Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In yet another post about the success of Direct Instruction, KDerosa points to the positive impact of the program. In the past I have challenged the success of programs like DI. My perspective, however, is skewed by the fact that I teach at the high school level. A place where students have become jaded towards whatever "new" program being tossed at them.
But today, as I sat with our school's reading facilitator, a woman with a Ph.D. in the subject, I brought up the idea of Direct Instruction for the elementary level.
I teach Scholastic's Read 180 program to 9th graders who are below grade level. This year, we added both a 10th and 11th grade Read 180 class. The results with my 9th graders have been positive. Many students are making progress. The group of 10th graders, a smaller group who did not have success with Read 180 last year, have flatlined. The 11th graders have all but quit on the program.
As we struggle to find something "different" as required by state law, I lamented at the ability of the lower grade levels to properly teach reading. I am not expert in the subject; and had it not been for Scholastic's Read 180, I wouldn' t have a clue what I was doing. I could teach students how to analyze literature and write about it, but until my experiences with Read 180, I didn't have any skill at teaching literacy.
So, KDerosa, maybe I'm moving in your direction with the DI concept--though not for the high school level!


At 2:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you'd see it my way sooner or later.

I heard that the Read 180 program was a bit of a dog. You might want to look into SRA's corrective reading program. It's the DI preogram for older students and adults and it's specifically designed for students who've been mistaught how to read.

You're right, the DI programs for the most part are not really suitable for high school students since they're aimed, for the most part, at kids in elementary school. Kids in high school who've been properly taught up to that point should not need all the that structure and scaffolding prvided in the DI programs. When I teach my son, who's in first grade, I strip away most of the scaffolding and structure, but I still follow the scope and sequence. He likes it-- mostly because it's easy, he does well, and it's over quick.

You High school teaches would have much easier lives if your feeder schools got each student through all six levels of the reading, spelling, language/writing, and math DI programs. You should revolt.

At 5:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your blog and thought it was interesting since I teach with read 180 and have also used SRA directed reading program. Read 180 is far more successful. The computer software alone is more engaging. SRA is so scipted and limited. Don't bash these high school students earlier instruction. Some students have so many issues that they can't engage in instruction until they are older and really value reading. I'm also a certified Wilson instructor and that produces great results with many students with dyslexia and language issues. Good Luck with your teaching. High school reading instruction is difficult.


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