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Decodables vs. Leveled Readers

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Jessica Smith

on 15 August 2017

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Transcript of Decodables vs. Leveled Readers

: requires competence in both of two separate areas:
Reading Comprehension
Simple View of Reading
Leveled Readers
Decodable Readers

What does that mean for our students?
Simple View of Reading Formula is NOT an average
Decoding (D)
Reading Tree
- count words, words in sentences,
- Include only:
- words with phonics patterns that have been taught
- high frequency words that have been taught
General Guidelines for when students are ready to read leveled books (instead of teacher reading them)
- the ability to understand oral language
- The ability to accurately read familiar words and to reasonably decode unfamiliar words out of context.
- the ability to understand language from print
What is Reading?
Print is the Major Difference Between LC & RC
LC - the content is ORAL and is heard

RC - the content is in PRINT and is seen
- Vocabulary
- Background Knowledge
- Language Structures
- Verbal Reasoning
- Story Structure, Genre
- Higher Order Reasoning Skills
- Sight word reading
- Phonics and ability
to decode novel (unfamiliar words)
Language Comprehension (LC)
Reading Comprehension
- Variables are scores
- scores have to be between 0 and 1
- the score for reading comprehension will never be higher than the lower of decoding or language comprehension scores.
The Essence of the Simple View of Reading
- Decoding: the ability to read the printed words
- Language Comprehension: knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to understand oral language
- the estimate of Reading Comprehension can be no higher than the lower of Decoding or Language Comprehension scores
- if both Decoding and Language Comprehension are moderate or low, the estimate of Reading Comprehension will be LOWER than either variable.
- Reading comprehension
Equations without Numbers
D x LC = RC
Four categories:
very low low moderate strong
1. D is strong, LC is very low.

- estimate RC _____________________

2. D is moderate, LC is low.

- estimate RC _____________________
1. D is low, LC is strong.

- estimate RC _____________________

2. D is strong, LC is moderate.

- estimate RC _____________________

3. D is low, LC is low

- estimate RC _____________________
Important Lessons from
the Simple View of Reading & the Rope Model
- Students need to be strong decoders AND have strong language comprehension if they are to be strong readers.
- weak decoding cannot be overcome by strong language comprehension
- Decoding and language comprehension should be assessed and taught separately to beginning readers. The two areas are gradually melding together as students become strong enough decoders to be able to get information from the text.
- Struggling readers often have only one or a few strands of the "rope" that is weak and impairing reading comprehension. Assessment and intervention need to focus on identifying the weak strands and strengthening them.
1. Is the problem decoding?
2. Is the problem language comprehension?
3. Is the problem both?
(for struggling readers)
- try to be about stories or subjects that
are interesting to students
- some leveled readers start with a body
of words in the first level and add a
certain number of words at each
subsequent level.
length of words as part of criteria
to determine reading level.
Early Leveled Readers
- are often predictable
- are about familiar subjects
- have strong support for text from the pictures
- may include a number of high frequency words
- repeat words, with support from pictures for the repeated words
Premise for Leveled Readers
- students will learn to read words by exposure to them
- students will use pictures and context to learn new words
- accuracy in reading is not as important as comprehension, reading errors that do not affect meaning are not corrected
- phonics patterns may be recognized and can be used to figure out words they do not already know or that they cannot guess from the picture or the context
- beginning readers read books that allow for comprehension discussions
- Subject matter is secondary to the decodability of the words
- Start with CVC words and move slowly to more complex spelling patterns
- Focus on teaching decoding more than comprehension
- Pictures support the story, but not the specific words
Premise for Decodable Readers
- students will learn to read words by utilizing phonics patterns, starting with simple patterns and moving to more complex patterns
- beginning readers should read only words that they can decode so that they do not develop a habit of guessing the word based on pictures or context
- developing a habit of reading accurately should occur before fluency is expected
- comprehension is taught through oral reading to students and discussion of the books read by the teachers, not through decodable books
Usefulness for Beginning Readers
- Use to give beginning readers practice reading words spelled with phonics patterns you have taught and high frequency words you have taught
- use to develop habit of accurate reading
- Expect students to read with 100% accuracy before asking them to read with fluency
- Have students re-read for fluency after they achieve 100% accuracy
- expect literal comprehension
- Many better materials exist to develop language comprehension
- use with beginning readers as a read-aloud or for echo reading
- ask students about the text and pictures after you have read the book or during the time you are reading the book
- use to help students develop concepts of print, such as:
- text moves fom top to bottom and left to right
- sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period
- words have spaces between them
- Locating the most frequent words such as the, is, a, I
Use Decodable Readers with students until they meet all three criteria below:
- student demonstrates mastery of decoding real and nonsense CVC words (short vowels, digraphs, and blends) in isolation (48 on beginning decoding survey)
- student can decode 2-syllable words (comment, napkin, tennis, submit) and known 3-syllable words in isolation (penmanship, fantastic, magnetic) that have closed syllables or schwa.
- student scores above first grade on leveled reading assessment (Level J in F&P or Lexile 300)
General GUIDELINES for Beginning Reading Instruction
- All beginning decoding instruction is taught with decodable books

