question: We place children in different kindergarten (or prekindergarten) tracks based upon their performances on a readiness screener — and in consultation with parents. However, our state now has a “Read by Grade Three” law, which requires retention in third grade for students who don’t meet that standard.
We have several students who are very...
April 17, 2019
Teacher question: Here is my dilemma. My administration has decided that if a student has 3 or 4 points of data on an ORF (Oral Reading Fluency) graph that shows they are not making progress then the entire reading intervention program must be changed. It doesn't matter to them if the student had been making progress for months before in the same program. I was told by my...
February 26, 2019
Teacher question: My district instituted a weekly "checkpoint" (a short passage and multiple-choice assessment aligned to our standardized test). Teachers are required to give this, and then break it down by standard in a meeting with a coach. I've argued that these tests are likely not measuring what they think they are. They believe that these can tell teachers whether...
February 19, 2019
Teacher question: Prevention of dyslexia and other reading problems should be everyone’s number one priority. Why isn’t their more emphasis on the early identification of reading problems, before they have a chance to ruin children’s lives?
In 2018, I was asked to edit an issue of Perspectives of Language...
December 17, 2018
Teacher question: I hope and pray that you write about or repost regarding state reading assessments. I just received a call from a frantic academic coach stating that her principal has told her teachers to look at our state test’s achievement level descriptors and create test-based questions aligned to those levels to ask when immersing students in literature and...
July 19, 2018
Back in the 1930s, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney always seemed to be putting on a show. They were going to be sent to a farm to work for the summer in Babes in Arms, but they wanted to go to Broadway instead — and they did!
I love that whole idea of Judy and Mickey with their teenage backs to the wall,...
April 18, 2018
I wonder if you could comment on your blog about this crazy idea that the reading specialists should change the program every 12 weeks if a student is not showing growth on the one-minute reading fluency measure. I have second grade student who reads 80 wcpm with 97% accuracy. She made great growth in the fall but has leveled out this...
January 29, 2018
I teach first-grade and this year I switched schools. In my previous school, we tested our students with DIBELS three times a year. The idea was to figure if the students were having trouble with decoding so that we could help them. That isn’t how my new principal does it. He has us giving kids a reading comprehension test with leveled books. I...
December 14, 2017
I was wondering if you are able to provide me with a clearer understanding of what a “silent reading and listening capacity test” is all about.
The whole idea of administering silent reading and listening capacity tests is two-fold. A silent reading test would be used to determine how well...
September 12, 2017
Last week, I pointed out that research had found few interactions in literacy learning. That is, research hasn't actually uncovered many situations in which different kinds of kids learn differently — despite many claims to the contrary.
The idea that research...
September 6, 2017
Someone put a bug in my ear, and I started writing, and by the time I was done, I had two blogs rather than one. I'll set the table with this one, and bring it to conclusion next time.
One of the best things about research is that it can let the wind out of windbags and force some hard thinking. Our field suffers fatuous pronouncements as much as any. An example?
How about the...
August 27, 2017
Teacher question:My district has moved into an approach of asking teachers to locate materials for standards-based instruction. They have opted to create assessments to isolate individual standards to teach/test each standard individually. Each assessment is named by reading standard and is associated with grade-level English Language Arts courses. What thoughts do you...
June 13, 2017
Our core reading program includes weekly assessments. We are all supposed to give those tests every week, but to tell the truth, it is kind of hit or miss. The tests don’t seem to be linked to our accountability test, but our reading coordinator says that we have to do weekly testing if we are going to use the program “with fidelity.” What do you...
January 17, 2017
January 9, 2017
January 4, 2017
I believe in being upfront with my readers, so let me start with a confession: I don’t hate testing.
I know it is a horrible thing for a so-called “educator” to admit. It’s sort of a social disease.
August 8, 2016
May 24, 2016
May 11, 2016
Lil Wayne can do rap, but he’d definitely be out of place at a Gospel Convention, sort of like a love affair with a happy ending in a Taylor Swift lyric.
So what’s out of place in reading education?
My nominee is the act of teaching kids to read nonsense words. Don’t do it. It doesn’t belong (it may even be worse than orange and green together).
Why, you might ask, would...