Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

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volunteer
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Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:42 pm

I am voluntarily tutoring a lower-junior school student for 30 mins per day. He is withdrawn from class for this. This has just started this week. He is currently approx NC level 1 in reading according to the school and this is what I am charged with improving.

I am doing this for a mix of reasons; primarily I want to help, but also I am doing some part time study in literacy difficulties at the same time as I ultimately wish to return to work in this kind of area.

My work with this child is likely to be time-limited and I would like to gather some evidence to show that my input makes a difference. I am working with him using SP materials - primarily Read Write Inc, but I am focusing more on the reading elements of the scheme rather than "Get Writing" in the time given.

I am going to use the phonics assessment contained within the scheme handbook - I will use it this week to show his starting point, and at the end of my time with him, or every 6 weeks. Is there anything else I can use to evidence reading improvement which is quick and easy and cheaply resourced. As a volunteer I do not have access to much.

The measures will also be useful to me as part of a small scale project I will have to do as part of my studies, persuading the school to release more children on this basis, and in gaining future employment. Any suggestions greatly welcomed.

With thanks.

yvonne meyer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by yvonne meyer » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:02 pm

DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) will give allow you to monitor progress at the most fine-grained level. And its free to download.

The website is very dense and the homepage is a little off-putting if you are not familiar with DIBELS.
Go to the 'Information' page first and read what they have there, and then go to the homepage, register and download the DIBELS 6th Edition. The link to the Information page is;

https://dibels.uoregon.edu/dibelsinfo.php
The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.

DIBELS were developed to measure recognized and empirically validated skills related to reading outcomes. Each measure has been thoroughly researched and demonstrated to be reliable and valid indicators of early literacy development and predictive of later reading proficiency to aid in the early identification of students who are not progressing as expected. When used as recommended, the results can be used to evaluate individual student development as well as provide grade-level feedback toward validated instructional objectives.


The link to the homepage is;

https://dibels.uoregon.edu/

cartwheel
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by cartwheel » Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:47 am

Here in the U.S., I use the DIBELs on occasion, but I do have concerns. My primary concern regards the nonsense word fluency assessment. It only covers the "short" vowels and single-letter consonants, so there is no indication of progress, or lack thereof, in a student's learning of the advanced code. Also, quite a few of the words are "illegal," such as those ending in "j". Yes, students with SP-learning typically make good gains on the NWF assessment, but it doesn't provide the kind of insight that something like the Ruth Miskin nonsense word assessment provides. [I also think the DIBELs NWF assessment encourages the idea, held by many educators, that decoding is something that can only done with the most basic letter-sounds/words.]

The Oral Reading Fluency assessments are leveled by grade (1st-8th grades). I do often use them to get a baseline, but I don't like using them for weekly or fortnightly assessment in those early weeks, because the fact that the stories contain lots of complex code encourages guessing. Again, I have certainly found that SP-taught students do make strong gains on the ORF assessment, once a decent amount of SP skill and knowledge has been learned by the student.

There is also a phoneme segmentation fluency assessment. I often see students with low "phonemic awareness" scores on Psychological testing reports positively shoot up the charts on the PSF assessment within 3 or 4 weeks of SP-teaching.

I would be curious to know whether the DIBELs have been normed in the U.K. One of the reasons to use them here in the U.S. is to show parents the growth of their child's reading skills compared to those of peers.

If you want to take a look at these, I would recommend googling DIBELsNext (rather than DIBELs); the ORF stories in the "Next" version are more "leveled" than in the previous DIBELs version, wherein one story would be vastly more difficult than the next.... for example a story about the Lakota Sioux Indians vs. a story about Grandma and making jam. The DIBELsNext website is different from the DIBELs website.

volunteer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:29 am

Thank you very much both of you. I will look up all of those suggestions. What is the Ruth Miskin non-word reading assessment to which Cartwheel refers?

cartwheel
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by cartwheel » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:08 am

Ruth Miskin's Nonsense Word Assessment is available here on the rrf website:
http://rrf.org.uk/pdf/Ruth%20Miskin%20N ... 20Test.pdf

cartwheel
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by cartwheel » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:12 am

And on the Phonics International website you can find another nonsense word assessment:
http://www.phonicsinternational.com/assessment.html
[Scroll down a bit on the webpage.]

volunteer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:30 pm

Thank you. I'm going to check all this stuff out late tonight as otherwise I won't have my baseline for when I started the voluntary tutoring. I've been using the assessment in the RWI phonics handbook which shows you where in the course to start the child. I think even after a few days the DC would be able to do more of it than he did on day one.

