As I advocate for what I know RE evidence based rdng instruction, I require confidence...

When asked for my input on online reading resources for students struggling to enter CTE programs of study, my response is below. 

Will you read my response and poke holes where you can find them? Demand clarification where I have been unclear? Tell me if my tone seems appropriate? Address how other prgms. support struggling readers when they lack standardized test score for entry into CTE programming?

I highly value the expertise in this group. 

"Thanks for asking - 

Reading is such a tricky thing, right, and all the online tools will have you believe that their app. "develops" readers.  But when the app. works mainly at developing reading comprehension skills and strategies, this is ignoring the fact that so many of our struggling readers struggle because of the "hidden" issues that affect comprehension, and which can not be remediated through comprehension strategies alone. That would be poor decoding (NNESs or NESs with very interrupted formal education), which significantly interrupts vocabulary acquisition and, therefore, fluency. Very low fluency rates make it difficult for many struggling readers to advance beyond a particular score on a timed reading test. I am convinced that human intervention at that point is the most viable intervention. If online applications could easily teach decoding and fluency, they would be doing it, I believe.
 Of course, there are higher level readers for whom practice in comprehension strategies is ALL they need, yet I have noticed that an initial test of silent reading comprehension does not easily differentiate those students. Additional assessments of the other reading components is the only way to know what intervention a reader needs.Therefore, recommending tools that focus on reading comprehension strategies will always only be helpful for higher level readers.  So what if it is all we have to work with? 1. I think we should always be advocating for our students for the funds to pay for and integrate, i.e.through a literacy reading course, better assessments to test all components for those sts. that show need.  2. We can make strong, evidence-based assumptions that students scoring low on standardized tests of silent reading comprehension will benefit from vocabulary development and background knowledge development. (Marzano, R. 2004).
 I believe what that looks like for CTE students is opportunities for them to read and develop vocabulary within their discipline, from the required course textbook, prior to full enrollment.(But this is tricky, because it is after the TABE entrance. How does that work?) A tutor or reading instructor could facilitate the learning of the content to a degree at which success in the course is more likely. A poor reader is going to do better if given the opportunity to read something three times instead of only 1, with targeted vocabulary development.  Integrated videos to support the text so they can incorporate multiple channels of intake to better understand the content is also evidence based. (Again, this implies enrollment but with stipulations. Imagine giving a student tons of confidence with vocabulary and background knowledge and THEN putting her in the class.  She can demonstrate ability to apply the knowledge which before was not an option because she could not decode.Now she is motivated and can be creative in that specific discipline of interest.)
Or what if we could  use screen readers as an adaptive resource to allow certain sts. to take their comprehension tests .  Have we ever tried to see if a student scored significantly higher on a TABE that is read to them? If it is available for visually impaired students, I think it should be available to students with certain backgrounds demonstrating that their early reading instruction was significantly interrupted or impeded. Low literacy is a learning disability.
That said, additional tools for independent, asynchronous support/development of reading ability that I would recommend include..."


Hi Ann,

Thanks for trusting the CoP to provide some helpful feedback!  I have a few thoughts:

1.  You have laid out your case in a very thorough and well thought out manner.  It is obvious you care deeply for your students and want the best for them.  This caring is clearly conveyed in your writing.

2.  Depending on your audience, you may want to define acronyms like Non Native English Speakers (NNES) and Native English Speakers (NES).  

3.  I am reminded of the saying that we need to "do what we can, where we are, with what we have."  Thus, in an ideal non-COVID-19 world, we would offer face-to-face interventions in alphabetics and fluency.  Since we cannot at the present time, we must offer alternatives.  

Tomorrow, I will post a re-cap of an excellent webinar I attended this week that Jeff Goumas did entitled Free Resources for Evidence-based Reading Instruction From a Distance.  He offered some resources for alphabetics and fluency of which I was previously unaware that could help your students.

I do hope other members of the CoP will give you some feedback Ann!

Thanks so much for all you do for your students,


Moderator, LINCS Reading and Writing CoP