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Ayana Fletcher-Tyson

December 15, 2015

EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis

Take Home Exam 2

A. Vocabulary Instruction
1. Description: In the Holt instructional materials, the students are
informed that the academic vocabulary is provided with each
collection and that they will need this academic vocabulary
knowledge to master the skills in the unit (The Holt Reader, p xi-
xiii). In Collection 1, the students are given the definitions of the
words necessary for understanding of the text in their reader (Holt
Elements of Literature, 16). For extension or as needed, these
materials promote the teacher using a version of the Brief
Explanation method prior to reading the various texts with
emergent bilinguals so that they have a point of entry to the plot
essay and the text Broken Chain (Holt Reading Solutions, 31).
This unit also addresses teaching vocabulary by introducing
students to the importance of Latin Roots in determining the
meaning of a word (Holt Reading Solutions, 35). This unit
provides vocabulary worksheets and addresses student
understanding by a matching definitions to the word exercise;
creating a sentence with the word; and choosing the correct
vocabulary word from a word bank to complete a sentence (Holt
Reading Solutions, 39- 40).
2. Research-based practices:

a. Academic Vocabulary instruction: General academic

vocabulary can be described as words that consistently show
up across content areas or domains (Baumann and Graves,
2010). There are many research based methods for
instructing students on academic vocabulary. One method is
called the SWIT method that has 3 different types of
instruction a teacher can use. The first type they describe is
Powerful Instruction which is when the teacher provides a
clear, student-friendly definition of the word oftentimes
along with a picture to illustrate. The teacher will then
discuss the word in context sentences and ask questions that
require the student to think deeply. Finally the teacher has
the option to offer a vocabulary reference sheet for the
students when using the powerful instruction strategy. The
second type of instruction described is Brief Explanation,
which is when the teacher takes a short moment to quickly
explain the word in context as the class is reading the text.
The third type of instruction describe in the SWIT method is
Infer Meaning, which is when the teacher guides the
students to the definition of the word. They recommend
using this type of instruction when the definition is clear
from the context or from previously learned words (Graves
et. al, 2013)

