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Accelerated Reader: The Good, the Bad, and the Future of the Program

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The Accelerated Reader Program has been a widely used reading program in elementary schools in the United States. However, even with its popularity, there have been controversies on if and how it should be used in the classroom. Arguments in

The Accelerated Reader Program has been a widely used reading program in elementary schools in the United States. However, even with its popularity, there have been controversies on if and how it should be used in the classroom. Arguments in support say the program gets children to read and that it is a helpful tool for teachers to keep track of each students reading abilities. Arguments against suggest that book choice is decreased, book levels are askew, the quizzes do not promote higher level thinking, and the use of incentives may send the wrong signals to students. Schools have started to abandon the program in the recent years, but maybe it will come back bigger and stronger. In the meantime, schools need to make sure that enriching books fill the schools and classrooms to promote reading for their students.

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2013-12

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Neural plasticity in lower- and higher-level visual cortex processing

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Perceptual learning by means of coherent motion training paradigms has been shown to produce plasticity in lower and higher-level visual systems within the human occipital lobe both supra- and subliminally. However, efficiency of training methods that produce consolidation in the

Perceptual learning by means of coherent motion training paradigms has been shown to produce plasticity in lower and higher-level visual systems within the human occipital lobe both supra- and subliminally. However, efficiency of training methods that produce consolidation in the visual system via coherent motion has yet to be experimentally determined. Furthermore, the effects of coherent motion training on reading comprehension, in clinical and normal populations, are still nascent. In the present study, 20 participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Two conditions had a participation requirement of four days while two conditions required eight days of participation. These conditions were further divided into 500 or 1000 trials per day (4 x 500, 4 x 1000, 8 x 500, 8 x 1000). Additional pre-test and post-test days were used to attain timed pre- and post-tests on the Wide Range Achievement Test IV (WRAT IV) reading comprehension battery. Furthermore, a critical flicker fusion threshold (CFFT) score was taken on a macular pigment densitometer on the pre-test and post-test day. Participants showed significant improvement in CFFT levels, WRAT IV reading comprehension, and speed of completion between pre-test and post-test; however, degree of improvement did not vary as a function of training condition. An interaction between training condition and degree of improvement was evident in coherent dot motion contrast scores, with significant training plasticity occurring in the 4 x 1000 and 8 x 500 conditions.

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2013

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Relationship of oral reading fluency probes on students' reading achievement test scores

Description

Current emphasis on adequate academic progress monitored by standardized assessments has increased focus on student acquisition of required skills. Reading ability can be assessed through student achievement on Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) measures. This study investigated the effectiveness of using

Current emphasis on adequate academic progress monitored by standardized assessments has increased focus on student acquisition of required skills. Reading ability can be assessed through student achievement on Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) measures. This study investigated the effectiveness of using ORF measures to predict achievement on high stakes tests. Study participants included 312 students across four Title 1 elementary schools in a Southwestern United States school district utilizing the Response to Intervention (RTI) model. Participants' ORF scores from first through third grade years and their third grade standardized achievement test scores were collected. In addition, information regarding reading interventions was obtained. Pearson product-moment correlations were used to determine how ORF scores and specific reading skills were related. Correlations were also used to assess whether the ORF scores from the fall, winter, or spring were most related to high stakes test scores. Additionally, the difference between computer-based versus instructor-led interventions on predicting high stakes test scores was assessed. Results indicated that correlation coefficients were larger between ORF and reading comprehension scores than between ORF and basic reading skills. ORF scores from spring were more highly related to high stakes tests than other times of the year. Students' ORF scores were more strongly related to high stakes tests when in computer-based interventions compared to instructor-led interventions. In predicting third grade high stakes test scores, first grade ORF scores had the most variance for the non-intervention sample, while third grade ORF scores had the most variance for the intervention sample.

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2013

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The cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships of early childhood school assessment policies with reading instruction and reading achievement: evidence from early childhood longitudinal study

Description

The purposes of this study were (1) to examine the direct and indirect effect of school-level testing policies on reading achievement though changes in amount and types of reading instruction, (2) to investigate the reading trajectories moderated by school-level testing

The purposes of this study were (1) to examine the direct and indirect effect of school-level testing policies on reading achievement though changes in amount and types of reading instruction, (2) to investigate the reading trajectories moderated by school-level testing policies longitudinally, and (3) to examine the relationship between testing policies and the achievement gap by exploring whether certain student characteristics moderate the relationship between testing policy and reading achievement, using Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten (ECLS-K) Cohort of 2010-2011 data. Findings from a multilevel full structural mediation model suggest that school-level frequency of state/local standardized tests had an indirect effect on student reading achievement through changes in both amount and the types of instruction at the school-level (cross-sectional fall kindergarten sample =12,241 children nested in 1,067 kindergarten classes). The findings from a three-level growth models indicated only children of Asian background and children from high socio-economic backgrounds who had frequent standardized tests in kindergarten accelerated in their monthly reading growth, whereas other children (e.g., low SES, non-Asian children) did not show any changes in the rate of the reading growth (longitudinal sample from fall of kindergarten to spring of first grade = 7,392 children nested in 744 kindergartens). The findings from the current study suggest that testing policy is not an effective means to reduce the achievement gap of children from disadvantaged family backgrounds, underperforming children or that children from low socieo-economic backgrounds. These children did not seem to benefit from frequent standardized tests longitudinally. Implications for supporting school assessment practices and instruction are discussed.

