Slide 1: Welcome to the fifth webinar in the series on helping teach reading. I am Emily Kresiak, Research Assistant working for WordFarmers Associates on behalf of the Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Education at the University of Dayton School of Education and Health Sciences Grant Center.
Slide 2: In this webinar we are going to talk about the various activities that might form part of a reading lesson. Then we will analyze one lesson plan—a plan for a reading lesson for early readers that helps them learn phonics by working with word families.
Slide 3: First, lets review the parts of any good lesson plan. Without going into a lot of detail, we can presume that almost any lesson plan will specify: (1) outcomes or learning objectives, (2) the state standards to which the outcomes or learning objectives are aligned, (3) the prior knowledge or set of experiences on which the new learning will build, (4) the activities and materials that will help students achieve the outcomes or learning objectives, and (5) the method by which students’ learning will be evaluated.
Slide 4: Whatever reading outcomes the teacher decides to focus on, his or her plans will address these five major areas of concern. For example, if the outcome relates to word endings, that outcome will fit with one or more state standards. Achievement of the outcome will build on some knowledge or skills that the students already have. And achievement of the outcome will result from some set of learning activities. Finally, the teacher will be able to measure the achievement of the outcome using one or more assessment tools.
Slide 5: Lesson plans often present other information, such as ways to differentiate instruction for diverse learners, but concentrating on the five key elements seems useful for now.
Slide 6: With those key elements in view, we can now think about the domains of reading instruction that this module emphasized: phonetic decoding, word forms, vocabulary, sight words, fluency, and comprehension. A lesson plan within any of these domains should, at the very least, focus on the five lesson elements.
Slide 7: So a lesson to build vocabulary knowledge would specify at least five things: outcomes; alignment to standards; the connections between anticipated new learning and students’ background knowledge, skills, and experiences; learning activities; and evaluation methods. Similarly, a lesson plan for oral reading fluency would focus on these five things. And so would a lesson plan for improving reading comprehension.
Slide 8: Now let’s use an example to illustrate how this works. We’ll use as an example a lesson for early readers. First, let’s look at its outcomes or learning objectives.
Slide 9: The intended outcome of the lesson is this: the student will blend sounds to make words using three word families plus all consonants: the “at” family, the “ig” family, and the “et” family.
Slide 10: Because it focuses on using phonics to decode unfamiliar words, it fits with the following Common Core standard: The student will “know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.”
Slide 11: The lesson builds on students’ prior knowledge of the sounds associated with consonants in the alphabet. To activate their prior knowledge, the teacher will introduce the lesson by providing a review of consonant sounds. The teacher will show a consonant and ask the students to make the sound of that consonant.
Slide 12: The teacher will then begin the activity that is designed to develop new knowledge. He or she will present the idea of word families and show a poster with a few examples of the “at,” “ig,” and “et” families of words.
Slide 13: The teacher will then continue the learning activity by passing around a container with consonants in it, asking each child to pick one consonant. Then going around the room, the teacher will ask each child to use his or her consonant with one of the word family endings to produce one real word and one made up word. For example, if the child had an “f,” he or she might make the word “fig” as the real word and “fet” as the make-up word. The teacher will then ask each child to say a sentence using the real word in such a way as to reveal its meaning. For example, the child might say, “Even though the fig had a sweet taste, I did not like all of the seeds.”
Slide 14: The lesson will end with a formative evaluation in which each child circles the correct word as the teacher reads it aloud. The slide shows this brief quiz.
Slide 15: The lesson in the example would help students learn to sound out words, but lesson plans for other reading skills are constructed in the same way—incorporating, at minimum, the five key elements.
Slide 16: Now let’s also add in a sixth lesson element—differentiation of instruction. When a teacher thinks about differentiating instruction, he or she thinks about ways to address the limitations of the original lesson plan for meeting the needs of one or more individual students.
Slide 17: For example, what if there are students in the class whose prior knowledge and skills do not provide sufficient grounding for the new learning? What if some students cannot process information through the auditory channel? What if some students cannot construct full sentences when they speak?
Slide 18: It’s important to remember that a teacher does not have to plan for every possible student need, just the needs of the students with whom the teacher is working at the time. Differentiating for more than three or four specific needs within any given lesson may become unmanageable.
Slide 19: Now let’s go back to considering the sample lesson plan we’ve been discussing—the lesson on word families.
Slide 20: Perhaps there’s a child in the classroom who does not yet know the sounds that consonants make. What can the teacher do?
Slide 21: One possibility would be for the teacher to include the child in the lesson simply by mouthing the sound of the consonant quietly so that the child can say the sound along with the teacher. Another possibility would be to ask the paraprofessional to sit next to the child and whisper the consonant sound to the child. Another would be to give the child an I-pad with a program, such as a talking word processing program, that makes the sound when the student types the letter.
Slide 22: In the next units, as we talk about instruction that teaches different reading skills, we’ll provide other examples of ways that educators can differentiate instruction. And we’ll also consider the role of paraprofessionals in giving extra support to students for whom differentiated instruction is important.
Slide 23: To sum up, there are six teaching issues that educators consider when they are developing lesson plans to guide reading instruction: (1) outcomes or learning objectives, (2) the state standards to which the outcomes or learning objectives are aligned, (3) the prior knowledge or set of experiences on which the new learning will build, (4) the activities and materials that will help students achieve the outcomes or learning objectives, (5) the method by which students’ learning will be evaluated, and (6) the specific methods that will be used to differentiate instruction for students with unusual learning characteristics.