Project LIFT INSTRUCTION
The goal of Project LIFT is to provide high-quality reading instruction based upon scientifically-based research. Scientifically-based means that newly-taught instructional methods and strategies have been tested through rigorous procedures and have a strong chance of helping students increase their literacy skills if implemented correctly.
Project LIFT instructional personnel are currently learning how to implement high-quality reading instruction that includes content based on the five essential components of reading instruction integrated into 60-minute daily reading lessons, explicit and systematic teaching of reading knowledge and skills, and providing additional time in the schedule for literacy interventions with students performing below grade-level expectations. These important instructional elements are essential for both English reading development and instruction in the vernacular languages.
The Essential Components of Reading Instruction
Scientific research in the area of reading has identified five essential components of reading that should be taught in order for children to become successful readers. Project LIFT educators have received initial training of these components and will be receiving ongoing training for incorporating each of these into daily reading lessons during scheduled professional development sessions during the 2015-16 school year. These critical components are summarized below:
• Phonemic Awareness
The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (called phonemes) within words. For example, knowing that the word "map" is composed of the individual sounds of "m" "a" and "p". Or, knowing that if the final sound in "map" changes from a "p" to a "n", the word would be "man." Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness builds skills for early reading as well as spelling skills.
Phonics instruction explicitly teaches a sequential set of phonics elements. In other words, understanding that letters of the alphabetic and combinations of the letters of the alphabetic make certain sounds. Phonics also includes teaching students to blend the sounds of a string of written letters in order to read words. If students from higher grades are missing these skills, they also must be taught phonics in order to improve their reading skills.
Resources for Further Understanding the Five Essential Components of Reading:
1. Put Reading First: The Research
Reading Blocks for Teaching Children
to Read (National Institute for Literacy).
2. What Every Educator and Parent
Should Know About Reading
Instruction. (Sedita, 2008)
3. English Language Learners and the
Five Essential Components of English Instruction (Antunez, Reading
• Reading Fluency
Reading fluency is reading quickly, accurately and with expression. Reading fluency is important because if a student spends all of his or her efforts on sounding out what is being read, not enough brain capacity is left over to get the meaning of what has been read. Reading with fluency can be accomplished with daily practice of reading skills with materials at an appropriate instructional level.
Vocabulary is an important component of both oral and written language and includes the words students must know in order to make sense of the words they hear and see in print. Knowledge of word meanings is critical to teaching reading comprehension. The meanings of means can be taught directly by teachers, and teachers can teach students word learning strategies to help them determine the meanings of new words when they are reading independently.
Comprehension is the ability to understand and get meaning from text. This is the ultimate goal of reading. Research for over 30 years has shown that instruction in comprehension strategies improves reading comprehension of students with a wide range of abilities. Teachers will be learning how to provide comprehension instruction before, during and after the reading of text.
Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens.
Training Modules for
Project LIFT Schools
On the pull-down menu above, teachers will find professional development modules on each of the essential components of reading. These modules can be viewed either as a whole-group staff and/or by individual teachers who want to go back and review on their own time. Onsite training stressed that each of these components should appear in daily lessons across the various grade levels. The modules include:
Instruction Module 1: Understanding and Developing a 60-Minute Daily Lesson Plan
Instruction Module 2: Phonological Awareness
Instruction Module 3: The Alphabetic Principle (Phonics)
Instruction Module 4: Reading Fluency
Instruction Module 5: Vocabulary Development
Instruction Module 6: Developing Reading Comprehension Skills
Just Good Teaching: Characteristics of Effective Instruction