Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grateful Dead w/ John Fogerty - Bad Moon Rising 11-03-91 SBD

Bruce Springsteen /w John Fogerty - Travelin' Band

Bruce Springsteen /w John Fogerty - Bad Moon Rising

CCR - Bad Moon Rising

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising and Proud Mary

-fusion all a--round goin thru them ag -

-ges- tryin ta find tha sun- and i wond-er

D Em G
still i wonder who'll stop the rain---

(break thingy)
C G D Am C Em D G G

here's some fills!!!!!!!

fill: 1,


fill:3 fill:6

/ = legato slide, slide up the neck** (the second note is not plucked)**
\ = " ",slide back down towards the nut or headstock**
| h hammer-on**
| p pull-off**

| b bend note
| ~ vibrato
| H harmonic
| PH pinch harmonic
| x Muted string

Who'll stop the rain
This tab written and submitted by Aleksi Hahko
Standard tuning

Very simple song.


G 320003
C 032010
Bm X24432
D X00232
Am 002210
Em 022000

Intro (G and Em played in the background)


If you don't have an another guitar backing you up in the intro
(I don't) just play the single notes in the E-string and G.

Here it goes

Long as I remember the rain been comin' down
Clouds of mystery pourin' confusion on the ground

Good men through the ages
Tryin' to find the sun
And I wonder still I wonder
Em G
Who'll stop the rain

I went down Virginia seeking shelter from the storm
G Bm C G
Caught up in the fable I watched the tower grow

Five-year plans and new deals
Wrapped in golden chains
And I wonder, still I wonder
Em G
Who'll stop the rain


G-D Am-C-Em D-G

Heard the singers playin', how we cheered for more
G Bm C G
The crowd had rushed together, just tryin to keep warm

Still the rain kept pourin'
Fallin on my ears
And I wonder, still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain...

Repeat intro pattern until fadeout

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising and Proud Mary

John Fogerty - Lodi - acoustic version

Creedence Clearwater Revival "Down on the Corner"

John Fogerty - Down On The Corner (Live - 2005)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lesson Plan

Action Factor, Inc. “Sing Your Way Through Phonics
Ready to Read! Music Sample Rhyme in Time (Teacher’s Voice)
Listen to Rhyme in Time
Song: Rhyme in Time
Tune: “Worried Man Blues”
Concept: Rhyming words
Objective: Students will learn to recognize rhyming words by their sound as they occur in sentences, poetry, and songs.

*Practice this song plus nursery rhymes and other simple poems, omitting the rhyming words for students to supply. (Ex. Hickory Dickory ____; the mouse ran up the _____.)

For more details check out the “Rhyme in Time” phonics lesson plan.

When I hear words that rhyme
I always tap in time.
And if you agree, just tap along with me.
So listen for the rhyming
And be quick about your timing,
Singing trumpety-ah, tra-la la loo.
“Tongue Tangle” (Teacher’s Voice)
Song: Tongue Tangle
Tune: “Potatoes”
Concept: Alliteration (words that start with the same sound)
Objective: Students will recognize alliterative words by their sound as they occur in sentences, poetry, and songs.

*Have a scavenger hunt to look for objects or pictures around the room that begin with a designated letter. Example: h=house, head.

Tongue Tangle

 Cathy Casey cracked a couple of cups of creamy coffee.
 Terry Topper tipped a ton of tangled twisted toffee.
 Words that start the same are fun to sing and say them quick,
 So, better get your tongue in shape
 Or it will surely stick!

Volume 1 Music Sample Spelling Families (Teacher’s Voice)
Listen to Spelling Families audio sample in either Real Audio or MP3 format.
Teaching Suggestions Booklet Sample

Song: Spelling Families
Tune: “Billy Boy”
Concept: Short Vowel Spelling Patterns
Objective: Students will learn to recognize short vowel spelling patterns and families of rhyming words.

After the basic song has been learned, use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to substitute other short vowel word families.
Examples: cap/map/nap, hen/pen/ten, fit/pit/sit, dog/fog/log, gum/hum/sum.
*Use the instrumental version of the song to practice spelling patterns for r-controlled vowels.

Examples: bar/far/jar, car/tar/star.

For more details check out the “Spelling Families” phonics lesson plan.
Volume 1
Mini-Chart Sample

Lyrics Sample Spelling Families Verse 1

 C-a-t That spells cat.
 B-a-t That spells bat.
 R-a-t That spells rat.
 They go together.
 For the spelling families
 Help me spell my words with ease.
 Change the first part
 But keep the ending letters.
Volume 1 Music Sample What’s That Sound? (Teacher’s Voice)
Song: What’s That Sound?
Tune: “Jingle Bells”
Concept: Letter/Sound Correspondence (consonants)
Objective: Students will practice vocalizing the sounds associated with the consonant letters.

*After the basic song has been learned, use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to change the order in which consonants are presented. Examples: Verse 1—z, h, j. Verse 2—p, b, g. Verse 3—n, d, r. Verse 4—y, q, v. Verse 5—m, f, l. Verse 6—w, t, s.

*Sing the song as a partner song with one group singing the questions and the other singing the answers.

Mini-Chart Sample
Lyrics Sample What’s That Sound?
Verse 1

/b-b-b/ What’s that sound?
That’s the letter b.
/d-d-d/ What’s that sound?
That’s the letter d.
/f-f-f/ What’s that sound?
That’s the letter f.
Oh, what fun it is to sing
Our letter sounds this way!
Volume 2 Music Sample Contraction Action (Teacher’s Voice)
Teaching Suggestions Booklet Sample

Song: Contraction Action
Tune: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”
Concept: Contraction Formation
Objective: Students will learn and apply the rules for forming contractions.

*After the basic song has been learned, use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to substitute other contractions.

Examples: I am/I’m, you are/you’re, he is/he’s, we are/we’re, they are/they’re, it is/it’s.

*Play a Bingo game in which the caller states two words and the players cover up the squares with the contractions for those two words.

*Sing the song as a partner song with one group singing the questions and the other singing the answers.

“Contraction Action” Volume 2
Contraction Action Verse 1 & Refrain

When did not becomes a single word,
It’s didn’t, it’s didn’t.
When do not becomes a single word,
It’s don’t, it’s don’t.
Just put’em together and leave out the o.
That is where the apostrophe goes
And contraction action
Ever goes marching on

Volume 2 Music Sample The Right Diphthong (Teacher’s Voice)
Song: The Right Diphthong
Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
Concept: Diphthong Spelling Patterns
Objective: Students will learn the spelling patterns and sounds associated with the diphthongs ou, ow, oi, and oy.

*After the basic song has been learned, use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to substitute other examples of each diphthong. Examples: ou—cloud, couch, pound, sound. ow—bow, brow, clown, drown. oi—broil, coil, soil, foil. oy—Lloyd, soy, boys, toys.

*Sing the song as a partner song with one group singing the questions and the other speaking the answers.

For more details check out the “The Right Diphthong” phonics lesson plan.
Volume 2
Mini-Chart Sample

Lyrics Sample The Right Diphthong
Verse 1

Can you help me spell out?
What are the vowels? o-u
Can you help me spell shout?
What are the vowels? o-u
Know the right diphthong
And you won’t spell it wrong.
What letters will you choose
For the vowels? o-u
Volume 3 Music Sample

There Is No K In Christmas
Tune: “Comin’ Round the Mountain”
Concept: Letter/Sound Correspondence (c-h =/k/)
Objective: Students will learn to recognize and spell words in which the letter combination c-h is pronounced /k/.

*Discuss how the /k/ sound can be spelled in ways other than ch.. Examples: c in car and Atlantic, ck in quack, k in kitten and ark.

*After teaching spelling patterns in the basic song, use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to substitute other words where ch is pronounced like /k/. Select words where ch is located at the beginnings, middle, and ends of words. Examples: Initial position—chaos, character, chlorine, chasm, Christy, cholesterol. Medial position—architect, mechanic, mocha, schedule, scholar, Michael. Final position—Bach, bellyache, earache, headache, heartache, Heimlich.

For more details check out “There Is No K in Christmas” phonics lesson plan.
Volume 3
There Is No K in Christmas
Verse 1

Do you hear a k in Christmas?
Yes, I do!
Do you hear a k in
School and chorus too?
But there is no k in Christmas
Or in school or in chorus,
‘Cause we use c-h to spell them—
Thought you knew.

Volume 3 Music Sample Belongings (Teacher’s Voice)
Song: Belongings
Tune: “Down By the Riverside”
Concept: Spelling Rules—Singular and plural possessives
Objective: Students will learn the spelling rules for singular and plural possessive nouns.

*Use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to replace the belongings in the song. Examples: Replace jackets with backpacks. Replace hats with bags. Replace room with book. Replace dessert with a cake. Replace house with farm. Replace fancy car with video game.

*Use the instrumental version of the song and the Mini-Chart templates to replace the owners as well as the possessions. Examples: If the spots all belong to dogs...If the squeals all belong to pigs...If the food is shared by monkeys...If a class is shared by students...If the players all own the bat.

For more details check out the “Belongings” phonics lesson plan.
Volume 3
Mini-Chart Sample

Lyrics Sample Belongings
Verse 1

If the jackets belong to boys,
That’s s-apostrophe.
That’s what we want to see,
That s-apostrophe.
If the jackets just belong to one,
Apostrophe-s is how it’s done.
That’s how it’s always done.

Select the type of audio sample that works best for you!
Real Audio Format
Real Audio is a program that allows you to play streaming audio files directly over the Internet in near real time. If you have the RealOne player installed on your computer, just click on the Real Audio link and it will start playing in a few seconds. The basic RealOne player is available free from the website. A simpler alternative player is Media Player Classic, which is available free from
Building readers and writers through music in over 170 School Districts nationwide and overseas!

Copyright © 2002 Action Factor, Inc.

