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Mainer

Convince a colleague that structured literacy is the way to go

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19 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

How would you make it clearer? 

I agree that it was unclear.

The first paragraph starts: "when phonics begins and ends is a local decision.", so I assume that is the topic of that paragraph.  The "In my district" sentence then provides an example of the "local decision" idea.

The second paragraph then starts, "This is a radical change from preNCLB, when ALL students received phonics instruction and were grouped by instructional need."  Since I had read the topic of the first paragraph as "local decisions", then I assumed that a paragraph starting with "This is a radical change" would be discussing non-local decision making.  And this was reinforced by the second half of the sentence that states "ALL students received phonics instruction".  Especially with the emphasized ALL, it lead me to believe that you were contrasting current, regional variation to past state or even nation-wide practices.

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I was not trying to jump on anyone. My point was just to clarify that the loss of phonics education had nothing to do with NCLB. I am sorry you took offense. I think the discussion about the use of phonics transcends the various debates around the common core and NCLB. 

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I have been reading the research from the Reading Panel that was linked here and it is eye opening. It is very clear that getting systematic phonics instruction as the first instruction is a lot more effective but it is also interesting how much harder it is to get gains when they did not start with phonics and they developed bad habits from site words. The research from the panel is showing how much more effective it is to start with systematic phonics in kindergarten then add it later with older kids. It is what has been said all along here but I wish there was more info on works for the kids that were not reached right away because we cannot give up on them. I am thankful that there are a few people that found things to work like ElizabethB. You really have an uphill battle though.

I also think the finding that phonemic awareness instruction with letters produces a much higher effect then without and it is more effective with little ones. On another site I was hearing how teaching phonemic awareness out of context was not helpful for reading and I was taken back by that at first but I do see why now after reading the research.

I really wish there were studies on decodable readers because it is my hunch that is one thing that will greatly improve decoding and give kids more practice. There is a lot if success out there with the Sam readers. I hear a lot of teachers saying that one of the issues is the phonics skills not transferring to reading. I think that a lot of phonics methods do not offer enough practice especially in context. 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, MistyMountain said:

I hear a lot of teachers saying that one of the issues is the phonics skills not transferring to reading. I think that a lot of phonics methods do not offer enough practice especially in context. 

I agree with this. Wilson, which I use with my dyslexic students, has a "student reader" with paragraphs and sentences. It's wonderful to have a pre-made reader available. But... it's deathly dull. Even better would be to have chapter books (like High Noon does), or decodable magazines, like a Highlights but decodable at different levels. 

It's very annoying that all the phonics programs have different teaching sequences, so even if they DO have reading material included, you can't hop from program to program. I guess that's intentional, from a money perspective. But it's still annoying. High Noon books are fantastic, but they don't follow the same sequence as Wilson, or Fundations, etc. By the time my students have learned vowel teams like /ai/ and /oa/ in Wilson, they won't want to go back to reading books with only one-syllable words. Even "easy readers" are not easy - they often don't include multi-syllable words, but even a word like "pail" is just as challenging for my students as the word "captive." 

This is just me complaining, but I do think about it a lot. Something like a Common Core for phonics instruction would be very helpful! Or would that just open a massive can of worms...? 😝

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I just completed an article that ties together some of the comprehension and decoding things, it might be helpful to share.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/measuring-reading-liz-brown/

Or, video form if they would rather watch a YouTube video.  I prefer to read; ironic since I have a YouTube channel, but many people prefer videos, and it is an easy way to clone myself teaching!

 

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On 2/4/2019 at 3:08 PM, ElizabethB said:

I just completed an article that ties together some of the comprehension and decoding things, it might be helpful to share.

 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/measuring-reading-liz-brown/

Or, video form if they would rather watch a YouTube video.  I prefer to read; ironic since I have a YouTube channel, but many people prefer videos, and it is an easy way to clone myself teaching!



 

This is excellent, thank you! I also prefer reading to videos, although yours are very well done 🙂 If I had to watch videos to get information, I'd be sunk! 

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On February 5, 2019 at 4:29 PM, Mainer said:

This is excellent, thank you! I also prefer reading to videos, although yours are very well done 🙂 If I had to watch videos to get information, I'd be sunk! 

I agree! Although the learning styles thing is supposedly debunked, I really dislike learning through videos and I read very fast, so even if there is no learning difference, I can read faster and prefer it. For something I want to think deeply about, I prefer printing and looking over it.

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Did you see the comments on SpellTalk that structured literacy is becoming the term to allow them to move away from calling it OG and thus actually doing OG? It's true we need full-package, but I thought that was really telling. They were suggesting that eventually structured literacy as a term will undo the emphasis on strong explicit decoding instruction. I guess it should have been no shock.

