It's the end of the week and now we have one more chance to look back at IRA's Commission on RTI.
The last statement that struck me was "instruction and materials selection must derive from specific student-teacher interaction and not be constrained by packaged programs." What does that mean to you?
In many cases, I see that we have become curriculum driven rather than student driven. Getting back to the idea identified by IRA's expert commission is a challenge. It reiterates the idea that we have all heard so often (and know to be true): that there are "many roads to reading" - Dr. Peter Hannon, University of Sheffeld, England. Rebecca Novick's new book, Many Paths To Literacy, is also a good verification of that sage statement.
Our friends in the educational publishing world (no names please) have become so expert at telling us that their product is the "fix all, end all" for instruction that it may have blinded us to this important fact. I recently read this excellent article about supplements and alternative approaches that work well for students whom the curriculum "doesn't fit" and hope you will find it just as helpful.
Let's narrow in on literacy for a minute, down from the broader subject:
Reading Rockets (I hope you know this site) recently published an article entitled "Best Practice for All Students" and included a reference to a familar term "differentiated instruction". This article emphasizes that Tier I instruction must be exemplary and not just "delivery of a stock curriculum". It must include adaptations which include small group collaborations to address differences in skills such as fluency, vocabulary, or comprehension. This article also correctly clarifies the distinction between groups in Tier I instruction and a Tier II level group.
Betty Hollas, author and veteran educator, provided a session at the last IRA conference in Phoenix, AZ (February 2009) entitled Differentiating Literacy Instruction for Intervention and Advanced Students in the Same Classroom. What I love so much about Betty's presentation handouts are that she included useable tools like the Literacy Contract and a connection to Bloom's Taxonomy which helps level questions asked about literature or stories read. She's also the author of several excellent books on the subject.
We've come to the end of our postings for this week. I hope you've found valuable ideas and I encourage you to come back and visit us again. And remember postings from you make this blog better so post away!