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ED 231E: Teaching Reading in the Elementary Classroom

FALL 1999 9:25-11:50

Click here to see student research papers.



    California Reading Association. (September 1996). Building Literacy: Making Every Child a Reader.
Costa Mesa, CA

    Gunning, Thomas G. (1996). Creating Reading Instruction for All Children. 2nd Edition.
Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

The purpose of the course is to examine strategies, assessment and political, economic, and social factors that influence the teaching of reading, literacy and language arts in the elementary and middle school.

As the Dominican College credential candidates study reading, they will learn, practice and refine the skills and strategies needed to implement a balanced early literacy program.

The rubrics which will be utilized in the elementary reading course are a set of guidelines for recording progress in developing the exemplary teacher behaviors demonstrated in implementing the components of a balanced early literacy program. They are known as the A-K components. There are two legs of the framework of the rubrics: The A-K components and the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. The A-K Components are:

A. Phonemic awareness
B. Systematic explicit phonics
C. Diagnosis of reading deficiencies
D. Spelling
E. Research on how children learn to read
F. Research on how proficient readers read
G. Structure of the English language
H. Relationships between reading, writing and spelling
I. Planning and delivery of appropriate reading instruction based on assessment and evaluation
J. Means of improving reading comprehension
K. Student independent reading of good books and the relationship of that activity to improved reading performance

Region IV Literacy Partnership Project PREP. Draft Guidelines for Preservice and New Teachers’ Self-Assessment of the Effective Implementation of a Balanced Reading Program. January 20, 1997

The California Standards for the Teaching Profession, based on research and theory of best teaching practice, are organized around six interrelated domains or categories of teaching practice. The domains include:

1. Engaging and supporting all students in learning
2. Creating and maintaining an effective environment for student learning
3. Planning instruction and designing learning experiences for all students
4. Understanding and organizing subject matter knowledge for student learning
5. Assessing student learning
6. Developing as a professional educator

Together these six domains represent a developmental, holistic view of teaching intended to meet the diverse needs of students in California. The California Standards form the structure of the coursework in the multiple subjects program.


The assessment of students’ ability to implement the components of a balanced early literacy program will be an ongoing process with input from the candidate, the instructor and the primary literacy teacher in the public school. The assessment will take the form of a self-assessment via the Rubrics and participation in discussions as an active, cooperative member of the group. The Candidate will give evidence of an understanding of curriculum development, lesson planning and implementation in the area of literacy. In addition, successful completion of the practicum experience is required.


Session 1 August 26/27
How should reading be taught?
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 1 The Nature of Reading and Today’s Children 1-22
Course Overview, discussion of research project and guidelines for the case study

Assignment for next class:
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 2 Children’s Emergent Literacy 23-76
Emphasis for next class is on phonemic awareness. p. 58-65
Building Literacy
Strand 1 Oral Language, Listening and Speaking 11-13
Strand 2 Awareness of Sounds, Symbol and Structure 14-17

Session 2 September 2/3
Library Research Presentation
Section 1 (Fortier) 9:30-10:30 Section 3 (Crosby) 9:30-10:30
Section 2 (Peters) 10:45-11:45 Section 4 (Peters) 10:45-11:45
Phonemic Awareness (A)
Handout: Phonics Kwiz - Preparation for Phonics Test Oct. 1st or Oct. 2nd

Assignment for next class:
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 3 Teaching Phonics 77-119
Chapter 4 Sight Words 120-161

Building Literacy
Strand 3 Skills Integration
Knows Decoding Strategies 29-31
Recognizes and Uses Word Parts/Affixes 32-33
Uses Multiple Cueing Systems 34-36

Session 3 September 9/10
Systematic Explicit Phonics Instruction (B)
Strategies for Phonics Instruction
Selection of Appropriate materials for Phonics Instruction

Assignment for next class:
Building Literacy
Strand 5 Spelling 67-71

Gunning Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 2 A New Concept of Writing 45-57
Chapter 11 Writing and Reading 414-447

