Top 10 practices of highly proficient teachers of reading
How do we improve reading outcomes for students? What do highly proficient teachers of reading do? Here’s my Top Ten list . . .
- Gather regular, ongoing records using both formal and informal measures on continuous text; analyse strategic behaviour on errors and self-corrections, make observations about elements of prosody and fluency and assess comprehension; determine skills and knowledge controlled and absent; identify patterns of behaviour
- Analyse and use data to inform planning; identify short and longer term goals for students (i.e. end of week / month / term / year); identify clear instructional goals for large and small groups and individuals
- Select texts for read aloud, shared reading and guided reading to strategically support the teaching/learning and application of instructional goals
- Plan concise, targeted teaching episodes using read aloud or shared reading; identify the instructional goal to students; teach rigorously
- Link instructional goals to both reading and writing. i.e. Explicitly model and teach for reciprocity. e.g. “Now that we know how to use a ‘silent e’ to spell words, we must remember this for solving tricky words in reading.”
- Provide expectations for active participation by students; include students in focused talk to describe and explain the instructional goal, discuss the application of the instructional goal on authentic texts and generalise how and when key principles apply to other text solving situations
- Provide strategic support as students practice applying the teaching goals during guided reading. e.g. How did we solve those difficult words earlier? You should try that on a tricky word coming up.
- Listen to students read during guided and independent reading to monitor reading behaviour; gather ongoing data to refine or modify instructional goals and teaching/learning sequences to suit student needs
- Provide daily opportunities for students to practice reading using easy or familiar texts
- Provide regular, specific feedback to students about problem solving behaviours observed during reading, e.g. application of strategies/strategic behaviours/skills/knowledge used and neglected (remembering that a high volume of praise should be offered at success and corrective feedback limited to one teaching point).
Even for experienced teachers, there’s value in reminding ourselves of each of these core principles. By exercising these and other best practice behaviours, we give students the best chance for success.