b. Content area vocabulary instruction: Content area

vocabulary, or domain-specific academic vocabulary, can be
described as words that are specific to a certain academic
domain (Baumann and Graves, 2010). The best practice for
selecting content-area vocabulary to instruct students on is
to ensure that they are getting the meaning and how to use
those words that, while low-frequency outside of the specific
academic domain, however, are crucial to understanding the
content the students are being taught. For example, in a
freshman year Geometry class, it would be very important
for the teacher to teach the meaning and use of the words
perpendicular, acute, obtuse and parallel so that the students
could access the content and use those words in the
appropriate context (Baumann and Graves, 2010).
c. Selection of words for vocabulary instruction: Several
researchers have suggested various ways to select
vocabulary for instruction. Graves (2006, 2009) suggests
that teachers first choose words from texts that also show up
on existing academic vocabulary word lists; second, the
teacher administers a pre-test to determine students
knowledge of words; and third, the teacher poses five
questions of themselves that determine which words are the
most necessary to know for the text (Baumann and Graves,
2010). In the SWIT method, the teacher must first determine
the unfamiliar words in the text. Then the teacher sorts the
words into 4 categories- Essential words (words crucial for
comprehending the current text), Valuable words (words that
have broad, general utility for students reading and writing),
Accessible words (words that are more common words that
are not likely to be understood by students who have limited
vocabulary knowledge), and Imported words (words that
enhance a readers understanding, appreciation, or learning
from a text, but are not included in it). Once the teacher has
determined what type of word the unfamiliar word is, the
teacher must then decide which words are most necessary to
teach for the lesson (Graves et. al, 2013).
d. In what ways does this instruction match or diverge from
ideas about vocabulary instruction provided in class 12
i. This instruction matches the idea that vocabulary
instruction can provide a brief explanation as a
satisfactory means of explaining the necessary
information ( Graves, et al., 2013). However, because
some of these words are essential to the text in terms
of comprehension, it might be a better choice by the
teacher to employ Powerful Instruction as a means of
truly ensuring the students have the best chance at
comprehending the text (Graves, et al., 2013).
3. Best Practices Extension Lessons:
a. I would adapt the additional Vocabulary Practice for
English-language learners by reinforcing the words with
picture supports from different texts we had already read as
a class. For example, I would choose the climax from a text
they had seen in my class and put the picture of the familiar
book cover and a picture and description of the climax
action in the book to give them a visual to associate with the
academic vocabulary term (Holt Reading Solutions, 31).
B. Fluency Instruction
1. Description: In the Holt reader, the collection describes successful
readers reading with fluency as reading clearly, easily, quickly,
and without word identification problems (The Holt Reader, xv).
There are times during the reading of the text Broken Chain that
the Holt reader instructs the student to re-read sections of the text
for better understanding before answering questions which
contributes to improving the students fluency (The Holt Reader,
7). In Targeted Strategies for Special Education Students (that
could also work for any student that is struggling with reading
fluently), this collection recommends reading aloud a short passage
multiple times, employing the repeated reading strategy for
developing fluency. The teacher is advised to encourage the
student to read with expression and intonation so that it shows their
understanding of the text as well (Holt Reading Solutions, 36).
2. Research-based practices:
a. What is reading fluency and why is it important?
i. Reading fluency involves reading with proper
phrasing, intonation, and prosody and with close to
100% accuracy and at an appropriate rate (Allington,
2006). A reader becomes fluent as they repeatedly
encounter words and recognize with less and less
consciousness (Samuels, 2006). Fluency is so
important because readers need to be able to
recognize words with automaticity so that more
attention can be paid to the meaning of the text and
comprehending (Samuels, 2006). A student with
excellent fluency is therefore able to decode and
comprehend the text at the same time with ease.
However, this fluency could depend on text topic, text
level, and if speed is measured (Samuels, 2006).
b. Best-Practices:
i. Oral repeated reading of a text contributes to
increasing a readers fluency. This best practice
includes the student reading and rereading a short
passage about four times. After four readings or if the
criteria for accuracy and comprehension are met, the
student can move to another meaning passage of the
text to continue repeated readings (Samuels, 2006).
ii. Choral Reading is another best practice strategy where
the whole class and the teacher read a text aloud
together at the same time (Samuels, 2006).
iii. Partner Reading: This best practice is done with
children in pairs and the structure allows each child to
give simple feedback to their partner after the child
has read a piece of text multiple times. In a slightly
different version of this strategy called Guided Pairs,
the more advanced reader (who could be another
child, teacher, or another adult) reads the text aloud to
demonstrate correct fluency and then the pair reads
the text together numerous times. The less advanced
fluent reader can then say when they are comfortable
reading the passage by themselves (Samuels, 2006)
iv. Readers Theater: This best practice allows the student
to practice fluency and really dive into a character to
practice correction expression based on the character.
The teacher will have the group of students repeatedly
read the script and the students can even perform as a
group as well once the criteria for accuracy and
prosody are met (Samuels, 2006).
v. Teachers must give students texts of appropriate
difficulty as frequently as possible to promote fluency.
If the text is too easy, the students are continuing to
practice on reading words that they have already
mastered understanding and reading with fluency and
if the text is too difficult, the words and the content
are outside of the students instructional level and
therefore not effective in developing fluency
(Allington, 2006).
c. How does this instruction match or diverge from class 10
readings on reading fluency instruction?
i. In this set of instructional materials, the repeated
reading strategy is employed throughout whole class
instruction and within targeted instruction for students
who need more support (The Holt Reader, page 7;
Holt Reading Solutions, page 33). This is a match to
the research-based best practice of repeated reading of
texts found throughout our readings on fluency
(Samuels, 2006; Allington, 2006). The instructional
materials diverge from some of the best practices
stated in our readings as the collection does not
recommend paired reading or guided reading as a
strategy for supporting dysfluent readers throughout
the reading of Broken Chain.
C. Comprehension Processes and Readers Diverse Backgrounds
1. Description: Broken Chain by Gary Soto requires that the teacher
ensures that the students have certain schema in place before
reading to promote comprehension.