Session 4 September 16/17
Spelling Instruction (C)
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling (H)

Writing Workshop Part 1
The Writing Process 10:30 to 12:00

Assignment for next class:
Gunning Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 13 Evaluation 486-523

Session 5 September 23/24
Research on How Children Learn to Read (E)
Diagnosis of Reading Deficiencies (D)

Writing Workshop Part 2
The Writing Process 10:30 to 12:00

Assignment for next class:
Gunning Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 10 Approaches to Teaching Reading 369-413

Session 6 September 30 October 1
Research on How Proficient Readers Read (F)
Handwriting and Phonics Tests
Project PREP Introduction - Handouts
Guide to Teacher Self-Assessment -Balanced Reading Implementation
Models for Handwriting

Assignment for next class:
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 5 Building Vocabulary 162-191
Chapter 6 Comprehension: Theory and Strategies 192-236
Chapter 7 Comprehension: Text Structures and Teaching Procedures 237-276

Session 7 October 7/8
Research Paper Due
Project PREP Application
Introduction to Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)-
Preparing Your Study Plan

Session 8 October 14/15 Visitation at Partner School Sites

Session 9 October 21/22
Structure of the English Language (G)

Assignment for next class:
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 8 Reading and Writing in Content Areas 277-331
Chapter 12 Diversity in the Classroom 448-485
Chapter 14 Constructing and Managing a Literacy Program 524-548

Session 10 October 28/29
Planning and Delivery of Appropriate Reading Instruction Based on Assessment and Evaluation (I)


Assignment for next class:
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children
Chapter 6 Comprehension: Theory and Strategies 193-236

Session 11 November 4/5
Means of Improving Reading Comprehension (J)
Conversations with Demonstration Lab Teachers 10:30-12:00

Assignment for next class:
Building Literacy
Strand 4 Experiences a Balance of Different Genres 51-53

Session 12 November 11/12
Student Independent Reading of Good Books and the Relationship of That Activity to Improved Reading
Performance (K)

Margaret Simpson: The Literature Connection 9:30 to 12:00
Class meets at Angelico Hall

Lesson Plans November 18/19
Personal Philosophy of Literacy Development
-related to the A-K components and your most recent experience in the practicum

Session 13 Nov. 18/19th


Assignment for next class:
Gunning, Creating Reading Instruction for All Children

Review Chapter 14 Constructing and Managing a Literacy Program 524-548

November 25/26
Thanksgiving Vacation. No class.

Session 14 December 2/3
Self-Evaluation of Learnings, Practice and the Refinement of Skills and
Strategies Needed to Implement a Balanced Early Literacy Program


Session 15 December 9/10
Transition to Teaching.














Teaching Reading
A Balanced, Comprehensive Approach to Teaching Reading
in Pre-kindergarten Through Grade Three
Reading Program Advisory - Sacramento, 1996

The Reading Task Force report called for a balanced and comprehensive approach to early reading instruction that includes both teacher-directed skills instruction and the activities and strategies most often associated with literature based, integrated language arts instruction. It was determined that a balanced and comprehensive approach to reading must have:

1. a strong literature, language, and comprehensive program that includes a balance of oral and written language
2. an organized, explicit skills program that includes phonemic awareness (sounds in words), phonics, and decoding skills to address the needs of the emergent reader
3. ongoing diagnosis that informs teaching and assessment that ensures accountability
4. a powerful early intervention program that provides individual tutoring for children at risk of reading failure.

The program advisory suggests that explicit skills instruction be part of a broader language-rich program consistent with the best practices of literature-based language arts instruction and the State Framework which is currently under revision.

To be complete and balanced and meet the literacy needs of all students, including English language learners and students with special needs, any early reading program must include the following instructional components: phonemic awareness, letter names and shapes, systematic explicit phonics, spelling, vocabulary development, comprehension and higher order thinking, and appropriate instructional materials.

Phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken words and syllables are themselves made up of sequences of elementary speech sounds. Without phonemic awareness (the ability to hear separate sound patterns), phonics can make no sense and spellings of words can be learned only by rote.

