This section tests your knowledge of planning, organizing, and delivering reading instruction that meets the needs of all students.
Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.
Content standards are statements set forth by a governing body that dictate what students should learn at each grade level. The content standards referred to on the RICA are the English Language Arts (ELA) Content Standards or California Common Core State Standards. California reading teachers are required to implement these adopted Common Core State Standards when planning, organizing, and delivering reading instruction.
Differentiation of Reading Instruction
Differentiation, or differentiated instruction, is when teachers create learning opportunities for their students by pairing student characteristics to instruction and assessment. All students have access to the same classroom curriculum by providing scaffolding, learning tasks, and outcomes that are personalized to students’ needs. It is not a strategy but an approach that incorporates a variety of strategies.
Teachers can differentiate in response to a student’s skill level and background knowledge. Differentiation for a student can be based on topics of interests that motivate a student to learn. Differentiation can match a student’s learning style, or learning profile, such as visual, auditory, tactile or kinesthetic. Differentiation also refers to the learner’s grouping preferences such as individual, small group, or large group. Environment preferences, like lots of space or a quiet area to work, is also a way teachers can differentiate.
Teachers can differentiate content, process, and/or products for their students. When a teacher differentiates content, the material being learned is changed. For example, if the objective is for students to read short vowel words, some may work to read one syllable short vowel words while others read multisyllabic short vowel words. Differentiation of process refers to the way in which a student accesses material. One student may read ebooks while others read printed books. Differentiation of product refers to the way in which a student demonstrates mastery. One student may give verbal responses while other students write their responses.
Flexible grouping is when students are intentionally and fluidly organized for different learning experiences over a relative short period of time. These groupings are matched to task purpose and created by assessment results and other student characteristics. Groups may be formed and reformed according to specific goals, activities, and individual needs. Groups range from individual, partner, small group, to whole-class. Teachers may group students who do not understand a reading concept or skill. Students may be grouped with others who are reading on approximately the same reading level. They may be partnered with someone who reads at a higher reading level for modeling purposes.
Individualized instruction focuses on the needs of the individual student. Teachers target one specific need at a time. Some students who receive individualized instruction need remediation. Special education is an example of individualized instruction. Other students participating in individualized instruction may skip topics or skills they have mastered to advance or enrich the lesson.
During whole class reading instruction, the teacher leads the direct instruction using traditional textbooks or reading materials with minimal differentiation. It is a good first step in the learning process before other instructional groupings occur.
Components of Effective Instructional Delivery
The orientation is the planning phase of the lesson. The teacher maps out learning opportunities for students to master the reading objective to be taught. The teacher considers the objective to be mastered along with relevant vocabulary, materials to be used, and outcomes. The teacher also gathers information such as student assessment results and thinks about students’ learning needs. The teacher then scaffolds a plan for lesson delivery, considering appropriate grouping, differentiation, and scaffolding.
Guided practice is when the students practice the intended learning to master the objective with minimal assistance. As soon as the teacher observes the student can perform the skill or objective to be mastered, the guided practice ends and independent practice starts.
Independent practice is the part of the lesson when the student demonstrates mastery of the objective taught. During the application phase, the student uses the skill or objective mastered in a different setting or text other than what was used to teach the lesson.