BEFORE: More examples – Reading diagnostics


Screenshot 2017-05-09 16.50.32

We also mentioned this resource in Collection 3. You can download it here if you need it.

There are three ideas for diagnostic reading assessments you may wish to use, adapt or modify. If you already know what you’re doing for your contextualised literacy assessment you can skip this.

Using reading focus groups

  • This is very time-intensive so it won’t work for everyone. But as with other examples, you can cut it down and use only what you need.
  • You can find the instructions on page 13.

Administering the Attitudes to Reading learner self-assessment

  • This is a longer and more in-depth version of the one we showed you earlier.
  • If you use it, you may want to break it up into sections and administer them at different times.
  • The full survey form is on pages 110-112.

Tutor observation sheet for conducting more in-depth reading diagnostics

  • This is detailed and would be time intensive as well. So again, it won’t work for everyone. But if you just wanted to focus on one particular area you could cut it down to size.
  • The full version covers language and text features, decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, and reading critically. And it’s designed to work with a sample text from your own context or content.
  • The observation template is on pages 113-115.

How to write your own learning outcomes for embedding Reading


Strategies (19).jpg

Writing your own learning outcomes

If you have already started writing your learning outcomes and you’re happy with the way it’s going, please carry on. Finish off the assessment and submit your work to us for comment.

If you need some more support, please read on…! We can walk you through the process of writing learning outcomes for the following four areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Number
  • Measurement

Just click through to the content that you need. There is a worksheet for each as well as notes.

We haven’t focused on listening, speaking, or statistics. If these are relevant to your learners, you’re welcome to follow the guidelines and write your own learning outcomes for these instead.

How to write your own learning outcomes for Reading

You can do this on your own or download the worksheet here here.

Instructions

  1. Choose one item from each box and then add your own context.
  2. Write out your own final draft of the learning outcome.
  3. If you need to, make any changes to ensure your learning outcome is specific to the reading skills you want to teach and assess.
Remember

Identify

Recognise

Describe

Understand

Explain

Discuss

Apply

Use

Demonstrate

decoding strategies

everyday vocabulary

academic vocabulary

technical vocabulary

knowledge of language and text features

comprehension strategies

critical reading strategies

in the context of…

Demands: What are some specific reading demands?


We are going to be working with the Read with Understanding strand. Now… let’s go through it slowly. If you are already an experienced mapper, please skip ahead to the assessment task.

1. Print out the Read with Understanding strand.

Make sure you have the Read with Understanding strand in front of you so you can refer to the details for each step.

It looks like this, but it will have descriptions of skills and knowledge in all of the steps. You can Download the Read with Understanding Strand Chart if you need to.

Read with Understanding

Screenshot 2017-03-16 10.44.252. Choose a specific sample reading text or task from your teaching programme.

Choose some kind of teaching material that your learners have to work with, not NZQA unit standard descriptions.

Here are some examples of samples that you could choose:

  • Several pages from a workbook containing difficult vocabulary or new terminology.
  • Pages from a Code of Practice that people don’t always understand.
  • Content from a workplace induction procedure.
  • A health and safety compliance document.
  • A complicated notice that people have to read and understand.
  • Relevant pages from an Act of Parliament that is relevant to training and assessment.

3. Have clear reasons for choosing the sample

In the assessment template, you’ll need to say why you chose the sample. There are lots of reasons. Here are some:

  • You might have chosen some teaching material that you already know causes difficulties for your learners.
  • You might already know that you need to create some new material to teach a new part of your programme.
  • Your supervisor or manager may have asked you to focus on something in particular.

4. Start your mapping with the Vocabulary progression

In a nutshell, what you’re going to do at every stage is refer to the Strand charts and then shade in your own chart down to the relevant step.

We’re going to practice with the vocabulary progression. This is the easiest place to start.

For most training that has a technical aspect, like trades or employment focused training, it’s safe to start at around step 4/5 for reading. Look at the description for vocabulary at step 4/5.

You’ll see the following:

“… a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic
words and some specialised words”.

Vocabulary Most adults will be able to
Koru / step 1 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words, signs and symbols.
Koru / step 2 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words that includes some compound words.
Koru / step 3 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words and some less common words, acronyms and abbreviations.
Koru / step 4 – 5 have a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic words and some specialised words.
Koru / step 6 have a large reading vocabulary that includes general academic words and specialised words and terms.


