Sunday, January 29, 2017

Intervention Strategies to follow informal reading inventory assessment

JoAnne Schudt Caldwell and Lauren Leslie wrote Intervention Strategies to Follow Informal Reading Inventory Assessment: So What Do I Do Now and have revised it three times. I have long embraced my nerdhood and this book just confirmed it. I love the content dense, authoritative, detached style, but not everyone will. This is, in many ways a textbook. The online access to their PDToolKit lasts only a year, but if you want you can buy access from you college bookstore through a program associated with used book purchases. For an active practitioner, it offends me that I must download everything from the site in preparation for being locked out.

Many informal reading inventories (IRI) exist. The coauthors are responsible for the Qualitative Reading Inventory-5. I have an IRI from a fluency book by Johns and Berglund (see my notes about it here and here), Reading Rockets compares 8 on their site. Pearson has one available on line here. Fountas and Pinnell have one associated with their LLI; SRA and DRA have ones also. For me, at least, the easy part is administering the IRI. The tricky part is figuring out how to create a learning program that matches the needs of the student. This book is the first comprehensive source that I have found. LLI would have you identify reading level and follow their scripted program from there. DRA is similar. I believe that a scripted program will not meet the individual needs of all students and, as such they need to be adjusted to be in alignment with student needs. Taking a program that you are mandated by your district to implement means crafting a plan that focuses most attention on student need areas. One thing that the authors point out is that although students present different profiles, they can all benefit from an approach that includes attention to word study, comprehension and fluency. They argue that the time devoted to each component fluctuates based on student needs.

The book does primarily focus on elementary students. Although the 3rd edition has additional sections devoted to ELL and adolescent learner so, they are added more as an afterthought than an integrated component of the text. Part of the challenge presented is the limited amount of research available on reading instruction of students older than 13. As someone who has focused on adolescents, I have found more studies of older students, but they tend to be more in the nature of case studies which are of limited applicability.

One of the things that the authors do include is a table of structures for instruction of struggling readers (p. 39-41). This includes guidelines for format, grade and time. In this era of RTI where interventions need to be evidence based, this is a resource that could be heavily relied upon. Should a parent look for evidence to support the use of a particular intervention approach, this chart could be consulted. Similarly the appendix is a summary of intervention strategies presented in the book with breakdowns of recommendations for ELLs, adolescents and RTI. When creating interventions, this is also a useful chart. That being said, districts that implement one RTI approach for all students (for example READ 180) regardless of the student challenge profile could benefit from a more customizable approach. RTI programs are supposed to provide intervention in the specific area of need, not reading in general, decoding for all (ex. Wilson Reading), or comprehension for all (LLI).

I know that this book will become a well-thumbed reference guide to inform and defend my instructional practice.

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