Scene 2

Kevin slumps in his seat as Ms. Dever begins class. "Okay, guys," she begins. "The first couple weeks we have been reading some books just so I could get to know you as a reader. Today we are going to start some new activities that I think will make you not only readers, but strong readers." Ms. Dever explained that they were going to be working with some materials called Corrective Reading, Basic Writing Skills and Spelling Through Morphographs. Each of these sets were specifically made to help students who are older, but still struggling with reading. There would be some activities that were definitely new to the kids. Kevin was unconvinced. I tried lots of different things in elementary school and look where that got me. I like Ms. Dever. So, I'm going to try this, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Ms. Dever gave the class details about how their new activities would work. In addition, she stated that she would be sending a letter home to their parents explaining this approach and its usefulness in helping to remediate students' reading. As they started, Kevin became a little uneasy. Ms. Dever used hand signals to tell them what to do and when to talk. Sometimes they read and spelled words all together and sometimes by themselves. This is so different from anything I did in Mrs. Henson's class. But I kind of like it that I'm reading with the other kids and some of them make the same mistakes I do, Kevin reflected.

Toward the end of class, Kevin was becoming more assured with the process. When I get something wrong, it doesn't feel as bad as before. She just says, "My turn." Says the word and I repeat and we go on. Quick and easy. We'll see what happens. Lisa could also see that her 6th grade reading class was catching on to this procedure easily. She was fairly sure none of them had any Direct Instruction in reading in elementary school. She hoped this would be a way for them to become stronger readers and build their self-esteem at the same time. But Kevin, in the back, sat slumped in his seat the whole time. From the first day she could see his confidence was beaten, and he wasn't motivated to read. Who could blame him?

 
Click here to view the letter sent to parents introducing the Direct Instruction program.
Click here to listen to the example script Lisa used with her class. [Audio Transcript]

Reflections:

  1. Evaluate the reasoning for scripted teacher statements and actions with Direct Instruction instruments such as Corrective Reading.
  2. Direct Instruction is a research-based strategy for teaching reading. Why would these students have not received Direct Instruction in elementary school, since it has been proven to be effective with struggling readers?

 

 


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