Learning Together

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teachers in grades K-5, participated in the study by contributing to a secure online blog over a nine month period. They also participated in several focus group ...

Learning Together: Putting Word Study Instruction into Practice KAREN CARPENTER, KRISTIN GEHSMANN, REGINA SMITH, DONALD BEAR, AND SHANE TEMPLETON

just have a great time doing this because I feel that the children are getting so much more out of it. The kids are actively engaged and are doing something other than spinning their wheels. They are all, when you are doing this stuff, they are all engaged. It is great! It is all really great!"

"One of the challenges that I faced was finding enough time in my schedule to meet with all my groups. Another difficulty [I experienced j was that I felt like the students working on lower levels required more specialized instruction than I was prepared to give them."

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These quotes exemplify the complexities of changing one's instructional practice - the excitement that comes with learning something new, contrasted with the realistic challenges of

Three years earlier,

sustained implementation. These voices were just two among a group of 100 educators who participated in a district-wide implementation of developmental word study.

this seemingly

Middletown

School District (all names are pseudonyms) is a typical school

successful middle class

district in terms of its size, socio-economic composition, and teacher student ratios (Gehsmann, Bear, Carpenter, Smith, & Templeton, 2008). While Middletown's demographics are comparable to the average school district in the U.S., their approach to professional development was anything but typical.

school district was on the cusp of being

Their story provides great insight into the process of school improvement.

Background Information We met the staff of Middletown School District at the beginning of the 2005 - 2006 school year. At that time, the

labeled "in need of improvement" by its state department

district was beginning its third year of implementing a strategic plan to improve student achievement in literacy. Three years

of education.

earlier, this seemingly successful middle class school district was on the cusp of being labeled "in need of improvement" by its state department of education. Such a label had the potential to

administrators with ongoing job-embedded professional

erode the community's trust in its schools, a scenario that is

development in the form of collaborative planning, data

becoming all too familiar in schools and districts across the

analysis, coaching, and model demonstration lessons.

country. In August of 2005, two members of our research team Realizing that learning is deeper and broader when teachers

visited Middletown as invited presenters on word study. During

take on the reform effort as their own (Au, Raphael, & Mooney,

two days of in-service, teachers and administrators were

2008), the district's administrative team created a stable

introduced to the developmental model associated with word

infrastructure to support ongoing professional development.

study, the principles of word study instruction, and various

Teachers were provided release time to attend in-services and

management techniques. Teachers were supplied with a core

collaborate with their colleagues. Additionally, a part-time

text on word study and supplemental word study materials. The

literacy consultant was hired to provide teachers and

in-service was followed up in mid-October when the district's

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We also share advice for educators who wish to bring word study to their classrooms, school, or district. literacy consultant met with teachers in grade level groups for a

The resulting case study highlights our observations and

half day to review fall assessment data and plan small group

lessons learned from Middletown's professional development

instruction. In January of 2006, two members of our research

initiative. We also share advice for educators who wish to bring

team returned to Middletown to provide two additional days of

word study to their classrooms, school, or district. To begin, we

in-service, including in-classroom demonstration lessons. The

provide an overview of word study instruction.

presenters also addressed the challenges teachers were experiencing with classroom management and their attempts to differentiate instruction.

What is Word Study? Word study is an approach to teaching phonics, vocabulary,

By mid January of 2006, our roles shifted and we began to

and spelling. It is based on nearly four decades of research on

study Middletown's implementation of word study. We

orthographic (or spelling) development. Examining spelling

launched a formal research study that aimed to describe and

development is crucial because orthographic knowledge

analyze their approach to professional development, literacy

underlies a student's ability to learn to read and spell.

instruction, and student achievement in literacy (see Gehsmann

Importantly, researchers have documented a reciprocal

et al., 2008). We collected a wide range of data, including

relationship between reading and spelling (Ehri, 1997, 2006;

achievement data in reading, spelling and vocabulary from

Ellis, 1997; Henderson, 1990; Mehta, Foorman, Branum-

approximately 1,200 students in grades K-8. We also learned

Martin, 8¿ Taylor, 2005; Treiman, 2006). This relationship is

about the change process from the inside-out through teachers'

sometimes referred to as the synchrony of literacy development

reflections on implementing word study in their classrooms.

(Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnston, 2008).

Twelve teachers, representing about 25% of the classroom teachers in grades K-5, participated in the study by contributing

Three Layers and Five Stages

to a secure online blog over a nine month period. They also

Every orthography (or spelling system) has a unique

participated in several focus group meetings during the same

layering (Bear et al., 2008; Shen, 2000). English orthography

time frame. Additionally, members' of the research team

has three layers: alphabet (sound), pattern, and meaning (Bear

observed a dozen demonstration lessons and many teachers'

& Templeton, 2000; Henderson, 1990). Students uncover these

word study blocks to see professional development and word

layers with each new word or character they learn to read or

study instruction in action.

write. As a complement to the three layers of orthography, five

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stages of orthographic development are described among

as COTE, the student is experimenting with long vowel

learners in all grades and in several languages (Bear, Heknan,

patterns. These spelling errors actually provide insight into the

Invernizzi, & Templeton, 2006; Templeton & Bear, 1992;

student s developmental stage and reveal his or her instructional

Henderson, 1990) (see Figure I). Research confirms that

level of spelling. Because there is such a strong correlation

students of all ages, including those with learning difficulties

between spelling and reading achievement, knowing a students

and even brain injuries, progress through these same stages of

instructional level in spelling can help predict his or her reading

development (Henderson & Beers, 1980; Henderson, 1990;

level and vice versa.

Invernizzi & Worthy, 1989). After mastering the most common spelling patterns, the student begins to discover that groupings of certain letters represent meaning units: prefixes, suffixes, base words and roots. By scaffolding these learning experiences, the student also learns that variations in English spelling are often related to a word's meaning, thus uncovering the meaning layer. Mature readers carefully orchestrate their understanding of the three layers of English orthography when they read, write, and speak.

Word Study Instruction An important instructional technique in word study is sorting. Teachers use picture and word sorts to highlight To understand the stages of development with greater clarity, let us consider the habits of three spellers along the developmental continuum. For example, when a letter name speller matches the letters of "mop" to the sounds she hears and feels, she is demonstrating knowledge of the alphabetic layer. Establishing one-to-one correspondence between phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters) is a critical milestone in this stage of development.

contrasts of sound, pattern, and/or meaning. These sorts are based on the orthographic features emphasized in a given stage of development (e.g., short vowels, digraphs and blends, long vowels, etc.). For example, a group of students in the syllables and affixes stage explore the spelling of words with the inflectional ending —ing. The teacher intentionally selects words such as batting, shopping, baking, skating, biting, and bragging for the students to explore. As the students sort and categorize these words, they discover that the words containing short

After considerable practice with CVC closed syllable words such as hat and blend, the young speller discovers that long vowel sounds can be spelled using patterns, as in the words "cake" and

vowels have a double consonant at the syllable juncture (e.g., shopping), whereas words that contain a long vowel have a single consonant at the juncture (e.g., haking).

"ram" or "rope" and "snow." Students' understanding of the pattern layer is revealed through their attempts with reading and

After the sort is completed, the teacher engages the

writing. For example, when a student sipe\lsfake as FAIK, or coat students in conversation and they share their initial discoveries

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As students progress through the five stages of spelling, teachers use their knowledge of the three layers of orthography to guide their students' development.

and hypotheses about these patterns. To further facilitate their

continuum, assessment, and instruction (Gehsmann, 2008a).

understanding, the teacher draws the students' attention to the

Effective word study instruction depends upon teachers who are

spelling patterns in the first syllable of the words and asks the

thoughtful and informed decision makers. Experts widely agree

students if they notice the vowel sounds and where the words

that the single most important factor in student achievement is

are divided as she reads and writes each word, segmenting the

the teacher (Au, Raphael, & Mooney, 2008; Gehsmann &

words into syllables as she writes them. The students then find

Woodside-Jiron,

2005; Darling-Hammond,

2000). As

Darling-Hammond explains, "the effects of well-prepared that the words in the first category (batting, shopping, and bragging) follow a closed syllable junction pattern (VCCV) and the

teachers on student achievement can be stronger than the

words in the second category (baking, skating, and biting) follow aninfluences of student background factors, such as poverty, open syllable junction pattern (VCV). The teacher extends this

language background, and minority status" (p. 38). Developing

lesson by finding opportunities for the students to generalize

effective teachers is the cornerstone of all effective reform

this concept beyond isolated, individual examples to a larger

efforts.

corpus of words.

