In today’s world the consequences of having students attain low achievement scores in reading can be very detrimental to both individuals and society. Students who are attaining low achievement records in literacy often correlate with the school dropout rate, poverty, and unemployment. Also the gap between reading achievement of poor and middle class students is substantial, calling for a federal regulation to ensure equal opportunities for all students no matter where they may be attending school. The standards movement and evidence-based research can have a great impact on how literacy programs are used in the classroom.
Evidence-based reading instruction means that a particular reading program has a record of success. The program was tested with a group of students and there is data to show the result of the research conducted. These programs are reliable and valid in saying that the children can be expected to make adequate gains in reading achievement. Evidence-based research can be very helpful when trying to find the right literacy program to use. As there are many different types of students who learn in different ways, there will never be one single successful method of teaching children to read.
When teachers are looking for literacy programs to use they should be investigating how old the students were, their current reading level, what type of setting it took place in, and if it was conducted on a one-on-one or group basis. Teachers want to find programs that have been successful and relate to their own current setting. It is crucial to make sure that the program is applicable to the students and their situation in order to have an opportunity for the program to work. Another great idea is to use this research to create your own programs based on your findings.
The teacher is now becoming a teacher-researcher in order to test their own situation with their created program. This is a great way to create a program for your unique students and still have the support of research that has been shown to work. If the program is successful, it is a great idea to share it with other colleagues because it may be affective for them as well. As with any type of instruction method there are always positives and negatives. Evidence-based reading instruction promotes the fact that that particular method has had a record of being successful.
Teachers can look into studies that have been tested on students similar to their own, and give these programs a try. They have been shown to be successful and provide instruction that lead to a higher literacy achievement for that group of similar students. In doing this, you know there is a good chance that the method can work with your students, as opposed to trying something new that has no research to back it up. These research studies show why and how the program works, along with providing data showing the difference it has made with the students.
As stated earlier, not every child has the capacity to learn the same way. What works for one student, may not work for another. So even though these programs have been shown to work, they are not guaranteed to work for your students. As teachers in the United States we will be teaching students that come from many different cultural backgrounds. Different cultures have different opinions on the best way to educate students, however they all place great value on education for children. Some of these students may just be learning to speak English, while others have lived in the United States for their whole lives.
It is important, as the teacher, to get to know each student and their cultural background. This allows you to understand the needs of the child and how they can be met. Discover the child’s strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that can be used to help that child. It is important to know what is important to each student and what may be stressed in the home. The teacher needs to take into consideration how different cultural backgrounds of students may affect the classroom dynamics and learning.
Students may also have certain behaviors that are taking place in the classroom, but it could be a cultural reason for why that is taking place. The largest student group identified receiving special education services is students with learning disabilities. A learning disability is a general term that refers to a group of disorders where students may face difficulty. These disorders include learning to read, write, speak, listen, or do math. Out of all the students with learning disabilities about 80% have been diagnosed with having a reading problem.
The goal for students with learning disabilities, especially reading disorders, is to be on the same academic level as our general education students. For some this is an attainable goal, where for others it is not. There are many ways we can help these students improve their literacy skills. Since many of these students are reading below grade level we need to provide them with reading materials that are at their current level. If it is too difficult they will become frustrated and may give up.
These students need high interest, easy to read books so that they can begin to enjoy reading and see themselves as readers and learners. In today’s schools more than 20% of school aged children speak languages other than English at home. Many of these children have difficulty speaking English and the majority of these students having difficulty are speaking Spanish in their homes. English Language Learners need to be able to read, write and understand the English language in order to become successful in today’s classrooms.
We should be focusing on the student’s strengths in order to help them understand English. One strategy is allowing students to read in their native language if they are literate in that language. This allows them to understand the same reading as another child who may be reading it in English. Many times these students are seen as reading on a lower level, but it is only because of a language barrier. They don’t understand how to read in English. There are also many books that come with translations.
Having students read a book in their language and then trying to read it in English can be helpful because they understand and know what the story is about, so when they face difficulty understanding the English version they can compare and figure it out. In doing this they can also make connections to many words in their own language by using cognates. This can foster comprehension by activating prior knowledge in both languages. It is important to allow them the opportunity to read in their native language because it offers a sense of comfort and success to the student.