Module: Helping Students Read

Introduction to the Module

This module is designed for paraprofessional educators who wish to find out more about how to help students learn to read. It covers a range of topics relating to reading instruction. It presents these topics in enough depth to enable a paraprofessional to gain confidence about offering reading instruction under the guidance of a teacher.

Topics in this unit are:

In each unit, there are various learning activities. An overview summarizes the major ideas presented in the unit; a video webinar presents relevant information. Various other materials help the module user think about the information and practice the skills that the unit discusses. In many of the units are documents providing links to on-line resources related to the major topics.

Module Objectives

Upon completion of the module, Helping with Reading Instruction, the paraprofessional educator will meet the following Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) objectives and the following Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation (OPEPP) objectives as they pertain to the support of reading instruction.

Source of Standard Standard Number Domain of Practice Standard
CEC P1K4 Knowledge Impact of culture and the contributions of culturally diverse groups
CEC P4K1 Knowledge Concept of evidence-based practice
CEC P6K1 Knowledge Impact of speech and language development on academic and nonacademic learning of individuals with exceptionalities
CEC P6K2 Knowledge Implications of language levels for individuals with exceptionalities learning the dominant language
CEC P6K3 Knowledge Characteristics of one’s own culture and use of language, and how these may differ from individuals with exceptionalities from other cultures
CEC P6K4 Knowledge Implications of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication
CEC P8K1 Knowledge Purposes of assessment
CEC P1S1 Skill Use basic educational terminology
CEC P3S3 Skill Implement levels of support appropriate to academic and social-emotional needs  of individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S3 Skill Support individuals’ with exceptionalities use of self-assessment, problem-solving, and other cognitive strategies as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S4 Skill As determined by the instructional team use strategies to facilitate maintenance and generalization of skills
CEC P4S7 Skill Support the use of learning strategies and study skills to promote acquisition of academic content as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S8 Skill Use instructional strategies and materials as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S9 Skill Adapt instructional strategies and materials as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S10 Skill Modify pace of instruction and provide organizational cues as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S13 Skill Use an individual’s responses and errors, especially a pattern of errors, to guide next instructional steps and provide ongoing feedback as determined by the instructional team
CEC P4S14 Skill Re-teach and reinforce essential concepts and content across the general curriculum as determined by the instructional team
CEC P6S1 Skill Match communication methods to individual’s language proficiency as determined by the instructional team
CEC P6S2 Skill Support the development of oral and written communication by reinforcing language and speech skills of individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team
CEC P6S4 Skill Support the acquisition and use of learning strategies to enhance literacy of individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team
CEC P6S5 Skill Support individuals with exceptionalities in the maintenance and generalization of strategies for effective oral and written communication across environments as determined by the instructional team
CEC P6S6 Skill Support the use of strategies with individuals with exceptionalities to remember verbal and written directions as determined by the instructional team
CEC P6S7 Skill Support individuals with exceptionalities in the effective use of vocabulary in multiple environments as determined by the instructional team
CEC P7S3 Skill Use instructional time effectively
CEC P7S5 Skill Use age and ability appropriate instructional strategies, technology, and materials for individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team
CEC P8S1 Skill Record information in various formats as determined by the instructional team
CEC P9S13 Skill Reflect on one’s performance to improve practice
OH 1.1 Skill Support the use of explicit, direct, systemic instruction when prior knowledge is weak or non-existent, as determined by the instructional team
OH 1.2 Skill Support the use of effective and culturally responsive instructional strategies in reading and mathematics, as determined by the instructional team
OH 1.3 Skill Adapt strategies and materials, and differentiate instruction in response to student need, as determined by the instructional team
OH 1.4 Skill Implement academic interventions to address student needs, as determined by the instructional team
OH 1.5 Skill Observe and collect data as part of progress monitoring as determined by the instructional team
OH 1.6 Skill Facilitate small-group instruction as determined by the instructional team
OH 4.2 Skill Support the development of oral and written communication by reinforcing language and speech skills of students with disabilities, as determined by the instructional team
OH 4.3 Skill Help student gain exposure to words and numbers to develop literacy and numeracy skills; incorporate literacy into everyday activities, as determined by the instructional team
Glossary Terms

Approach behaviors. Behaviors used by an individual when his or her past experience with something has shown it to be pleasant or useful. People approach what they feel comfortable with.

Avoidance behaviors. Behaviors used by an individual to escape or stay away from something that he or she has experienced as unpleasant in the past. People avoid what they fear.

Basal reading program. A textbook-based language arts curriculum. Basal reading textbooks can be found from kindergarten through secondary-school grade levels. They include age-appropriate selections of stories, essays, and poetry, as well as supplemental materials, such as vocabulary lists; biographical sketches of authors; and suggested questions and activities to guide reading.

