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"Captures the essence of good teaching where indirect as well as direct styles of interaction are valued and where children are supported in developing their own knowledge."
Excerpted from Chapter 1 of User's Guide to the Early Language & Literacy Classroom Observation Tool, K– 3, Research Edition, by Miriam W. Smith, Ed.D. Joanne P. Brady, M.Ed. & Nancy Clark–Chiarelli, Ed.D.
Copyright © 2008 by Education Development Center, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
RESEARCH LITERATURE BASE FOR THE ELLCO K–3
The importance of early literacy has been underscored by several seminal reports, such as the report of the National Research Council, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998), which highlights the importance of balanced, comprehensive literacy programs. Similarly, the National Reading Panel issued a report, Teaching Children to Read (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], 2000), that articulated the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching to read in grades K–6. Yet, despite the fact that research has shown us how to teach students to read, many still are not succeeding. An estimated 20% of our nation's students experience significant difficulty learning to read, and another 20% do not read fluently enough to read for pleasure (Fletcher & Lyon, 1998; Shaywitz, Escobar, Shaywitz, Fletcher, & Makuch, 1992). Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007) indicated that 34% of fourth graders read at a basic level and an additional 33% of fourth graders are considered to be below a basic level. When disaggregated by race/ethnicity, results reveal a vast discrepancy among white, black, and Hispanic students—although 43% of white students read at or above the proficient level, only 14% of black students and 17% of Hispanic students read at these levels (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007).
To address these long–standing disparities in educational achievement, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 (PL 107–110) provided new opportunities and challenges for schools and their teachers to ensure academic excellence for all students. A cornerstone of NCLB is accountability. Specifically, in the area of reading/language arts, states have been required to
In an era in which such accountability in reading achievement is paramount, the ELLCO K–3 provides an effective way for practitioners, researchers, and others concerned with quality improvement to gauge progress and focus their program improvement efforts. Moreover, the conceptual framework of the ELLCO K–3 is based on what is known about the components of early reading and writing and effective instruction.
Key Components of Early Reading
Language and literacy are inextricably linked (Adams, 1990; Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Silliman & Wilkinson, 1994). Students who begin school with a strong language base, including a strong vocabulary and ability to engage in extended discourse, have an academic advantage over their peers (Hart & Risley, 1995; Snow et al., 1998). Regardless of the skills and language proficiency students bring to their first school experience, much can be done in the classroom to facilitate students' oral language development (Wilkinson & Silliman, 2000). Explicit instruction in vocabulary (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982; NICHD, 2000; Wixson, 1986), incidental instructio