244.  As a Migrant Education Instructional Aide I would like to have classroom teachers understand it is OK for them to use scaffolding.  How?

ANSWER:

SCAFFOLDING is a very effective technique that helps students gain access to the reading material in their academic textbooks or other books they need to read.   There are many ways to “scaffold” the reading material for students who may be English Learners, and for English Speaking students who may find the reading material difficult to read.

Before I discuss ways to “scaffold” a reading selection, it may be useful to define the three levels of reading (and writing) difficulty that determine how a student would approach a reading (or writing) task.

INDEPENDENT LEVEL Reading (Writing):

             A student is at the Independent Level of reading when the student:                 

1)         has heard

2)                  has seen

3)                  has spoken, thus giving evidence of understanding

95-100% of the words in the text s(he) is about to read.

 INSTRUCTIONAL LEVEL Reading (Writing):

             A student is at the Instructional Level of reading when the student:                                        

                                    1)         has heard

2)                  has seen

3)                  has spoken, thus giving evidence of understanding

90-94% of the words in the text s(he) is about to read.

 FRUSTRATION LEVEL Reading (Writing):

             A student is at the Frustration Level of reading when the student:                   

1)       has heard

2)       has seen

3)       has spoken, thus giving evidence of understanding

89% or less of the words in the text s(he) is about to read.

 Now, using these definitions we can better determine what a teacher needs to do to provide effective and efficient reading instruction to ALL students.

 When students are about to read a text or reading selection and only

89% or less of the words in the text or reading selection the students have 

HEARD,

SEEN, and

SPOKEN, thus providing evidence of UNDERSTANDING the meaning of the words,

the teacher SHOULD NOT LET STUDENTS OPEN THE BOOK AND READ!!!!   The students are at the FRUSTRATION LEVEL of Reading.  

The teacher needs to provide many EXPERIENCES and hands-on activities, visuals, manipulatives as well as ORAL MODELS, OPPORTUNITIES TO HEAR, SEE and SPEAK the words the students do not know.   Through these activities and the teacher’s oral models, students hear, see, speak and thus give evidence of understanding 95-100% of the words.   NOW, the students are ready to read with 95-100% comprehension THE VERY FIRST TIME THEY READ THE TEXT OR SELECTION.  

Similarly, when students are about to read a text or reading selection and only

90-94% of the words in the text or reading selection the students have

HEARD,

SEEN,

SPOKEN, thus providing evidence of UNDERSTANDING the meaning of the words,

the teacher SHOULD NOT LET STUDENTS OPEN THE BOOK AND READ!!!!   The students are at the INSTRUCTIONAL LEVEL of Reading.  

The teacher needs to provide many EXPERIENCES and hands-on activities, visuals, manipulative as well as ORAL MODELS, OPPORTUNITIES TO HEAR, SEE and SPEAK the words the students do not know.   Through these activities and the teacher’s oral models, students hear, see, speak and thus give evidence of understanding 95-100% of the words.   NOW, the students are ready to read with 95-100% comprehension THE VERY FIRST TIME THEY READ THE TEXT OR SELECTION.  

Now, “scaffolding” is one of the many ways teachers can help students access the meaning of the unknown words in a reading selection or text BEFORE students actually read the selection or text.

In many of the lesson demonstrations I do in real classrooms with real students, I always need to scaffold the words in the reading selection or text that I assume –or I anticipate—the students do not know.   This is how I do it:

STEP 1.  As I PREPARE the lesson, I thoroughly read the text or selection students must read with 100% understanding the first time around; that is, the selection students must read at the INDEPENDENT reading level the first time they read it.   

STEP 2.  I organize the words in the reading selection or text into MEANING CATEGORIES, for example:  persons or characters, qualities, time, idiomatic expressions, actions, emotions, events, amounts, parts of the body, professions or occupations, animals, plants, places, etc.  (Please, check the INTEGRATED UNITS posted in this Web Site for many excellent examples of how to organize words into MEANING CATEGORIES.)

STEP 3.  I am now ready to begin to plan my lesson.   The words organized into categories represent the major CONCEPTS students need to master. My job is

(1)   to find visual, manipulatives, and real objects,

(2) to design hands-on learning activities that will allow students to

HEAR me using the categorized words,

SEE the words posted as the activities develop,

SPEAK by responding to questions or by talking about what they

see and hear,  and

(3)   to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate         

UNDERSTANDING of the categorized words by pointing, selecting,

                        responding, explaining, etc.,    

STEP 4.  As I begin to implement my lesson, I am very careful to keep my ORAL language expressions very similar to the written expressions students will eventually read in the text or selection.   Also I try to provide models and to ask students to express themselves following my oral models, which in essence, are very similar to what students will eventually read in the text or selection.

STEP 5.   As the vocabulary is posted by MEANINGFUL CATEGORIES, as the visuals and real objects are manipulated while I model the ORAL LANGUAGE expressions similar to the written expressions (and in some cases I even WRITE and POST these expressions) students become knowledgeable of the meaning of 95-100% of the key terms and concepts they will find in the reading selection or text.  

STEP 6.   At the point that students give me evidence that they have mastered 95-100% of the posted words and expressions, we are ready to OPEN THE TEXTBOOK and READ the reading selection or reading material.   To further facilitate reading, to “scaffold” reading, I READ ALOUD the text, but I stop frequently, BEFORE key vocabulary words in the text, and students then READ ALOUD TOGETHER only ONE WORD after I stop.  I continue reading in this fashion until the end of the reading selection.  

STEP 7.  Now students can re-read the selection in pairs, we can re-read the selection with students reading aloud two words after I stop, students can HEAR an audio recording of the reading selection, students can read aloud in groups, etc.  By now, the students are reading at the INDEPENDENT LEVEL.  

STEP 8.  A writing activity can now follow.   Using all the posted vocabulary, the reading selection and working individually or in small groups, students can express their own ideas about the reading selection.   They are writing at the INDEPENDENT LEVEL.

Through “scaffolding” students move from FRUSTRATION Level to INSTRUCTIONAL LEVEL, all the way to the INDEPENDENT LEVEL of reading and writing with 95-100% understanding the FIRST TIME AROUND.

Now, how can you get Teachers to “scaffold”?   

Well, how about if you print this response to your question and share it with Teachers at your school?  

How about if, possibly one day when the Teacher is absent, you DO a reading lesson where you “scaffold” the reading following the steps outlined above?   The next day, as you explain to the Teacher how you helped while s(he) was absent, you describe how to “scaffold” a reading selection.  

I understand how difficult it is for Instructional Aides to covey information to Teachers that may be helpful to the Teachers.   Usually, it should be the other way around, that Teachers, in guiding the Instructional Aides, provide very useful information about, and MODEL how to promote effective academic learning.  

Try both suggestions I presented to you above.   Print this information and, one day, when the Teacher is absent, try “scaffolding” a lesson for the students.   Then, explain to the Teacher what you did and why.   If may be the best way to convey to Teachers how to “scaffold.”

 

 


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.

 

For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:

CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.

Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net