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Elizabeth Usher Memorial Lecture: Language is literacy is language – Positioning speech-language pathology in education policy, practice, paradigms and polemics

This paper is concerned with the fundamental and intrinsic links between early receptive and expressive oral language competence on...
This paper is concerned with the fundamental and intrinsic links between early receptive and expressive oral language competence on the one hand and the transition to literacy in the early school years and achievement of academic (and life) success...
This paper is concerned with the fundamental and intrinsic links between early receptive and expressive oral language competence on the one hand and the transition to literacy in the early school years and achievement of academic (and life) success on the other. Consequently, it also concerns the professional knowledge base of two key disciplines whose work is central to children's early language and literacy success: teachers and speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Oral language competence underpins the transition to literacy, which in turn underpins academic achievement. Academic achievement is significant in its own right, conferring opportunities for further education and training post-secondary school, contributing to psychological health and mitigating some of the mental health risks and adversities that can be associated with adolescence and early adulthood. The central thesis is that the linguistic basis of the transition to literacy makes early reading success core business for SLPs. Further, SLPs need a firm grasp of the political and ideological factors that have exerted historical and continuing influence on reading instruction in western nations such as Australia, the US and the UK. This will facilitate the establishment of meaningful working relationships with teaching colleagues, to achieve optimal education outcomes for all children.
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Fluency interventions for elementary students with reading difficulties: a synthesis of research from 2000–2019

Oral reading fluency (ORF) deficits are a hallmark of reading difficulties. The impact of fluency struggles extends beyond word-level...
Oral reading fluency (ORF) deficits are a hallmark of reading difficulties. The impact of fluency struggles extends beyond word-level difficulties to include deficits in reading comprehension. Sixteen empirical studies conducted in 2000-2019 that examined ORF interventions among elementary students...
Oral reading fluency (ORF) deficits are a hallmark of reading difficulties. The impact of fluency struggles extends beyond word-level difficulties to include deficits in reading comprehension. Sixteen empirical studies conducted in 2000-2019 that examined ORF interventions among elementary students identified as having reading difficulties were reviewed to identify the characteristics (e.g., instructional variables, group size, type of interventionist) of effective ORF interventions and their impact on English oral reading fluency and reading comprehension outcomes. The systematic review revealed that interventions reported centered around repeated reading procedures (86.5%). Across the 16 studies, outcomes for oral reading fluency varied widely and most focused on speed and rate aspects rather than prosody. Effect sizes for rate and accuracy measures ranged from negligible to large (i.e., 0.01 to 1.18) and three studies found large effects for prosody outcomes. Effect sizes for reading comprehension ranged between non-significant and large significant effects. Findings support the use of repeated reading of text to build up ORF of students with reading difficulties. Interventions that were found to be most effective were those that were conducted one-on-one with a trained model of fluent word reading and accuracy. Findings also point to three gaps in our understanding: (1) the efficacy of interventions other than repeated reading, (2) effects of ORF interventions on prosody outcomes, and (3) sustainability of outcomes.
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Oral Language Competence: How It Relates to Classroom Behavior