5. Use what you know about your own subject

At this point, you need to use your own knowledge of your training material or work to decide whether this applies. In other words:

  • Does the sample require your learners to be able to use some academic words (like “measure”, “demonstrate”, “evaluate”, for example)?
  • Does the material require your learners to use some words that are specific to your trade or specialised training content (“listeria” for catering, “glyphosate” for farming or horticulture, or “Nogs and dwangs” for carpentry, for example)?

If your answer was no, then you need to drop back to step 3 and see if that fits better. Step 3 for vocabulary means there are no academic words and no specialised or technical words.

If you answered yes, then you should push ahead to step 6 and see if the answer is still yes to the description there.

Step 6 applies to vocabulary where you expect your learners to be working with a large bank of academic and specialised or technical words.

If you work in trades, your material is probably at least at steps 4/5 or 6 for vocabulary.

If you have a lot of technical jargon to deal with then go with step 6. If there’s just a bit, but it’s not too much then go with steps 4/5, which is a combined step.

If you’re not sure about what step, this process works well if you do it together with a colleague who knows what you know about what you teach or train.

6. Map the demands on paper first

If you’re working on paper, get a highlighter and shade down from the top until you’ve included the highest step that you identified for vocabulary. You’ll end up with something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.32.43

This is mapping. Above, we’ve mapped the vocabulary demands for reading at steps 4 / 5.

You can download a chart and worksheet here for mapping your own reading sample. It’s exactly the same as section 3.3 of your assessment task. Print this out and you can use it as a rough draft and for notes.

7. Map your reading sample against the rest of the progressions in the strand.

Once you’ve mapped vocabulary, you can move on to Decoding and then other progressions. The system is the same. For each relevant progression:

  • Start somewhere in the middle of the steps – say around step 3.
  • Read the description from the Strand Chart for this step.
  • Use your judgement and decide of your sample matches the description. If it doesn’t drop down to a lower step. If it does, go to a higher step and repeat.

If a progression is not relevant you can skip it. But make sure you have a reason for this as your tutor or assessor may ask you.

There is also some subjective judgement involved. But also, you are the expert here. You know your own content. In the case of vocabulary, it’s easy… If you see technical jargon, you can’t map it at step 3. It has to be above this.

Also, many of the skills and knowledge required at steps 1 and 2 is very developmental. For trades and most courses, you’re going to be mapping at step 3 and above.

In fact, if you are a trades tutor, you may find that much of your course is at step 5 and 6.

When you’ve mapped all of the relevant reading progressions for your sample, you might end up with something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.32.54

This is mapping in visual terms. From here you need to be able to talk about your results and what they mean.

When you complete the assessment task, you’ll need to answer a series of questions to show that you know what you’ve just done.

These questions are in the assessment template and in the worksheet if you download it. They’re also here below:

  • What text or task did you use?
  • Why did you choose this as your sample?
  • Out of everything here, what are the most important progressions and steps?
  • What about planning for assessment and teaching?

In the template, there are prompts to help you answer the questions. Feel free to ignore them if you like. But they are there to help you get started writing your answers and guide you in the right direction.

If you can map a sample reading text and answer the questions above, you can move onto the next module. Keep your sample handy, though. You’ll need to scan it and upload it when you submit your finished assessment task.

Want to help your kids with reading?


My friend James is developing free resources for parents to help kids with reading. There’s video tutorials, PDF downloads, comprehension questions, and all kinds of  stuff.

This is very cool Kiwi content that you should support. You can also watch and listen to James reading the stories out loud.

There’s a low-key focus on teaching and learning reading comprehension strategies and building vocabulary through original stories.

More about James’ background and own story here.

Sign up to Pathways Awarua now…!


One of the best kept secrets in tertiary training in New Zealand is Pathways Awarua. It’s not really a secret, but up until recently, this has only been available to tutors and trainers.

From now, however, this great suite of teaching and learning tools is available to everyone. Well, to Kiwis anyway.

Check out the cool video above with Ben Mitchell (better known as TK from Shortland Street).

So, if you have older kids who need a hand with maths and reading, or you’re interested yourself, there is a fantastic resource available online here: https://pathwaysawarua.com.

The emphasis is on improving literacy and numeracy for adults including young adults. So think 16+ or use your judgement.

Content includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, maths, and most recently The Road Code.

It’s current, free (funded by the TEC) and your tax dollars. And it’s all NZ content and linked to post high school vocational training as well.

