Monday, May 26, 2008


The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in recent American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

Topic: Literacy Shortcomings

Title: “Targeting Adolescents’ Literacy Skills Using One-to-One Instruction with Research-Based Practices.” Timothy T. Houge, Constance Geier, and David Peyton. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (May 2008), p. 840-850. A publication of the International Reading Association.

Summary/Quote: “A sobering percentage of adolescents in the United States cannot successfully read grade-level text. In fact, the report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress…clearly outlined the literacy shortcomings of the nation’s 8th and 12th graders by reporting that roughly two-thirds of these adolescents read below the proficient level and one-quarter do not possess the literacy skills necessary to read at the basic level. In addition, traditional approaches to dealing with deficient literacy skills among adolescents, such as tracking, enrollment in courses with few or no literacy demands, and course retention, have not been very successful.” p. 840.

“Currently there exists a growing body of evidence that suggests adolescents’ literacy deficiencies can be remedied if these individuals receive extra support in the form of direct, explicit and systematic fluency, vocabulary and comprehension instruction.” p. 840.

Comment: Olive Niles, a nationally known reading expert, said decades ago that if every teacher in all the disciplines used the Directed Reading Assignment (DRA: build background information on the topic of the reading assignment, pre-teach unfamiliar vocabulary in the assignment, set purpose for reading in the form of questions to read to answer and apply the ideas gained in reading the assignment) there would be no reading problems in America. My experience has shown that this statement is true. [See my book, Teaching English, How To….] The one additional skill added to the DRA in this article is instruction in fluency. RayS.

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