Must be put
Purpose: for
on by a


Might not be undertaking;
covered by requires frequent
3. might check-ups for
Students from Culturally Diverse Backgrounds:
not have insurance tightening
a. A group of students whose cultural experiences differ from
those in the text Broken Chain might be a group of students
who recently emigrated from an industrial city in Eastern
Europe or Asia to a small town in the rural southern United
States. This group of students may not be accustomed to the
nuances in Alfonsos relationship with his father; the
interactions between Alfonso and his mom concerning the
money for braces and why he thinks he needs to fix his
teeth; what it truly means that all of their meals consist of
some type of bean; how Alfonso and his brother can depend
on a bike to get them anywhere they need to go in their
lives; and the ways that Alfonso feels he can and must
improve his appearance to name a few experiences from the
text. For example, if the students did not understand the
concept of braces and the expense of having them put on
your teeth and also did not know that money would be an
issue for this family, they may not comprehend why the
conversation between Alfonso and his mom was so tense.
Another example of a part of the text the students may be
unfamiliar with would be the schema of dating at a young
age. If their families do not support dating at a young age,
these students may not be familiar with the different
opportunity Alfonso and his brother have to explore
relationships with peers of the opposite gender (Holt
Reading Solutions, page 33).
b. Since this group of students would be an immigrant family
similar to that of Alfonso and his family, they would be able
to use their own personal experiences to comprehend that
the often the cheapest and easiest way for a family to eat
would be eat food that was from their home culture and
easily available at neighborhood grocery stores. This
understanding could then support their understanding of
other parts of the text that allude to the familys need to save
money in other areas such as Alfonso having to use his own
lawn-mowing money to buy a new shirt. The context of a
comfortable food indicative of ones culture would be a part
of many new immigrants schemas.
4. Best Practices Extension Lesson: I would use a short non-fiction
text on orthodontia to introduce the schema of the braces
conversation to the students. For these students, it would be crucial
that they understand what an expense this is and what braces could
do for Alfonsos teeth if the family had enough money. I would use
the comprehension strategy of Right There questions as all of the
information needed to understand braces and the process would be
able to be found in the text (McMahon, 2008). The use of this
strategy would ensure that the students are working through the
passage with a focus of a literal comprehension of the text and then
determining the most important information for understanding
Broken Chain (McMahon, 2008).
D. Comprehension Instruction
1. Description: Teaching comprehension of text is addressed through
many ways in this collection of Holt materials. There is a lesson
that supports the skill of retell through teaching different parts of
plot structure and instructing students to mention each of the parts
on a thorough summarization of the plot of a text (Holt Elements
of Literature, page 2 and page 4). The collection also provides
ways for the students to visually represent texts as a way of
supporting comprehension (Holt Elements of Literature, page 3).
When the students are faced with the main text of the day (Broken
Chain), there are many opportunities to support comprehension.
For example, the students are asked to make a connection to the
text before reading through quick writing; they are asked to
continue practicing the skill of retelling and summarizing the plot
of Broken Chain at various points in the text; and many questions
are provided to the teacher that assess the students literal
comprehension of the text as well as their ability to infer and
interpret the text (Holt Elements of Literature, page 16; The Holt
Reader, page 6-8).
2. Research-based practices: Top 10 Guidelines
a. Guideline 1: Effective comprehension instruction should be
evenly balanced between explicit teaching of comprehension
strategies and a generous amount of practice time applying
their knowledge, skills and strategies during actual reading
(Duke and Pearson, 2002)
b. Guideline 2: An effective strategy to support literal
comprehension is to use questioning. An example of
questioning is to ask questions that require the student to
Think and Search. The student must consider the question
and look throughout the text to find the complete answer to
the question (McMahon, 2008).
c. Guideline 3: A best practice for supporting comprehension
development in students is for the teacher to match well-
suited texts to the different parts of understanding; the text
should be well-matched to comprehension strategy being
instructed on and practiced (Duke and Pearson, 2002).
d. Guideline 4: Think-alouds are an excellent research-based
practice that facilitates the development of metacognitive
thinking in students. When teachers perform highly effective
think alouds for students during read aloud time, they are
demonstrating the skill of how to use their brains to select
appropriate comprehension strategies to understand different
sections of text (Block & Israel, 2004). A teacher is
modeling out loud what it means to decide which strategy is
most applicable and most effective to the text as they read
(Duke and Pearson, 2002).
e. Guideline 5: Another best practice to use when supporting
the development of comprehension skills in students is to
practice the skill of prediction. When a student is making a
prediction, they are activating prior knowledge,
previewing, and overviewing a text and synthesizing the
knowledge to make a reasonable guess about what the text
will be about (Duke and Pearson, 2002).
f. Guideline 6: Visual representations of text is a great method
to visualize and organize understanding of a text. A visual
representation of a text can be through a flowchart, a
concept map, a semantic map, or a picture and is a way for
the students to present the information they have learned
from the text in an organized way (Duke and Pearson, 2002).
g. Guideline 7: Students must be able to draw inferences and
interpret the texts that are presented to them. One research-
based practice to support this skill is to use the Interactive
reading Using Sticky Notes strategy. To ensure that this
method is not only supporting literal comprehension, the
teacher must prepare her questions that do not only allow a
student to take the definition or answer straight from the text
to correctly answer the questions (McMahon, 2008).
h. Guideline 8: Teachers can support critical comprehension
development in students by using the Double-Entry Journal
practice with their students. This strategy demonstrates to
students that their opinions of a text matter and are crucial to
critically understanding the text. For example, the student
can use the Double-Entry Journal to summarize what the
authors says and then respond to it with what they think
about the authors point of view or opinion (McMahon,
i. Guideline 9: Another research-based practice that prompts
the development of a students overall comprehension is to
teach the skill of summarization. Students must be able to
determine relevant and important information from a wide
range of text (Duke and Pearson, 2002).
j. Guideline 10: One last research-based practice that is
effective in developing comprehension is to use the
Reciprocal Teaching strategy. In Reciprocal Teaching, the
teacher must employ the strategies of predicting,
questioning, seeking clarification, and summarizing. In
Reciprocal Teaching, the teacher begins each section as the
driver of the instruction and then slowly releases more and
more responsibility to the students. This strategy allows
teachers to enforce with students which comprehension
strategies are so important and why (Duke and Pearson,
3. These Holt Instructional materials match up with the Top 10 list for
developing comprehension in that Right There questions and
Interpretive Comprehension questions are present in the material
and also in that students can use a version of sticky notes responses
to the text by writing directly in the Holt Reader as suggested in
the Holt Reading Solutions packet (The Holt Reader, page 6-8; The
Holt Reading Solutions, page 33). Finally, the skill of
summarization is a major part of this collection as it is taught
through practicing with the parts of plot structure with the story of
the 3 little pigs and also at various parts during the reading of
Broken Chain (Holt Elements of Literature, page 2-3). However,
the Holt Instructional materials diverge from the Top 10 list for
developing comprehension in that the strategy of Reciprocal
Teaching is not employed or that the teacher is not encouraged to
place more cognitive load on the students during the lesson and
allowing them to take ownership of the comprehension of the text
and explaining how to comprehend the text to peers.
E. Common Core State Standards Applications
1. Which Grade 8 CCSS standards are well developed in the Holt
lessons and activities related to Broken Chain? Explain and give
a. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis
of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from
the text.
i. This standard is in part well-developed through the
Response and Analysis part in the After You Read
section. For example, the students are required to
explain how Alfonso feels about not having a bike
for his date. Give details from the story that show his
feelings. The student must cite evidence from the
text to support their argument (Holt Elements of
Literature, 26). This standard is also well-developed
through the Targeted Strategies for Special Education
that deal with comprehension. In the alternative
assessment after reading, the students are asked a
series of questions that require them to use evidence
from what the text says explicitly and also implicitly
states (Holt Reading Solutions, 36).
b. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or
drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or
provoke a decision.
i. This standard is well-developed through the side
questions in the Holt Reader asking the reader to Identify,
Infer, and Interpret through a series of questions. For
example, the students are asked to explain what is
revealed as aspects of the character of Alfonsos father
through dialogue and a description of incidents in the
story (The Holt Reader, 6-8). Another example of this
standard in action is through the Response and Analysis
section of After You Read. The students are required to
consider the 4 most important internal and external
conflicts that Alfonso faces and determine which is the
greatest challenge for his character (Holt Elements of
Literature, 26).
c. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in
a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the
impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including
analogies or allusions to other texts.
i. This standard is well-developed through the part of the
collection that focuses on developing an understanding of
academic vocabulary words- plot, conflict, complications,
climax, and resolution. As the lesson begins, the teacher is
talking the students through how the words chosen to
retell the story can hook [their] curiosity, make them
worry, and build suspense (Holt Elements of Literature, 2).