Home > Lesson Plan List > “ch-k” Words Lesson Plan

Irregular Spelling Words Lesson Plan

There Is No K In Christmas
Students will learn to recognize and spell sets of words in which the letters c-h are pronounced like the letter k.
Students will become familiar with spelling patterns in which the letters c-h are pronounced like the letter k.
About the Concept:
The sound /k/ is usually spelled with the letter c (as in cat), k (as in kitten), or c-k (as in duck). But the sound /k/ can also be spelled with the letters c-h. Although students may be familiar with the sound that the letters c-h represent in words like chop, teacher, and peach, they may not be accustomed to using the letters c-h to represent the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words like Christmas, echo, and stomach. The song, There Is No K In Christmas familiarizes students with many words and spelling patterns where the sound of /k/ is represented by the letters c-h. Since many words with this spelling pattern are scientific or technical in nature, the song also serves to expand reading and writing vocabulary. When teaching spelling patterns like the variant c-h, it is helpful and motivation to use students’s names as examples (e.g., Zachary, Michael, Christy...)

Sing Your Way Through Phonics Volume 3 CD, Tracks 5 and 6 (Listen to Real Audio or MP3 sample)
Sing Your Way Through Phonics Volume 3 Mini-Charts (pp. 25-34)
Optional: Index cards
Note: If you do not have the CD or Mini-Charts, you can still teach this singular and plural possessive lesson plan using the folk tune listed on the There Is No K In Christmas song lyrics page. You can create your own mini-charts using the words in bold print letters in each verse of the Song Lyrics.

Find out more about Sing Your Way Through Phonics products.


Say, “Today, we are going to practice reading and spelling words in which the sound of /k/ is spelled with the letters c-h.”
Listen to CD Track 5 (There Is No K In Christmas), pointing to the words on the Mini-Charts as they occur in the song.
Ask, “Why do singers in the song say, ’Yes, I do!’ when they are asked if they hear a k in Christmas?” (because Christmas sounds like it starts with k) “Is there a letter k in the word Christmas?” (no)
Together, read the words on Mini-Charts pp.26-27. Ask, “What letters are used to make the sound of /k/ in each of these words?”
Read the words on Mini-Charts pp.28-33 and use a dictionary or encyclopedia to look up the meanings of any unfamiliar words. Reinforce word meanings by asking, “Which words are names of people, places, or holidays and need to be capitalized?” (Christmas, Archimedes, Anchorage, Zachary) “Which words are related to the human body?” (stomach, ache, bronchitis, bronchial)
Ask, “Which words have c-h at the beginning (Christmas, chorus, chemical, choir, chrome, chronicle), in the middle (Anchorage, scheme, orchid, bronchial, archeology, Archimedes, bronchitis), at the end (stomach, monarch)?”
Play CD Track 5 again and ask the students to join in the singing. Allow some students to point to the Mini-Charts words as they are sung.
Arrange letter tiles or plastic letters to form the words on each Mini-Charts page. Scramble the letters and re-form the words. See if students can do this without looking at the Mini-Charts. Check results and make corrections, if needed.
Sing along with CD Track 5 again (There Is No K in Christmas) and allow students to point to the target sets of words on the Mini-Charts while singing.

Practice singing There is No K in Christmas daily for a week. Then try singing the song without hearing the words, using the instrumental track (Track 6). Allow different students to point to the Mini-Charts words while singing.
Help students create other sets of rhyming words for the song. Make 6 copies of Mini-Chart template p.117 and allow students write in the new sets of words. Examples: Initial position—chaos, character, chlorine, chasm, Christy, cholesterol. Medial position—architect, mechanic, mocha, schedule, scholar, Michael. Final position—Bach, bellyache, earache, headache, heartache, Heimlich. Place these pages back-to-back in page protectors in a 3-ring binder. Then sing the song with the instrumental version (Track 6).

Place Concentration with words from the song. Print Mini-Chart words on one set of index cards and their definitions on another set of cards. Make at least 6 sets of word/definition cards. Mix up the cards and lay them face down. Players turn sets of cards face up, reading the contents aloud. If a word/definition match is made, the player keeps the cards and takes another turn. If a match is not found, the cards are replaced face down and the next player takes a turn. At the end of the game, the player with the most cards wins.
Search dictionary appendixes, books of baby names, and/or telephone books for first or last names in which the letters c-h sound like the letter k. Print results on a word wall.
Hang circle cut-outs on a miniature Christmas tree. On each cut-out, print a word in which the letters c-h sound like the letter k.

Students read all the words on Mini-Charts pp.26-33 without assistance, or
Students pass a spelling test on selected words from Mini-Charts pp.26-33

Order our cost-saving Sing Your Way Through Phonics Volume 3 Combo online ($33.95) containing the CD, Mini-Charts, Song Lyrics, and Teaching Suggestions – everything you need for this lesson! Or, print out an order form to mail/FAX to us.

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Building readers and writers through music in over 170 School Districts nationwide and overseas!

Copyright © 2002 Action Factor, Inc.

Contractions Lesson Plan

Contraction Action
Students will learn to read and spell common contractions formed from a verb paired with the word not.
(Ex. do + not = don’t)
Students will learn to read and spell common contractions formed from a pronoun paired with a verb.
(Ex. I + am = I’m)
About the Concept:
Contractions are formed by combining two words and replacing one or more of the medial letters with an apostrophe. Once students have mastered the basic words in the song, they can think of other examples of diphthong words and practice them with the instrumental version of the song. Many contractions are formed when the word not follows a verb of being like is, are, was, or were. The basic song provides practice in forming these types of contractions by combining the two words and replacing the letter o with an apostrophe. Using instrumental version of the song with Mini-Chart templates of self-made flashcards, students can practice forming other types of contractions such as she’ll, we’d, or I’m. Step 7 of the lesson plan Follow-Up below provides alternate words for use with these other types of contractions.

Sing Your Way Through Phonics Volume 2 CD, Tracks 17 and 18 (Listen to Real Audio or MP3 sample)
Sing Your Way Through Phonics Volume 2 Mini-Charts (pp. 73-84)
Index cards with the following words: did, do, is, are, could, would, will, not (10 copies), wo (word fragment), can
Index cards he, she, we, they, you, I, have
Create apostrophe sticky notes in varying widths sufficient to cover 1, 2, 3, and 4 letters.
With black marker, draw an apostrophe in the center of each sticky note.
Make 10 copies of each size.
Note: If you do not have the CD or Mini-Charts, you can still teach this singular and plural possessive lesson plan using the folk tune listed on the Contraction Action song lyrics page. You can create your own mini-charts using the words in bold print letters in each verse of the Song Lyrics.

Find out more about Sing Your Way Through Phonics products.

Procedure: Say, “Does anyone know what the word contract means?” (to shorten or make smaller) Today, we will be looking at what happens when we combine two words and contract them into one smaller word. We call these shortened words contractions because the one combined word uses fewer letters than the two separate words.”
Point to the Mini-Charts on pages 74-75. As a group, read the two separate words at the top of the page and then read the contraction at the bottom of the page. Ask, “What did we leave out when the two words were pushed together?” (the letter o) Ask, “And what did we add in place of the letter o?” (an apostrophe)
Place the cards with the words did and not on the chalk ledge. Place the narrowest apostrophe sticky note on the chalkboard nearby.
Ask, “Who can combine these two words into the word didn’t?” (A student pushes the two words together and covers the letter o with the apostrophe sticky note.)
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the words do and not, forming the contraction don’t.

Listen to Contraction Action on CD Track 17, pointing to the target words on Mini-Charts pp. 74-84. Ask the students to join in on the part of the song that repeats the contraction spelling rules. (“Just put ’em together and leave out the o. That is where the apostrophe goes, and contraction action ever goes marching on.”)
Ask, “What two words did not follow the contraction rule?” (will and not) Say, “Before we can put these two words together, what did we have to change?” (will to wo)
Place the cards with will and not on the chalk ledge. A small distance away, place the fragment wo on the chalk ledge. Place all four sizes of sticky notes on the chalkboard.
Ask, “Who can show the way the song tells us to form the word won’t?” (Push cards with will and not together, replace will with wo, and place the apostrophe sticky note over the o.)
Go over the words to the exception in the song. (The one exception to this rule is won’t. Unlike the others, change will to wo. It rhymes with don’t.)
Sing the song with CD Track 17 again and allow students to point to the target words on the Mini-Charts. One student can stand to the left of the charts and another can stand on the right. The person on the right also turns the pages when needed.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the words is + not, are + not, could + not, would + not, does + not, was + not, have + not, and had + not.

Explain that there is another common contraction that we can from from the words can and not. Say, “What is the single word for can and not? Instead of saying I can not go, we can say I _____ go.” (can’t)
Say, “Who can form the contraction from these two words?” (Push can and not together. Replace the letters n and o with apostrophe. Use the 2-letter wide sticky note.)
Say, “What was different this time?” (We left out the letter n as well as the letter o and replaced them both with an apostrophe.)


Practice singing Contraction Action daily for a few days. Allow some of the students to be the leaders, pointing to the Mini-Chart words.
Introduce other contraction words. (See Optional Materials above.) Using the word cards and apostrophe sticky notes, form the contractions he’s (he + is) and she’s (she + is). Discuss the fact that this time, the letter i is left out and replaced with an apostrophe.
Now form the words we’re (we + are), you’re (you + are), and they’re (they + are). Discuss the fact that this time, the letter a is left out and replaced with an apostrophe).
Using the word cards, form the words I’d (I + would), we’d (we + would), you’d (you + would), and they’d (they + would). Discuss the fact that this time, four letters are replaced with an apostrophe. Use the widest apostrophe sticky notes. Repeat with the words she’d and he’d.
Using the word cards, form the words I’ve (I + have), we’ve (we + have), you’ve (you + have), and they’ve (they + have). Discuss the fact that this time, two letters are replaced with an apostrophe. Use the second widest apostrophe sticky note.
Using the word cards, form the words I’ll (I + will), you’ll (you + will), we’ll (we + will), he’ll (he + will), she’ll (she + will), they’ll (they + will). Discuss the fact that this time, the letters w and i are replaced with an apostrophe.