Classroom behavior is a source of anxiety, stress, and distraction for many teachers and is a key reason teachers...
Classroom behavior is a source of anxiety, stress, and distraction for many teachers and is a key reason teachers give for leaving the profession. This often raises questions regarding the extent to which teacher preparation programs and initial teaching...
Classroom behavior is a source of anxiety, stress, and distraction for many teachers and is a key reason teachers give for leaving the profession. This often raises questions regarding the extent to which teacher preparation programs and initial teaching placements prepare pre-service teachers for working with students who display challenging behavior, regardless of its basis. In fact, teachers have a broad range of widely applicable strategies they may use in the classroom, such as moving toward a misbehaving student or positively reinforcing appropriate behaviors. Strategies such as these are an essential part of a teacher's toolkit, but some students require more specific, tiered interventions. One of the more dangerous myths about teaching is that if teachers plan lessons that are engaging enough, students will behave well. This leads to teachers blaming themselves for student misbehavior and ignores all the other influences that affect a child, such as conflict at home, poor nutrition, and previous school experiences. It also neglects the fact that some children have a specific developmental disorder that affects their processing of information, and hence their learning and behavior. Some developmental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are widely known, albeit possibly overdiagnosed and subject to ongoing debate regarding optimal management strategies. Less widely known and understood, however, is the impact of developmental language disorder (DLD) on behavior and learning. Based on the statistics, the odds are good that this is an issue that at least a few students are dealing with. The good news is that knowledge of difficulties associated with DLD may help teachers not only better deal with challenging behaviors but also improve learning outcomes for students with language disorders, as well as those outside the clinical range who nevertheless display difficulties processing and using oral language. Before considering DLD more closely, the author defines language skills and explains why they are relevant to school success. The following steps are suggested for implementation in the classroom: (1) Consider establishing a number of routines for the start of class; (2) Keep in mind the working memory constraints that apply to students and provide only a small amount of new information at any given time; and (3) Seek the advice of professionals, such as speech-language pathologists, who can offer advice on specific student needs. Although the steps provided will not resolve every problem that arises, they can help teachers develop a more preventive approach working with DLD students.
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SOLAR: The Science of Language and Reading

Reading ability is profoundly important, for individuals and for the societies of which they are a part. Research indicates...
Reading ability is profoundly important, for individuals and for the societies of which they are a part. Research indicates that we should be successfully teaching 95% of children to read, yet, in reality, high rates of reading failure are...
Reading ability is profoundly important, for individuals and for the societies of which they are a part. Research indicates that we should be successfully teaching 95% of children to read, yet, in reality, high rates of reading failure are common in western, industrialized nations. In large part, this reflects a failure to translate into practice knowledge derived from the scientific study of reading and reading instruction and, indeed, to the rejection in some circles of the notion that there is a science of reading, in the same way that there is a science of memory, learning, and cognition. In this article, I suggest the Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) framework as a way of positioning oral language as a central driver of reading acquisition. The SOLAR framework is illustrated via the Language House schema, which considers the social-emotional contexts for language acquisition and reading instruction, alongside the ongoing development of prosocial interpersonal skills and mastery of sufficient language and reading skills by early adulthood to be able to function as part of the social and economic mainstream. I argue that speech-language therapy has much to offer to the promotion of evidence-based early reading and writing instruction and support, given the linguistic nature of reading and the high comorbidity between language and reading difficulties and social-emotional disturbances in childhood and adolescence.
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Teaching for growth: effective teaching of literacy and numeracy

Teaching for Growth explored the relationship between children’s growth in literacy and numeracy and teachers’ classroom teaching practices. It...
Teaching for Growth explored the relationship between children’s growth in literacy and numeracy and teachers’ classroom teaching practices. It comprised two related studies: a study of teachers’ practices and children’s growth in literacy in Pre-primary and Year 1; and...
Teaching for Growth explored the relationship between children’s growth in literacy and numeracy and teachers’ classroom teaching practices. It comprised two related studies: a study of teachers’ practices and children’s growth in literacy in Pre-primary and Year 1; and a study of teachers’ practices and children’s growth in numeracy in Year 8.
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Early years literacy and numeracy

In this School Improvement podcast from Teacher magazine, Rebecca Vukovic interviews the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales (AISNSW) Head...
In this School Improvement podcast from Teacher magazine, Rebecca Vukovic interviews the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales (AISNSW) Head of Student Services, Lisa Ridings, about a targeted early years program.
In this School Improvement podcast from Teacher magazine, Rebecca Vukovic interviews the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales (AISNSW) Head of Student Services, Lisa Ridings, about a targeted early years program.
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Effective Reading Instruction in the Early Years of School

