Kelsie Syverson, EngEd 463, Chapter 1: Creating Classrooms That Work

From the following video you will learn some first steps to reading. The teacher in the video has students starting to recognize their own names and reading first letters and thinking of whose name it could be. She also has a letter of the week where the students can see the letter, hear the sound, and then think of words that start with that sound.

From the following video you will learn the 6 strategies for reading and figuring out words you don’t know. By showing this video to students, they might be able to easily remember the strategies and how to use them so when they get stuck while reading they will know what to do.

Reading First


Reading First required states to assess student progress in reading and schools were penalized of they failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress. This program specified that by 2014 all children were expected to read on grade-level. Unfortunately, this important goal was not achieved by the costly and widely implemented Reading First initiative. Evaluators concluded that there was no consistent pattern of effects over time in the impact estimates for reading instruction in grade one or in reading comprehension in any grade and that there appeared to be a systematic decline in reading instruction impacts in grade two.

Classrooms with the Highest Gains


Teachers in these classrooms did the following things:

  • Emphasized higher-order meaning construction more than lower-order skills
  • Maximized opportunities to read
  • Integrated reading and writing with other subject areas
  • Provided opportunities to discuss what was read

Basic Principles of Effective Instruction


  • Integrate skills teaching with reading and writing
  • Use time wisely. Turn mundane moments into instructional events
  • Use scaffolding and coaching
  • Emphasize self-regulating and self-monitoring
  • Incorporate reading and writing into other content areas
  • Have high expectations
  • Be an excellent classroom manager

The Most Effective Classrooms


  • Skills were explicitly taught and related to reading and writing
  • Books were everywhere and used in a variety of ways
  • Children did a lot of reading and writing throughout the day and for homework
  • Teachers had high but realistic expectations and monitored progress regularly
  • Self-regulation was modeled and expected
  • Cross-curricular connections were made as children read and wrote
  • Classrooms were caring, positive, cooperative environments where discipline issues were dealt with quickly and quietly
  • Classroom management was excellent and teachers use a variety of grouping structures
  • Classrooms has high student engagement
  • Real conversations took place, between students and teachers

Effective Teachers


  • Had higher pupil engagement
  • Provided more small-group instruction
  • Provided more coaching to help children improve in word recognition
  • Asked more higher-level comprehension questions
  • Communicated more with parents
  • Had children engage in more independent reading

What Do We Know About Effective Classrooms


  • Provides huge amounts of balanced, comprehensive instruction
  • Do a lot of reading and writing
  • Science and social studies are taught and integrated with reading and writing
  • Teachers emphasize higher-level thinking skills
  • Skills and strategies are explicitly taught and children are coached
  • Teachers use a variety of formats to provide instruction
  • A wide variety of materials are used
  • Classrooms are well managed and have high levels of engagement

Common Core


Developed after the Reading First initiative failed. Common Core Standards are developed for grades K-12 and are things students should be able to do by the end of that grade level. These standards are set up to get students college ready as soon as kindergarten.

Classroom Application


I really enjoyed the first video shown above as I would like to teach Pre-K or Kindergarten. Having the students begin recognizing names and letters with their sounds is a huge first step to reading and writing. I also would like to use a combination of the strategies listed above especially scaffolding and coaching which is another thing that I think is very important at a young age. Teaching younger learners these skills, they will be able to pick up on newer skills more easily. I believe Common Core is something that is used in most schools and is something I would like to use to make sure students are performing at grade level or above before moving on to the next grade. I like how Common Core is more benchmarks than a timeline of exactly when students need to accomplish something. This way all students can learn at their own pace.

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