Bottom-up method. A method of learning that builds generalizations and patterns from specific details or examples. In reading, this method asks students to attend to every word, and even parts of words, in order to get meaning from the passage.

Choral reading.  An oral reading done by a group. The reading may be a simple reading in unison or reading that is orchestrated for dramatic effect, with group members reading assigned parts.

Cloze procedure. A fill-in-the-blank approach to improving or testing reading comprehension. In this approach, blanks replace one or more words in each sentence. The reader fills in the blanks with the words he or she think complete the sentence sensibly.

Concept mapping. A method for thinking about relationships between ideas. Concept maps sometimes look like webs, with the big idea in a circle in the center, and the details or supporting ideas in smaller circles connected by a line to the big idea.

Decoding. The use of “rules” of sound-letter association, association of parts of words to specific meanings, and other patterns within words that help readers figure out the pronunciation and meaning of unfamiliar words.

Echo reading. A form of oral reading in which one reader takes the lead and the other reader follows, reading a little behind the first reader. The first reader’s oral reading cues the second reader to proper pronunciation, emphasis, rhythm, and pauses.

IEP team. The group of educators, parents, and others that develops an individualized education plan for a student with disabilities or, in some states, for a gifted student.

Instructional teams. A group of educators working together to plan instruction for a particular student or group of students. Instructional teams may be at a grade level, as in  a kindergarten instructional team; at a department level, as in a language arts instructional team; or at the school building level, as in a building leadership team representing various education specialties..

Learning progression (see also Progress map). The order in which skills and concepts should be taught, based on research and theory about how children acquire skills and knowledge in a particular field.

Look-say approach. An oral reading method that asks students to recognize words by sight rather than by decoding them phonetically.

Paired reading.  A form of oral reading in which two students are assigned to read a selection together, taking turns. Typically, one student reads a paragraph, sentence, or page aloud, then the other reads a paragraph, sentence, or page.

Phonemic awareness. The understanding that words are made up of combinations of smaller units of sound (phonemes), and the ability to use various combinations of phonemes first in oral language and then also in written language.

Phonics. An approach to reading instruction that focuses on associations between speech sounds and written language.

Picture-Exchange Communication System (PECS). A way of helping children and adults ask questions and communicate by using pictures. This system is used when learning or communicating difficulties affect a person’s ability to speak.

Progress map (see also Learning progression). The order in which skills and concepts should be taught, based on research and theory about how children acquire skills and knowledge in a particular field.

Response-to-intervention (RTI).  A structure for providing instruction that supports students as they encounter challenges to learning. This method of teaching provides different levels—or tiers—of instructional support in response to learners’ assessed needs. More intense levels (Tiers II and III) of support and differentiation are provided only when a student doesn’t appear to benefit from less intense levels of support that can be applied to the whole class.

Round-robin reading. Generally regarded as a convenient way to teach reading, rather than as an effective technique, this practice has students take turns reading passages aloud from a text while other students follow along in their copy of the text.

Scaffolding.  Ways of teaching that provide support to students based on their needs and that then reduce support as students’ skill levels increase. In reading instruction, scaffolding includes activities that build vocabulary, provide background information related to reading assignments, preview text features, and use questions or class discussions to guide silent reading.

Scope and sequence. The skills and concepts that curriculum developers want students to acquire over a period of time in a program of study, such as a one-year K-12 language arts program.

Scripting. A teaching technique that tells educators exactly what to say to students in order to teach them a new skill or concept.

Tier I intervention. The first level of intervention—stepping in to help students—in a Response-to-Intervention (RTI) framework of instruction. This level of instructional support is offered to all students in the classroom. For example, a teacher might increase how much he or she monitors student work by spending more time walking between the aisles during practice activities.

Top-down method. A method of learning that starts with generalizations and patterns and asks students to apply them to details or examples. In reading, this method emphasizes readers’ use of their prior knowledge as well as the words surrounding an unfamiliar word (that is, the context) to figure out the meaning of a written passage. Educators who prefer this method argue that recognizing every part of a word is not always needed for good comprehension.

Whole-language approach. An approach to instruction that treats speaking, listening, writing, and reading as part of the same process. Because of the overlaps in these language skills, whole-language instruction focuses on integrating the four “language arts.”

Resource Information

Categories:

Unit 1: Experiences with and Attitudes Toward Reading 

Unit 2: What is Reading?

Unit 3: Reading as Part of the Language Development Process

Unit 4: Reading Instruction: The Big Picture

Unit 5: What Reading Lessons Look Like

Unit 6: Decoding

Unit 7: Sight Words

Unit 8: Oral Reading

Unit 9: Reading Comprehension

Unit 10: Building Reading Comprehension 

Unit 11: Putting it All Together