Teaching reading in secondary schools: Some theoretical and practical issues.
- Published: Friday, 09 February 2018 23:00
- Hits: 142
Dr Kerry Hempenstall, Senior Industry Fellow, School of Education, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
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What is known about the reading difficulties experienced by a proportion of students entering secondary school (20-30% according to the National Reading Panel, 2000)?
What does it take to make a difference to their literacy at this relatively late stage in their schooling?
Though there is less known about effective reading intervention for older students, the research does provide us with some pointers. For a fuller description of this research, see Older students’ literacy problems (updated 2017)
How far behind might these student be?
The best way to find out is by screening all intake Year 7 students – either in their feeder schools late in their Year 6 or early in Year 7. It is a little more work to catch them late in Year 6, but it allows more time for intervention planning. Ideally, choose a test that has either a decoding or a word reading subtest. There are many such tests available, and obviously choosing an assessment that allows for group testing is more time-efficient.
Can research provide answers? Is there much research on secondary students' reading?
“Although research specific to adolescent literacy is not as extensive as research on beginning reading (Boulay, Goodson, Frye, Blocklin, & Price, 2015; Herrera, Truckenmiller, & Foorman, 2016; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998), there is a strong and growing consensus that if what we currently know about literacy instruction for adolescents were more broadly applied in practice, there is “little doubt that levels of adolescent literacy would improve” (p. 1, Torgesen et al., 2007). A recent quantitative synthesis of reading programs for adolescents found 33 studies published between 1970 and 2007 involving 39,000 students (Slavin, Cheung, Groff, & Lake, 2008).” (p. 38-39)
Fien, H., Anderson, D., Nelson, N.J., Kennedy, P., Baker, S.K., & Stoolmiller, M. (2018). Examining the impact and school-level predictors of impact variability of an 8th grade reading intervention on at-risk students’ reading achievement. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 33(1), 37–50.