Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 39–47 | Cite as

The Power of Verbal Scaffolding: “Showing” Beginning Readers How to Use Reading Strategies

  • Julie W. Ankrum
  • Maria T. Genest
  • Elizabeth G. Belcastro
Article

Abstract

A single case study design was employed to describe the nature of one teacher’s verbal scaffolding used during differentiated reading instruction in a kindergarten classroom. The teacher participant was selected from a group of exemplary teachers nominated from two school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania. Multiple sources of data, including transcripts of video-taped small group literacy lessons, were analyzed to glean insight regarding the nature of verbal scaffolding in classroom instruction. Transcripts were coded to identify salient patterns and themes related to lesson differentiation. The following categories were used to define the different types of talk used by the teacher to promote the independent use of strategies in reading: direct explanation, explicit modeling, invitations to participate, clarification, verification, and telling. Excerpts from transcripts are provided to illustrate examples of the different verbal scaffolds observed during the study. The teacher participant in this case study provides one example of how intentional verbal scaffolding can be used in early literacy instruction. Findings suggest this may have positive implications for student literacy growth. Furthermore, this study offers rich descriptions of verbal scaffolding and quality examples of differentiated instruction that can support pre-service teachers and in-service teachers as they plan for effective literacy instruction.

Keywords

Early childhood Reading instruction Literacy Differentiation Scaffolding Small group instruction 

References

  1. Ankrum, J. W. (2006). Differentiated reading instruction in one exemplary teacher’s classroom: A case study (Doctoral dissertation). University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database (UMI No. 3250978).Google Scholar
  2. Ankrum, J. W., & Bean, R. (2008). Differentiated reading instruction: What and how. Reading Horizons, 48(2), 133–146.Google Scholar
  3. Ankrum, J. W., Morewood, A. L., Bean, R., & Genest, M. (2008). Teacher talk: A close-up look at verbal scaffolds. Michigan Reading Journal, 40(3), 6–12.Google Scholar
  4. Cazden, C. (1988). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, K. F. (2004). What can I say besides “sound it out”? Coaching word recognition in beginning reading. The Reading Teacher, 57(5), 440–449.Google Scholar
  6. Dennen, V. P. (2004). Cognitive apprenticeship in educational practice: Research on scaffolding, mentoring, and coaching as instructional strategies. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed., pp. 813–828). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Duke, N. K., & Pearson, P. D. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In A. E. Farstup & S. J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 205–242). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
  8. Hogan, K., & Pressley, M. (1997). Scaffolding student learning: Instructional approaches and issues. Cambridge, MA: Brookline.Google Scholar
  9. Johnston, P. H. (2004). Choice words: How our language affects children’s learning. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Maloch, B. (2002). Scaffolding student talk: One teacher’s role in literature discussion groups. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(1), 94–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mercer, N. (1995). The guided construction of knowledge. Bristol, PA: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  12. Morrow, L. M. (2004). Developmentally appropriate practices in early literacy instruction. The Reading Teacher, 58(1), 88–89.Google Scholar
  13. Morrow, L. M. (2011). Developing effective reading curricula for beginning readers and the primary grades. In T. V. Rasinski (Ed.), Rebuilding the foundation: Effective reading instruction for 21 st century literacy (pp. 89–112). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.Google Scholar
  14. Parsons, S. (2010). Adaptive teaching: A case study of one third-grade teacher’s literacy instruction. In S. Szabo, T. Morrison, L. Martin, M. Boggs, & L. Raine (Eds.), Building literacy communities: The 32 nd yearbook of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers (pp. 135–147). Commerce, TX: ALER.Google Scholar
  15. Pentimonti, J. M., & Justice, L. M. (2010). Teachers’ use of scaffolding strategies during read alouds in the preschool classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37, 241–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pressley, M., Allington, R. L., Wharton-McDonald, R., Block, C. C., & Morrow, L. M. (2001). Learning to read: Lessons from exemplary first-grade classrooms. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. Rodgers, E. M. (2004). Interactions that scaffold reading performance. Journal of Literacy Research, 36(4), 501–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Roehler, L. R., & Cantlon, D. J. (1997). Scaffolding: A powerful tool in social constructivist classrooms. In K. Hogan & M. Pressley (Eds.), Scaffolding student learning: Instructional approaches and issues (pp. 6–42). Cambridge, MA: Brookline.Google Scholar
  19. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory and procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Strickland, D. (1998). Teaching phonics today: A primer for educators. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
  21. Taylor, B. M., & Pearson, P. D. (2000). The CIERA school change classroom observation scheme. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  22. Taylor, B. M., Pearson, P. D., Peterson, D., & Rodriguez, M. C. (2003). Reading growth in high-poverty classrooms: The influence of teacher practices that encourage cognitive engagement in literacy learning. Elementary School Journal, 104(1), 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tracey, D. H., & Morrow, L. M. (2006). Lenses on reading: An introduction to theories and models. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  24. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Wertsch, J. V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wozniak, R. H. (1980). Theory, practice, and the “Zone of Proximal Development” in Soviet psychoeducational research. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 5, 175–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie W. Ankrum
    • 1
  • Maria T. Genest
    • 2
  • Elizabeth G. Belcastro
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh at JohnstownJohnstownUSA
  2. 2.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Geneva CollegeBeaver FallsUSA

Personalised recommendations