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Teaching of reading skills

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  • scottmiles67
    I have a question about the justification for explicitly teaching reading comprehension skills. Is there any research that supports this practice? I found the
    Message 1 of 58 , Sep 19, 2007
      I have a question about the justification for explicitly teaching
      reading comprehension skills. Is there any research that supports this

      I found the following from Susser and Rob (1990).


      "A serious problem is that these so-called reading comprehension
      skills do not exist, or, as Rosenshine (1980) more cautiously states,
      "there is simply no clear evidence to support the naming of discrete
      skills in reading comprehension" (p. 552). Alderson and Urquhart
      repeated this in 1984 (p. xvii), and Alderson stated it again at TESOL
      '88 (1988) (see also Alderson & Lukmani, 1989; Berkoff, 1979, p. 97;
      Cooper, 1987, pp. 76-77; and Lee & Musumeci, 1988, pp. 175, 180).
      Barnett found that teaching FL students reading strategies "did not
      significantly improve their reading comprehension" (1988, p. 157). She
      calls these results "confusing," but they are consistent with the idea
      that skills do not exist."

      So my question is, since 1990 have there been any studies which claim
      to support the explicit teaching of reading comprehension skills?

      If yes, I would love to have those sources.

      If no, perhaps we should discuss why almost everyone seems to spend
      time on them in their classrooms (including myself, I must admit).
    • EPER Enquiries
      Dear All I think Rob is right and that I should put the EPER level chart on the EPER website. It will take some time to get that organised so I attach it in
      Message 58 of 58 , Jun 17, 2008
        Dear All
        I think Rob is right and that I should put the EPER level chart on the EPER website.  It will take some time to get that organised so I attach it in the meantime. 
        I concede that it spreads over several pages but I hope not so many as to require a kitchen (or any other!) table. 
        As Julian says, the EPER booklists do offer a quality rating.  I find myself somewhat alarmed how adminstrators of reading schemes seem to want as many different titles as possible.  There are several  things to be said against this practice.  One is that some titles are very poor.  Admittedly reading a bad book helps one understand what makes a good book but you need to be a pretty committed and experienced reader to persevere with a bad book.  Another is that having a very wide choice reduces the chance of anyone else reading the same book.  I would rather get multiple copies of titles that have proved themselves. 
        I am sorry if EPER prices seem extortionate and am grateful to Julian for his support.  The current (since last year) prices are:
        £60 for all the titles (approx since 1960) which you will only need if you have in your library ageing readers from bygone generations. 
        £20 for a list of the readers currently in print.
        £10 for a list of those in print that I rate 4 or 5 out of 5. 
        I have given you the EPER level in the table attached.  The extra offered by the lists is the quality rating, author, isbn, genre, age of target reader and gender of protagonist.  I am, however, struggling to keep it up to date and have over 100 titles wating to be added.  I ought to organise some form of updating on a regular basis.  Any ideas?
        Best wishes
        David R Hill
        Project Director
        Edinburgh Project on Extensive Reading
        Institute for Applied Language Studies
        University of Edinburgh
        21 Hill Place
        Edinburgh EH8 9DP
        Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8211/6200
        Fax +44 (0)131 667 5927
        Email:  eper.enquiries@...
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 9:57 AM
        Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] Proposed ER scale

        Hello all,

        Thanks to Julian and David for their comment on the proposed scale. Yes Julian is right that one of the barriers to EPER's scale is that one has to pay for it. I completely understand why EPER would want people to pay for it given the time and effort put into making it, but GBP20 for the starter pack is a lot of money for some people and as new series come out one has to buy it again. Also as their is no sample of what you'd get for your money, it's hard to justify spending the money on a scale rather than new books. (Aside: my university has a policy which says that it will not under ANY circumstances send money for materials overseas and I assume many other institutions are like this. They also do not allow payments by credit card.  Of course I could pay myself, but that's not the point. But it's yet another barrier to getting access to it. Hopefully other institutions don't have this ridiculous policy).

        David is it possible to put the scale itself up on the site? I just checked and it's not there. And possibly add a short say half page sample of what one might be getting in the listing? This also goes for the tests and other support materials.

        David wrote:
        I think that Rob is mistaken to measure the increase in the number of words in percentages rather than raw numbers.   >From 100 words to 200 is an increase of 100 words and 100%.  From 1000 to 1100 is an increase of 100 words and 10%.  From 1000 to 2000 is an increase of 1000 words and 100%. 

        I'm actually not sure what you mean by 'increase in the number of words by percentages' . The proposed scale is designed to allow learners to smoothly move from one level to the next especially at the lower levels. The idea with the proposed scale is to make the lower levels closer to each other in headword count terms than the higher levels. A jump from level 3 to 4 requires knowing 100 new words which is a lot for a beginner. Compare that to CUPs level 2 (800) which is 100% greater than level 1 (400) and I feel far too much of a jump. 400 additional words for an elementary learner is a mountain to climb. But an additional 400 word jump between levels at an intermediate level probably won't lead to as much comprehension breakdown as the actual bulk of the words would still be known.

        David wrote:
        Finally I have spread Rob's chart out on the kitchen table.  The need to do so suggests to me that though it may well be more accurate, even in a modified form it will be too large to be practical. 
        I'm unclear what you mean. Doesn't EPER's list also break down categorization by publisher by level? As I haven't seen an EPER scale listing I can't comment, but I'd assume that for the money I'd get rather a detailed document.

        Also I would not necessarily suggest publishing this as a table, but rather a list of series with recommendations of which series would fit where on the scale probably as a pdf document downloadable for free from somewhere. e.g
        CUP starter = Mid beginner
        CUP 1     = Early Elementary
        CUP 2 = High Elementary

        If it were to be a table, I'd simplify it radically by only putting the series and level - the simpler the better. It would of course come with a rider that it is a 'quick and dirty' tool and not based on exact science.

        I think Julian is right to say that there is a place of the three types of scales:

        a) a carefully rated categorization based on more than headwords e.g. EPER
        b) SEG's human ratings scale
        c) a 'quick and dirty' scale based on a simple formula that will be there or thereabout for the majority of books.




        waring_robert@ yahoo.com
        Skype: waring_robert

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