“Fair is not everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they need.” –Anonymous
Although much of the information presented in “Critical Elements of Classroom and Small-Group Instruction Promote Reading Success in All Children” (Foorman & Torgesen, 2001) reaffirmed knowledge gained through prior learning, the key point presented is that direct teaching of reading skills as a whole class and differentiated intervention groups are the key to successful reading acquisition for all students.
Foorman and Torgesen (2001) concluded that teacher instruction is not comprehensive enough to provide appropriate instruction in the classroom.. While I agree that it takes experience to create a successful reading program that advances all learners, regardless of ability, I disagree that it can’t take place in a classroom. This article was written in 2001 in Texas, and while I can’t be certain of their teacher qualification guidelines, I feel that need for instruction on differentiating teaching is addressed in all of my education courses, as well as being emphasized in my PDP module.
This article also reinforces prior knowledge that basal programs should be integrated with trade books in a complete reading program. (Foorman & Torgesen, 2001) (Popp, 2005) (Graves et all, 2011) Basal readers should be used for instructing new strategies as they are very clear and direct. These newly acquired conceptions should then be practiced and manipulated in more interesting and culturally relevant trade books. Basal readers help to bridge the gap between reading for pleasure and reading to learn in textbooks found in other curriculum. These text should not be ignored in the reading program even though they are not part of the ‘language arts’ curriculum. If you expect students to be able to read them, then they too need to be at an appropriate level for them to do so.
In this case, I will remember the value of small group interventions and focus on identifying the needs of the students through assessment in order to properly address what information needs to be explicitly taught. Intervention groups should foster more success in order to combat the decline in interest and the ‘I can’t do it’ statement. Motivation to read is just one of the key ingredients to a successful reading program. But by far the most important is providing support to struggling readers through direct and explicit teaching in differentiated intervention.