The thing that is puzzling me at the moment is that the RWI assessment test instructions (which are a mix of words and non-words which progressively add in more GPCs in the order in which they are taught in the course) are based on how many real or nonsense words the child can read "without blending". What exactly does this mean do you think?

Some children I help seem to sound the work out under their breath, or in their head, and then put it together into the whole word and pronounce it out loud correctly.

- How would you treat this for assessment purposes?
- What are the best ways to get to the point where the child reads without doing this?

One child I tutor does this with a very high percentage of the words he reads when reading out loud to me, so the reading is quite slow and laborious, but he knows a goodly number of GPCs. I'm fondly assuming that more and more reading will provide the practise needed for this to go away except on longer less familar words. Any tips anyone?

annwebster
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by annwebster » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:30 pm

Do please check with the school that this assessment is OK with them, particularly if you are using it for some kind of research project. Not only is it a matter of courtesy, some schools have strict policies about who assesses children and when. Most schools also have a code that volunteers are asked to adhere to. I would be most upset if a volunteer in my own school was using information gained through testing without permission. (parental permission is often needed too)

volunteer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:53 pm

Yes I will do. I presume the sort of assessments that one might just do as any ordinary part of teaching are OK without going for permission from both school and parent? e.g. finding out which GPCs the child knows.

chew8
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by chew8 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:01 pm

Volunteer wrote:The thing that is puzzling me at the moment is that the RWI assessment test instructions (which are a mix of words and non-words which progressively add in more GPCs in the order in which they are taught in the course) are based on how many real or nonsense words the child can read "without blending". What exactly does this mean do you think?
I've asked Ruth Miskin herself about this and she has sent a reply which she has said I can quote.
She wrote:I think I will need to clarify the wording.

The child has had practice in reading the real words using Fred Talk but can now read some of them without needing to sound out first - ie they can blend so quickly that the word reading is automatic.
For what it's worth, this has characterised the performance of the highest-performing children when I've observed the pre-trial version of the screening check and have administered it myself. In other words, they look as if they're reading the items, including non-words, 'at sight'. They get through all 40 in less than a minute and score full-marks or something very close to that.

Jenny C.

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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:46 pm

Thank you that is very helpful.

Some of the children I am thinking of do not make a noise before they read the word out, but they are clearly sounding it out and then stringing it all together in their heads before reading it, so there is a time delay before reading the word. In some children you can see their lips move during this process. Do you think then that there should be some kind of time limit expected on such a test ......... I guess it doesn't matter too much for correct placement on the RWI programme (or does it?), but in an assessment of blending skills does the time taken matter. Is there are time limit in the year 1 phonics test e.g. if there's a delay of more than 1 second before saying the word, mark it wrong?!!

volunteer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:54 pm

Got jammed there before I had finished.

I also wanted to ask what you all think is the best way to help a child speed up their blending process. I'm assuming that reading, reading, reading is the best way? I'm volunteering at the moment with a much younger age group than I am used to so this business of speed of blending seems to be more of an issue. I only have practical experience with my own children to go on.

My own method at home was to read interesting decodable material each day that contained GPCs the child was already familiar with, and then to add new GPCs as fast as the child could manage (one a day or less) and practice these in reading material. I didn't worry if the blending was slow at first, this came with practice. As long as the child could enjoy and understand the book I persisted with the "hardest" level the child could manage with perhaps a little help from me while reading to me - reminders of sounds etc as and when necessary. We would also re-read easier material from the past to build up speed.

Is this the right approach to speeding up blending to the point of instaneity that you describe the good readers can do with non-words in a reading test? Or is there some other way I have overlooked? I get the feeling that some practitioners would wait for the blending to speed up so it had the automaticity of sight words before pushing on with more GPCs. I'm an impatient person and can't tolerate that idea!

All thoughts welcome please.

yvonne meyer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by yvonne meyer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:08 pm

Slightly off-topic but ....