Recent research highlights several key factors that

Word study provides teachers with a framework for

contribute to effective school change (Au & Mooney, 2008;

understanding the instructional needs of students. As students

Gehsmann & Woodside-Jiron, 2005). Among these factors is

progress through the five stages of spelling, teachers use their

the importance of creating a collaborative school culture where

knowledge of the three layers of orthography to guide their

teachers are considered leaders and work together, not

students' development. Teachers match instruction to the

individually, but collectively to critically examine current

spelling stage by selecting appropriate words and activities and

practices and research better alternatives (Fullan, 2001). It is

engage students in the exploration of spelling features.

through these collaborative school cultures that teachers strengthen their conceptual understanding of both pedagogy

Professional Development and Word Study Teaching teachers about word study requires that they understand the structure of language, the developmental

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and content knowledge (Darling-Hammond, 2000) and develop the skills and confidence necessary to overcome the challenges of implementing new practice.

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Although professional development is believed to be

school communities that embraced collaboration and reflective

critical in building teacher capacity, there are few studies that

practice as vehicles for change. The first step in this change

have

professional

process occurred when the teachers learned how to administer,

development and word study instruction. The studies that are

score, and interpret the spelling inventories. After spending time

available highlight the challenges of implementation, namely

scoring and analyzing the results of the inventories, the teachers

managing small group instruction and teachers' lack of

realized that their current instructional practices, such as one

knowledge about English orthography (Johnston, 2001; Gill &

spelling list for all of the students in the classroom, were not

Scharer, 1996). Hayes (2006) described similar results after

appropriate given the wide range of levels found in each

working with primary grade teachers for an entire school year.

classroom. More importantly, the teachers discovered that to

She wrote, "Although the teachers were experienced with word

fully understand the spelling behaviors of a student, they had to

study, they lacked the underlying conceptual understanding of

move beyond the number of words correct to examining

sound, pattern, and meaning that forms the foundation of word

students' misspellings for insight into their development.

study" (p. 6). These studies exemplify the need for developing

Developing perspective took a great deal of time and coaching.

a professional development framework that addresses both the

To highlight this shift, we share a story from one of our visits.

examined

the relationship

between

theoretical underpinnings of word study and the pedagogical approach.

A group of primary teachers were discussing the results of a current spelling inventory and were perplexed over a child's spelling of FUEN for fan. Many of the teachers in the group

Observations

attributed this to the child experimenting with the long vowel

The Middletown case study highlights the many facets of

marker found in the within word pattern stage. However, the

school change. Although most teachers acknowledged the need

literacy consultant explained that she had observed the child as

to examine their practice, developing the working knowledge

he spelled the word and discovered he was phonetically spelling

necessary to implement and sustain effective word study

each consonant, FU for /f/ and EN for / n / . The consultant

instruction was often a difficult and complex process. We share

suggested that this child might benefit from phonemic

with you some of these complexities by reporting what we

segmentation activities. Such activities would require the child

observed from the perspective of "outsiders" and then from the

to isolate the constituent sounds of each word, thereby allowing

perspective of the teachers in our focus group — the "inside-

the teacher to coach the child to eliminate the extra schwa sound

out" perspective.

he was adding to some of the consonants. It was through discussions like these that we observed a marked shift in

Outside-In From the beginning, we quickly realized the benefits of the districts careful planning and implementation of their literacy

teachers' perceptions of assessment and instruction. As a result of these experiences, the teachers were able to answer the question, "Why are we doing this?" for themselves.

