Scene 4

Kevin was actually beginning to look forward to Ms. Dever's reading class. The time he spent in 2nd hour passed so quickly now. This became as much of a surprise to him as it did Ms. Dever herself, his classmates, and his mom.

 
Click here for audio of Kevin and Ms. Dever completing reading comprehension questions. [Audio Transcript]

Joy Bowling received a letter explaining a different method Ms. Dever was going to use with her son to help him with his reading. Her initial reaction was indifference. He had struggled for quite some time, and she had resigned herself to the fact that he would never be an avid reading. But she did want him to become functional. However, she had not the foggiest clue how to help him.

Several weeks after reading the letter, Mrs. Bowling noticed a slight change in her youngest son. Now when she asked how school had been, he would, in fact, give her some information. At first he just told a little of what they were working on, story subjects, book titles. A little later, he began to come home and explain the procedures they worked on in class. Kevin related to her the activities they completed to figure out words (decoding), answer questions about their reading, as well as keeping track of their progress. What surprised her most was that now when she helped him with his homework, they argued less and seemed to make good progress. After careful thought, she realized this was directly connected to Kevin's ability to understand what he is reading. He no longer labored endlessly on decoding the words. He was able to use skills Ms. Dever had taught him and the words he did know to figure out words. This made answering questions about science or social studies text less stressful for all involved. She was intrigued as to how Ms. Dever ran her reading activities. Mrs. Bowling phoned Ms. Dever to request some time to visit. Ms. Dever called her back saying she had time later that day after school, if she would like to come in to view some of the materials they were working with in her class.

 
Click here to view the Reading Teacher Tool in the Direct Instruction section.
Click here to view a sample lesson from the Reading Mastery series.

As they sat down, Joy began by telling Lisa how excited she was about the gradual progress Kevin was making in reading. "I am so glad he is feeling more success," Lisa agreed. "When he first began in my class, I felt like he would be a tough kid with whom to work. He never seemed happy and was defeated before he even started. He spent the first two weeks slumped in his chair in the back of my room." Joy nodded with each description Ms. Dever relayed. "He doesn't love reading yet, but you have given him something to look forward to," Mrs. Bowling acknowledged.

As their meeting continued, Kevin, John, and several other boys were walking home, backpacks slung over their shoulders. In Kevin's hand was one of John's skateboarding magazines, only this time he wasn't just looking at it, he was reading about a tight new skateboard.

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Reflections:

  1. Compare and contrast the comprehension questions asked in a DI reading lesson with questions you might ask in a traditional reading lesson.
  2. Judge the value of Ms. Dever sending out the introduction letter to parents before beginning with DI in her classroom.
  3. Rank the importance of each component in the DI reading materials, with a justification of their place in the list.
  4. If DI materials were not available to you as a teacher, select one component that you would make certain had a part in your reading lessons. Justify its place within your instruction.

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