Showing posts with label National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth. Show all posts

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Just Got Back from Ireland

I just spent a week with my friends in Ireland; this time in the Ballymun section of Dublin. The folks at youngballymun are trying to raise literacy levels in an economically challenged part of the city. This was an area where they built U.S. style high-rise housing for the poor, and like in the U.S., it proved to be disastrous. Now they are tearing those eyesores down (but demolition has slowed or stopped due to the current economic crisis in Ireland), and trying to revitalize the neighborhood.

Well, anyway, youngballymun is working with the schools and community groups (afterschool progams, etc.), to try to improve things for the kids there, and to me it looks like they are making progress, getting buy in, and moving forward in some good ways. It was fun to be part of it. Also, a healthy reminder for me about the face of low literacy. It is easy in the states to think of folks with literacy limitations as being minority or severely disadvantaged (since those groups suffer inordinately here, especially in big cities). And yet in Ireland those who are low in literacy look like me and my kids. Of course, there are plenty of people who struggle in the states who look like me and my kids too, but even though there are great numbers of them, they are somewhat hidden in plain sight. Literacy is not an just issue for someone else or somewhere else.

While I was in Ireland I met with many government officials who are trying to figure out policies, and was covered by the Irish Times and "Drivetime," the big radio show there. I also found some time to speak at the Reading Association of Ireland, about the reading of second-language learners (yes, Ireland, like the rest of the western world is experiencing immigration). As promised, here is a copy of the speech that I presented there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Applying Research to the Teaching of Reading: Here is a Brief Update on the National Reading Panel Findings

Recently, I was asked to give a talk to Expanding the Reach schools in Arizona. Expanding the Reach (ETR) has been a federal effort to help schools to take Reading First style actions without receiving all of the Reading First style support and regulations.

I was to talk to them about the reading research as reviewed by the National Reading Panel (NRP). There is a problem with doing that, however. The NRP completed its work in 2000, and there have been two major federal panels since that time, the National Early Literacy Panel (that looked at preschool and kindergarten literacy) and the National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth (that looked at second-language literacy). There have also been a plethora of federal research reports and other research, such as the Reading First impact study. We want teachers to follow the research, but not just the research from a decade ago.

What I did is gave a fairly conventional talk in which I laid out the research findings in the five instructional areas where NRP had findings, but for each of them, I have added a what's new section. So, for example, I shared the studies from NRP that show that phonemic awareness instruction matters, but I then noted that NELP had found a payoff for phonological awareness for younger kids (that is, that it is important to start out with larger sound units than phonemes to get the ball rolling). Or, I explained the NRP phonics findings, but supplemented those with the findings showing that English learners sometimes bring adequate phonics to English (e.g., if they can already read Spanish), and that phonics instruction has a smaller effect size with second language kids (meaning that just raising their phonics won't have as big a payoff for these kids). I showed the comprehension findings from NRP, but pointed out that Reading First had little impact on either the teaching of comprehension or comprehension achievement.

I thought it was a useful way to go, and the audience responded positively, so here is a copy of the powerpoint for your use. It is a nifty summary of the NRP, with some useful updates.