Curriculum & Instruction in Reading

READ 6335- Session 1

Dr. Anita de la Isla

My name is Dr. Anita Snell de la Isla. I am an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University. My educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A & M University and a Master’s degree in Bilingual/ESL and Gifted & Talented Education from Southern Methodist University. In May 2015, I received my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Dallas Baptist University. I have enjoyed over seventeen years of service in public education, thirteen of those years in the field of bilingual education. At the present time, I am a professional development coordinator with experience in design and delivery of professional development, classroom observation and instruction, development of curriculum and assessment, data-driven instructional planning, and a sincere commitment to student-centered learning.

Tell us about you...

  • Name
  • Current position, district
  • Something interesting about you

Appointment Agendas

  • How it works:

– Provide students with a copy of an Appointment Agenda with various time-slot options.

– Ask them to walk around the room and make “appointments” with various partners.

– Both partners should select a time that is open and write each other’s name in the time slot.

– If someone remains without a partner, have that person triple up with an existing pair.

– Once the agendas are filled in, you can use this as a pairing tool.

– Partners should appear only once on an agenda.

  • How to Ensure Higher-Order Thinking:

– Steps for ensuring higher-order thinking will depend on the activity that you choose to

do once partners meet.

Take your clock and fill it with 4 appointments, one appointment for each hour designated.

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Fortune Cookie

1. Click the link below to reveal your fortune.

2. Think about how this fortune relates to your current job.

3. Meet with your 6:00 partner and discuss.

4. When both partners have shared, go back to your seat.

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We may not consider our view of the world particularly important until we begin to examine its impact on our thinking. Homer's concept held thinkers captive for hundreds of years, creating limitations and imagined boundaries which prevented humanity from exploring God's creation. As you begin this semester, you may want to consider what view of the world limits your own thinking?

Let's pray and ask God to keep our minds open to what He can teach us through his creation, beginning with the world where we live. Perhaps we need to expand our view of the world to accept the truth He is teaching us. Just thinking about His creation should excite us to the endless possibilities of His truth!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...
And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:1, 4

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Steps for Success

  1. Read the announcements and instructor biography in Blackboard.
  2. Read the syllabus and email the professor with comments.
    • This is your opportunity to “try out” the email feature of Blackboard.
    • This is my opportunity to see who is “active” in our class.
    • This gives you an opportunity to ask any questions about the syllabus.
  3. Read the devotion.
  4. Read chapter 1 of The Parallel Curriculum.
  5. Read the Lecture for Session #1.
  6. Answer the Discussion Question and post your answer in the Discussion Board before the end of the day on Thursday.
  7. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ Discussion Boards by the end of the day on Sunday.
  8. Review the Assignment Sheets under Course Material.


The Parallel Curriculum – Chapter 1: "The Rationale and Guiding Principles for an Evolving Conception of Curriculum"


Question: What do you expect to learn from this class?

Signal: Stand up when you are ready to respond.

Stem: Something I expect to learn from this class is…

Share: Share with your 12:00 appointment.

Assess: Wheel Decide

Lecture # 1

This course is required for everyone seeking a Master of Education in Reading and ESL. Any teacher who desires to be a reading specialist will obviously want to know more about how to design quality curriculum in the field of reading as well as how to plan for effective instruction in literacy. This course puts the aspects of curriculum and instruction together in order to provide a strong foundation for these two closely aligned dimensions of education.

The course is also required for anyone getting the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Anyone wanting to be a curriculum specialist should realize the reading and language curriculum is considered by many to be the linchpin of a quality curriculum. Many teachers realize literacy is the heart of our school system. If a school wants to be considered an excellent school, the literacy curriculum must likewise be excellent.

As we explore the curriculum and instruction of reading this semester, we will look closely at some general curriculum guidelines. We will explore four curriculum models, that are considered "parallel." The textbook will present the four models and you will have an opportunity to create a sample curriculum plan representing each model. The book presents the following curriculum models to consider:

  • The Core Curriculum
  • The Curriculum of Connections
  • The Curriculum of Practice
  • The Curriculum of Identity

The authors of the textbook offer a strong theoretical rationale for how this model was developed in chapter one (your reading assignment for this week). They promise that the model will be more fully explained in a practical sense in chapter two.

As you read the chapter, you should have noticed the reasons the authors give for coming up with a new model for curriculum. Briefly, the three reasons they list are as follows:

  1. Students have different characteristics than they did in the past.Educators have always wanted to be responsive to the needs and cultural contexts of their students. Because of the compelling changes in our society, the authors recognize the need for new curriculum models that take these changes into account.
  2. Changing views of intelligence should influence curriculum development. Countless books and courses that focus on the need for adapting curriculum and instruction to our new knowledge of the brain and multiple intelligences. The authors give four reasons for this consideration.
    1. Environment and opportunity affect intelligence. We need to provide those environments and multiple opportunities for our students to learn.
    2. We need to design curriculum for this broad range of intelligences.
    3. Curriculum should be flexible to allow for this range of intelligences.
    4. We need to plan for development of intelligences.
  3. Evolving curriculum should honor the leaders of the past by drawing on their work to build the future. The authors want to be very clear about their commitment to a core curriculum based on long-standing knowledge. They have no desire to throw out the traditions of the past, but to honor them while developing new ideas at the same time.

Before looking at the "Theoretical and Research-Based Underpinnings of the Parallel Curriculum Model" presented in chapter one of the textbook, let's take a short time to consider the differences between theories, paradigms, and models.

Theoretical Frameworks

Thinking requires a context along with the content of the thought. As educators, we have all been asked to consider the rich heritage of thinkers who have taught and written about education. We have explored the writings of ancient Greek philosophers along with modern scientific geniuses. The educational arena is influenced by a myriad of minds dedicated to unravel the mystery of how we think and learn.

