Remediation that works: What are the key features?
The literacy skills of children, adolescents, and adults will continue to develop with effective instruction, well-designed practice, and the motivation to continue working toward improved reading skills. In our research, we have found that effective programming includes the following design features:
- Addresses the core learning problems directly. Provides intensive remediation of basic speech/language/phonological deficits.
- Provides direct instruction of basic literacy skills, including decoding and spelling, vocabulary and text comprehension, with opportunities for cumulative review and repeated practice.
- Combines direct skills instruction and cognitive strategy instruction.
- Explicitly teaches children and adolescents to transfer and apply new knowledge and skills to new materials.
- Teaches the strategies used by skilled readers to attack unknown words:
- Comparing to known words
- Trying different vowel pronunciations
- Peeling off prefixes and suffixes
- Underlining parts you know
- Seeing what makes sense in a sentence
- Teaches learners to be flexible: Try different strategies and evaluate how well they work.
- Has the readers acknowledge their own efforts and successes, and articulate how successes were achieved.
- Works on learning to read and spell, use and understand the same sets of words.
- Uses an explicit approach to vocabulary and reading comprehension instruction.
- Uses stories and materials that are interesting and allow for successful reading by struggling readers (e.g., high interest/low vocabulary materials). Allow choice in reading materials. Read for fun, and entertainment.
- Builds reading comprehension skills by teaching the strategies used by good comprehenders.
- Teaches a strategy only after teaching first the preskills and knowledge needed to use the strategy effectively.
- Read from a variety of texts, including stories as well as informational and persuasive texts.
- Strategies include predicting, acquiring necessary vocabulary and background knowledge, and clarifying sources of uncertainty.
- Higher-level strategies include asking good questions, making inferences, and summarizing texts.
- Have the children write every day. Write reactions to stories read. Value the expression of individual opinions. Teach editing and revision as part of writing.