There are Australian norms for the DIBELS.
The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) used in an Australian context

Susan A. Galletly and Bruce Allen Knight
Central Queensland University

Abstract
This study explored use of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) subtests in an Australian context, as part of a larger study of reading accuracy achievement. Subjects were 398 Queensland (Qld) students in Years 1, 2, and 3, who were tested on DIBELS reading accuracy subtests at mid-year and end-year test points in 2005. Alignment with DIBELS USA benchmark cutpoints was poor, probably due to schooling differences, as Qld starts formal reading instruction a year later than the USA. In discussion with the DIBELS authors, it was decided to develop interim local Qld benchmarks from the data, to be used by schools and researchers until longitudinal research establishes more valid benchmark cutpoints. The characteristics and advantages of DIBELS are discussed.

http://www.ldaustralia.org/158.html

The Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy (DDOLL) website has a page which lists various tests & assessments and critiques them. The list of tests are mostly those used by psychologists but do include some common reading & spelling tests.

http://www.maccs.mq.edu.au/ddoll/r_tests.htm

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maizie
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by maizie » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:36 pm

I really wouldn't stress too much about how long it takes a child to go from sounding out and blending words to 'instant recognition'. Children vary hugely in the number of repetitions of sounding out and blending they need before a word goes into 'sight memory'. As long as they are reading the words accurately and understanding what they are reading they are 'reading' in the fullest sense of the word. It's the WL/ mixed methods people who obsess about the need for children to read by sight as quickly as possible ;-)

I know that we want to achieve fluency but it mustn't be achieved by giving the child the idea that we so desperately want them to read faster that they guess at words (because it is quicker) in order to please us by reading faster. It may seem painfully slow and laboured but if they need the repetitions, then they need them.

Of course, you can suggest to the child that they try doing it 'in their head', or under their breath, if you feel that the decoding and blending has become a habit rather than a necessity, but if it flusters them or confuses them you need to step back. I do really, though, think you will find that as the child becomes more automatic with their 'sound for symbol' responses and more practised at sounding out words the overt sounding out will diminish. If it doesn't then you might have a child with a processing or short term memory problem on your hands. In which case you may have to accept that this is the only way they will be able to read for quite a while. (As I said before, if they understand what they are reading they are reading.) But such children are not very common.

I would suggest that, if your pupil is able to read some words automatically, you keep a note of the ones he does overtly decode & blend, revisit them frequently and see how many repetitions it takes before he can read them 'on sight'. You could use this as part of your assessment. 'X only took 3 repetitions to get the word 'Y' secure'

Once he becomes more practised at decoding and blending, and you think he can cope with it, you could try improving fluency by setting him a 'challenge' of seeing how many words (which he has already read in text) he can read accurately in a minute (or, conversely, have a set number of words and time how long it takes to read them). Allow 3 or 4 goes at this as they usually improve each time and they enjoy knowing that they are improving (and the practice of word reading is good for them :smile:). Of course, if the child finds this stressful (a few do) discontinue it. This could also be a useful assessment tool.

I, of course, have no idea what is behind the low level of your pupil but if it's any reassurance, I have two Y7s at the moment who came to us 'reading' at L2. They have at least been taught *pure sounds, which makes decoding much easier, even if they don't have much automaticity. I have every confidence that they will improve with practice because they don't seem to have any significant difficulty with the 'mechanics' of reading.

*That's another imperative, make sure he uses pure sounds, it is amazing what a difference it makes to blending!

volunteer
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Re: Advice on simple way of measuring reading progress

Post by volunteer » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:04 am

Thank you that is really practical and helpful advice. He does have a particular disorder, but it is not anything which I notice has an effect during one to one tuition. I don't think there is a processing or short-term memory problem; I hope not. I think he will need a lot of repetition, for whatever reason, to achieve greater fluency. I don't know the reason why he is behind his peers, but I am really hoping with this daily one to one input using SP methods we'll make some significant headway together. My best guess is that he has missed out on taking in necessary information on learning to read during the school phonics sessions because of this other disorder which puts him at a disadvantage in a group situation.

I'm treading on delicate ground as the school is a bit of a mixed-methods one. It is one where I have been viewed as a bit of a trouble-maker by saying what I thought about how the teaching of reading in connection with my own children. I am not using the materials I was given for the volunteering ......... it's all a bit tricky. Hope this is a safe site for me.

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