Play a Bingo spelling game in which the caller states two words and the players remove the squares with the corresponding contraction. Print contractions on a 6 x 6 grid. Students cut apart the grid and place selected squares on a 5 x 5 grid. The first player with 5 empty squares in a row wins.
Read books with contractions: Polly Cameron’s I Can’t Said the Ant and Jack Prelutsky’s I’d Never Dine on Dinosaurs, I’m a Basic Boneless Chicken, I’d Never Eat a Beet, Ma, Don’t Throw That Shirt Out! and My Mother Says I’m Sickening (from The New Kid on the Block).
Duplicate the Mini-Chart templates on page 102 and write some of these other contraction examples. Using the instrumental version on CD Track 18, sing the song with the following words:
When ____ ____ becomes a single word, it’s ___, it’s ___.
When ____ ____ becomes a single word, it’s ___, it’s ___.
Save only the final letters, you see.
Replace the rest with apostrophe
And contraction action ever goes marching on

Students read all the words on Mini-Charts pp. 74-84.
Students pass a spelling test on all Mini-Chart words and class-generated examples.
Students spell contraction words correctly in their journals and other writing assignments.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Linkk to Diversity in Education

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Special Education Career Links

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great Websites 3rd- 8th Grade

Great Websites 3rd- 8th Grade

Monday, January 18, 2010

Music Lesson Plan Link

Dolch List

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Contributors:Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Elizabeth Angeli, Kristen Moore, Michael Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-01-11 02:02:04

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A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. Intended for reading teachers and teacher educators, this book provides an analysis of 12 fallacious beliefs thought to be responsible for the perpetuation of ineffective and inappropriate approaches to reading instruction. The introduction looks at the dangers of the myths that underlie reading instruction, discusses how the myths arise out of an apparently historical opposition to phonics instruction, and touches on the goals of the book. The next 12 chapters examine the myths (and research refuting them) which are as follows: (1) phonics hinders comprehension, (2) unpredictable spelling invalidates phonics, (3) reading is based on "sight words," (4) reading is best taught in sentences, (5) oral language test scores equal reading readiness, (6) word length makes no difference, (7) instruction should match students' preferred learning modalities (visual or aural orientation), (8) letter names are unimportant, (9) dictionary syllabication is needed, (10) reading tests should be replaced by oral reading miscue analysis (ORMA), (11) subvocalization is bad, and (12) oral reading is dangerous. The next chapter discusses why the myths of reading instruction prevail, citing such factors as publishers and writers of basal readers; prejudice and lack of knowledge about phonics, opposition to phonics from teachers' organizations, and the underuse of research findings. The last chapter argues that the compulsion to dispel the myths must come from forces the reading establishment opposes: a national commission on literacy, merit pay for teachers, an educational voucher system, and private sector training of teachers. A 16-page bibliography concludes the document. (HTH)
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OWL Online Writing - Purdue

Welcome to the Purdue OWL Exercise Pages
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OWL Exercises
Grammar ExercisesPunctuation ExercisesSpelling Exercises-ible vs. -ableAccept/ExceptAffect/Effecti/e RulesSentence StructureSentence StyleParaphrasing Writing Numbers

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue ( When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

Spelling Exercises
Welcome to the new and updated OWL Exercise pages. The following page is intended to give you some background information, basic rules, and helpful suggestions about our exercises before you dive in and start working.

Please use the navigation bar on the left to access the individual exercises.
Many words sound alike but mean different things when put into writing. The exercises in this section should help you distinguish between some of the more common words that sound alike. Here is a short list of some of the more common spelling errors that students encounter when writing.

Its, It's
its = possessive adjective (possesive form of the
pronoun it):
The crab had an unusual growth on its shell.
it's = contraction for it is or it has (in a verb phrase):
It's still raining; it's been raining for three days. (Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one.)
Their, There, They're
Their = possessive pronoun:
They got their books.
There = that place:
My house is over there.
(This is a place word, and so it contains the word here.)
They're = contraction for they are:
They're making dinner.
(Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one.)
To, Too, Two
To = preposition, or first part of the infinitive form of a verb:
They went to the lake to swim.
Too = very, also:
I was too tired to continue. I was hungry, too.
Two = the number 2:
Two students scored below passing on the exam.
Two, twelve, and between are all words related to the number 2, and all contain the letters tw.

Too can mean also or can be an intensifier, and you might say that it contains an extra o ("one too many")

We're, Where, Were
We're = contraction for we are:
We're glad to help. (Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one.)
Where = location:
Where are you going? (This is a place word, and so it contains the word here.)
Were = a past tense form of the verb be:
They were walking side by side.
Your, You're
Your = possessive pronoun:
Your shoes are untied.
You're = contraction for you are:
You're walking around with your shoes untied.
(Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one.)
For more information regarding spelling please see the Spelling: Common Words that Sound Alike resource.

Copyright ©1995-2009 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. Please report any technical problems you encounter.

Copyright ©1995-2009 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. Please report any technical problems you encounter.

Dolch Word List/ Writing a Lesson Plan

EDSE 665

Writing a Lesson Plan

Before beginning, consider the following:
• What prior knowledge must be established?
• What knowledge, experience or skills do you expect students to bring to the lesson?
• Do you need to pre-teach certain concepts or briefly review a skill?
• Do you need to refresh their memory on yesterday’s work?

NYS Standard:
• What is the rationale for teaching this lesson?
• Is it derived from the curriculum? Pacing calendar? Standards book?

Behavioral Objective(s):
• What do you hope to accomplish by the end of this lesson?
• What demonstrated (or measurable/ observable) skill(s) will be learned?
• Did you use operational terms (think Bloom’s taxonomy)?

• How will you capture the students’ interest?
• What display, object, demonstration, picture, story, background, lead question, introduction, etc. will you use to set the stage for the lesson?

• What do you need to gather, supply, or provide for this lesson?
• Do you need manipulatives, books, demonstration materials, film clips, internet site(s), forms, markers, hi-lighters, slates, map, gummy bears, charts, cards, projector, etc?

• Steps to follow in developing your lesson’s objectives(s)
• Model, sample, demonstration of concept or skill
• Pivotal or key questions that need to be asked (sequential steps) along the way
• Medial summary (to determine if students are ‘getting it’ – early feedback & review)
• Or… restatement of what is learned thus far, paraphrasing, brief practice example
• Further development of the lesson (continuation)
• Review, practice, discussion, enrichment or independent activity
• Final summary, conclusion statement(s), closure
• Determination of lesson mastery (Did students meet the objective? How do you know?)

• Independent practice, homework, basis for tomorrow’s lesson
• Need to teach this information again tomorrow? Review?
• Do you need to review what came before?
• Are the students ready to progress to what comes next?

Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs
Use verbs aligned to Bloom's Taxonomy to create discussion questions and lesson plans that ensure your students' thinking progresses to higher levels.

Knowledge Comprehend
Count Read
Define Recall
Describe Recite
Draw Record
Enumerate Reproduce
Find Select
Identify Sequence
Label State
List Tell
Match View
Name Write
Quote Classify Interpret
Cite Locate
Conclude Make sense of
Convert Paraphrase
Describe Predict
Discuss Report
Estimate Restate
Explain Review
Generalize Summarize
Give examples Trace
Illustrate Understand

Apply Analyze
Act Imitate
Administer Implement
Articulate Interview
Assess Include
Change Inform
Chart Instruct
Choose Paint
Collect Participate
Compute Predict
Construct Prepare
Contribute Produce
Control Provide
Demonstrate Relate
Determine Report
Develop Select
Discover Show
Dramatize Solve
Draw Transfer
Establish Use
Extend Utilize
Breakdown Focus
Characterize Illustrate
Classify Infer
Compare Limit
Contrast Outline
Correlate Point out
Debate Prioritize
Deduce Recognize
Diagram Research
Differentiate Relate
Discriminate Separate
Distinguish Subdivide

Synthesize Evaluate
Adapt Intervene
Anticipate Invent
Categorize Make up
Collaborate Model
Combine Modify
Communicate Negotiate
Compare Organize
Compile Perform
Compose Plan
Construct Pretend
Contrast Produce
Create Progress
Design Propose
Develop Rearrange
Devise Reconstruct
Express Reinforce
Facilitate Reorganize
Formulate Revise
Generate Rewrite
Incorporate Structure
Individualize Substitute
Initiate Validate
Appraise Interpret
Argue Judge
Assess Justify
Choose Predict
Compare &Contrast Prioritize
Conclude Prove
Criticize Rank
Critique Reframe
Decide Select
Defend Support
Bloom’s Taxonomy Activities
On the following three pages are 40 specific literature activities listed in rising levels of difficulty, skill
development, and critical thinking. These may be adapted to different types of literature, as well as
providing the teacher with flexible types of activities to match the differing abilities, needs, and
aspirations of students in the modern classroom. Such an overall scope and framework allows the
teacher to plan with assurance that all students are provided with activities designed to develop the full
range of their cognitive abilities.
This level provides the student an opportunity to recall fundamental facts and
information about the story. Success at this level will be evidenced by the student’s
ability to . . .
■ Match character names with pictures of the characters.
■ Identify the main characters in a crossword puzzle.
■ Match statements with the characters who said them.
■ List the main characteristics of one of the main characters in a WANTED
■ Arrange scrambled story pictures in sequential order.
■ Arrange scrambled story sentences in sequential order.
■ Recall details about the setting by creating a picture of where a part of the
story took place.
This level provides the student an opportunity to demonstrate a basic understanding of the
story. Success at this level will be evidenced by the student’s ability to . . .
■ Interpret pictures of scenes from the story.
■ Explain selected ideas or parts from the story in his or her own words.
■ Draw a picture showing what happened before and after a passage or illustration
found in the book.
■ Predict what could happen next in the story before the reading of the entire
book is completed.
■ Construct a pictorial time line which summarizes what happens in the story.
■ Explain how the main character felt at the beginning, middle, and/or end of the
#2004 Activities for Any Literature Unit—Intermediate © Teacher Created Resources, Inc.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Activities
This level provides the student an opportunity to use information from the story in a new
way. Success at this level will be evidenced by the student’s ability to . . .
■ Classify the characters as human, animal, or thing.
■ Transfer a main character to a new setting.
■ Make finger puppets and act out a part of the story.
■ Select a meal that one of the main characters would enjoy eating; plan a menu,
and a method of serving it.
■ Think of a situation that occurred to a character in the story and write about how
he or she would have handled the situation differently.
■ Give examples of people the student knows who have the same problems as the
characters in the story.
This level provides the student an opportunity to take parts of the story and examine these
parts carefully in order to better understand the whole story. Success at this level will be
evidenced by the student’s ability to . . .
■ Identify general characteristics (stated and/or implied) of the main characters.
■ Distinguish what could happen from what couldn’t happen in the story in real
■ Select parts of the story that were funniest, saddest, happiest, and most
■ Differentiate fact from opinion.
■ Compare and/or contrast two of the main characters.
■ Select an action of a main character that was exactly the same as something the
student would have done.
© Teacher Created Resources, Inc. #2004 Activities for Any Literature Unit—Intermediate

