Assessment and Instruction that Works to Meet the Literacy Needs of Struggling Readers in First Grade

ABSTRACT ASSESSMENT AND INSTRUCTION THAT WORKS TO MEET THE LITERACY NEEDS OF STRUGGLING READERS IN FIRST GRADE by Naomi Monique Parker Master of Arts in Education: Reading/Language Arts Option California State University, Chico Summer 2010 Research studies suggest that the majority of children unable to read at the end of first grade will continue to struggle with reading throughout their educational career. However, there is research indicating that early interventions prevent children from needing long-term literacy support. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 advocates for early intervention through Response to Intervention and permits special education evaluations to include children’s response to research-based instruction instead of requiring a significant discrepancy between their academic achievement and intelligence quotient. This project is a starting point for implementing secondary intervention, through Response to Intervention, to meet the literacy needs of struggling readers in first grade. The implementation issues explored are screening procedures, progress monitoring, determining response to instruction, and instructional strategies. Research indicates that a formulaic approach to early intervention, that exclusively uses test scores to qualify pupils, is likely to result in problems similar to those found with the intelligence quotient-achievement method. Diagnostic teaching is found to be a better approach to early literacy interventions, in a three tiered Response to Intervention model, than using some sequential, formulaic approach that doesn’t take into account the learner’s specific needs. Diagnostic teaching describes instruction driven by data from ongoing assessment that occurs under various conditions and with multiple measures. This project provides teachers with suggestions for assessment and instruction that will assist them in implementing diagnostic teaching to meet the literacy needs of struggling readers in first grade.