The CIERA School Change Project: Supporting Schools as They Implement Home-Grown Reading Reform
CIERA Inquiry 2: Home and School
Which school-level and classroom-level variables maximize students' growth in reading and writing? Can schools' reform efforts increase their use of effective practices to enhance students' reading growth?
Set within a grass-roots effort to implement reading program reform, this work investigates the relationship between the programmatic and classroom instructional factors of schools and students' reading and writing achievement. Examining these relationships across 14 high-poverty schools, we found that schools which rated higher on a scale of collaborative leadership showed greater student growth in reading fluency and writing. From our classroom observations, we learned that telling students information and engaging them in recitation were negatively related to reading growth in grades 2-6, whereas active responding was positively related to reading growth in grades 4-6. In grades 1-6, asking higher-level questions about text after reading was positively related to student' growth in reading and/or writing. A high level of phonics instruction was negatively related to emergent literacy or reading growth in kindergarten and grades 2-3, but not in
grade 1, whereas a high level of phonemic awareness instruction was positively related to growth in phonemic segmentation and blending ability in kindergarten. In grades 4-6, the practice of coaching children in the use of word recognition strategies during reading was positively related to reading growth. Engaging students in small group instruction was positively related to reading growth in kindergarten and grade 1, whereas whole-class or large-group instruction was positively related to reading growth in grades 4-6. Results are discussed within the framework of research on effective schools and teachers.