Bloom’s Taxonomy Activities
This level provides the student with opportunity to put parts from the story together in a new
way to form a new idea or product. Success at this level will be evidenced by the student’s
ability to . . .
■ Write three new titles for the story that would give a good idea what it is about.
■ Create a poster to advertise the story so people will want to read it.
■ Create a new product related to the story.
■ Restructure the roles of the main characters to create new outcomes in the story.
■ Compose and perform a dialogue or monologue that will communicate the thoughts of
the main characters at a given point in the story.
■ Imagine that he or she is one of the main characters and write a diary account of daily
thoughts and activities.
■ Create an original character and tell how the character would fit into the story.
■ Write the lyrics and music to a song that one of the main characters would sing if
he/she became a rock star—and then perform it.
This level provides the student with an opportunity to form and present an opinion backed
by sound reasoning. Success at this level will be evidenced by the student’s ability to . . .
■ Decide which character in the selection he or she would most like to spend a day
with and why.
■ Judge whether or not a character should have acted in a particular way and why.
■ Decide if the story really could have happened and justify the decision.
■ Consider how this story can help the student in his or her own life.
■ Appraise the value of the story.
■ Compare the story with another one the student has read.
■ Write a recommendation as to why the book (story) should be read or not.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Robert Marzano Six Steps to Better Vocabulary Instruction (copy) Teaching for the 21st C

September 2009 | Volume 67 | Number 1
Teaching for the 21st Century Pages 83-84
Six Steps to Better Vocabulary Instruction
Robert J. Marzano

Educational Leadership is pleased to announce a new column this year—The Art and Science of Teaching—and a new columnist—noted researcher Robert J. Marzano. Internationally known for his practical translations of current research into effective classroom strategies, Marzano is cofounder of Marzano Research Laboratory, which synthesizes teacher research into components that schools can use for gains in student learning. A well-known speaker and trainer as well as a prolific book author, he draws from 40 years of experience in education. Each month, Marzano will focus on one teacher-tested instructional strategy in education.
After examining for decades the research on instructional strategies and reflecting on my involvement in hundreds of studies, I can say one thing confidently: If you examine all the studies conducted on a given instructional strategy, you will find that some studies indicate the strategy improves student achievement whereas other studies indicate it doesn't.
Take, for example, the strategy of providing feedback. Researchers Avraham Kluger and Angelo DeNisi (1996) synthesized the findings from 607 studies on that strategy. They found that the average effect of providing feedback to students is a 16-percentile-point gain. However, more than one-third of the studies indicated that feedback has a negative effect on student achievement. Simply using a strategy does not guarantee positive results. Rather, it's how someone uses the strategy that determines whether it produces great results, mediocre results, or no results at all.
So what's a teacher, school, or district to do? Certainly, the answer is not to ignore the research. In fact, the research is the first place to start. You should scour studies to identify those strategies for which research shows positive effects on student achievement. Next, teachers, schools, and districts should conduct their own informal (and formal) studies on how well an instructional strategy works in their particular context—with their students, their grade level, or their subject matter. No strategy is foolproof. No strategy is proven. You have to see how it works in your particular setting.
They Won't Forget the Crocodile Teeth
In their research, classroom teachers have taught us something about how to best use specific instructional strategies. Let's begin with a strategy for teaching vocabulary referred to as the six-step process (Marzano, 2004). It involves the following steps:
1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.
3. Ask students to construct a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation of the term.
4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks.
5. Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.
6. Involve students periodically in games that enable them to play with terms.
Teachers use the first three steps when introducing a term to students. For example, assume a teacher is introducing the term mutualism. Instead of offering a textbook definition, the teacher describes the term or tells an anecdote that illustrates its meaning (Step 1). The teacher might explain that the crocodile and a bird called the Egyptian plover have a relationship that exemplifies mutualism. The crocodile opens its mouth and invites the plover to stand inside. The plover picks things out of the crocodile's teeth. Both parties benefit: The plover gets fed; the croc gets its teeth cleaned. While explaining this relationship, the teacher might show students images found on the Internet.
In Steps 2 and 3, students try their hand at explaining the meaning of mutualism. They devise an explanation or an example from their own lives (Step 2). Next, they draw an image depicting what they think mutualism means (Step 3).
A few days later, the teacher reviews the new term using Steps 4, 5, and 6, which needn't be executed in sequence. The teacher might have students compare the meaning of mutualism with another previously studied term, such as symbiosis (Step 4). Students might pair up and compare their entries on the term in their vocabulary notebooks (Step 5), or the teacher might craft a game that students play using these terms (Step 6).
What Teacher Research Found
Over the last five years, I have been involved in more than 50 studies that involve this strategy. In all these studies, teachers used the strategy with one class but did not use it with another. Then they compared the results.
These studies have taught us several things about this six-step strategy. First, the strategy works at every grade level, from kindergarten to high school. Second, it works better if you use all the steps without leaving any out. In one middle school study, teachers found that the whole process enhanced students' achievement much more than the parts of the process in isolation did. Third, although the majority of studies indicate that the process enhances student achievement, some studies indicate that it doesn't.
For example, in one district in which 24 elementary teachers used the six-step process with one group of students but not with another, the average effect for using the strategy across all 24 elementary teachers was a 24-percentile-point gain. Six studies showed gains greater than 40 percentile points, but nine studies showed negative effects.
Happily, the research is also beginning to tell us what does or doesn't make the strategy work. Here's what we've learned so far:
 When students copy the teacher's explanation or description of a term instead of generating their own explanation, the results are not as strong. Ideally, student explanations should come from their own lives.
 The third step in the process is crucial—having students represent their understanding of a new term by drawing a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation. When students do this step well, achievement soars.
 Games seem to engage students at a high level and have a powerful effect on students' recall of the terms. Games not only add a bit of fun to the teaching and learning process, but also provide an opportunity to review the terms in a nonthreatening way. After the class has played a vocabulary game, the teacher should invite students to identify difficult terms and go over the crucial aspects of those terms in a whole-class discussion.
Of course, we still have more to learn about this strategy. But for now, it's safe to conclude that it can be a powerful tool that teachers can use in classrooms at any grade level and in any subject area.
Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a metaanalysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254–284.
Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge for academic achievement: Research on what works in schools. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Robert J. Marzano is Cofounder and CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory in Denver, Colorado. He is the author of The Art and Science of Teaching (ASCD, 2007) and coauthor, with Mark W. Haystead, of Making Standards Useful in the Classroom (ASCD, 2008). To contact Marzano or participate in a study regarding a specific instructional strategy, visit

Boise State III

Ekwall Shanker Phonics Assessment

The Ekwall/Shanker Phonics Assessment consists of nine subtests that evaluate the student’s knowledge of all the critical phonics skills. Subtest 1 measures 105 one-syllable words in context. Subtests 2-6 have the student identify a word or word parts when given a word or word part pronounced by the examiner. Subtest 7 requires the student to blend a beginning sound with one of two common phonograms. Subtest 8 requires the student to substitute a new phonic element and blend it with the rest of the word. Subtest 9 evaluates the student’s ability to pronounce 15 real words that represent the more difficult vowel patterns.

Ekwall/Shanker Phonics Assessment

Subtest # & Focus Score Total Possible Mastery Level Mastered

1 Application of Phonics in Context
73 65
2-Initial Consonants
10 9
3-Initial Blends & Digraphs
10 9
4-Ending Sounds
10 8
5-Vowels (Sound-symbol)
10 9
6-Phonograms (Sound-symbol)
10 9
7-Blending (Sound-symbol)
10 9
8-Substitution (Sound-symbol)
25 22
9-Vowel Pronunciation
15 13
Date of Administration:


Summary of Assessment Results

Description of Work During Sessions-[You may include work samples]


Weekly Lessons:

Date: Instructional Hypothesis:

CDA Data This is in table form too. Use your tab key to move through the cells and your return key to add another row. You may delete rows if you don’t need to report that type of data. For example. If you know your client’s presenting problem in comprehension you can delete the Error Rate/WRA and WPM columns
Lesson #/Date Title: (The other information i.e. author/publisher) should be in your list of materials used) Readability/Grade Level: Error Rate/WRA Morrow (free recall): Comp. Questions WPM

Activities During Instruction
Date: GCR Strategy & Reflection

Reflection: [Do a GCR and separate SAS strategy for each lesson. This can be right after each strategy]

Date: SAS Strategy/Work & Reflection

Interpretation of activities
[Build this later from your reflections]

Materials read

For instruction [These are in “table” format. Just use the tab button to move between columns. Hit return at the end to insert a new row.}

Lesson Date Author, Copyright, Title, City:Publisher. Level G.E. Lexile DRP

Recreational reading

Lesson Date Author, Copyright, Title, City:Publisher. Level G.E. Lexile DRP

Boise State- 2

TBRI Scores
Book and Reading Level Date of Administration
Total Words: Number of Miscues Analyzed:

Word Recognition Graphophonic Similarity Acceptability Self- Combined Rate
Accuracy-Total High Partial Low Syn. Sem. Correction Cues (wpm)

Morrow Free Recall Unaided Comprehension Total Comprehension

Discussion: [Report only scores from materials that are at instructional reading levels, unless the client has unusually unbalanced word recognition vs. comprehension patterns. Focus your discussion on how well the client is able to interactively take advantage of cueing systems to decode words and construct meaning. Remember your audience (parents and teachers) may not be familiar with the cueing systems or what they mean.]

