Last Saturday, I got to hear Dick Allington speak at the No Child Left Out Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. I'm embarrassed to say that I've never heard of Dick Allington. He has served as president of the International Reading Association as well as the president of the National Reading Conference, he's authored over 100 articles and books, and he's in the IRA Reading Hall of Fame! What I heard this weekend about reading research was very powerful, and I'm sharing my notes from his presentation below.
Dr. Allington said that there are a lot of what he called mythologies around reading: poverty, boys, ADD... He said there are lots of labels to say that not everyone can read, but he said that we can teach everyone to read.
--Girls reading on grade-level produce 1 baby for every 8 that are produced by girls who read below grade-level.
-->Researchers interviewed teachers who referred more than 5 students per year (high-referral) for SpEd and teachers who had not referred anyone in 5 years (low-referral) for SpEd.
-->When asking high-referral teachers about a struggling student, they get 3 sentences. "He can't read. He doesn't try. His parents are no help either."
-->When low-referral teachers were asked, they gave a 3-page description about the student. What they like to read, what their interests were, and more.
-->What do we as effective or ineffective teachers have to do with LD?
"Middle school teachers say they don't have time for reading intervention. Why would they put that student in any other class in middle school if
he can't frickin' read."
- Dick Allington
Principles for Intervention Design
1. Match Reader and Text Level.
**No one can teach kids science or social studies if kids can't read the books. Must be able to read with 99% accuracy and 90% comprehension.
2. Dramatically expands reading activity.
*Struggling readers read less than those that don't struggle. They do more worksheets and have more testing.
3. Use very small groups or tutoring.
*The only ones that work are 1:1 expert tutoring or 1:3 expert tutoring.
4. Coordinates Intervention with Core Classroom.
*Ninety percent of classroom teachers have no idea what kids are reading in the intervention program.
5. Intervention must be done by expert teachers.
6. Focus Intervention on Meta-Cognition and Meaning
*Teach kids to think about thinking.
--Round-robin reading aloud should be stopped!
--Teachers have created an environment where kids don't read. Either the books are too hard, or it's things that the kids don't want to read.
What Dick Allington says is very thought-provoking, and I would love to hear your comments and responses below!
Please join me tomorrow when I will share how I plan to use and share this information at our school.