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Did you see the comments on SpellTalk that structured literacy is becoming the term to allow them to move away from calling it OG and thus actually doing OG? It's true we need full-package, but I thought that was really telling. They were suggesting that eventually structured literacy as a term will undo the emphasis on strong explicit decoding instruction. I guess it should have been no shock.

I didn't see that... I can see how that would happen, though. OG suggests a very specific methodology.... and "structured literacy" could probably be code for a lot of less-good "structured" interventions... just liked with "balanced" literacy - argh!

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OG is not the be all end all and that is not what the research shows anyway. The research definitely shows that synthetic phonics instruction is superior but not that the only means of doing it is OG or that OG is the best method or the only method that is effective. What is clear from the research too is that kids that start with site words will develop habits that are harder to fix and it takes much longer to remediate in older children that were pre taught. Plus there are all different kinds of methods that are labeled OG that are very different. I like having more options then just OG. 

Edited by MistyMountain
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I just looked at a reading program I have used a level of.  It doesn’t follow the same sequence as a lot of OG programs I have seen:  it introduces “VCE” on the early side compared to many.  

It says “comprehensive, multisensory, explicit.”  

Another program that is “based on OG principles” also introduces “VCE” on the earlier side.

Anyway, I think there are a lot of components that are known to be good.  But then they don’t all follow the order where “VCE” is held off until after 2-syllable words.  

Anyway, I suspect there is a lot of pickiness about exactly what it takes to be considered OG, and then how much other programs can use the very known effective components, but enough is different it wouldn’t be called OG.

Or they even don’t want to label it as OG for some reason (they want to seem new and different, or align to some current buzzword, or something).  

Anyway I see this a huge amount with autism therapy.  There are some basic things that many different approaches are doing.  But they want to give things different names and say “we aren’t doing the same thing.”

There’s also research that is basically going, “okay, we do this big set of things we know works, but which parts are the most important,” because that can be hard to know sometimes.  

I just googled the IDA, and this is from 2014.  It is not saying the same thing it said when I have looked in the past.  It says “structured literacy” now.

But it still says (page 15) “explicit, systematic, and cumulative.”  I remember those as the key things from before.

Then about two pages later it has a picture of Dr. Orton and says he is very important in the development of multisensory teaching methods. 

I suspect it’s going to be hard to have a definition of what “OG” means and how it is different from another reading program that also uses a lot of the same methods and components.  

It’s always been pretty individualized to students too, I think, which makes it hard to do a study of a *curriculum.*. 

Anyway though, I doubt much has changed about what is considered effective reading instruction by people who care about things like this.  

And then something else that is hard with research, especially when things are individualized to students, is to know with what fidelity the approaches are practiced.

So there’s a balance between being really scripted but it’s more work to individualize, or with leaving it more up to the teacher/tutor, but then what if that person is not devoting the right amount of time to different components.

This is a huge issue with autism research/therapy at least, because you don’t want too lockstep because kids go at different speeds.  But then it’s harder to know if teachers are doing the most effective things (and what exactly are those) and in the right amounts.  

What I would see with my son, with reading about it, a lot of teachers and tutors swear by one program, but then, they are not being really rigid about it and they have a lot of ideas to bring other things in and they will use techniques or change things up.  And then — okay, they like what they like, but another person who used that program as written would not be doing exactly the same things.  

There is an autism therapy too, where at this point the best things from it are routinely incorporated into all kinds of things.  And now it’s not special anymore, and — the things that weren’t the best parts of it, aren’t the best things out there.  But it is still really good stuff.

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18 hours ago, MistyMountain said:

I like having more options then just OG. 

If you are on the SPELL-Talk list I mentioned, you'll see that no one is saying only OG and that they want an everything list. They're discussing now a new report that tries to list what that "everything" should be in fact. Gets kind of interesting and argumentative. But the point of my post was that as the ps follows their natural tendency toward voodoo and away from explicit instruction, they'll remove OG from "The List" of what's part of Structured Literacy, and we'll be right back where we started.

Haha, then we'll debate my use of "voodoo." Well they're discussion on that same thread some practices that have been done for 30+ years (pizzas for reading quantity, etc.) that are not evidence-based. 

Actually what cracks me up is the reading interventionists having to deal with language disabilities and what they're labeling as "poor comprehenders". I think they're actually calling it a thing now, PC, and that's the term, PC. And when you read what they're trying to do, it's all the way back to your FFC and language disability stuff. The sad thing to me is that some kids really are so hard. I've worked at reading with my ds so many different ways, and basically everything we've worked on has been a factor or problem. It's so simple for some kids and so hard for a segment. 