The Critical Reading Inventory
The Critical Reading Inventory follows a format that is a bit different than the traditional informal reading inventory. The Critical Reading Inventory uses three distinct types of assessment of reading comprehension. Text-based items require the reader to recall information from the text or to make fairly obvious connections between and among ideas in the text. Inference items require readers to draw conclusions by relating items the information from the text to what they already know. Critical response items require the reader to address the “big picture” and arrive at statements of broader significance of the text.
A graded list of words is presented to the readers in 1-second flash and un-timed formats, and their performance determines the starting point of the reading assessment. Students are asked to read one passage orally and then do a retelling and answer questions on that reading. Miscue analysis is done for this oral reading. Word accuracy is also done for the oral passage. The whole passage is considered when calculating the word accuracy percentage. In the second passage, the students read silently. After completing, the students do a retelling and answer questions. Retellings are scored using a rubric that is provided. Questions for both oral and silent passages contain three types of questions: text based, inference and critical response. Scoring of the reading passages is as follows:

Level Reading Accuracy Average Comprehension
Independent 99% 90%
Instructional 95% 75%
Frustration 90% 50%

Critical Reading Inventory

Sentences Reading Passages
Comprehension Rate—WPM
Level Sentence Errors Type Word Recognition Accuracy Retelling Text Inference Critical Total Silent Oral
2N N
3N N
4N N
5N N
6N N
1E E
2E E
3E E
For comprehension scores, the top number indicates the number correct answers and the bottom score indicates the number of questions. The total percent does not include retelling.

Date of Administration:
Narrative Expository
Independent Level
Instructional Level
Frustration Level


Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test

The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests represent a different approach to reading assessment than other measures used at BSU. The tasks presented are much simpler than those of the DRP. Two separate scores are presented, vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. The vocabulary measure requires students to select a synonym for the target word from a number of choices. No context is presented for either the target vocabulary words or the choices of synonym. The comprehension measure requires students to read very brief passages (well under 200 words) silently and answer a number of questions in a multiple-choice format.
A number of statistical representations of the raw score are made in order to provide interpretations of the reader’s performance on this measure. Percentile rank scores describe a student’s level or reading achievement in terms of relative standing within a group of students at the same grade level. A percentile rank of 50% is considered average. Stanine scores divide a set of scores into nine parts with a mean (average) of 5 based on the achievement of other students in the same grade. Stanines of 4-6 are considered “average” or “grade-level” achievement. Normal Curve Equivalents (NCE) scores are somewhat like percentile ranks, but have equal units. Thus a NCE score of 50 is the “mean” or average score. NCEs from approximately 40-60 are considered “average” or “grade-level” achievement. Like percentile rank and stanine scores NCEs are based on a comparison to other students in the same grade level. Grade equivalent (GE) scores, although frequently reported, are an inexact representation of achievement. The achievement of students “on or near grade level” are most accurately represented by grade equivalent scores. Outside of the “average” grade equivalent scores should be viewed as rough indicators of achievement. A fifth grader with an 8th GE score will probably not be ready cognitively for 8th grade concepts or work. A fifth grader with a 2nd GE score will generally be too intellectually advanced and/or mature to profit from much work in 2nd grade materials. Extended scale scores (ESSs) were developed so that progress in reading can be followed over a period of years on a single, continuous scale. Thus, they are roughly equivalent to the type of score used on ISATs, the RIT score. Te ESS scale, like the NCE scale, measures reading achievement in equal units, so that a difference of, for example, 50 ESS units represents the same difference all along the scale. The ESS scores for the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test were developed by the test maker for this particular test based on students in the norming group. Thus, they cannot be compared to ESS scores reported on other assessments.

Gates-MacGinitie Scores

Raw Score Stanine NCE PR CE ESS

Date of Administration:


The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI)

The SRI assesses reading and matches students to books. It is a computer-based reading comprehension test for grades K-12 that assesses students’ reading levels and provides a Lexile measure. It measures comprehension of authentic literature, not just isolated vocabulary. The Lexile Framework provides teachers with lists of literary selections by instructional and independent reading levels as well as developmental and interest levels ensuring a good experience for every student. The Lexile Framework measures the difficulty of text using transformations of sentence length and frequency of word usage. Lexile scores are also reported by the Idaho State Achievement Tests (ISATs).

Table 2
Scholastic Reading Inventory Results

Lexile Score Percentile Rank Stanine
Date of Administration:


Elementary Spelling Inventory

Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, provides a practical way to study words with students. Based on the research on invented and developmental spelling, the framework of the program is keyed to the five stages of spelling or orthographic development. The stages and approximate ages/grades of the program are:

• Emergent Spellers Ages 1-7 Grades pre-K to mid-1
• Letter Name Spellers Ages 4-9 Grades K to early 3
• Within-Word Pattern Spellers Ages 6-12 Grades 1 to mid-4
• Syllables and Affixes Spellers Ages 8-18 Grades 3 to 8
• Derivational Relations Spellers Ages 10+ Grades 5 to 12

The program emphasizes an analytical approach to phonics, vocabulary and spelling instruction. Students develop understands in all three areas by sorting, searching, writing and game activities. They also keep a word study notebook in which they keep lists of words representing the phonic and morphemic patterns they are studying.

Words Their Way Primary Elementary Inventory I

Date of Administration:
Number of Words Spelled Correctly:
Number of Words Attempted:

Initial Consonants /2
Final Consonants /5
Letter Name-Alphabetic Short Vowels /4
Digraphs and Blends /8
Within Word Pattern Long Vowel Patterns /6
Other Vowel Patterns /6
Syllables & Affixes Syllable Junctures, Consonant Doubling, Inflected Endings, Prefixes Suffixes

Harder Prefixes, Suffixes & Unaccented Final Syllables
Derivational Relations Reduced & Altered Vowels, Bases, Roots & Derivatives
Total /53

Spelling Stage:


Assessment - Examples- Boise State 1

Assessment Results Delete all that you are not reporting. You can cut and paste from the report form to add them in if you decide to add another assessment.
An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement

Developed and researched by Marie Clay, the Observation Study (OBS) has been widely used to assess the emergent literacy behaviors of children. The assessment includes a variety of tasks such as letter name knowledge, book handling, word writing and dictation that help teachers determine a child’s current development and offers direction for subsequent instruction. The assessment has been normed in a variety of contexts. The scores that will be reported here will those those of 282 urban children in New Zealand ages six to seven years and three months in 1978. Consequently, the norms are not generalizable to most contexts, but are useful for determining a general developmental stage. These norms are reported in stanines. A stanine score places children on a one to nine scale. Stanines four through six are considered “average” achievement. Thus, on the OBS assessment the stanine represents the general order of achievement as children age from six years to seven years and three months. A score of nine represents the score that the most skilled emergent readers in this group would have achieved.

Observational Survey Results

Sub-test Score Stanine
Letter Identification
Concepts About Print
Writing Vocabulary
Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words (Dictation Task)


Degrees of Reading Power (DRP)
The tests of the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) program are holistic measures of how well the messages within text are understood. As much as is possible in a testing situation, DRP tests determine how well a student reads under "real life" conditions in and out of school. The DRP tests are single-objective tests measuring how well students understand the surface meaning of what they read. DRP tests are genuine criterion-referenced measures. The tests measure student reading ability on an absolute scale. With the range of scores reported it is possible to precisely place students in reading materials that fit their reading ability.
The DRP scores presented here will be interpreted several ways. The first interpretation will be a general indication of the "grade level" textbooks the student will be likely to be able to read independently and with instructional assistance. The second interpretation will be titles of specific tradebooks that fall within the client's independent and instructional reading ranges. The final interpretation will suggest a correspondence between the client's DRP scores and a percentile rank score indicating his/her standing in comparison to peers.

DRP Reading Level Scores

Independent Instructional Frustration Percentile Rank

Date of administration:

Discussion: [Most of the explanation for how to interpret the scores is provided above. You will need to help anchor the scores in real tasks. You may use the “average DRP score” of textbooks at a grade level. This number is available in the DRP Handbook. Include the DRP scores of books typically used in the client’s school. Lists of textbooks and novels used in Boise and Meridian are available. The lists of books that you will recommend appears later.]

Sunshine Informal Reading Inventory
The Wright Group

The Sunshine Informal Reading Inventory is similar to other informal reading inventories but evaluates more precisely early reading ability. Most informal reading inventories have two or three levels to assess beginning readers (Preprimer, primer and 1st grade). These divisions are too broad for usefully placing early readers in appropriate materials. The Sunshine Inventory uses the Fountas/Pinnell leveling system of ranking books in an alphabetical order using the letters A-I to rank order the difficulty of books from kindergarten through grade 1. A representation of these levels in comparison to traditional reading levels and grade levels is presented in table X.

