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Practice Guides Review Research and Offer Recommendations on Topics in Literacy

 | Apr 10, 2013

Nell Duke
by Nell Duke
University of Michigan
April 15, 2013

 

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has released five Practice Guides on topics in literacy:

1. Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers Practice Guide | June 2012

  1. Provide daily time for student to write
  2. Teach students to use the writing process for a variety of purposes
  3. Teach students to become fluent with handwriting, spelling, sentence construction, typing, and word processing.
  4. Create and engaged community of writers.

2. Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade Practice Guide | September 2010

  1. Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies.
  2. Teach students to identify and use the text’s organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content.
  3. Guide students through focused high quality discussion on the meaning of text.
  4. Select texts purposely to support comprehension development.
  5. Establish an engaging and motivating context in which to teach reading comprehension.

3. Assisting Students Struggling with Reading Practice Guide | February 2009

  1. Screen all students for potential reading problems at the beginning of the year and again in the middle of the year. Regularly monitor the progress of students at risk for developing reading disabilities.

    For Tier 1:
  2. Provide time for differentiated reading instruction for all students based on assessments of student’s current reading level.

    For Tier 2:
  3. Provide intensive, systematic instruction on up to three foundational reading skills in small groups to students who score below the benchmark score on universal screening. Typically these groups meet between three and five times a week, for 20 to 40 minutes.
  4. Monitor the progress of Tier 2 students at least once a month. Use these data to determine whether students still require intervention. For those students still making insufficient progress, schoolwide teams should design a Tier 3 intervention plan.
  5. Provide intensive instruction on a daily basis that promotes the development of the various components of reading proficiency to students who show minimal progress after reasonable time in Tier 2 small group instruction.

4. Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices Practice Guide | August 2008

  1. Provide explicit vocabulary instruction.
  2. Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction.
  3. Provide opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and interpretation.
  4. Increase student motivation and engagement in literacy learning.
  5. Make available intensive and individualized interventions for struggling readers that can be provided by trained specialists.

5. Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades
    Practice Guide | December 2007

  1. Conduct formative assessments with English learners using English language measures of phonological processing, letter knowledge, and word and text reading. Use these data to identify English learners who require additional instructional support and to monitor their reading progress over time.
  2. Provide focused, intensive small-group interventions for English learners determined to be at risk for reading problems. Although the amount of time in small-group instruction and the intensity of this instruction should reflect the degree of risk, determined by reading assessment data and other indicators, the interventions should include the five core reading elements (phonological awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). Explicit, direct instruction should be the primary means of instructional delivery.
  3. Provide high-quality vocabulary instruction throughout the day. Teach essential content words in depth. In addition, use instructional time to address the meanings of common words, phrases, and expressions not yet learned. 
  4. Ensure that the development of formal or academic English is a key instructional goal for English learners, beginning in the primary grades. Provide curricula and supplemental curricula to accompany core reading and mathematics series to support this goal. Accompany with relevant training and professional development. 
  5. Ensure that the development of formal or academic English is a key instructional goal for English learners, beginning in the primary grades. Provide curricula and supplemental curricula to accompany core reading and mathematics series to support this goal. Accompany with relevant training and professional development. 
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) is a federal initiative founded in 2002 “to be a central and trusted source of scientific evidence for what works in education.” The WWC engages in many activities related to the review and dissemination of literacy research. WWC Practice Guides are developed by panels of researchers and practitioners who, with WWC staff, review research and then offer recommendations in a particular area. For each recommendation, they offer a rating of the strength of the research supporting that recommendation. They explain the recommendation with concrete examples to help educators enact the recommendations. (A companion site, called Doing What Works, provides further information about putting the recommendations into practice, including video clips of classroom practice, interviews with researchers and practitioners, and tools for literacy coaches and principals, but it is currently down. We will let you know when it is back up.) Some of us have found the WWC Practice Guides to be useful, and hope you will too.

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