initiative. The professional development framework provided teachers and administrators the support necessary to cultivate

We

observed

the district's

commitment

to

collaborative learning reflected throughout each of the

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professional development experiences we observed. For

of the cycle were more guarded and cautious in their remarks

instance, attendance was required of both teachers and

during the pre- and post- conferences, often focusing on

administrators during the in-services and demonstration

student behavior rather than the instructional implications of

lessons. This requirement created some initial tension among

that behavior. Teachers who were more experienced with

the faculty. However, by the end of the first year, teachers

demonstration lessons readily engaged in these conversations.

pointed to this practice as one of the strengths of their

They were more able to talk about instruction using precise

approach. The professional development framework was also

language because they, as a school community, had already

designed to intentionally promote the active construction of

established a common language to describe literacy instruction

knowledge by all participants. One of the best examples of this

and development. It became clear that observation and reflective

was the demonstration lessons.

thinking about instruction are not simple processes. Rather, they may be the result of deep study and having ample

During

each

demonstration

lesson,

teachers and

opportunities to observe and discuss best practice in action.

administrators reflected upon and analyzed the lessons by recording any thoughts, observations, questions, and surprises

It is also important to note that although the frequent

they had during the lesson. They shared these thoughts and

examination of student achievement data heightened the

observations in a debriefing conference which was facilitated by

teachers' awareness of students' spelling and reading levels,

the presenter of the model lesson. It was during these

teachers tended to interpret the spelling data rather

discussions that we noticed a difference in the way the teachers

conservatively. They often focused too narrowly on specific

in their second year of using demonstration lessons talked

orthographic features within a given stage rather than

about their observations. For example, teachers in the first year

considering the stage in a holistic way. This resulted in the formation of up to as many as seven word study groups in one classroom.

Teachers also missed opportunities to group

students according to both their reading and spelling levels. Even though our data indicated a strong correlation between

It became clear that

students' reading and spelling levels (Gehsmann et al., 2008), the teachers had difficulty seeing this relationship. Instead of

observation and reflective

meeting with three or four groups of students for both reading and spelling instruction, many teachers were trying to meet with

thinking about instruction

as many reading groups as spelling groups within a ninetyminute literacy block. As a result, teachers became frustrated

are not simple processes.

with trying to manage the various groups and taught less efficiently because their attention to specific orthographic features limited their ability to place students in the broader context of overall literacy achievement.

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Within this broad category, we found that teachers were mainly concerned with their level of understanding of the content, the pressure of time and curriculum demands, and lesson planning challenges. Inside-Out

purposeful instruction, one of their colleagues addressed the

The blog entries and focus group transcripts captured the

issue by sharing her routine for preparing a new lesson. She

teachers' perspectives on implementing word study from the

explained that she thoroughly reads the section of the chapter

inside of their schools and classrooms. We refer to this as the

that describes the particular orthographic feature being studied

view from the inside-out. These data revealed concerns about

(e.g., a long vowel pattern) and highlights and tabs the key

the organization and management of word study instruction.

information in the chapter. She then chooses her sort and

Within this broad category, we found that teachers were mainly

actually sorts the words herself While she sorts the words, she

concerned with their level of understanding of the content, the

makes notes of any words her students may have difficulty with

pressure of time and curriculum demands, and lesson planning

and writes questions or prompts that might help the students

challenges. Consider the words of one teacher, "I think that one

think about these words. Next, she creates her plan and

of the management pieces for me personally, is how well I know

rehearses the plan in her mind. Once she feels comfortable with

the subject matter. That makes all the difference in the world."

the plan, she looks for games and activities that reinforce the

She continued:

concepts in her sorts.

"So for me [knowledge] is a management concern because when I feel comfortable and I feel good about what I am able to do with the kids, it's so smooth in here. And if I get to a place where I am suddenly feeling (pause) [unsure], it's chaos." (emphasis original) This teacher recognizes that any gap in her background knowledge may limit her ability to effectively plan and manage the learning environment.