Book Level Equivalence Chart

Reading Stage Grade Fountas/Pinnell Level Basal Reader Level
Emergent K
1 A Readiness

Early K
1 B
1 C PP1
1 D PP2
1 E PP3
1 F Primer
1 G
Transitional 1 H 1
2 I
2 J 2

The criteria used to determine independent, instructional and frustration levels is similar to those of traditional IRIs with the exception that the criteria for word recognition accuracy is somewhat lower than the traditional criteria. This is based on the professional belief that emergent readers have to tolerate a slightly larger number of unknown words initially because they cannot be expected to know many words at all. Following is a summary of Powell’s criteria for recommended levels for 1st grade (beginning) readers

Reading Level Word Recognition Accuracy Comprehension Percentage
Independent 94% 80%
Instructional 89% 55-80%
Frustration Less than 89% Less than 55%

The Sunshine Assessment uses a global rating of complete, adequate and limited to describe the reader’s ability to retell information about characters, events and settings rather than using a percentage of answers.

Sunshine Informal Reading Inventory
Level Word Recognition Accuracy
Characters Comprehension
Setting Rate
(WPM) Fluency

Date of Administration:

Independent Level
Instructional Level
Frustration Level


Flynt-Cooter Reading Inventory
The Flynt-Cooter Reading Inventory generally follows the format of traditional informal reading inventories. Students are asked to read leveled sets of sentences to help identify a starting level. Students read these sets until making two or more errors in a set of sentences. Once the starting level is established (the last level at which no errors occurred), students are asked to read silently, a series of leveled reading passages. Once the passage is read, a measure of reading comprehension is completed. After the comprehension measure students are asked to read a 100 word section aloud. Measures of oral reading accuracy are derived from this brief oral reading of material that has previously been read silently. It should be noted that this is a different procedure than is used in most IRIs. The Boise State University Reading Center uses traditional criteria for the establishment of independent or “easy”, instructional or “adequate”, and frustration or “too hard” reading levels. The independent level is that level at which students are able to read the passage with 99% or higher total word recognition accuracy and 88% or higher comprehension. The instructional level is that level at which students are able to read the passage with 94 to 98% total word recognition accuracy and 50 to 89% comprehension. The frustration level is that level at which students read with 93% or lower total word recognition accuracy and less than 50% comprehension. For the purpose of more completely describing students' reading behaviors, the sentence reading score and the reading rate are also reported in the following table. Comprehension is measured first as free recall--a students' ability to independently retell a story or passage without the use of examiner-posed questions. After a student has finished retelling the story, the examiner may, if necessary, pose the traditional comprehension questions if the student has not already answered them in his or her free recall.

Flynt-Cooter IRI Scores

Sentences Reading Passages
Sentence Word Recognition Comprehension Rate(WPM)
Level Errors Type Accuracy Free Recall Total Silent Oral

Date of Administration:
Narrative Expository
Independent Level
Instructional Level
Frustration Level
Listening Level

Discussion: [Identify the independent, instructional, and frustration levels. If the client’s scores do not reach the criteria for each of these levels report only those levels for which you have scores. In other words, don’t assume that if your client has scores at the 1st reading level that meet the criteria for instructional level reading do not claim that primer level materials are independent level reading unless you have actually obtained scores that confirm that.]

Tradebook Reading Inventory and Miscue Analysis

Because of the sometimes artificial nature of a commercially published informal reading inventory, clients participating in the Reading Center program also complete at least one tradebook reading inventory (or selected components of it). This inventory involves reading aloud from a tradebook at the clients' instructional reading level (when at all possible). The reading levels according to the Fry, DRP and the Lexile readability formulae are reported (or publisher estimates when available). Readability estimates are always an imprecise measure of a book’s “readability" but do serve as an indication of the vocabulary load and sentence length of the materials.
In addition to word recognition accuracy, comprehension, and rate scores, a miscue analysis of the reading "errors" made by students is completed. This analysis permits an interpretation of the types of cueing systems the client uses while reading. The scores reported under the columns labeled "graphophonic similarity" serve as an indication of the client's ability to use phonic analysis to decode unfamiliar words. The scores reported in the columns labeled "acceptability" indicate the degree to which the client uses syntactic (grammatical) and semantic (meaning) cues to decode unfamiliar words. The scores in the column labeled "self-correction" provide a further indication of the client's ability to use the overall meaning of the passage to "fix-up" momentary decoding problems. The column labeled "combined cues" represents the client's ability to use syntactic and semantic cues and self-correction to produce an accurate reading of the text.

Merisuo-Storm, T. (2006). Girls and Boys Like to Read and Write Different

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Boys and Literacy : Lessons from Australia, Gender & Education

Alloway, N., & Gilbert, P. (1997). Boys and Literacy: lessons from Australia. Gender & Education, 9(1), 49-60. doi:10.1080/09540259721448.
Alloway, N., & Gilbert, P. (1997). Boys and Literacy: lessons from Australia.
Gender & Education, 9(1), 49-60. doi:10.1080/09540259721448.