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2015

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Bilingual Latino high school boys' reading motivation: seven case studies examining factors that influence motivation to read

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This qualitative case study examines seven bilingual Latino boys who were motivated readers. Several theories were examined in relationship to the study: sociocultural theory, reading motivation theories, and gender schema theory. Prior studies involving reading motivation of boys and Latinos

This qualitative case study examines seven bilingual Latino boys who were motivated readers. Several theories were examined in relationship to the study: sociocultural theory, reading motivation theories, and gender schema theory. Prior studies involving reading motivation of boys and Latinos showed a gap between boys and girls in reading achievement, high school completion, and college enrollment. Studies about reading motivation included choice in books, reading amount, social context of reading, habitual reading habits, and out-of-school reading as important factors that influence reading motivation. Additionally, Latino cultural factors such as machismo and familismo were examined as factors that influence motivation to read.

The study participants attended a large, urban school in Arizona and were selected from senior English classes after completing a participant selection survey. On the participant selection survey, boys self-identified their gender, language, and ethnicity; by several questions about attitudes toward reading and reading amount rated on a 10-point Likert scale gauged reading motivation. Each participant participated in an individual interview, completed a 60-question questionnaire/survey, and either attended a group interview or a second individual interview.

Data were triangulated by using data from these three sources and was coded as it was collected using Nvivo qualitative coding software. Coding began with five, basic categories derived from the study questions: motivation, home experiences, school experiences, school performance, and attitude toward reading. As coding continued, the coding categories expanded to include categories such as location of reading materials, access to books, choices in reading, format of texts, and many others. Eventually, there were four distinct categories that stood out in the findings: reading self-perception, purposes, preferences, and practices. The findings have a correlation to previous studies about reading motivation, but also add to the growing field of literature in the area of Latino boys' reading motivation.

Keywords: reading, motivation, self-efficacy, situational interest, Latino, boys, high school, gender, types of reading, reading purposes

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Date Created
2015

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English language learners in Arizona public schools: challenges and opportunities for achieving quality language development

Description

Arizona's English Language Development Model (ELD Model) is intended to increase and accelerate the learning of English by English Language Learners (ELLs), so that the students can then be ready, when they know the English language, to learn the other

Arizona's English Language Development Model (ELD Model) is intended to increase and accelerate the learning of English by English Language Learners (ELLs), so that the students can then be ready, when they know the English language, to learn the other academic subjects together with their English speaking peers. This model is part of a response to comply with the Flores Consent Order to improve services for ELLs in Arizona public schools. Whether or not it actually has improved instruction for ELLs has been the subject of much debate and, in 2012, after four years of the requirement to use Arizona's ELD Model, the ELL students who were identified as reclassified for the six districts in the study did not pass the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test. The model's requirement to separate students who are not proficient from students who are proficient, the assessment used for identification of ELLs, and the Structured English Immersion four hours of English only instruction are at the nexus of the controversy, as the courts accepted the separate four hour SEI portion of the model for instruction as sufficient to meet the needs of ELLs in Arizona (Garcia, 2011, Martinez, 2012, Lawton, 2012, Lillie, 2012). This study examines student achievement in Reading and Math as measured by AIMS standards-based tests in six urban K-8 public school districts between 2007-2012. This period was selected to cover two years before and four years after the ELD model was required. Although the numbers of ELLs have decreased for the State and for the six urban elementary districts since the advent of the Arizona ELD Model, the reclassified ELL subgroup in the studied districts did not pass the AIMS for all the years in the study. Based on those results, this study concludes with the following recommendations. First, to study the coming changes in the language assessments and their impact on ELLs' student achievement in broad and comprehensive ways; second, to implement a model change allowing school districts to support their ELLs in their first language; and, finally, to establish programs that will allow ELLs full access to study with their English speaking peers.

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2012

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Identification of printed nonsense words for an individual with autism: a comparison of constant time delay and stimulus fading

Description

This study compared a stimulus fading (SF) procedure with a constant time delay (CTD) procedure for identification of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) nonsense words for a participant with autism. An alternating treatments design was utilized through a computer-based format. Receptive identification of

This study compared a stimulus fading (SF) procedure with a constant time delay (CTD) procedure for identification of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) nonsense words for a participant with autism. An alternating treatments design was utilized through a computer-based format. Receptive identification of target words was evaluated using a computer format and the researcher conducted a generalization probe for expressive identification evaluation. Neither treatment condition resulted in consistent gains on the receptive identification measure. Both treatment conditions resulted in gains on the expressive identification assessment. The SF treatment condition was more efficient due to 1) accuracy in identifying all of the SF target words in fewer sessions than the CTD target words and 2) incidental learning that occurred as a result of exposure to additional SF words as distracter choices and in receptive identification assessments. Implications are discussed.

