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The reading ability of Murad is the focus of the analysis and discussion in this paper with references to the results of reading assessments, the application of instructional strategies, and post-assessments. Informal reading inventories (IRIs) are selected for the assessment of reading skills because the focus is on evaluating the child’s successes in the phonemic awareness and decoding, as well as on concluding regarding the student’s overall reading level. In this case, it is important to describe the child, present the assessment results, discuss the proposed instructional strategies, analyze the post-assessment results, and reflect on the changes in the child’s reading level.
Description of the Student
Murad is a male 7-year-old student who has just started learning English as his second language. Murad speaks the Arabic language as his native one. The boy started learning English twelve months ago. He learns words quickly, but he has problems with recognizing them in the text. He has a good memory, but he needs improving skills in decoding individual words and words presented as a text. Murad likes outdoor games, and it is rather difficult to make him concentrate on such activities as reading or writing. In his family, only the father speaks English, and one of the most important challenges is that the boy can hear the English language rarely, and his parents cannot control the learning process.
The assessment of the reading level and the ability in decoding words was conducted with the help of IRIs presented in the form of word lists and reading passages. While focusing on the quantitative observation, it is possible to state that Murad recognized and read correctly 16 out of 16 words which were proposed in the level-one list and 8 out of 12 words presented in the level-two list. Since there were no miscues at the first level, he started reading the passage for this level. However, two errors were determined in reading the first level passage, and four errors were reported in reading the second level passage. Thus, the student’s independent level of reading can be associated with Level One, and the instructional level is Level Two.
While making the qualitative assessment it is necessary to note that reading the passages, Murad was interested in the text, and demonstrated the comprehension of the text’s meaning, but he experienced problems with pronouncing words that have more than one syllable. He succeeded in making the emphasis on correct words in proposed sentences and made appropriate tonal rises and falls. It is typical of Murad to make such errors as omissions and substitution. These errors are most common for students who have just started learning the English language as the second one (Carlisle, Kelcey, and Berebitsky 1361; McCormick and Zutell 22).
The assessment indicates that the student easily recognizes words, but he has problems with reading two-syllable words that were used in word lists and passages for reading. During the assessment, the student was inclined to omit and substitute some words in sentences. In order to improve Murad’s skills in decoding or recognizing such words, it is necessary to implement such instructional strategies as the work with cards that can include separate words and word combinations, the work with cards that include words having two and more syllables, and the work with pairs of words (Gunning 54; Tompkins et al. 389). The reason is that these procedures are appropriate for the student’s study level.
According to Tompkins et al., the most appropriate strategies to improve reading and avoid the omission and substitution in sentences is the activities with appropriate cards that can present different words depending on the student’s weaknesses, as well as combinations of words to learn. The focus should be on words that sound or look similarly because they can cause many problems for students who only learn how to decode words and read them appropriately (Tompkins et al. 389). In order to promote the language acquisition in children, it is also necessary to include word games in the learning process in order to stimulate the children’s interest in learning.
After conducting the IRIs that were followed with the instructional intervention, it is possible to notice improvements in Murad’s reading level and skills in decoding the words which have more than one syllable. Thus, the student was able to read all words from the new level-two list, and he also read all words which have two and more syllables from the level-three list. Moreover, while reading the passages, the student did not make mistakes for level-one and level-two passages, but he made five mistakes while reading the text for Level Three. Therefore, this text can be discussed as correlated with the frustration level. Still, the student’s abilities to read the instructional level texts improved.
According to Jennings, Caldwell, and Lerner, appropriate instructional strategies can help students focus on their weaknesses in reading, and their concentration during the reading process increases. As a result, the possibility of errors decreases (Jennings, Caldwell, and Lerner 22). Furthermore, at this stage, while making an error, Murad tries to correct himself. It is possible to speak about his progress in developing literacy competencies (Burns 439; Tompkins et al. 390).
The procedure of conducting the assessment, the process of applying instructional strategies to address the student’s needs, and the post-assessment allowed analyzing what particular problems students can have while developing their skills in reading and what strategies can be effective in order to address problems with decoding the words. It was also important for me to understand whether there is a difference between decoding separate words in the word list and recognizing the words in a sentence, following the tonal norms of reading. I paid much attention to the implementation of instructional strategies because I understood their role in influencing the final result. It was possible to expect that the selected strategies could be ineffective in the concrete case.
However, I chose the appropriate strategies in order to improve the student’s reading skills and tried to implement them while referring to Murad’s learning style and abilities. It was important to understand that the choice of words for learning and reading also influences the quality of decoding because of the student’s personal interest in memorizing these words. In the classroom, the proposed strategies can be applied to improve the learning of a group of students who have similar problems with recognizing words. I have also learned that much attention should be paid to the student’s reaction to instructional strategies, engagement, and the further reactions to tests that can demonstrate the child’s interest in developing the literacy competence and reading skills.
Burns, Matthew. “Accuracy of Student Performance while Reading Leveled Books Rated at Their Instructional Level by a Reading Inventory.” Journal of School Psychology 53.6 (2015): 437-445. Print.
Carlisle, Joanne, Ben Kelcey, and Dan Berebitsky. “Teachers’ Support of Students’ Vocabulary Learning during Literacy Instruction in High Poverty Elementary Schools.” American Educational Research Journal 50.6 (2013): 1360-1391. Print.
Gunning, Thomas. Creating Literacy Instruction for All Students. New York: Pearson, 2012. Print.
Jennings, Joyce, Anne Caldwell, and Janet Lerner. Reading Problems: Assessment and Teaching Strategies. New York: Pearson, 2013. Print.
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McCormick, Sandra, and Jerry Zutell. Instructing Students Who Have Literacy Problems. New York: Pearson, 2014. Print.
Tompkins, Gail, Rod Campbell, David Green, and Carol Smith. Literacy for the 21st Century. New York: Pearson, 2014. Print.