2. Comparing the Holt lesson to the CCSS for Reading (Literature)

and Language for Grade 8:
a. 2 standards that are missing:
i. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts
and analyze how the differing structure of each text
contributes to its meaning and style.
ii. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.7
Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of
a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text
or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or
b. For standard 8.5, it would be appropriate to use a text that
had been read previously and could be revisited to compare
and contrast to the Broken Chain. Ideally, this text would
also be a narrative text that focused on a realistic adolescent
story of a part of growing up. To address standard 8.7, the
curriculum would have to provide a film adaptation of the
story to give the students a chance to watch it to compare if
it was faithful or departed from the text.

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Samuels & A. E. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about fluency
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Baumann, J., & Graves, M. (2010) What is academic vocabulary? Journal of

Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(1), 4-12.

Block, C. C., & Israel, S. E. (2004). The ABCs of performing highly effective
think-alouds. Reading Teacher, 58(2), 154-167.

Duke, N., & Pearson, D. (2002). Effectie Practices for Developing Reading
Comprehension. In What Research Has to say About Reading Instruction
(Third ed.). International Reading Association.
Graves, M., Baumann, J., Blachowicz, C., Manyak, P., Bates, A., Cieply, C., . . .
Gunten, H. (2013). Words, Words Everywhere, But Which Ones Do We
Teach? The Reading Teacher, 57(5), 333-346.

McMahon, S. I. (2008). Matching instructional strategies to facets of

comprehension. Voices from the Middle, 15(4), 9-15.

Samuels, S. J. (2006). Toward a model of reading fluency. In S. J. Samuels & A. E.

Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about fluency instruction (pp. 24-
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