Alignment Guide Supplemental Educational Services Featuring ReadAbout

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1 Alignment Guide Supplemental Educational Services Featuring ReadAbout The following chart details how ReadAbout can support the development of a Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program. The criteria are drawn from the federal Non-Regulatory Final Guidance (August 22, 2003). 1. Shows a demonstrated record of effectiveness in improving student academic achievement ReadAbout s powerful, research-based technology personalizes instruction, making it easier to manage a mixed ability classroom. Electronic reports identify students who are struggling and those who are succeeding, so teachers can differentiate small-group instruction as appropriate. ReadAbout supports learning for all students, including those who are low-achieving or at risk of not meeting the State s academic standards. Far-below-level readers receive extra scaffolding and practice through multiple exposures to words, leveled text, and coaching in the tutorial areas of the program. They benefit from anchored instruction, rereading, repairing, and other strategies that help them improve their comprehension and vocabulary skills. Below-level readers receive vocabulary scaffolding through supported words and idioms in the text. ReadAbout supplies them with skill-building comprehension strategies, such as setting a purpose, questioning, and summarizing. Students with disabilities benefit from: o Closed-captioned anchor videos o Text and voice-over support for all key instruction throughout the software o Read aloud option with phrase-by-phrase highlighting for all passages English-Language Learners receive explicit support at each of the levels detailed above. Other features that help them experience success include: o Focused instruction on high-utility words, cognates, and idioms o Spanish translations of Smart Words, vocabulary definitions, captions, anchor videos introductions, and topic introductions o Specific strategies for English-language learners on every Topic Planner card July

2 Shows a demonstrated record of effectiveness in improving student academic achievement On-level readers gain real-world experience with nonfiction text using the Text Type Tutor. Supported words provide them with additional opportunities to increase their vocabulary, and they learn strategic comprehension skills. Above-level readers experience more challenging levels of text as they progress beyond reading proficiency. Thought-provoking questions inspire students to connect the topic they are studying to their own lives. Motivating activities with challenging words encourage them to move beyond word mastery. ReadAbout was selected to participate in a U.S. Department of Education Gold Standard study that will measure the efficacy of whole-class implementation of reading comprehension programs for expository text. ReadAbout was implemented in 54 classrooms in 17 schools as part of a three-year study. Mathematica Policy Research, the independent evaluator for the study, expects to report its findings in the fall of To request a copy of the study once it is published, please contact your Scholastic Account Executive. 2. Uses instructional strategies that are high-quality, based upon research, and specifically designed to increase student academic achievement An extensive research base informs ReadAbout s instructional strategies for increasing reading achievement. These strategies include the following: Teaching high-utility and content-area words An effective and efficient vocabulary instructional routine involves pronouncing the word, explaining the meaning of the word, providing examples, elaborating on word meanings, and assessing with discrimination tasks (Kinsella & Feldman, 2004). Instruction is most worthwhile with words that are important to comprehension and have a high general utility (Beck & McKeown, 2004). Comprehension is improved when targeted words are directly taught (Carlo et al., 2004). Repetition and exposure to new words is crucial for vocabulary development (National Reading Panel, 2000). July

3 Uses instructional strategies that are high-quality, based upon research, and specifically designed to increase student academic achievement The ReadAbout vocabulary instructional sequence is informed by Dr. Kate Kinsella and Dr. Kevin Feldman s research Narrowing the Language Gap: The Case for Explicit Vocabulary Instruction (2004), a professional paper available in SAM. In each topic in the software, ReadAbout directly teaches 15 high-utility and content-area words. Students hear the words pronounced aloud and receive explicit instruction and support that is individualized based on continuous assessment. Students encounter and work with the words multiple times, which provides them with many opportunities to achieve mastery. Delivering anchored instruction, which is a teaching method that helps students understand what they read by providing them with a visual image to which they can anchor their reading Mental models help readers construct meaning from text, and video formats promote the formation of mental models (The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1990). Learners comprehension is enhanced when text is appropriately combined with images and sound (Daiute & Morse, 1994) Building background helps students who know little or nothing about a topic (Irvin, 1998). In ReadAbout, students view a dynamic video that develops background knowledge and vocabulary and creates a context for reading that is meaningful. These anchor videos include maps, animations of scientific concepts, and historical information. Short animated Skill Briefs preteach comprehension skills by connecting them with real-world examples. Content-area vocabulary is also pretaught and combined with images and sound. Motivating students to read and become better readers The goal is to have kids become intrinsically motivated to read. In many cases, we have to start with extrinsic motivation and outline a path that lets students see that they can generate some intrinsic motivation themselves (Hunter, 2005). Some of the things teachers can do to increase students motivation include matching students to text on their reading level; providing a wide variety of texts that are interesting and personally relevant; supporting children with immediate, continuous feedback and encouragement; and using technology to excite students interest (Hunter, 2005). July

