Artifact #1

Diagnostic Tool Kit & Case Study Portfolio

ED 917 Diagnosis, Analysis, and Remediation of Reading Difficulties in Middle and Upper Grades

Taken: Fall 2013

ED 919 Reading Practicum

Taken Fall 2014- Spring 2015

Overview

Assessments are a key part of the education process. Being able to examine a student's work and progress helps teachers diagnose if a child has a reading problem or weakness. From that testing, teachers can also examine even further where the child struggles, whether it be within phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension or vocabulary. This final piece of information can help identify what remediation is necessary for the child to be successful. Within the created ED 917 Diagnostic Toolkit, there were a number of pieces of assessment that were useful for determining which areas of literacy the child needed to work on.

Competency 2: Phonemic awareness and phonics: principles, knowledge, and instructional practices

When pursuing a reading specialist career, one must understand the key terminology associated with the field. Phonological awareness is the most broad piece that encompasses a knowledge of phonemic awareness and phonics. They must understand that the English language is made up of 26 letters and using those letters they can create 44 different phonemes. Phonological awareness is the broader awareness of sound, including rhyming, alliteration (tongue twisters), syllables. This is something that is somewhat natural and common. Phoneme is the smallest unit of sound within language, which is not always represented by just a single letter, but can be a combination of more than one letter. This is a skill that does not require writing, but rather is a solely auditory skill. Phonemic awareness is a smaller category of phonological awareness, a more discrete skill, using just the smallest unit of sounds, phonemes. This skills can be developed through isolating phonemes within words, segmenting phonemes by stretching out the word and counting the sounds, blending phonemes by saying a word aloud to students slowly and then having students say the word faster, and manipulate phonemes by adding or deleting phonemes with given words. To develop phonemic awareness within students, activities should be selected not only for their educational value but also their engagement value, allowing students to contribute to fun and helpful activities. The skill that is then built off of phonemic awareness is phonics. Phonics is when print is introduced and we discuss what letters make what sounds, mapping speech into print. They learn that specific sounds and words go together, developing the alphabetic principle, essentially learning to read.

In order for students to create a solid foundation for reading, they must feel comfortable with their phonemic awareness and phonics skills. This is done by creating a safe environment for students to experiment and test out their knowledge. Within the provided example of the Diagnostic Toolkit, there are a number of suggested activities for a child to engage within to develop their skills and knowledge for an appropriate reading foundation. These activities include:

· Initial and final consonant sorts

· Fundations

· Wilson

· Lively Letters

· Word Work

· Mix and fix

· Quick Phonics Screener to guide instruction

· Poetry

· Words Their Way

· Sorts- Long Vowel Patterns, Long Vs. Short Vowels

· Elkonin boxes plus letters

· Word building

· Digraphs

· Rules for syllable division

· Lexia

· Project Read

· Matching games

· Word walls

· Magnetic letters

· Word sorts

Competency 5: Selection and use of appropriate programs, materials, and technology for reading instruction

Attached below is selected Diagnostic Tool Kit/Case Study completed within ED 917 Diagnosis Analysis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties in Middle and Upper Grades. Within this artifact includes information about the selection and appropriate use of programs and materials for implementing reading instruction within the classroom context. It includes different instructional techniques/methods that could be utilized, a variety of resources and materials, different assignments, and the classroom setting that was used during the case study for the students to have a successful reading experience. Information is also included in regards to how the classroom was set up for student success, this includes desk arrangements for groups and literacy areas, i.e. library configuration and selection choices, literacy circle areas, etc.

Within the Practicum experience, I afforded the opportunity to implement a variety of programs and techniques for each student, as well as a plethora of materials and technology. I choose to use this opportunity to delve into using an IPad to supplement instruction and motivate the learners. This included selected readings to read on the device as well as finding apps that supported targeted skills. Once I tested the students and learners their strengths and areas of weakness, I was able to better select materials that not only would interest them, but more importantly target my focused instruction areas.

