Recent Research on Adolescent Literacy

Improve gist reasoning to help 8th-graders close achievement gap

Brain games to make you smarter are popular with healthy adults who want to sharpen mental performance, victims of traumatic brain injury and seniors at risk for Alzheimer’s. Now the Center for Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas, Dallas, TX says brain training can help middle schoolers develop “gist reasoning,” the ability to “connect… Tell Me More »

12 strategies for self-assessment in writing

Good writing can be said to be essentially about self-assessment. An author’s work is the end result of many rounds of revisions based on self-assessment of earlier drafts.    A review of the literature on self-assessment in writing recently published in the Journal of Research in Reading yields 12 strategies for the use of self-assessment with learners… Tell Me More »

Many best practices for writing instruction left out by Common Core

Writing teachers are among the most resistant to incorporating research-based practices in instruction, preferring to rely on the advice of professional authors and successful teachers of writing instead, according to a new study in School Psychology Review. The adoption of the Common Core State Standards puts pressure on educators across the curriculum to pay attention… Tell Me More »

Vocabulary instruction for middle schoolers uses friendly text to teach academic words

Vocabulary lists with novel and infrequently used words such as azure, homestead and scintillating do little to improve the academic literacy of middle schoolers, especially those who are English Language Learners (ELLs), says a recent study in Reading Research Quarterly. More frequently used and academically relevant words such as method, evidence and average should be the… Tell Me More »

5,000 middle-schoolers surveyed about their attitudes toward reading

Attitude is everything when it comes to understanding why adolescents are not better readers, says a team of researchers who surveyed over 5,000 middle-schoolers about their attitudes toward both digital and print reading. One reason researchers and policymakers so far have failed to account for the low reading achievement of many students is that they… Tell Me More »

This may be one of the best arguments yet for grade 6-12 content teachers to spend more time teaching vocabulary

Researchers estimate that every year, beginning in 5th grade, students encounter approximately 10,000 unfamiliar words. Despite this exposure to nearly 70,000 new words over the course of 7 years, the average high school student graduates with a vocabulary of only 35,000 to 42,000 words, according to a recent article in The Social Studies Journal. Many… Tell Me More »

For middle school readers, standardized interventions may work as well as individualized ones

How much individualized intervention do middle school students need if their reading skills are below grade level and they have not been responsive to Tier 2 interventions? A year-long study of 7th-8th graders receiving Tier 3 interventions in small groups of 4-5 students concludes that individualized intervention is not necessarily superior to standardized interventions, even… Tell Me More »

Two RTI studies focus on Tier 2 interventions for struggling 5th-6th grade readers

What kinds of interventions should teachers use with their 5th and 6th graders who need help becoming better readers? Much of the research on the response-to- intervention (RTI) model has been focused on struggling readers in the early elementary grades. Educators who work with older students have been frustrated with the lack of guidance on… Tell Me More »