ABSTRACT This paper examines the complexity of the issues associated with boys and literacy.
It initially reviews Australian research documenting gender
differences in literacy performance,
highlighting the interplay between gender,
class and ethnicity within this research. It then develops a framework for
considering the interconnectedness between literacy, various masculinities, and
schooling. The paper argues that literacy, as it is constructed in the school,
becomes a domain of knowledge and a set of technologies that run counter to
various dominant constructions of masculinity. As a result, school literacy is
often in contrast to other electronic and visually-based 'literacy skills' that
boys have access to.
The paper suggests an approach which works with social
constructions of masculinity, and discourses on 'critical literacy', to provide
strategies for boys' literacy education that will not be in conflict with the
education of girls reform agenda of the past 20 years.
Hard times for Britain's lost boys
Girls are racing ahead in Britain's schools. Karen Gold talks to teachers whose
pioneering research may show why boys are being left behind. (New Scientist, 4
February 1995)
The War on Boys
Wise up, America! Despite what you read in the papers, the nation's schoolboys
are in big trouble. (Men's Health, October 1994)
Boy Burn-Out
In a school system dominated by women, boys are suffering while girls pull
ahead. That's the argument fuelling the backlash against girls' education
strategies. (The Australian, 27 July 1995)
'Boys' education' is now a recognisable topic for educational debate and
discussion in several of the larger English speaking countries, and one of its
major planks has often been a focus on boys' poor performance and achievement in
literacy. Girls, it is often claimed through the popular press, streak ahead
when it comes to reading and writing. Boys are increasingly constructed as a
disadvantaged and 'lost' group, marginalised and silenced not only in the
feminised arena of schooling, but also in the feminised domain of literacy
instruction. It is, we are told, 'war' on boys in many Western education
This paper takes up the issue of boys and literacy, initially by reviewing the
Australian response to the topic, and then by presenting an argument for working
with boys and literacy that avoids the 'backlash' syndrome implicit in the
language used above. By examining the complexity of Australian data samples on literacy achievement, the construction of various approaches to literacy and
literacy teaching, and the interconnectedness between literacy, masculinity and
schooling, this paper marks out the field within which the boys and literacy
issue needs to be considered. It then suggests a positive agenda for change that
not only acknowledges the needs of boys, but also clearly recognises the
important needs of girls, in reframing and refashioning literacy practices.
Gender, Literacy and Academic Success
Education reform programmes that have looked at gender differences in academic
achievement have more often focused on girls' lower level performance in
mathematics and science, than boys' performance in literacy. Given Western
civilisation's history of privileging mathematics/science over the humanities,
this is hardly a surprising emphasis. Girls' poorer representation in higher
level mathematics and science subjects, and their lower level recruitment into
post-school science related fields, made them a clear target for academic
improvement within national programmes of educational reform. By contrast, boys'
lower levels of performance in school-based literacy tasks and their lower
levels of representation in the humanities, have not generated similar attention
at national policy levels. Within a context of the differential social valuing
of knowledge, boys' lower levels of performance in literacy have historically
generated less concern for their 'improvement' than has been the case for girls'
lesser performance in mathematics/ science.
While information on boys' lesser achievement in literacy has been available for
some time, it is interesting that boys as a group have not, until recently, been
seen as needing attention with respect to their results. Despite the fact that
boys dominated literacy remediation classes, reading remediation educators and
school administrators seemed almost blind to the gender imbalance in remediation
resourcing, and to the gendered difference in children's literacy performance at
This may partly be understood in terms of the social value placed upon
school-based literacy competence as compared with mathematics or scientific
competence. High academic achievement in school-based literacy tests seems not to be critical in terms of post-school options and career advancement (see
White, 1986; Gilbert, 1994). For instance, even in several of the more
language-based professions--as in, say, law and journalism--it is men, not
women, who monopolise positions of power, despite girls' clear academic
superiority with literacy tasks. And it is still predominantly boys/men who
manage to maintain positions of privilege across a range of occupational and
social outcomes. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, literacy competence seems not
to be highly valued in the economic world of work, and school success at
literacy is not a valued or prized competence.
This paper considers the dangers of this devaluation of literacy and literacy
instruction--particularly for boys and young men. But it argues that we may well
need a different approach to the teaching and construction of literacy, given
the dynamic shifts in technology and media representation within contemporary
culture. It assumes that literacy competence is a crucial requirement for active
and informed citizenship, and a critical component in moves towards a more
equitable and just society. And it also acknowledges that what it means to be
'literate' is constantly being negotiated and renegotiated as we become
increasingly affected by technological and informational change.
It argues, however, that becoming literate, or more importantly, becoming
critically literate, offers opportunities, for boys as well as for girls, to
arrive at new insights into personal and social relations; to understand the
construction of their own selves as contemporary social subjects; and to
recognise the ways in which various social language practices have become
naturalised and normalised within everyday talk and action. It also argues that
the social construction of masculinity is strongly implicated in literacy
learning, and that to understand boys' performance and achievement in literacy,
it is critical that we understand the interplay between constructions of gender
and constructions of literacy.
Reading Gender in Literacy Testing: the Australian experience
In a quest to document Australian girls' and boys' achievements in literacy,
four state education departments in Australia have tracked gendered patterns of
results in high school English and in Basic Skills Tests of literacy for the
primary grades. Results from South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales
and Queensland are impressively consistent, and the data clearly indicate that
girls outperform boys in literacy-based tasks.
In South Australia, for example, Hilary Whitehouse (1994) compared examination
performance for female and male candidates in senior secondary English. Her
report to the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia showed that for the years 1986-91 South Australian girls achieved at significantly higher levels than the boys. Other states show similar patterns. Wayne Martino (1995) reports of Western Australian data:
Statistical analysis of students' performance in the Tertiary Entrance English
Examination (TEE) in Western Australia ... indicates that twice as many boys
fail English than girls and that twice as many girls achieve distinctions than
boys ... (p. 346)
Similarly in New South Wales, a Ministerial inquiry into boys' education
Boys under-perform compared with girls in literacy tests at both Year 3 and Year
6 in Government schools (as measured on the Basic Skills Tests). This result is
replicated throughout the school system. Boys achieve notably lower grades in
English at both the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate.
(O'Doherty, 1994, pp. 12-13)
An analysis of English results for Queensland students (Senior Secondary
Assessment Board of South Australia [SSABSA] and Australian Curriculum,
Assessment and Certification Authorities [ACACA], 1993) corroborates this trend.
Some 10.4% of girls compared with only 5.6% of boys scored within the highest
band of Very High Achievement;, 40.5% of girls compared with 26.8% of boys
scored at the next level of High Achievement;, and only 6.3% of girls compared
with 14.9% of boys were located within the Limited or Very Limited Achievement
bands. It seems that nearly twice as many Queensland gifts as boys can perform
at very high levels of achievement in senior English while more than twice as
many Queensland boys as girls fail to reach even a sound level of achievement.
Gender-based analyses of literacy achievement like these produce findings
indicating that girls, as a group, generally do better than boys, as a group,
both in basic skills tests (when they are tested in the early years of
schooling) and in final year secondary English scores. But gender-based analyses
such as these run the danger of masking differences within the categories of
'girl' and of 'boy'. Students cannot so neatly be divided into two, supposedly
consistent, monolithic categories. Additional critical questions about
differences within groups need to be asked. Are particular groups of boys doing
worse/better than others? Are some groups of girls doing as poorly as the boys?
Are there factors beyond gender that also contribute to literacy performance?
Gender, Literacy and Difference
One Australian state--New South Wales--has moved to address such questions, by
providing a more finely grained analysis in its tracking of student performance
outcomes. Results on the New South Wales Year 3 Basic Skills Test for literacy
reported by Van Davy (1995) illustrate, for instance, the complexity of the
interplay between gender and class (See Fig. 1). Careful scrutiny of Fig. 1
reveals that, as for other states, the New South Wales state average for girls
is higher than for boys. However the data also indicate that the 10-point
socio-economic ranking of students' families is strongly associated with
children's literacy skills performance. While girls, at every step in the
10-point socio-economic scale, score higher than boys whose families share the
same ranking, boys with the highest socio-economic ranking still fare better at
literacy-related tasks than girls up to the first five points of the
socio-economic scale. The data also show how boys with a socio-economic ranking
of 10 still score below the state average for girls, and how boys with the
lowest socio-economic rankings score worse than any other group.
Results of this kind show very clearly that not all girls are doing well at
literacy-related tasks, and not all boys are doing equally as poorly as one
another. The results suggest a complex elision of gender and class membership.
It appears that gender remains a powerful predictor of a child's literacy
performance, but that the social and economic resources available to children
through their homes and communities impact significantly on their achievement of
literacy skills. In brief, given the same ranking in terms of the socio-economic
resources available to their families, boys generally do less well than gifts.
Race and geographical location in Australia similarly impact on literacy
performance. Yunupingu (1994) reports that on average, Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander students achieve lower literacy scores in primary school than
other Australian students, but the difference from other Australian students is
greater for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders living in rural and remote
areas than for those living in urban areas. However Yunupingu also notes that
gender patterns are similar to those found for all Australian primary school
students, whereby 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls consistently
record higher achievements in literacy than boys ...' (p. 24).
Such information allows for more complex readings of which groups of boys and
girls are at risk of underachieving in school-based literacy, and which groups
are most privileged. More powerful questions then revolve around investigating
the processes of schooling that potentially enfranchise/disenfranchise students
in systematic ways to the point where group memberships, defined by gender,
class, race and geographical location for instance, become significant
predictors of academic success. An exploration of the performance and
achievement of boys in school literacy learning needs to take this intra-group
difference seriously.
Literacy, Remediation and Masculinity
The history of dealing with those at school who underperform in literacy has
traditionally focused on skills-based remediation of individual children. It is
assumed that those who do not perform well have a learning deficit, either
intellectual or social, that leads consequentially to remediation. The
'intellectual deficit' condition assumes that, unlike those children who
succeed, those marked for remediation simply fail to grasp critical content from
the teacher's expert delivery of knowledge. The fault in this instance lies
within the intellectual competence of the individual child. By contrast, the
'social deficit' condition implies that the child's family background is the
root of failure. That is, the particular child does not have the social
resources to be truly 'ready' for the experiences of schooling.
Whichever the deficit, the remedy is located in the individual child's
remediation to make him/her fit the expectations and processes of schooling. In
these ways, the processes of schooling that enfranchise particular groups while
disenfranchising others escape interrogation and are understood to be innocuous,
impartial and beyond suspicion. The impetus is to reform the child rather than
the curriculum, since the source of the trouble is seen to lie outside of the
parameters of 'schooling as usual'.
There is no question that in some instances individual remediation may be the
appropriate course of action. However, when identifiable groups rather than
random selections of children present as underachievers, as 'at risk' students
and as school failures, then remediation may not be the preferred response. This
paper, for instance, argues that the first level of questioning should logically
revolve around why particular groups perform at consistently lower levels than
others. Why do boys as a group perform less well than girls in literacy-related
tasks? Why do boys with the lowest socio-economic rankings perform least well of
any group? How is it that boys with the highest socio-economic rankings perform
at lower levels than their sisters but at higher levels than gifts who live in
families where fewer social and economic resources are available to them? In
what ways do literacy classes authorise the knowledge, the skills, the desires
of particular groups while failing to take account of others?
The approach adopted in this paper thus moves away from focusing on what is
wrong with individual children to avoid the trap of automatically pathologising
children and their families. Rather, it looks at how boys in particular are
positioned within social, textual and pedagogical practices that make their
lesser performance in literacy-related tasks understandable and predictable. The
paper argues that there are many ways of living out masculinity, and many
masculinities. Discourses of sexuality, of class, of ethnicity affect lived
experiences of being 'male'. However, the paper also argues that dominant and
hegemonic discourses of masculinity may be in conflict with the institutional
constraints of schooling, and more specifically, with the ways boys are asked to
know themselves as literate subjects in school-based literacy classes. The paper
suggests that there is a potentially abrasive interaction between: the social
and pedagogical production of students as literate subjects; institutional