My favorite thing to do within the educational field is find new and interesting ways to enhance not only my instructional practices but also enhance student learning and their educational opportunities. I use every chance to learn how each student learns, rather than what they need to know. I love working with colleagues and sharing new ideas and techniques that have worked for them or haven't worked for them. I view it as a chance to grow as an educator and expand my learning. Within the attached case study, there are a number of checklists to evaluate the climate of the classroom, it's setting, the curriculum that is implemented, instructional techniques, the literary environment, and the resources and materials used for instruction.

Competency 7: Screening and diagnostic instruments, their administration, and use for determining student strengths and weaknesses

The ED 917 Diagnostic Tool Kitt/Case Study is inclusive of a number of different instruments for diagnostics, how they are administered , and how they are to be utilized to determine a student's strengths and weaknesses. Within the case study, DIBELs, Reading A to Z, Quick Reader Screener, Writing Sample, GORT-5, and Spelling Inventories were utilized to assess the student's reading proficiency. These tests can each be administered to students at any point during the academic year, with the goal of providing the teacher with information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the student's literacy performance. With this information, and the knowledge that literacy is an integrated academic area inclusive of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension, the teacher can come up with interventions that will be tailored to the student and be effective for literacy instruction, setting the student up for success with the appropriate tools.

Competency 8: Knowledge and use of a variety of informal and formal reading assessments

Informal and formal reading assessments assist educators in detecting literacy difficulties and strengths for students. Within the ED 917 Diagnostic Tool Kit/Case Study, I utilized DIBELS, Reading A to Z, Quick Reader Screener, Writing Sample, GORT-5 and Spelling Inventories to diagnose the selected student's reading strengths and areas of weaknesses. Some of these selected tests were selected due to district mandates, but there were also some that were selected solely for their assessment of specific literacy skills. But it should be noted that assessment, not matter what the reason for implementation, should be used as an informational tool for the teacher and student to progress in a positive manner within academia by guiding instruction and reaching attainable goals.

Within my practicum experience, I administered the DIBELS, Reading A to Z, BADER, and DAR tests. Each of these tests allowed me to gain a whole picture of each reader as a learner and allowed me to assess how I would be most able to work with the student to improve their reading and literacy skills. By pre-testing each student, I was able to gain a knowledge of where to start with each student and how to target my instruction. With post-testing, I was able to see how my instruction contributed to gains in the student's learning. Throughout the experience, I was also able to see how tips and techniques I was helping the student with were transferring over into their classroom experiences.

DIBELS is a test that is utilized for fluency that I have frequently utilized as a formal reading assessment. Students within the district that I have taught in are given this assessment three times a year, beginning, middle and end of year, to observe if a student has made progress within areas of vocabulary and fluency. This is always an informative tool that students and teachers can use to help guide their reading progress.

Competency 12: Approaches and practices for writing instruction, including assessment of writing skills and their relationship to reading

The writing process is something that every student should have knowledge of, as it can be and is utilized within almost all facets of academia. The process is prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. In order to teach this process it is important for students to engage within it. Have students write any and everything, examining words that work together to formulate ideas and thoughts and creating their own works of literature. They need to create varied pieces of writing, such as narratives, expository, persuasive, and creative writings. Allowing students to write without fear of failing creates a safe environment to explore and experiment with their own thoughts and techniques. Within the ED 917 Diagnostic Tool Kit/ Case Study, the student was assessed informally regarding her writing practices and used vocabulary

Reading and writing are two very intertwined skills that go hand in hand when discussing literacy instruction. Within every area of the classroom, in one way or another, students use reading and writing skills. Within core academics, students use reading to gather information on valuable units and then transfer and prove their knowledge through creating pieces of writing. Therefore having a foundation that is solid within literacy will support all academic learning. For a number of years I have created a routine with writing. Each week, we as a class would create a graphic organizer that would include all of what we had done in each subject, specials included. Then from this information, students were required to write home in a given notebook to someone, whomever or whatever they wanted to write to, about what they did that week. This activity allowed students to answer their parent's question of "What did you learn this week?" without the typical answer of "I don't remember" or "Nothing." It gave students the opportunity to practice their writing skills and be creative. It's amazing how interesting and detailed students' letter could become.

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