Edited by PeterPan

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9 hours ago, Storygirl said:

 MistyMountain, can you cite some of the research you mention?

 

The reading panel was a compilation of studies and it did have research on different types of programs including OG which they then categorize in different ways. It shows much higher gains for kindergartners that start with phonics then 2nd graders or older who started with whole words then did phonics afterwards. The gains were also higher for synthetic phonics. 

Edited by MistyMountain

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I skimmed some portions of the linked report, and it's interesting. I do believe it is the same study that our dyslexia school -- which considers OG the gold standard and actually is an OG training center --  refers to when educating parents and the public about the need for explicit phonetic reading instruction for those with reading disabilities, because it is the most comprehensive study that has been done, although it was completed in the 1990s.

ETA: Also, just a note that our school does not JUST remediate dyslexia. Their reading classes are kind of tiered, where any student of any age can get the basic OG but then when they are ready, they pass on to other LA classes that teach other things but still incorporate elements of OG into writing and literature lessons.

I think also that people with trouble reading do not all have dyslexia. OG is the thing that helped DD after many years of other phonics lessons failed for her, so I am a proponent of it. But I think there is room for other ways of learning, and some kids may not NEED OG the way that DD did. Systematic phonics taught a different way may work for them.

Edited by Storygirl

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought that "OG" was an approach to teaching reading based on the research of Orton and Gillingham, but that there's no "official OG" program. I'd consider Wilson as OG, and Barton, and many things. So when people say they do OG, they can mean a variety of things. As long as the instruction is systematic, explicit, multisensory, and all the rest... that sounds like OG to me.

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Yes OG is an approach based on the research of Orton that Gillingham made more accessible. Things that fall under the umbrella of an OG approach can be a little different but they share certain components. 

My personal anecdote was that an OG method or methods based off of OG (Barton and Spalding) were not successful for my child that struggled the most but another systematic approach did work. Certain components of Barton and the ways it was organized just was not going to work if I tried to stick it out. What worked was not 'multi sensory'. There are tutors that use a very systematic phonics approaches that are not OG and they have helped lots of students. OG is a method that can work and has worked well and it is a researched based approach but there are other options that the teach alphabetic code in a systematic and successful way that is not OG and OG methods that may not work as well. It seems on here that sometimes people do say if it is dyslexia you should go with OG. 

Edited by MistyMountain
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3 hours ago, Mainer said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought that "OG" was an approach to teaching reading based on the research of Orton and Gillingham, but that there's no "official OG" program. I'd consider Wilson as OG, and Barton, and many things. So when people say they do OG, they can mean a variety of things. As long as the instruction is systematic, explicit, multisensory, and all the rest... that sounds like OG to me.

I would agree with this but add that there are specific OG techniques and methods. You can get certification as an OG trained teacher, and there are different levels for that. So after the intial intensive training (at our school, it is a summer program, and they say that it is the hardest classwork most of the attendees have ever taken), there are a number of supervised tutoring hours required to get the first level of certification. Then you can go beyond that and do a lot more training and get higher levels of certification. I think there are only one or two teachers at our school who have a higher level of certification, because it is so intensive to acquire it.

https://www.ortonacademy.org/training-certification/

Edited by Storygirl

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Mainer, I just want to say that school districts need more teachers like you, who are willing to make changes and speak up for best practices and learn new things about reading instruction that were probably not taught in their education classes at college. Your students are so blessed to have you working so hard on their behalf!!

In contrast, I will share a little horror story.

MIL was the reading specialist at her local elementary school for almost her entire 30 year career. So when DD13 showed signs of dyslexia at age four, and continuing into the early years of homeschooling when she was five and six, I naturally turned to MIL for advice. She had NONE!! She admitted that she knew absolutely nothing about dyslexia. The only advice she had for me (which I mentally threw right in the trash bin) was that "some children don't learn to read through phonics." That is the sum total of what she could tell me. And she was the one working with the struggling readers at her school for 30 years!! As far as I know, she had no training as a special education teacher. It makes me feel a little sick inside when I think about it. MIL is the sweetest person ever, but she should not have been in that position, and she never realized it. And get this -- she and her fellow teachers considered her job to be the cushy one, because she didn't have to manage a classroom full of students, and when she retired, she talked proudly about how many people hoped to get the "easy" reading teacher job after she left.

Ugh. I don't like to think about it.

MIL was teaching from the sixties through the end of the 90s, so I can hope that teacher education has come a long way since then, and that struggling readers are getting better help in schools nowadays. But I know that in many, and perhaps most, school districts that may not be true.

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