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Looking Inside Classrooms


Looking Inside Classrooms: Reflecting on the "how" as well as the "what" in effective reading instruction -- Barbara M. Taylor, Debra S. Peterson, P. David Pearson and Michael C. Rodriquez

We learned that effective teachers maintain an academic focus, kept more pupils on task, and provided direct instruction. Effective direct instruction includes making learning goals clear, asking students questions to monitor understanding of content or skills covered, and providing feedback to students about their academic progress. The National Reading Panel Report (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000) concluded that instruction in systematic phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension strategies was important in a complete reading program. The panel's conclusion found that outstanding teachers taught skills, actively engaged students in a great deal of actual reading and writing, and fostered self-regulation in students' use of strategies. The overwhelming sense one gets when examining the observational notes presented in this article is that some teachers feel so compelled to make sure that key information is discussed that they bring it up themselves, thereby robbing students of opportunities to test their own knowledge and skill acquisition, and themselves of opportunities to evaluate students' growth toward independence. Coaching techniques were used to encourage children to elaborate on their ideas. I believe classroom literacy instruction needs to reflect best practices as identified in the research. In addition to what teachers teach, how teachers teach is also important to consider in search of making changes in reading instruction to improve students' reading achievement. 

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