You are on page 1of 1

The reading from this week had several big ideas, but phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency,

vocabulary, and comprehension acted as the five primary areas (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2001).
Prior to digging deeper into each of the five aforementioned big ideas, it is important to understand that
educational practice should be guided by evidence based practice that complies with the scientifically
based research elements that were outlined in Baxter and Reddy (2005). When deciding what to use
within my own classrooms, over the years, I have had to contemplate whether an idea that I wanted to
implement was simply someones idea (combined with my own creativity) or truly something that had
been held to the rigorous aspects of valid and reliable research practices. This shift in thinking took me
from simply getting creative with my own ideas, once I had heard about certain concepts in college
classes or during professional development, to a much deeper level of what has been proven to work
with other students in similar circumstances. When I learned to integrate scientifically based research in
my own classrooms, I armed myself with the proper shields from which to protect myself should parents
or administrators question my methods. This protection has allowed me to personally act as a much
more confident educator.
In relation to tiered levels of support, I feel that I have a very strong hold on how to meet the bulk of my
students needs during T1 instruction. Since I typically tend to teach at Grade 3 and above, I have less of
a grounded knowledge base in areas of phonological and phonemic awareness, and more of a toolbox
with regard to fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The reading this week taught me how to better
assess struggling learners needs in these two areas so that I can in turn provide deeper support for
them at the T2 level via explicit small group and one-on-one instruction. What I also found to be of
great interest, was the fact that once a student reaches a certain age (i.e., beyond 2nd Grade), he/she
no longer will learn those foundational skills in the same manner that he/she could have learned them
had he/she learned them during the recommended timeframe (Armbruster et al., 2001). This
information alone tells me that it is imperative to advocate for proper reading instruction, within my
school/district, during the beginning educational years for our students. Otherwise, educators add to
the gap differentiation.
In conclusion, I also learned just how vital it is to avoid the reading content stumbling blocks (University
of Kansas, 2014) that often set students up for failure. Knowing that there are two different lists, one for
younger students and one for older students, helps me pinpoint how I can plan instruction better both
vertically and horizontally so that students benefit accordingly.