attempts at regulating students at school; and the ways that boys take
themselves up as masculine subjects.
The Literate Subject, the Schoolboy, and Hegemonic Masculinity
Concerns about boys' literacy performance usually refer specifically to their
demonstrated competence in the context of literacy as it is done and evaluated
in schools, despite the fact that this represents only one literacy site, and
one broad set of literacy practices. Many boys have literacy skills that are not
recognised in the classroom, but that are potentially very powerful and useful
in the communication technologies of the future. Surfing the net, reading video
screens and engaging with computers all demand levels of literate competence
that do not figure highly in school measurements of literacy. And significantly,
such literacy sites and literacy competence do not clash with boys' and young
men's desire to take up positions as 'masculine' subjects even in the pre-school
years (Alloway, 1995). On the contrary, such sites and practices directly
sustain and reinforce dominant discourses of hegemonic masculinity (Alloway &
Gilbert, in press).
An important point to remember, therefore, is that boys may underachieve in
school-based literacy, but they do not necessarily underachieve in other forms
of socially valued, and more 'desirable' literate practice. Literacy at school
seems to be the site and the domain of practice that is most significant in an
exploration of boys' performance and achievement.
Literacy as it is done in the early grades of school revolves somewhat fluidly
around learning to read and to write in clearly defined ways, using authorised
texts and institutionalised pedagogical practices. As children move through
grade levels, they move through regimes of texts and practices: reading kits and
activities, spelling and handwriting skills, comprehension tests, vocabulary
exercises, essay-writing, oral and dramatic performance, sustained silent
reading, aesthetic response to literary texts. What these early schooling
practices have in common is that they require students to demonstrate a
willingness to be regulated--both physically and emotionally--in specific ways:
to sit still, to be silent, to work with utensils in defined and authorised
ways, to respond in appropriate ways (Luke, 1992). While all schooling requires
degrees of physical and emotional regulation, this seems to be particularly the
case in the literacy classroom.
At first sight it might seem that these practices have little to do with gender.
However, it will be argued in the following section that gender may well be
deeply implicated in these regimes. This, coupled with the fact that
school-based literacy has come to be identified as feminised practice,
contributes towards a construction of school-based literacy, and the 'literate
school subject' as unmasculine and undesirable to many young boys. As this paper
will argue, literacy, as it is constructed in the school, becomes a domain of
knowledge and a set of technologies that run counter to various dominant
constructions of masculinity (Gilbert & Gilbert, 1996). The practices that are
naturalised in the literacy classroom are often practices that boys may
experience as incompatible with their understandings of appropriate masculine
For example, many of the most familiar school literacy practices require that
students accomplish the processes of self-disclosure, introspection, empathic
response, and personalised and creative expression (Hunter, 1988; Gilbert,
1989a, 1989b; Patterson, 1995). The truly literate subject, for example, is able
to lay bare the soul: to engage in literacy practices that describe feelings and
emotions, and which locate the writer/reader as a sensitive and aesthetic
subject who derives pleasure from print and the literary experience. Even in the
early years of schooling, the focus in the literacy classroom is often on
personalised expression and response to teacher sanctioned texts.
Consequently, the literate subject also becomes covertly drawn to the imperative
of moral self-regulation, because the texts marketed at children's culture and
the compulsory years of schooling tacitly endorse dominant standards of morality
as well as of sensitivity and aestheticism. This is often in marked contrast to
the morality constructed through, say, various electronic game practices (see
Alloway & Gilbert, in press). The discourses of moral self-regulation offered
through children's literature and children's school readers, and the classroom
practices that support these discourses, are often in marked contrast to the
ideologies and practices on offer in boys' culture. They sit far more
comfortably with social constructions of the feminine than the masculine, and
are more compatible with a feminine rather than a masculine subject.
As boys are invited to take themselves up as literate subjects, so too are they
invited to understand themselves as students within the institutional
constraints of the school (Mac an Ghaill, 1994). While the literacy classroom
encourages them to express their inner selves, to appreciate the canons of
literature, and to observe community standards of morality, the wider school
context subordinates them within the student-teacher authority structure.
Although boys may maintain a privileged position in relation to gifts in the
school context, the schoolboy nevertheless is required to accept inferior status
to the teacher, to experience powerlessness in the face of adult rule, to be
regulated by the demands of the institution, and to be controlled by the state
Meanwhile, outside the context of the school, boys are encouraged to understand
themselves very differently. As opposed to the social construction of literacy
as feminised practice, boys are expected to understand themselves within sets of
masculinised practice. Their subjectivity is to be marked as different from, and
oppositional to, that which is associated with the feminine. Hegemonic
masculinity is not done in terms of self-disclosure, introspection, personalised
and creative expression, but rather in terms of an outside-of-self, objectified
expression. A focus on the psyche, on analysis of self and others, on personal
relations, on moral regulation, is not endorsed within hegemonic standards of
masculinity. Outward-looking, hegemonic masculinity prefers to concentrate on
things outside of self, rather than on the self.
While boys are required to comply with the school's construction of the
regulated student, the social construction of hegemonic masculinity promotes
masculine subjectivity as less regulated, less conforming, and less compliant
than schooling practices accommodate. As opposed to the constitution of the
schoolboy as student, hegemonic masculinity ultimately refuses to be regulated
or controlled. Affiliation with hegemonic standards of masculinity advances an
identity that is more maverick, self-styled and independent than can be
expressed within the processes of school regulation.
Constructions of the literate subject, the schoolboy and masculinity open out a
field of play where abrasive interactions are inevitable. Some groups of boys
may find the press to become insiders to the literacy experience particularly
threatening to their masculinity. Issues of class, ethnicity, race and sexuality
may be crucial in determining how boys resolve tensions involved in maintaining
masculine identity while simultaneously responding to institutional requirements
to take themselves up as literate and as schoolboys (Mac an Ghaill, 1994). Some
boys may reject the requirement to engage in the 'feminised practices' of the
literacy classroom as the friction with their masculinity is too keenly
experienced. With respect to boys' performance in secondary English, Wayne
Martino (1995) claims:
What it means to be a man and how to behave as a man are produced within
specific institutional apparatuses and involves a denial of expressing emotions
and an avoidance of intimacy and this appears to be at the basis of boys'
rejection of English as a girls' subject. (p. 354)
Martino's (1995) interviews with secondary school boys show how homophobia may
feature in regulating boys' engagement with English. As one of the interviewees
explained his lack of commitment to the subject:
English is more suited to girls because it's not the way guys think ... this
subject is the biggest load of bullshit I have ever done. Therefore, I don't
particularly like this subject. I hope you aren't offended by this, but most
guys who like English are faggots. (Martino, 1995, p. 354)
However, boys do not suddenly begin resisting school-based literacy tasks in
secondary classrooms. The process of alienation is identifiable in the early
years of compulsory schooling (see Orlandi, 1996), and continues into the middle
primary grades. Boys write less, read less, and engage with domains of subject
matter that are not usually endorsed by the school (Poynton, 1985; Gilbert,
The differences between groups of boys in their response to literacy tasks
needs, however, to be carefully monitored. The complex relationships between
class, ethnicity and masculinity, for instance, may mean that privileged groups
of boys are more likely to be encouraged to accept some forms of school
regulation in anticipation of career and professional rewards in the
post-schooling period. Less privileged boys may well use the context of the
school to establish themselves clearly as masculine--rather than regulated
'schoolboy'--subjects, in anticipation of this position being the only one that
is both desirable and achievable. The willingness to take up positions as
'literate' subjects will consequently be dependent upon a range of factors
associated with ethnicity, with class, with sexuality and with the versions of
masculinity boys find desirable.
An Agenda for Change
A programme that seeks to work with and take on board this potentially abrasive
mix of school literacy, masculinity and institutional schooling can learn from
the significant work on gender and literacy that has been accomplished under the
girls' education umbrella. This work is important for work with boys not only
because it indicates how constructions of gender and of literacy are connected
and interrelated in the school context, but also because it reminds us of issues
to remember in terms of girls and literacy.
While, for instance, groups of girls may achieve well at school-based literacy,
many school literacy practices have not been advantageous for girls (see
Gilbert, 1989a). The compatibility of the 'literate' self with a 'feminine' self
has not necessarily served girls well in terms of introducing them to a range of
other ways of taking up social positions as girls and women (Walkerdine, 1990).
In addition, as we have argued earlier, there is little social valuation of
school literacy competence. Being good at reading and writing has not
necessarily led to careers in language-based professions--or even to well-paid
jobs. It is still predominantly girls who become secretaries and typists for
male managers and bosses; it is still predominantly women who do the
word-processing while men write software programs.
But teachers who pick up these issues should be wary of falling prey to the
'competing victims syndrome' (Cox, 1995) whereby girls' interests and boys'
interests are pitted against one another. A basic tenet of working on the boys
and literacy agenda should be that both girls' and boys' interests in improved
literacy performance are promoted; boys' gains in literacy should not be
promoted at the expense of girls' gains; efforts to enfranchise the boys should
not disenfranchise the girls. Rather than developing programmes that are 'good
for girls', or 'good for boys', we need instead to focus on a critique of school
literacy practices and the assumptions upon which they rely, and to widen our
understanding of literacy and literate practice. We need a critique of the
'literate self' in terms of how such a construct affects both girls and boys. We
also need an understanding of the social, textual construction of femininity and
masculinity, and how language practices within the school reinforce such
constructions. And we need assssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssccess to a range of skills and technologies that
will help in such critiques and understandings.
The technologies developed within discourses on 'critical literacy' (see Gee,
1990; Lankshear & McLaren, 1993) may be appropriate for this task. While such
discourses are not hegemonic or monolithic, and while they can encompass a wide
range of positions and viewpoints, they do have common elements. On the whole,
critical literacy discourses acknowledge the crucial link between language and
social practice, and they support a critical investigation into the way language
practices can transform social practice. They make it possible to advocate a
more critical approach to literacy and to textual practices both in and beyond
the school, as a strategy for enabling boys to read both their own practices,
and the practices that inscribe and construct them as masculine, literate and
institutionalised subjects (Davies, 1997).
We would argue that such an approach makes it possible for both students and
teachers to see how they have been textually inscribed and constructed in
various ways, through the access they have had to various discourses and social
experiences. Discourses and social experiences of masculinity and femininity
will be critical here, as will discourses and social experiences of sexuality,
ethnicity, class and privilege. Unlike femininity, masculinity-as a dominant and
powerful discourse--has seldom been held up for scrutiny and reconstruction in
We would also argue that there are many forms of literacy, and that schools tend
to work with particular print-based versions of literacy. It is important that
this base be broadened: that texts from a much broader range of cultural
experience be enfranchised within the classroom and serve as legitimate texts
for inquiry and interrogation; and that a much broader range of pedagogical
practices be embraced in this inquiry and interrogation. In particular, the
practices associated with the teaching of literature need very close scrutiny.
Changes like these will also necessitate changes within institutional structures
and practices. If classrooms are to foster critical deconstruction of 'the
self', and to support critical inquiry and interrogation, they need to establish
teacher-student relationships and classroom environments that are supportive of
student-focused learning. This may be particularly problematic if other aspects
of masculinity and schooling are not understood and acknowledged.
Critical literacy can certainly not be read as a panacea for boys'
underachievement and underperformance in school literacy. However, when adopted
with other understandings of the social constructions of masculinity, literacy
and schooling, it can provide strategies that not only strive to meet the
challenge of developing a defensible and positive agenda for boys' education,
but that also sit compatibly within the education of girls reform agenda of the
past 20 years.
The lessons from the Australian experience are that the boys and literacy issue
is certainly far more complex than it would first appear; that constructions of
masculinity and of literacy practice need to be interrogated and read very
carefully; but that the goal of helping boys and young men to become critically
literate members of their families and their communities is one that is too
important to neglect.
This paper has evolved from our work with an Australian research team on a
Commonwealth government-funded project in 1995: 'Equity issues and the education
of students experiencing educational disadvantage: literacy intervention
strategies for boys' (DEETYA). We are indebted to other team members--Bronwyn
Davies, Rob Gilbert and David King--for their generous sharing of ideas and
advice. We would also like to acknowledge the professional advice and experience
of Sandra McEwan in the development of this paper.
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By NOLA ALLOWAY & PAM GILBERT, James Cook University of North Queensland,
Correspondence: Nola Alloway, School of Education, James Cook University of
North Queensland, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia. Email:

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