As educators, it’s our business to work toward profitable gains in our students’ learning by being systematic when designing instructional practices. The Council for Exceptional Children (2019) informs us that systematic instruction involves what to teach, as well as, when to teach it. This not only includes a logical sequencing of literacy instruction in terms of building skills onto others; it also encompasses carefully planned routines and strategies, such as delivering lessons with consistent procedures and gradual release of responsibility (Moats & Tolman, 2019). The key is to deliver systematic instruction toward specific learning goals, which is also known as High Leverage Practice 12 or HLP12 (CEC, 2019).
Begin by assessing.
Step 1: Select an appropriate assessment and administer it. As an example, if a running record indicates a student is not meeting grade-level benchmarks, further screening related to phonemic awareness and nonsense word recognition may be needed.
Identify specific needs.
Step 2: Analyze assessment results beyond the score. For instance, a spelling test often yields a score, such as 8/10 words correct; however, it is imperative to determine which errors are being made in order to target learning goals and plan effective instruction.
Plan and teach!
Step 3: Plan individualized instruction and provide interventions and/or specially designed instruction. Consider strategies, amount of instruction and instructional formats. In order to help keep instruction organized, it can be helpful to use a phonics program with a consistent scope and sequence while moving through a curriculum once students master content (Lemons, Allor, Al Otaiba, & LeJeune, 2016). With that being said, ongoing progress monitoring is of vital importance.
Download the Assessment-Driven Reading Instruction Chart to help determine risk and target need for intensive intervention.
Print copies of informal assessments from Cool Tools to identify the specific needs of your struggling readers.
Checkout lesson materials that provide a scope and sequence for phonics-based instruction from the T-TAC ODU library:
- Phonics for Reading (Levels 1-3)
- Recipe for Reading
- Teaching Phonics & Word Study in the Intermediate Grades
Council for Exceptional Children. (2019). High leverage practices for inclusive classrooms. New York, NY: Routledge.
Lemons, C. J., Allor, J.H., Al Otaiba, S., & LeJeune, L.M. (2016). 10 research-based tips for enhancing literacy instruction for students with intellectual disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 49(1), 18-30.
Moats, L. M., & Tolman, C. A. (2019). LETRS (3rd edition). Dallas, TX: Voyager Sopris Learning.