Her colleagues in the focus group

responded quite favorably to this suggestion, many saying that they would immediately begin to use this process. This is a wonderfiil example of the power of the learning community in Middletown School District. We observed and analyzed many conversations like this throughout the schools and each time we did, we found ourselves asking, "How do teachers continue to persevere when they are continually asked to do more?" For the teachers of Middletown, the answers were simple: I) they had come to

Although many of the teachers expressed concern with

believe that word study was the best approach for their students;

understanding the developmental model well enough to provide

and 2) the district's professional development model provided

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them with time to collaborate and learn in ways they had not

and lessons, as well as attending demonstration lessons together.

done before.

These professional development activities helped teachers

All assessment measures indicated that the students of Middletown made significant gains in their first year of implementation (see Table I for spelling gains). The teachers of

develop their capacity to differentiate instruction and help students succeed. For one teacher, seeing the lessons modeled was essential for her development.

Middletown saw the efficacy of word study not only in the

"I think that observing people doing it is very helpful.

assessment data, but also through their daily observations and

Materials are helpful, they have their place. But, the actual

interactions with students. The essence of this was captured in

implementation of it and seeing it implemented and

this teacher's comment:

managed... Teachers learn best from each other and having the opportunity to watch others actually implement it and

"The class, as a whole, made wonderful progress this year in

manage it is very helpful."

word study, as pointed out by the PSI [Primary Spelling

For another teacher, the support of her coach was

Inventory] data and samples of children's writing. The students began to question why words were spelled a certain

instrumental:

way and were also transferring what they were learning in

"It was so nice to have a reading coach, a literacy coach, and

word study to their independent reading and writing tasks."

she was just there for the three of us in second and third

As students began to see the value in learning about words,

grade. She was always bringing things into the classroom

their teachers were reinforced in their efforts. The teachers

and modeling. She would come in and observe and say

persevered through the challenging aspects of implementation

okay, total disaster, what went wrong, or... So, it was nice

because they valued the learning that was occurring in their

to have somebody there that was just there to support us

classrooms.

teachers."

Teachers reported that their success was also attributable to

The structures and support within the professional development

the support they received from the district and each other.

framework encouraged teachers to reflect on their practices and

Teachers supported each other's learning by sharing materials

beliefs and fostered a culture where teachers felt safe to change.

Table 1. Total Points Scores on Primary, Elementary, Intermediate, and Upper Level Spelling Inventories

Total Points Fall Winter Spring

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Primary Spelling Inventory Grades 1 and 2 Points Possible=82 n=254 Standard Mean Deviation 17.89 37.98 17.865 47.67 16.513 57.39

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Elementary Spelling Inventory Grade 3 Points Possible=78 n=133 Standard Mean Deviation 16.281 43.81 13.577 54.56 13.205 58.87

Intermediate Spelling Inventory Grades 4 and 5 Points Possible=75 n=185 Standard Mean Deviation 17.607 51.24 16.131 56.42 15.33 60.34

Upper Level Spelling Inventory Grades 6, 7, and 8 Points Possible=126 n=460 Standard Mean Deviation 86.52 24.192 91 25.066 97.97 33.869

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A Professional Development Framework

Theory to Practice

From our work in Middletown, we realized that

After assessing the students, the teachers considered how to

professional development in word study is effective when it

integrate word study into their instructional day and how to

focuses on three key characteristics: assessment, theory into

apply what they were learning in practical ways. In most cases,

action, and on-going support.

students' reading levels and word study levels matched. Using this synchrony of development to their advantage, a ftv/

Assessment

teachers realized they could integrate word study into the

As reported by the teachers, it was the results of the spelling inventories that provided them with the motivation necessary to reflect on their current instructional practices. The spelling inventories and feature guides helped teachers understand their students' instructional levels, as well as document the progress their students were making in spelling development. After analyzing students' spelling of a 20- to 25word inventory, the teachers were ready to think about differentiated groups. The results provided a concrete view of the range of spellers in each classroom (see Figure 2) and helped teachers see that a lot can be learned from looking at students' spelling attempts. Improvements in students'

guided reading groups already in place. In this case, word study instruction usually took place during the first part of the group's allotted time, before the students began reading. This mini lesson was used to introduce the students to their weekly sort. The teacher could then make natural connections between the orthographic features being studied and students' reading instruction. However, most of the teachers felt more comfortable with a separate word study "time." In this situation, word study groups were larger than in the previous example. Yet, in both cases, teachers created a weekly routine for word study instruction with most teachers introducing new sorts on Mondays.

achievement, as well as their transfer of skills to authentic reading and writing tasks, motivated teachers to keep learning.