10 000 learners around the country already use it and now it’s open to anyone regardless of whether you’re in an official training course or not.

Disclaimer: I’ve written some of the content available on Pathways Awarua including the modules for the online version of the NCALNE (Voc) training and professional development.

12 Things You Can Do Right Now To Read Better, Improve Learning, and Understand More


You might think that becoming a better reader is a big secret, but it’s totally not. Here are 12 things you can do right now to read better and improve what you remember and understand:

1. Look for connections: Ask yourself what you already know about the topic that you have to read. Draw a mind map or make a list of your answer.connect

2. Predict the content: Try and make an intelligent guess about what you have to read. Use anything you can to help make your prediction.

predict

3. Identify the main ideas: If you can, get a pen and underline or highlight what you think are the main ideas. Then rank these for importance.

idea

4. Work out the structure: Think about what kind of thing you are reading? Is it a letter? A persuasive argument? An editorial? Facts from a workbook? Cause and effect? Problem and solution?

structure

5. Look at the first sentence: The first sentence in any paragraph is called the topic sentence. If it’s well written, it will tell you what the entire paragraph is about. Just read these.

Topic Sentence

6. Use typography: Typography just means things like bold, underline, and italics. Use these as clues and try and figure out what they are there for. Extend this to headings and subheadings as well.

typog

7. Read between the lines: Try and work out what the writer is not saying. Form an opinion or make a guess.

read-between-the-lines

9. Look at the pictures. This one is pretty obvious, but use the pictures to help you think of questions (see next).

look_closely

8. Visualise: Make a picture in your mind about what you are reading. If you can, draw it.

Beauty

10. Ask questions and look for answers: ask yourself questions about everything as you read, e.g. the meanings of words, the structure, what’s coming next, how it’s relevant to you.

ask more questions

11. Get help when you stop understanding: This means talking to someone else or doing some research. You might talk to a friend, a teacher, or pose a question on an online discussion forum.

get help

12. Be aware of which of these strategies you are using when you’re using them: The best readers know they are doing these things when they are doing them.

meta

How to learn anything part 2: What you need is an operating system for learning…


sniper-in-your-face1

I started my riff on How to Learn Anything in another post which you can read here.

Basically, what I’m suggesting is that you don’t need to be smart to learn new stuff. What you need is a combination of grit plus a toolbox of tools to help you learn.

A reliable system, in other words, is all you need to learn anything. And this system is not any kind of secret knowledge. It’s in plain view and the tools are accessible to anyone.

But what you might need is someone to help you put all the pieces together. To show you what the tools are that you need in your tool box.

So the next question is… what would this system look like? Here’s the answer:

In broad terms, it’s an operating system for learning. There are specific tools to use at each stage, but as an overview your operating system for learning looks something like this:

  1. Seek to understand context and connections: Try to work out, investigate, and understand the context for what you want to learn. And look for connections within this context between chunks of content as well as outside to other areas, particularly areas that seem – on the surface – to have no relationship to what you’re trying to learn. This is ongoing. It’s not just something you do once.
  2. Work out what you don’t know: This can be difficult. After all, how do you know what you don’t know, right? However, start with the big picture, your broad goals, or  desired skills and then break it down from there. Deconstruct where you want to be – the intended outcome or state – into smaller and smaller chunks. And you have to break this down into specific kinds of learning. e.g. practical skills, vocabulary, being able to read and understand the source material.
  3. Work out where you are now: In order to move forward you need to have a sense of where you are now in relation to where you want to be. You need a way of knowing how much you know about your new learning goal as well a how competent or proficient you are. This might be easier particularly if you’re starting something new from scratch.
  4. Work out what the next steps are: What you want is a sequence of highly focused next steps to take you to your goal. You want to be able to target each of these next steps in your development with the precision and focus of a crack shot military sniper. And in these next steps you need to know what to do. Here you are going to need strategies for learning skills, reading complicated materials, dealing with new language and more.
  5. Have ways of measuring your progress: This is critical. How will you know that you’ve made progress or arrived at your goal? You need clear ways of measuring your progress that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound).
  6. Have ways of measuring your effectiveness: What we’re talking about here is you reflecting critically on what you’re doing and figuring out what has worked and what you need to do differently to keep moving forward.

Next we’ll need to know what some of the practical tools are that you can use at each stage.

Paulo Coelho