Letter names and shapes must be learned early. Until children can quickly recognize letters, they cannot begin to appreciate that all words are made of sequences and patterns of letters. Until children can comfortably discriminate the shape of one letter from another, there is no point in teaching letter-sound pairings (phonics).

Systematic, explicit phonics refers to an organized program where letter-sound correspondences for letters and letter clusters are directly taught, blended, practiced in words, word lists, and word families, and practiced initially in text with a high percentage of decodable words linked to the phonics lesson. The role of effective phonics instruction is to help children understand, apply, and learn the alphabetic principle and conventions of written language. Phonics instruction is not about rote drill involving a comprehensive list of spelling--sound correspondences and phonics rules. It is explicit which means that key points and principles are clarified for students and it is systematic which means that it gradually builds from basic elements to more subtle and complex patterns. The goal is to convey the logic of the system and to invite its extension to new words that the children will encounter on their own.

Spelling - Although it is appropriate to encourage beginners to use temporary or invented spellings to express their thoughts in print, programmatic instruction in correct spellings should begin in first grade and continue across the school years.

Vocabulary Development - The number of new words that children learn from reading text depends on how much they read, and the amount that children read ranges enormously. Not only should children read extensively, they need to attend to the meanings of new words they encounter. It is useful to organize vocabulary studies structurally in terms of roots and affixes or topically by content area.

Comprehension and Higher-Order Thinking - The single most valuable activity for developing children’s comprehension is reading itself. Through reading students encounter new words, new language, and new facts. They encounter thoughts and modes of thinking that might never arise in their face-to-face worlds. They should be given many opportunities for open discussions of both the highlights and difficulties of the text.

Appropriate Instructional Materials - There must be a variety of reading materials including environmental print, student compositions, classroom anthologies, trade books, chapter books, core works of fiction and nonfiction, magazines, newspapers, reference materials, and technology. Reading aloud to students is important at every age. All students in every grade should be required to read every day outside of school.

The above description of a balanced comprehensive approach to early reading instruction reflects the focus of the Dominican College course in elementary reading. Credential candidates will link theory and practice through readings, classroom discussions, and public school field placements.

Research Paper:
Assigned topic on A-K

Goal: Students will demonstrate the ability to gather information on a topic, using library resources and on-line search tools to locate references. They will synthesize information with their observations in a practicum setting. The paper will be presented in written and oral formats.

Locate 5-10 articles using library resources. Include in your reference list articles from professional journals and inforamtion from online sources. Examine articles in professional journals and online sources. Write a brief paper analyzing the articles, summarizing main points, including your thoughts and reflections on the readings as they relate to classroom practice.

Follow the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines in writing your review. Please use a word processing program.

1. Title page: Title of paper, name, Dominican College, School of Education, date.
2. Pages numbered from the title page in upper right hand corner.
3. Last page - References listed in APA format -list only the ref
4. Check final document
a. Use Spell-Check
b. Proof-read and make corrections
c. Have a friend proof-read and make corrections
d. Print a final copy


    Gaskins, R. W., Gaskins, J. C., & Gaskins, I. W. (1991). A decoding program for poor readers-and the rest of the class, too! Language Arts, 68, 213-225.

Summary of Assignments Due Date
Handwriting Test September 30/October 1
Phonics Test September 30/October 1
Research Paper October 7/8
Lesson Plans November 11/12
Self-Evaluation December 2/3



Adams, Marilyn Jager. (1990). Thinking and Learning About Print. IL: Center for the Study of Reading, The Reading Research and Education Center.

    Anderson, Richard C., Heibert, Elfrieda, Scott, Judith Al, Wilkinson, Ian A.6. (1985). Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading. Washington, DC: The National Academy of Education.

    Barr, Rebecca and Johnson, Barbara. (1997). Teaching Reading and Writing in Elementary Classrooms. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers USA.