- Language comprehension during early reading instruction is primarily developed through read-alouds and discussions that follow read-alouds

- After students show strong beginning decoding skills, they are read to read leveled readers themselves during reading instruction. At this point, students can begin developing language comprehension through their own reading.
- When a student doesn't know a word:
- Teach him to try to sound it out
- If he can't sound it out, teach him to ask for help.
- For decodable words, help
the student sound them out
- For words that are not decodable, tell him what the word is
- When a student skips or adds a word:
- Tell the student he "skipped XX words" or that he "read all the words and added XX words."
- Have the student re-read the sentence, touching each word so he reads the exact words in the sentence.
- look at the picture
- look at the first letter and guess based on context
- read to the end of the sentence and determine what word fits
- look for parts of the word you know from other words
- Until students have established basic decoding skills, read the books to the students
- Read the entire book, no echo reading
- Read page by page or sentence by sentence and have students echo read
- Teach students about books:
- cover page, title, table of contents, etc.
- Teach students to track words as you read to them or as they echo read
- Teach students to find beginning high frequency words (the, a, of, to, etc.)
- Use the books as a basis for oral language development
- Teach students to develop strong decoding habits
- When a student misreads a word in a sentence, always have the student re-read the sentence for accuracy
- stop the student at the end of the sentence or paragraph
- tell the student how many words he read correctly in the sentence
- point to the word the student misread and ask the student to re-read the word. If needed, guide the student to the correct word.
- have the student re-read the entire sentence
- For many students, fluency will develop naturally after they become accurate readers and continue reading on their own and in class.
- Some students will need help developing fluency.
- Before working on fluency, be SURE that the student is not guessing the words and can read words out of context accurately
Fluency is not the goal immediately

It is all about automaticity
- Decodable text has only spelling patterns & high frequency words that have been taught
- Power Readers (Sopris West) by Susan Ebbers
- Primary Phonics (EPS) by Barbara Walker
- When students read decodable text, they do not have to guess words; they learn to rely on the letters to determine what the word is.
- The primary purpose for reading decodable text is to develop the habit of accurate reading.
- Divide the text into parts each student will read.
- this can be pages, paragraphs, or any other "chunk" of text
- Count the number of words in each chunk and put it on the student's page
- All students in the group have a copy of the text so they can track the reader and mark any errors.
- Never say, "Look at the picture" as a strategy for reading a word.
- Instead say, "That word is ________."
- Example: If the student reads "admiral" as "admire", do not tell him to look at the picture because an admiral is in the picture.
- If the student reads "ape" as "monkey", he is so far off that a mini lesson on the beginning letter sound and silent e would be pointless. You might point to the word ape and say "This word is ape. Monkey would start with an m."
- If students echo read after the teacher reads first, this mistake won't happen.
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