Once students were grouped and a method for delivering instruction had been selected, the next step was to gather the

School: Middletown

Grade: 3

Date: September

1. Taylor . Kallie i. Jorge .Dean 6. Jeremy Ryan Highlight for Instruction* • Highlight students who miss more than 2 on a particular feature; they will benefit from more instruction in that area.

25

86

23

82

20

74 43

Figure 2. Sample class composite

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necessary materials. The most important task was to identify the sorts and extension activities. These sorts were based on students' instructional needs identified by the assessments. For example, the sorts and activities might look like this: On Mondays, each group begins by cutting out and completing a

On Mondays, each

closed sort where they attempt to sort the words by features or patterns and then record the sort in their word study notebooks.

group begins by

The teacher meets with each group, discussing the sort, and engaging students in a discussion about the features and patterns being studied. On Tuesdays, the students engage in

cutting out and

word hunts. During this time, each group searches through familiar text looking for examples of words with spelling

completing a closed sort

patterns that are the same as the ones they are studying for the week — the letter name group searches for words with short a and short o, the within word pattern group searches for words

where they attempt to

with the long a sound and the aCe, ai, or ay spelling patterns, and the syllables and affixes group searching for words with —ed

sort the words by

endings, attempting to discern whether you drop an "e," double a consonant, or do nothing when adding the —ed to those words. Extension activities throughout the remainder of the

features or patterns

week connect to authentic reading and writing tasks (see Bear et al., 2008 for sample schedules and activities).

and then record the

The teachers in Middletown were able to make instructional decisions such as these because their professional

sort in their word

development focused on the practical application of theory. Once the teachers acquired the foundational knowledge to provide word study instruction, they were encouraged to choose

study notebooks.

the instructional procedures that made the most sense for them in their classrooms.

On-Going Support The district leaders realized that they would need a sustained and purposeful support system for the teachers of

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The variety of professional development opportunities provided the teachers with the time necessary to engage in reflective practice.

Middletown to change their practice. For them, this support

initiative. Although we encountered some teacher resistance, the

started in the spring prior to the implementation year when

majority of the teachers were able to "get on board" because of

they learned how to administer and score spelling assessments.

the infrastructure that was put in place by district and school

Next, they attended in-services in August and January where

leaders. Understanding that everyone was an important

they learned more about the developmental model and raised

stakeholder responsible for fulfilling particular roles and

important questions and concerns about implementation.

responsibilities was integral to the success of this initiative.

Through these in-services, teachers continued to reflect and revise their understandings of pedagogy as they delved deeper into the theory underlying word study. Lastly, the literacy consultant met regularly with the each grade level to discuss assessment results, model lessons, and provide the teachers with a forum to discuss experiences, share materials and resources, express concerns and challenges, and celebrate successes. The variety of professional development opportunities provided the teachers with the time necessary to engage in reflective practice. In addition to time being a crucial aspect for teachers to learn, plan, and share, we realized one year is not enough time for the teachers to fully understand the finer points of word study.

