The Literacy Initiative Is Effective For Teaching Beginning Reading Skills

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Introduction Within the field of education, a continuous debate about the most effective manner in which to provide reading instruction has been on-going since the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty Report of the 1960s. The primary focus of that debate is whether a skills-based approach or a meaning – based approach was most effective for teaching beginning reading skills (phonemic and phonological awareness), comprehension, and enrichment. (Frey,, 2005) The silks-based or direct instruction approach to reading instruction focuses on explicit and systematic instruction of letter-sound correspondence, phonological and phonemic awareness, and their relationship to reading and comprehension. The meaning- based or balanced…show more content…
With its tremendous benefits, the Balanced Literacy Approach that has been adopted by the Houston Independent School District and many others may have possibly overlooked a key component to the implementation and success of the program: the need for explicit (direct) reading instruction in decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension for reading growth. This is especially true of at-risk students who may be one or more grade levels behind in reading. To better understand the impact of direct instruction its effectiveness in improving the reading achievement of at-risk students, an action research was conducted at one of HISD’s elementary campuses. Based on the campus’ successes in grades 1 & 2 after implementing the direct instruction approach with the use of SRA Reading Mastery program, much debate within the district and campus centered on whether the district’s new literacy initiative would be a “good fit” for a campus saturated with struggling readers. This action research study two classrooms on the campus. One classroom implemented the SRA Reading Mastery direct instruction model only, while the second classroom implemented the balanced literacy approach using the Fountas & Pinell approach, while using the SRA Reading Mastery program for an intervention program. The results of this research are detailed in this report. What is the High Frequency Word Evaluation? The High
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