The reasoning of the mind is hidden. Only within the last few decades have tools been invented to peek into the working brain. Even with all of the information that we have gained from the work of Eric Jensen and other brain researchers, we still have a lot to learn about the brain. Even with the understanding of multiple ways to know, we still have to admit that we don't have a road map of the brain to "prove" this stuff to us.

Humans are rational beings gathering information with our five senses. We use these senses to try to understand our world and to bring order to our thinking. We observe, watch, listen, feel, and experience the world. We must admit, however, that some things are hidden, believed to exist but not directly observed. The hidden truths of our world may represent moods, convictions, guidelines, beliefs, or laws. In some cases, we have to describe them simply as theories or paradigms. Howard Gardner's work is rightfully called "the theory of multiple intelligences." Because we can't show a roadmap of the brain, we develop models that can be representations of what we believe happens in the brain.

We like to think that we have developed our theories and models simply from our observations, and we assume them to be free of bias, truly objective in nature. But in practice, theories are influenced by the experience and knowledge of the viewer, which is neither totally objective nor dispassionate.

Let's explore the differences between theories, paradigms, and models.


Educational theory is a group or cluster of statements or propositions that "explain the operations of an institution. These ideas and propositions are sufficiently abstract or general that they can be transferred and applied to situations other than those in which they are directly developed" (Gutek, 1997, p. 259). Theories are really educated opinions or explanations generated from observed patterns discerned from acknowledged facts or applications. They reflect the mechanisms of learning beneath the obvious. These 1) emerge from philosophies as derived applications to this larger body of ideas, or 2) develop as a reaction to ideas or events, or 3) develop from practice (Gutek).


Paradigms are much harder to understand. Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) developed the concept in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, when he explored the nature of paradigm shifts as a radical departure from the accepted norm of science. Prior to his work, progress in science was considered a linear achievement, a positive progression of ideas each improving upon the last. Kuhn exposed an underlying framework challenging this perspective.

For Kuhn, paradigms of were the collective components or assumptions believed to be true for a discipline or an individual when in working application. Naugle (2002) describes them as "the umpires at a baseball game: they control all the action on the (scientific) field, but no one pays much attention to them" (p. 200). Education has its own collection of paradigms, and like those described by Kuhn, these influence one's perception of learning and teaching. In a broader context, paradigms should be considered worldviews.

Some traditional paradigms teaching and learning have been called into question through some of the new studies mentioned previously. Consider some of the paradigms of these ancient educator/philosophers:

  • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) believed the intellect of women was inferior to the abilities of men. His paradigm disregarded any possible need for women to be educated, disregarding any contributions they could possibly make in order to focus on training men.
  • Plato (424 – 348 B.C.) taught that there was a division between the body and the soul which modern thought translates into compartmentalized living.
  • Aquinas (1225-1274) argued for humanity's ability to contain both a spiritual and a physical nature, each needing education.
  • Rousseau (1712-1778) described the mind of child as a "blank slate," neither good nor bad, waiting to be written upon.

Imagine the influence of these paradigms on education?

Let's consider a practical example:

If Ms. Smith believes in a teacher-centered classroom, student interaction would be minimal in her room. She may not consider the ideas of students to be valuable, so she does not encourage a lot of discussion or discovery. Because of her desire to stay in control, her discipline is tough, her instructional strategies focus on the teacher imparting knowledge, and assessment is done against a standard measure of performance. She would not necessarily attempt to empower students' thinking, nor believe they were capable of metacognitive skills. Her role in a teacher-centered classroom is to keep the focus on the established structure and accepted curriculum content, writing on the blank slates before her.

Consider Mr. Jones whose paradigm is focused on a learner-centered classroom. The role of the teacher changes dramatically. He allows students to design some of their own learning and to become active participants in both the delivery of content and the evaluation of learning. There is some noise in the classroom, but students are engaged and learning. There are thematic units, learning centers, cooperative learning groups, and a host of other instructional methods being used.

The paradigms of these two teachers are different—and the resulting instructional setting is different. The foundational ideas of the teachers lead them to develop different classrooms.


Models are theoretical concepts in application. They are the structural design, the map that allows the principles of a theory to be put into practice. Models direct our thinking by giving us a general picture of a theory. Models often represent a process, transforming a complex and complicated theoretical concept into manageable units.


Gutek, G. (1997). Philosophical and ideological perspectives on education. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Naugle, D. (2002). Worldview: The history of a concept. Grand Rapids,MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans.


Teacher Centered vs. Learner Centered

Consider the paradigms of these two teachers, which one do you feel is best for teaching ELLs? Why?

Discuss with your 3pm appointment. Make sure to speak in complete sentences.


Please read the following items in the folder marked “Assignment Sheets” in Course Material:

1. A Word About Discussion Boards

In addition, please read the information about TaskStream that is available in the Course Tools file at the top left corner of your Blackboard screen. Email your instructor or your advisor with questions.


Please go to the Discussion Board (see link on the left side of this screen) and participate in the discussion for this session.

Each week, we will use a similar format for posting the discussion. You should answer the question for yourself before reading the posts from your classmates. Post your original response by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Respond to at least two of your classmates by Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

Question #1:

Please introduce yourself to your classmates. Specifically, provide the following information:

  1. Name and family situation
  2. Degree you are pursuing and when you hope to graduate
  3. Current teaching assignment (Be sure to tell us the city/country of your school—notice that you have classmates from around the world!)
  4. Teaching experience—especially as it relates to reading and language
  5. What you hope to learn from this class this semester

Please read “A Word about Discussion Boards” in the course material folder for Assignment Sheets.