Reading is a foundational, yet complex cognitive skill upon which other skills are built. Early success in reading is a powerful...
Reading is a foundational, yet complex cognitive skill upon which other skills are built. Early success in reading is a powerful predictor of later achievement in a range of other academic areas. Individuals without literacy skills are at risk of being unable to...
Reading is a foundational, yet complex cognitive skill upon which other skills are built. Early success in reading is a powerful predictor of later achievement in a range of other academic areas. Individuals without literacy skills are at risk of being unable to participate in the workforce or engage fully in civic and social life. Since 2000, there have been major reviews of the teaching of reading in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. These reviews, along with other research, have consistently identified five key components of effective reading programs: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The CESE literature review ‘Effective reading instruction in the early years of school’ summarises this research and concludes that, to be most successful, the five key components must be taught explicitly, sequentially and systematically. The evidence identifies five key components of effective reading programs: Phonemic awarenessThe ability to hear the sounds in spoken words and understand that words are made up of sequences of sounds. PhonicsPhonics instruction connects phonemes with written letters so that the reader can transfer knowledge of sounds to the printed word. Synthetic phonics’ is the approach with the most robust evidence base. FluencyThe ability to read quickly and naturally with accuracy and expression. Fluency contains the skill of automaticity which allows a reader to recognise words quickly. VocabularyWhen children ‘sound out’ a word, their brain connects the pronunciation of a sequence of sounds to a word in their vocabulary to find a logical match. If a match is not created because the word they are reading is not in their vocabulary, comprehension is interrupted. ComprehensionThe understanding and interpretation of what is read. Comprehension requires having a sufficient vocabulary.
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Why children with dyslexia struggle with writing and how to help them

Children with dyslexia often have related writing difficulties. In the simple view of writing model, high-quality writing depends on...
Children with dyslexia often have related writing difficulties. In the simple view of writing model, high-quality writing depends on good transcription skills, working memory, and executive function-all of which can be difficult for children with dyslexia and result in...
Children with dyslexia often have related writing difficulties. In the simple view of writing model, high-quality writing depends on good transcription skills, working memory, and executive function-all of which can be difficult for children with dyslexia and result in poor spelling and low overall writing quality. In this article, we describe the challenges of children with dyslexia in terms of the simple view of writing and instructional strategies to increase spelling and overall writing quality in children with dyslexia. Method: For spelling strategies, we conducted systematic searches across 2 databases for studies examining the effectiveness of spelling interventions for students with dyslexia as well as including studies from 2 meta-analyses. To locate other instructional practices to increase writing quality (e.g., handwriting and executive function), we examined recent meta-analyses of writing and supplemented that by conducting forward searches. Results: Through the search, we found evidence of effective remedial and compensatory intervention strategies in spelling, transcription, executive function, and working memory. Some strategies included spelling using sound-spellings and morphemes and overall quality using text structure, sentence combining, and self-regulated strategy development. Conclusions: Many students with dyslexia experience writing difficulty in multiple areas. However, their writing (and even reading) skills can improve with the instructional strategies identified in this article. We describe instructional procedures and provide links to resources throughout the article.
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Evidence-Based Practices for Vocabulary Instruction

The Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) professional development (PD) model was developed through funding from the...
The Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) professional development (PD) model was developed through funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. As part of this research project, a cadre of upper-elementary school teachers...
The Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) professional development (PD) model was developed through funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. As part of this research project, a cadre of upper-elementary school teachers worked closely with researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University to design evidence-based practices for social studies instruction in grades 4 and 5. The STRIVE PD model featuring these practices was refined through researcher-practitioner collaboration, the latest developments in reading research, and the results of pilot studies. Several efficacy trials have reported positive outcomes in teacher quality and student vocabulary and comprehension development as a result of participation in STRIVE PD. This research brief provides in-depth descriptions of the STRIVE evidence-based vocabulary practices.
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A Fresh Look at Phonics

This article provides useful information for leaders on what to look for in effective phonics instruction and lists the...
This article provides useful information for leaders on what to look for in effective phonics instruction and lists the 10 common breakdowns to effectiveness.
This article provides useful information for leaders on what to look for in effective phonics instruction and lists the 10 common breakdowns to effectiveness.
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