    Bear, D. (1995) Words Their Way. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrell.

    Beck, Isabel L. and Juel, Connie. (Summer 1995). The role of decoding in learning to read. American Federation of Teachers.

    Bruneau, Beverly J. (October 1997). The literacy pyramid organization of reading/writing activities in a whole language classroom. The Reading Teacher. 51, 2.

    Check, Earl H., Flippo, Rona F., Lindsey, Jimmy D. (1997). Reading for Success in Elementary Schools. Dubuque, IA: Times Mirror Higher Education Group, Inc.

    Davis, A., Cameron, C., Politano, C., and Gregory, K. (1992). Together is Better: Collaborative Assessment, Evaluation & Reporting. Winnepeg, CA: Penguin.

    Gaskins, Irene. (February 1996). A beginning literacy program for at-risk and delayed readers published in Word Recognition in Beginning Literacy.

    Gentry, J.R. and Gellett, J.W. (1993) Teaching Kids to Spell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

    Gill, Charlene Hillal and Scharer, Patricia L. (February 1996). Why do they get it on Friday and misspell it on Monday: Teachers inquiring about their students as spellers. Language Arts, 73.

    Gaskins, Irene W., Ehri, Linnea, C., Cress, Cheryl, O’Hara, Colleen, and Donnelly, Kathleen. (December 1996/January 1997). Procedures for word learning: Making discoveries about words. The Reading Teacher. 50, 4, 312-327.

    Heilman, Arthur W., Blair, Timothy R., Ripley, William H. (1998). Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading. Ninth Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.

    Heilman, Arthur W. (1998). Phonics in Proper Perspective. Eighth Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

    Hiebert, Elfrieda H. and Taylor, Barbara M. (1994). Getting Reading Right from the Start. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

    Hull, Marion A. and Fox, Barbara J. (1998). Phonics for the Teacher of Reading. Seventh Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Joshi, R. Malatesha. (1995). Assessing reading and spelling skills. School Psychology Review, 24, 3, 361-375.

    May, Frank B. (1998). Reading As Communication. Fifth Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

    Minincucci, Paul Berma, McLaughlin, Barry, McLeod, Beverly, Nelson, Beryl, Woodworth. (September 1995). School reform and student diversity. Phi Delta Kappan.

    Morris, Darrell. (May 1993). The relationship between children’s concept of word in text and phonemic awareness in learning to read: A longitudinal study. Research in the Teaching of English, 27, 2, 133-153.

    Morris, Darrell, Blanton, Linda, Blanton, William E., Nowacek, Jane, and Perney, Jan. (1995). Teaching low-achieving spellers at their ‘instructional level.’ The Elementary School Journal, 163-177.

    Pikulski, John. (1996). Teaching word identification skills and strategies: A balanced approach. Houghton Mifflin Co.

    Pikulski, John. (1997). Preventing reading problems. Factors common to successful early intervention programs. Invitations to Literacy. Houghton-Mifflin Co.

    Routman, Regie. (1994). Invitations. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

    Schlagal, Robert C. and Schlagal, Joy Harris. (1992). The integral character of spelling: Teaching strategies for multiple purposes. Language Arts, 69, 418-424.

    Smith, Frank, (1983). Essays Into Literacy. Ontario. Irwin Publishing.

    Snider, Vicki E. (1995). A primer on phonemic awareness: What it is, why it’s important, and how to teach it. School Psychology Review, 24, 3, 443-455.

    Stahl, Steven A. (April 1992). Saying the "p" word. Nine guidelines for exemplary phonics instruction. The Reading Teacher, 45, 8, 618-625.

    The National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators. Reading: The First Chapter in Education. United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Office of Special Education Program-H 180M 10006.

    Vierra, Andrea and Pollock, Judith and Goley, Felipe. (1998). Reading Educational Research. Third Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

    Young, Margaret. (1995). English-as-a-second-language learners’ cognitive reading processes: A review of research in the United States. California Association for Students Bilingual Education Newsletter, 18, 2.



January 29, 1999

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