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2011

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Teacher learning within literacy instruction: reflective & refractive considerations on the community, interpersonal, and individual planes

Description

This qualitative study explores the learning experiences of two first-grade teachers in a progressive public elementary school in the southwestern U.S. Participants inquired into their literacy instruction practices within their reading-workshops. Weekly inquiry group conversations between teachers and

This qualitative study explores the learning experiences of two first-grade teachers in a progressive public elementary school in the southwestern U.S. Participants inquired into their literacy instruction practices within their reading-workshops. Weekly inquiry group conversations between teachers and researcher informed a perspective of learning as participation. During the semester-long study, two key questions guided design and implementation: 1) What is the nature of teachers' learning experiences related to their literacy instruction practices, contextualized within an inquiry group? 2) How do those learning experiences reflect and/or refract the community, interpersonal, and individual planes of analysis? An ethnographic perspective informed data collection and analysis; data were collected through weekly inquiry-group conversations, bi-weekly classroom observations, and in-depth interviews. A learning framework of community, interpersonal, and individual planes of analysis served as an analytic tool used in conjunction with a modified analytic induction. Teachers' case studies offer unique accounts of their learning, contextualized within their specific classrooms. Findings are discussed through narrative-based vignettes, which illustrate teachers' learning trajectories. On the community plane, apprenticeship relationships were evident in teachers' interactions with students' parents and with one another. Interpersonal interactions between teachers demonstrated patterns of participation wherein each tried to teach the other as they negotiated their professional identities. Analysis of the individual plane revealed that teachers' past experiences and personal identities contributed to ways of participation for both teachers that were highly personal and unique to each. Affective considerations in learning were a significant finding within this study, adding dimensionality to this particular sociocultural theory of learning. The ways teachers felt about themselves, their students, their community, and their work constituted a significant influence on what they said and did, as demonstrated on all three planes of analysis. Implications for practice include the significance of professional development efforts that begin at the site of teachers' questions, and attention to teachers' individual learning trajectories as a means to supporting educators to teach in more confident and connected ways.

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Date Created
2011

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Initial effects of Wilson Reading System on student reading and spelling achievement

Description

This study examined the effects of an intensive remedial program, Wilson Reading System (WRS), on 43 struggling readers from second to twelfth grade. The students, who attended a large southwestern urban school district, were all at least two grade levels

This study examined the effects of an intensive remedial program, Wilson Reading System (WRS), on 43 struggling readers from second to twelfth grade. The students, who attended a large southwestern urban school district, were all at least two grade levels below their peers in reading. Participants received 20 hours of WRS instruction over the course of one month as part of a WRS teacher certification course. Using the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, students were evaluated prior to and following their participation in the intensive summer program using five subtests (Letter-Word Identification, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Word Attack, and Spelling of Sounds) and two clusters (Basic Reading and Phoneme/Grapheme Knowledge) to assess gains in students' reading achievement. Since the intervention was delivered for such a brief period, this study was designed to provide a snapshot measure of initial reading skill gains. While a failure to perform significantly better was observed on the Letter-Word Identification, Reading Fluency, and Spelling subtests, students demonstrated significant improvement on Word Attack and Spelling of Sounds subtests following WRS instruction. Furthermore, students significantly improved on the Basic Reading and Phoneme/Grapheme Knowledge clusters. Study limitations and implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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2013

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Comparing different types of visual perceptual learning tasks' effects on reading ability

Description

Magnocellular-Dorsal pathway’s function had been related to reading ability, and visual perceptual learning can effectively increase the function of this neural pathway. Previous researches training people with a traditional dot motion paradigm and an integrated visual perceptual training “video game”

Magnocellular-Dorsal pathway’s function had been related to reading ability, and visual perceptual learning can effectively increase the function of this neural pathway. Previous researches training people with a traditional dot motion paradigm and an integrated visual perceptual training “video game” called Ultimeyes pro, all showed improvement with regard to people’s reading performance. This research used 2 paradigms in 2 groups in order to compare the 2 paradigms’ effect on improving people’s reading ability. We also measured participants’ critical flicker fusion threshold (CFFT), which is related to word decoding ability. The result did not show significant improvement of reading performance in each group, but overall the reading speed improved significantly. The result for CFFT in each group only showed significant improvement among people who trained with Ultimeyes pro. This result supports that the beneficial effect of visual perceptual learning training on people’s reading ability, and it suggests that Ultimeyes pro is more efficient than the traditional dot motion paradigm, and might have more application value.

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2015