4 Uses instructional strategies that are high-quality, based upon research, and specifically designed to increase student academic achievement Effective instructional techniques include teaching students to use self-questioning (Wong & Jones, 1982) and (Wilhelm, 2005). Students want to use technology both to learn new strategies and information and to demonstrate their learning (Wilhelm & Friedemann, 1998). The ReadAbout software motivates students through a vibrant interface with interesting sounds, pictures, and engaging hosts. ReadAbout software prompts students to choose topics they are interested in reading, and provides students with continuous feedback on their progress. Activities such as collecting, quizzing, and Word Challenge engage students in reading and learning. The Think About It question gets students to connect the topic to their own lives. Students read a variety of high-interest, leveled, nonfiction texts. Differentiating instruction Effective instruction varies the challenges for individual learners, keeping within their zones of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). Technology provides a positive customized learning experience that is responsive to individual needs (Meyer & Rose, 2000). Students benefit from reading text that is neither too easy nor too difficult (National Reading Panel, 2000). ReadAbout s content is based on reading level, skill need, grade level, and student interest. The software scaffolds instruction and provides students with differentiated support. The Assessment, Reports, and Differentiated Instruction Guide provides additional teacher-directed lessons that teach comprehension skills and develop vocabulary. Teaching specific traits found in writing Good writing has five common characteristics: ideas; usage, sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling; organization and analysis; wording and phrasing; and flavor (Diederich, 1974). Students generating a product of their own gain a deep understanding of the topic (The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1998). July

5 Uses instructional strategies that are high-quality, based upon research, and specifically designed to increase student academic achievement Children respond to what they have read in writing using the 6+1 Trait Writing Model, which is based on the work of Paul Diederich (1974). Writing prompts and model text focus students efforts on four writing forms: expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive. Teachers guide students to create writing pieces based on the topics in the program. Teaching nonfiction text structures Explicit teaching of expository structures enables students to identify important information in an organized way (Armbruster & Armstrong, 1993). Instructional techniques to help students comprehend expository texts include self-questioning, mapping to analyze text, summarizing, and other strategies (Wong & Jones, 1982; Nelson, Smith, & Dodd, 1992). Students learn to read nonfiction articles, books, encyclopedias, journals, letters, and Web sites. Maps and graphs support information in the text, and students encounter graphic organizers that make nonfiction information visual. 3. Develops specific academic goals for children in consultation with their parents Enables students to attain his or her specific achievement goals Specific Academic Goals At the beginning of the grading period, parents and caregivers receive a letter introducing them to the ReadAbout program and suggesting ways to help them encourage their child s reading success. Through another letter, staff regularly provides parents and caregivers with information about their child s progress. Both letters are available in English and Spanish. Students also take home reports that summarize the Smart Words that they are currently studying in a chosen topic. Students can use the reports as homework study sheets. Student Achievement Goals The ReadAbout program encourages students to set goals appropriate to their abilities and allows them to track their progress. In addition, the program: Matches students to texts at the appropriate reading level Provides a variety of texts that are interesting and appropriate for students age ranges Empowers students by allowing them to select their own texts Encourages students to take interest in monitoring their own reading progress Provides immediate, continuous feedback Uses technology to peak student s interest July

6 4. Measures students progress and regularly informs students parents and teachers of that progress ReadAbout assesses student comprehension throughout the student experience. Skills assessment begins with the Comprehension Quick Check at the beginning of each passage. Assessment continues with multiple-choice, graphic organizer, and highlighter questions at the end of each passage. Finally, students are assessed in the Challenge Area at the end of all three passages in the topic. Vocabulary is assessed in the Challenge Area and in the Card Collecting Area. Ongoing reports are available to teachers and administrators through the Scholastic Achievement Manager (SAM). Using SAM, teachers can generate detailed progress monitoring, instructional planning, and management reports, as well as alerts and parent letters. SAM makes it easy for teachers and adminstrators to differentiate instruction to meet students needs, accelerate learning, and keep parents informed of their child s progress: Progress Monitoring Reports monitor student, group, and class progress over time Diagnostic Reports identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as allow teachers to use data to individualize instruction. Instructional Planning Reports group students according to abilities and provide targeted, differentiated instruction. Alerts allow teachers to stay informed of noteworthy occurrences. School-to-Home Reports keep parents informed. Management reports help teachers manage the ReadAbout enrollment. 5. Adheres to the timetable for improving the students achievement that is developed by the LEA in consultation with the students parents and provider ReadAbout reports provide teachers and administrators with actionable data that teachers use to evaluate student growth in reading achievement. With this information at hand, teachers can adapt instruction using differentiated comprehension lessons, vocabulary routines, and practice pages. The reports are also used to plan further instruction and intervention on an on-going basis by providing information on students strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can share reports with students, families, and administrators. July

