School/District: Atlanta Independent Schools Grade: 2nd
Dates of Testing: March 2014
Parents: James & Melissa
Reason for Referral
Throughout the school year, Jack has been working one on one with me and in a small group that stays after school twice a week. From the beginning of the school year it was identified that Jack seemed to lack letter sound relationships and phonemic awareness. His decoding skills are weak and he often has a hard time paying attention in class. Since the original QRI assessment was given, Jack has gone in for a full psychological evaluation. We are waiting to hear results. Jack is the student I chose to also work on my ten comprehensive lesson plans. Jack also works with a learning specialist and an academic resource tutor.
Introduction and Background Information
The school I work in is a large well-known Atlanta Independent School. My classroom has two teachers and focuses primarily on “whole-child” education. My classroom this year has some of the lowest readers I have had in my classroom. Through observation, conferring, and simple reading assessments I have confirmed each student’s reading level and focus on workshop teaching, allowing each child to have an individualized lesson and goal.
For this brief case study I chose a male student in my class who stood out to me from the first day of school. Jack is 8 years old, very athletic, energetic, and witty. After observing him for a few days I noticed he had an attitude problem with the work I was asking him to do as well as his classmates. Instead of bring the issue to light, I continued to work with him, making sure to give him a little extra attention. At the beginning of the school year I try to figure out what students like about reading and how they feel about with books. When I asked Jack he seems uninterested and unwilling, almost resentful to me. This bothered me and worried me. Around second grade is when I find that students who have been reluctant readers, if given the right “push” begin to grow and blossom as readers. This became my goal for Jack.
Jack came in as one of my lowest readers. I sat and read with him until I felt like I could bump him up a level. All of the sudden this student in my classroom was completely different. He was more alert, interested, and most importantly self-motivated. Jack began to shine in his reading. Although he is not fluent and often missed words while reading aloud, he is proud of the hard work he is doing.
Before conducting my research I had all of my parent-teacher conferences in which I was able to ask his mother questions about his hobbies, friends, and life outside of school. As it turns out it seems as if Jack had attitude problems at home and was even being spiteful to his little sister. She was wondering if he was frustrated in school and when I replied no we made an action plan to observe over the next few days. Whenever I see Jack’s mother in the hall she is beaming. She says Jack comes home and reads every day! So although he is still a low, struggling reader, I feel as if half of the battle has been won.
Jack has spunk and is aware of his weaknesses. Throughout the school year I have seen tremendous growth with Jack. Although he is still one of the lowest students, he is not on grade level. It worries me that Jack was only able to make it to grade level with the help of two teachers, a learning specialists, and an academic resource tutor. I chose Jack to work with this year in all of my small groups, tutorials, and even my action research. The growth I have seen is tremendous from the first QRI assessment to now.
After flipping through and looking at all of the components of the QRI-5. I found two that I thought would be beneficial for both me and Jack. I chose assessments that could be conducted quickly but also give me enough data that I can see where his strengths and weaknesses lay between literacy and comprehension. To plan my assessments I first started observing Jack during reading. I looked at the books he was reading, the amount of time he spent on a book, and how he conducted a book talk with his reading partner. After examining all of the options as well and the various levels, I chose to test Jack on a level that I thought would be instructional.
I first began with Jack using the Student Word Lists (Leslie & Caldwell, 2011, p.100-102). I began with the basic list that has all of the sight words from kindergarten as well as very simple rhyming words. I then moved onto the second list which Jack was able to completely read out loud. Last fall when Jack was tested he was unable to read the first grade list. He lacked phonics skills needed to decode the words. On the third page, or the second grade list Jack was unable to successful name the majority of the words in the list. He struggled with letter-sound relationships and identifying multi-syllable words. This showed me that there is a break down for Jack with his decoding and phonemic awareness.
For my narrative assessment options I chose to conduct three tests: assessment of prior knowledge, oral miscue analysis, and an assessment through unaided recall. I chose two stories in the Level One section. I chose these because based on his reading level, Jack is reading like a somewhat high second grader and a very low second grader. My goal was for there to be little to no frustration.
For the first narrative assessment I chose “The Surprise”(p. 188). This story was about a little boy getting a puppy. On the assessment of prior knowledge Jack scored an 89. He only got marked down because he was not specific about what a “puppy” is. He was very blunt and did not used strong adjective such as little, baby, pup, etc.. As he began to read I quickly followed along and kept my pencil moving. Jack exempted a lot of word while reading aloud and also inserted words when they were not necessary. Jack read slow and at some points it was hard to listen. He did very well on recalling various parts of the story and answering comprehension questions. Yet again Jack got five out of six questions correct, landing “The Surprise” as an instructional level text. He had a total of 11 miscues which is an improvement from the 17 he missed in the fall. I found this to be an instructional level text for Jack.
After feeling somewhat confident from our first narrative, I decided to have Jack read another story just so I could have plenty of data to compare. I chose a narrative that was a little different from the first, less realistic, with more of a life lesson attached to it. I chose “The Bear and the Rabbit” (p. 194). Immediately as I pressed start on my timer and Jack began to read, the miscues began to show up more frequently. For this small amount of text, Jack inserted so many words, some of the inserts even causing him to say phrases that made no sense. He did not stop to self correct. When reading my notes about this particular narrative, I found that the life lesson was important and would come up in comprehension. Jack completely missed it. Is Jack reading so slowly or carelessly that it is hindering his comprehension. However, Jack scored an 89% on this assessment, leaving him right in the instructional range again. Answering questions and recalling important facts from the story to me and using this information to answer his comprehension questions. Because both of Jack’s assessments were on instructional level, I felt comfortable stopping our assessment there so I would not have him struggle and get frustrated.
Interpretation of Assessment Results
Although it is evident that Jack has shown some growth throughout the year, this growth is no substantial. I was hoping that this year would be a “catch up” year for Jack but all I have seen is him continue to fall behind.
It is obvious that Jack struggles with language processing. Through this sight words list to his reading out loud, Jack has a hard time decoding words. I also noticed that while Jack is reading out loud he is not reading for meaning and often does not self correct his miscues. Majority of the time Jack skips over words to says words that do not fit the meaning from the text.
I would love to have Jack continue to stay with me for tutorials during the week. I think that this small group time is beneficial for Jack and he is able to focus on spelling, writing, grammar, etc. I think that once we receive the results from the psychologist we will be able to have a better picture of who Jack is as a learner and how we can help him succeed.
I would encourage Jack to read out loud at home as well as be read to every night. I think that with Jack reading out loud to an adult, he will be held accountable for what he is reading. Having an adult read to Jack will allow him to understand fluency and the ways in punctuation, expression, and pace play into one’s reading life.
Barlow, D. (2014). The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. Education Digest, (7), 69.
Hilden, K., & Jones, J. (2013). Effective Interactive Read-Alouds Build Stronger Comprehension. Reading Today, 30(5), 17-19.
Leslie, L. (2011). Qualitative reading inventory 5. (5 ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
Overturf, B. J. (2013). Multiple Ways to Learn Words: The Keys to Vocabulary Development In the ELA Standards. Reading Today, 31(2), 14-15.