60 Methods and Approaches that will Transform Reading Instruction

If we are to create an advanced science of reading and learning, as I mentioned in the previous blog, we need to look at the abundance of research on reading published since the National Reading Panel 20 years ago. Here are 60 methods or approaches that are ripe for translation into classroom-ready interventions, some of which form the core of Sparking the Reading Shift.

My goal is to spark a discussion about more effective ways of translating research into methods that will prevent the current cycle of K-12 students from experiencing mediocre literacy outcomes. I would love to hear about methods that you feel should be added to the list. Please leave comments below or email me at b7howlett@ (gmail).com. 

There are few phonics methods listed as I have taken seriously Seidenberg, Borkenhagen and Kearns’ recent paper on reading science and educational practices, suggesting that discussions about phonics limits progress in translational research and reading science.

Ideas that Require Wholesale Restructuring of Instruction

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Core Phonological Processing Deficit
  • Rapid naming and Orthographic Mapping effects on self-teaching and fluency
  • Orthographic mapping as distinct from phonics

Areas that are ripe for translation:

Phonological Therapy

  • Practice with minimally paired, multiple, and maximal opposition sounds, letters and words
  • Nonword minimal pairs segmentation and blending practice
  • Word manipulation with and without letters
  • Phoneme discrimination of vowels and “consonant blends” to accelerate PA development
  • Phoneme discrimination with diminishing background noise
  • Fast mapping of words to meaning

Word Decoding Beyond Orton-Gillingham Constructs

  • Developing non-word repetition to accelerate letter-sound learning
  • Code flexibility practice rather than rules and exceptions
  • Orthographic rime instruction with word families
  • Phonemic awareness with letters and invented spelling practice to “skip” phonics and decoding
  • Heightening attention to fine details in written and spoken words
  • Blachman’s real and pseudoword sublexical Orthographic – Phonological association intervention
  • Reciprocal learning of PA, spelling, and decoding
  • Building visual-spatial attention skills through letter spacing effects to overcome crowding effects
  • Serially shifting spatial attention to successive letters in a visually longer words
  • Segmentation and blending of words with complex sound patterns
  • The word superiority effect of Reicher
  • Invented spelling practice to build PA
  • Double classification of words using phoneme analysis and categorization based on meaning
  • Morphological awareness, morphological matrices, word sums, and word deconstruction
  • Morphemes as letter chunks to bind pronunciation and meaning
  • practice combining spelling-meaning relationships
  • McCandliss’ Word Building methods
  • Letter-sound proficiency  

Phoneme Proficiency

  • Phoneme manipulation tasks, including isolation, deletion and substitution with and without letters
  • Phoneme substitution practice with sound tiles
  • Stepwise phonological and orthographic processing of words
  • Phoneme analysis of minimally paired words
  • Time phoneme manipulation tasks

Orthographic Mapping

  • Orthographic mapping techniques that cling to phonics principles
  • Onset-rime mapping, backwards reading, substitution, deletion, analogy recognition
  • Mapping irregular words
  • Statistical learning, innate language pattern recognition, and assimilation of statistical regularities
  • Statistical sampling, searching and categorizing regularities
  • Glass Analysis and chunking of clusters (rime units, orthotactic units, blends, digraphs, roots, affixes)
  • Oral word spelling and identification
  • Orthographic neighbors and choice practice

Word Reading Fluency

  • Rapid, focused word recognition using grid searches
  • Timed word list reading of nonsense, phonetic and irregular words
  • Orthotactic sensitivity’s role in fluency in silent word reading
  • Visual attention span training
  • Flexible pattern recognition using shifting word lists (not word families)
  • Orthographic learning that builds mental representations by linking spelling, meaning, and pronunciation
  • Rapid sight word vocabulary / orthographic lexicon building activities
  • The interaction of RAN, word exposure and lexicon size

Multisyllable Word Mapping

  • Phonological multisyllable word mapping without letter analysis
  • Flexible syllable awareness using one root and multiple affixes
  • Devin Kerns’ Multisyllable word methods
  • Combined phonological and orthographic segmentation

Methods that Reflect Advances in the Cognitive/Learning Sciences

  • Self-teaching through active word recognition
  • Spaced Retrieval Practice to limit repetition and aid generalization and application
  • Mixed Instruction
  • Interleaved Practice
  • Errorless Learning
  • Gaming methods that promote engagement
  • Cognitive skills training
  • Structured learning with minimal explicit teaching
  • Practices that promote generalization and application so systematic doesn’t mean teach everything
  • Motivational interventions to address affective issues
  • Spacing effects that improve memory consolidation
  • Applying the attention-enhancing methods of Ellen Langer and others to reading
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