7 6. Provides services that are consistent with the instructional program of the LEA and with State academic content and achievement standards ReadAbout s reading instruction and content-area topics align to state and national standards in English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Research informs the vocabulary sequence and comprehension instruction. Based on continuous assessment, the software provides personalized skills instruction in vocabulary and comprehension that addresses a student s specific needs. This assessment data also informs teacher-directed, differentiated instruction. ReadAbout provides these features for students optimal learning and academic achievement aligned to state standards: Direct Instruction in high-utility and content-area vocabulary that offers students multiple exposure to words Direct instruction of 17 vital nonfiction comprehension skills and strategies Varied opportunities to build background and content-area knowledge Scaffolded, instructional support through leveled text, software features, and differentiated lessons Targeted skills practice online and during independent activities Exposure to different text types Writing exercises in expository, persuasive, descriptive, and narrative formats 7. Ensures that eligible students covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and those covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act may participate 8. Ensures that eligible students with limited English proficiency may participate ReadAbout is designed to support and challenge all learners, including those who may require second-language support or have other learning needs. The adaptive algorithm guarantees personalized instruction for every student. ReadAbout contains an extensive array of instructional strategies, tools, and software features that support the language and academic development of English-language learners (ELL). Personalized instruction and practice of essential skills effectively raises ELL students achievement: Software continuously adjusts instruction and activities based on students performance. Staff can more easily monitor and support struggling children, because the software automatically alerts them of students who have not successfully completed a topic. July

8 Ensures that eligible students with limited English proficiency may participate ReadAbout explicitly teaches critical content-area vocabulary, academic language, and comprehension strategies. ELL students benefit from ReadAbout s focused instruction of high-utility words, cognates, and idioms. Customizable software features specifically support limited English proficient students skills acquisition: Software provides Spanish translations of Smart Words, vocabulary definitions, captions, anchor video introductions, and topic introductions. Closed-captioned anchor videos help students build mental models prior to reading. Software can provide text and voice-over support for all key instruction. Virtual narrators can read all passages aloud with phrase-by-phrase highlighting. Targeted teaching materials provide critical supplemental instruction for students who are acquiring English: Ten differentiated comprehension lessons, which include strategies for ELL students, focus on explicit skills definitions and include key signal words for understanding the strategies. Differentiated vocabulary routines, with ELL strategies, provide direct instruction, modeling, and practice of six key vocabulary strategies. These include using multiple meanings, cognates, and idioms. Each Topic Planner includes lessons targeted to ELL students on how to teach idioms, build background knowledge, and/or simplify language through cognates. Staff can print out resources in SAM, such as graphic organizers and reading passages. 9. Assesses students performance to monitor their academic progress and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the SES program ReadAbout continually assesses each student s level of reading performance, and personalizes content, instruction, and supports based on that performance. Assessment points in the program include: Comprehension Skills Quick Check Question Summarize Question Skill Questions o Multiple-Choice Questions o Highlighter (refer-to-text) Questions o Graphic Organizers July

9 Assesses students performance to monitor their academic progress and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the SES program Vocabulary 3-Star Challenge (multiple-word activities) 4-Star Challenge (mastery activities) ReadAbout reports allow the instructor to monitor and assess students in a variety of ways: District- and school-wide overviews of student participation and performance in the program. A variety of progress monitoring reports detailing student skill performance, text-level reading performance and progress, and vocabulary acquisition and performance. Comprehensive information on student topic experience, including topic exposure, topic frequency, and topic completion. Information that helps you make further instructional plans. Alerts and acknowledgments that provide important information on student success and weekly progress. 10. Considers including in the SES program these additional components: Constant and systematic feedback to students on what they are learning Instructors who are adequately trained to deliver the services Instructional programs that satisfy the students and parents who are participating in the SES program Constant and Systematic Feedback ReadAbout provides an unparalleled level of detailed assessment feedback. With every incorrect answer, a student receives specific feedback about why it is incorrect. In most cases feedback directs the student to the place in the text where they can find the correct answer, encouraging them to reread so they can succeed on a second attempt. As a student completes the skills assessment at the end of each passage, the program will analyze and store the student s performance as a percentile. At the end of the topic, the student will have an aggregated total score of each of the three skills assessed. Adequate Training Scholastic provides comprehensive ReadAbout implementation training and offers supplemental professional development to help teachers be successful and to foster and sustain best teaching practices in the classroom. With each ReadAbout package purchased, teachers receive one full day of implementation training to learn how to effectively use ReadAbout. July

10 Considers including in the SES program these additional components: Constant and systematic feedback to students on what they are learning Instructors who are adequately trained to deliver the services Instructional programs that satisfy the students and parents who are participating in the SES program This training includes: Program implementation Classroom management Software, print materials, and management system walk-throughs Individualizing instruction with data and progress monitoring Scholastic offers two half-day supplemental ReadAbout seminars to ensure that teachers receive ongoing, in-depth professional development designed specifically for ReadAbout. These seminars can be purchased along with your ReadAbout plan. ReadAbout also offers optional ongoing professional development through Scholastic Red. Facilitated, online reading courses with on-site workshops include: Putting Reading First in Your Classroom Improving Reading Comprehension Making Guided Reading Work In Your Classroom Middle School Literacy: Improving Text Comprehension These professional development courses provide: Instant access to research and theory Video modeling of research-based practices Interactive simulations that allow for practice of skills and strategies Structured feedback, collaboration, and ongoing support Hundreds of materials that can be immediately used in the classroom Student Motivation ReadAbout provides students with a self-managed program that adapts to their needs. Scaffolded skills instruction enables children to have a successful learning experience, which encourages and empowers them. High-interest, nonfiction topics that pique their interests, immediate feedback, and engaging games and challenges motivate them to continue learning. July

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