One of the most important roles for the teachers and administrators was that of learner. This was observed through their regular sharing of ideas and resources, and collaborative problem-solving. As a result of their training and collaboration, teachers reported an increased ability to administer, score, and interpret the results of the spelling inventories and differentiate instruction based on these results. They also reported being better prepared to plan and implement instruction based on the individual literacy needs of their students. They indicated that their improvements were directly related to their level of knowledge of a particular stage and/or orthographic feature. The more knowledge they had, the more confident they were in creating and implementing lessons. This led teachers to

Discussion

understand that growth and change are processes that require

From this investigation, we learned that the majority of

continuous nurturance and reflection. As the teachers analyzed

teachers in Middletown supported their district's literacy

their teaching, they also were able to recognize the positive

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15

effects they were having on student engagement, achievement and transference. This motivated them to keep learning. As we implement initiatives that require change, we have to

Teachers carefully replicate the modeled

remind ourselves that although faculty and staff may initially embrace new learning, they also approach it with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. This is why shared accountability, expert training, and the support of a sustained professional development effort are so vital to the success of

lessons and follow

initiatives designed to improve teachers' instruction and student achievement in literacy.

word study materials Concluding Thoughts

step-by-step - the same

Teachers, just like students, need ample opportunities to question, experiment, and explore new learning. At the

way we try to make

beginning of an initiative, new learning is mostly imitative in nature. Teachers carefiilly replicate the modeled lessons and

Grandma's favorite pie.

follow word study materials step-by-step — the same way we try to make Grandma's favorite pie. Where Grandma bakes by "the

Where Grandma bakes

feel," adding a pinch of this and a pinch of that, we carefully measure each ingredient. With repeated success, we feel

by "the feel/' adding

confident enough to try it Grandma's way, by allowing the taste and texture of the filling to determine our next steps. Changing

a pinch of this and a pinch of that,

our instructional practice requires the same amount of patience and practice that it takes to successfully bake Grandma's pie. To significantly improve student achievement, teachers need school environments that encourage new learning and affirm their efforts along the way.

we carefully measure REFERENCES

each ingredient.

Au, K., Raphael, T. E., & Mooney, K. (2008). Improving reading achievement in elementary schools: Guiding change in a time of standards. In S. B. Wepner & D. S. Strickland (Eds.), The administration and supervision of reading

programs (pp. 71-89). NY: Teachers College Press.

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Bear, D.R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. ( 2 0 0 8 ) . Words their way: Spelling, phonics and vocahulary (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Gehsmann, K., & Woodside-Jiron, H. (2005). Becoming more effective in the age of accountability: A high-poverty school narrows the literacy achievement gap. In B. Maloch, J.V Hoffman, D.L. Schauert, C M . Fairbanks, &

Bear, D.R., Helman, L., Invernizzi, M., & Templeton, S.

J. W o r t h y (Eds.), 34th yearbook of the National Reading

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Johnston, F. (2001). Exploring classroom teachers' spelling

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

practices and beliefs. Reading Research and Instruction, 40,

Karen Carpenter is an instructional coach for Elko County School District

143-156.

and a doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Reno. She may be contacted at [email protected] Kristin Gehsmann is a Professor of

Mehta, P., Foorman, B.R., Branum-Martin, L., & Taylor, W.P.

Education and Director of the M.Ed. Reading Program at Saint Michael's

(2005) Literacy as a unidimensional multilevel construct:

College in Colchester, VT. She may be contacted at kgehsmann(^mcvt.edu.

Validation, sources of influence, and implications in a

Regina Smith is an instructor and doctoral student at the University of

longitudmal study in grades I to 4. Scientific Studies of

Nevada, Reno and may be reached at resmitbO I @unr.edu. Donald Bear is

Reading, 9,

Director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Center for Learning and Literacy in

85-116.

the Department of Educational Specialties, College of Education at the Templeton, S., & Bear, D.R. (Eds.). (1992). Development of

University of Nevada, Reno. He may be contacted at [email protected] Shane

orthographic knowledge and the foundations of literacy: A memorial

Templeton is Foundation Professor of Literacy Studies at the University of

Festschrififor Edmund H. Henderson. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence

Nevada, Reno. He may be contacted at [email protected]

Erlbaum Associates. Treiman, R. (2006). Knowledge about letters as a foundation for" reading and spelling. In. R.M. Joshi Ô6 P.G. Aaron (Eds.), Handbook of orthography and literacy (pp. 5 8 1 - 6 0 0 ) . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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THE CALIFORNIA READER

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