Etiology of teacher knowledge and instructional skills for literacy at the upper elementary grades
The purpose of this research was to study the etiology of teacher knowledge about and factors that influence implementation of evidence-based reading and writing interventions at the upper elementary grade levels. Five data sources are used in this study: first, we used teacher surveys about their pre-service preparation on reading comprehension and literacy practices gathered during a recent cluster randomized control trial on a reading comprehension intervention conducted with 280 fourth and fifth-grade teachers and their classroom students. We also conducted focus group interviews with 43% of the teachers and observed 90% of the teachers once during the implementation years. For writing, we used data collected from 32 teachers during a 3-year design project for a teacher-led computer-supported writing intervention. We also collected data from groups of school administrators using structured interviews during both studies. Finally, we conducted an artifact review of school curricula and posted professional development (PD) plans. Our results show that in both reading comprehension and writing, all teachers reported not receiving sound evidence-based pre-service preparation and they were not currently employing any evidence-based approaches. Most teachers reported using the basal reading series with very little variation from the lesson scope and sequence. Teachers and administrators frequently reported that skills were being taught in isolation (e.g., skill of the week is summarizing) and that writing was neglected. The interviews showed very interesting patterns of curricula decision-making by school administrators and these findings were further confirmed through the artifact reviews. Based on these results, we recommend that any review of teacher practices focus also on administrator decision-making and school level factors that are driving what happens in the classrooms. The review showed that the teachers themselves do not feel empowered to learn and deliver evidence-based literacy practices and feel constrained by the system.
KeywordsElementary literacy Instruction Reading Teacher knowledge Writing
- Afflerbach, P., Blachowicz, C., Boyd, C.D., Izquierdo, E., Juel, C., Kame’enui, E., . . . Wixson, K. (2011a). Reading street (grade 5) (vol. 1). Glenview, Illinois: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Afflerbach, P., Blachowicz, C., Boyd, C.D., Izquierdo, E., Juel, C., Kame’enui, E., . . . Wixson, K. (2011b). Reading street (grade 5) (vol. 2). Glenview, Illinois: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Baumann, J.F., Chard, D.J., Cooks, J., Cooper, J.D., Gersten, R., Lipson, M., . . . Vogt, M. (2011). Texas journeys (grade 5). Orlando: HoughtonGoogle Scholar
- Binks-Cantrell, E., Washburn, E.K., Joshi, R. M., & Hougen, M. (2012). Peter effect in the preparation of reading teachers. Scientific Studies of Reading, 16, 526–536. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888438.2011.601434 .
- Beerwinkle, A.L., Wijekumar, K., Walpole, S., Aguis, R. (2018). An analysis of the ecological components within a text structure intervention, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 31, 2041–2064. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-018-9870-5
- Collins, J. (2018). Collins writing approach, Available at http://collinsed.com/free-resources/on July 1, 2017.
- Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R. C. Andree, A., Richardson, N., Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad. Published by the National Staff Development Council and The School Redesign Network at Stanford University as part of their multi-year study, The Status of Professional Development in the United States.Google Scholar
- Fleishman, E. B. (2008). Adolescent literacy: A national reading crisis. Scholastic Professional Paper. https://www.scholastic.com/dodea/pdfs/Paper_Literacy_Crisis.pdf
- Graham, S., Harris, K.R., & McKeown, D. (2015). The writing of students with LD and a meta-analysis of SRSD writing intervention studies: Redux. In L. Swanson, K.R. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of learning disabilities (2nd Edition). MY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Mason, L. H., & Friedlander, B. (2008). Powerful writing strategies for all students. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.Google Scholar
- Joshi, R. M., Binks, E., Graham, L., Ocker-Dean, E., Smith, D. L., & Boulware-Gooden, R. (2009). Do textbooks used in university reading education courses conform to the instructional recommendations of the National Reading Panel? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 458–463. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219409338739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McKenna, M., & Stahl, S. (2009). Assessment for reading instruction (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Meyer, B. J. F., Wijekumar, K., Middlemiss, W., Higley, K., Lei, P., Meier, C., & Spielvogel, J. (2010). Web-based tutoring of the structure strategy with or without elaborated feedback or choice for fifth- and seventh-grade readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 45, 62–92. https://doi.org/10.1598/RRQ.45.1.4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2015. Available at http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2015/#reading?grade=4 on April 27, 2017.
- National Reading Panel (U.S.) & National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.). (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.Google Scholar
- Wijekumar, K. Harris, K., Graham, S., & Meyer, B.J.F. (2016). We-write: A teacher and technology supported persuasive writing tutor for upper elementary students. In S. Crossley & D. S. McNamara (Eds.) Adaptive educational technologies for literacy instruction. New York, NY: Routledge Publishers – Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
- Wijekumar, K. K., Meyer, B. J. F., & Lei, P. (2012). Large-scale randomized control trial with 4th graders using intelligent tutoring of the structure strategy to improve nonfiction reading comprehension. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60, 986–1013. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-012-9263-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wijekumar, K. K, Meyer, B. J. F., Lei, P. (2017). Web-based text structure strategy instruction improves seventh graders’ content area reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000168 , 109, 741, 760.
- Wijekumar, K., Meyer, B. J. F., Lei, P., Lin, Y., Johnson, L. A., Spielvogel, J. A., & Cook, M. (2014). Multisite randomized controlled trial examining intelligent tutoring of structure strategy for 5th-grade readers. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 7, 331–357. https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2013.853333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar