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SD Department of Education November 2014  
 


 

TIE learning specialist Jennifer Nehl discusses instructional coaching in reading
“5 in 45” key to instructional
coaching in reading


The South Dakota Department of Education is offering targeted professional development and instructional coaching in foundational math and reading skills for 21 districts this school year. This month, we are focusing on the reading program. Reading support is offered to teachers of grades K-3.

This reading program focuses on five core reading skills. For those districts not involved in the instructional coaching program, the PD Menu of Options offers a Foundational Reading Skill training which covers these same five core skill areas:
• Phonemic awareness
• Phonics
• Fluency
• Vocabulary
• Comprehension

Throughout the school year, instructional coaches provide teachers five days of PD in a group setting. Each day of PD focuses on a different core skill. Coaches then observe teachers in the classroom and work with them one-on-one to reinforce the PD. Coaches are learning specialists from ESAs. The program is based on the Teaching Reading Sourcebook, by Bill Honig, Linda Diamond and Linda Gutlohn. This text includes a wide variety of activities teachers can use in their classrooms, though they are also welcome to use existing classroom resources and implement the core skills within them.

The PD and instructional coaching in reading are based on two goals:

1) Teachers deliver 45 minutes of core instruction to all students, with no student being pulled out during those 45 minutes of Tier 1 instruction.

Within those 45 minutes, one or more of the five core skills should be addressed. While students cannot be pulled out, they do not all need to be doing the same activities. Students may be engaged in structured partner reading, choral reading, a response journal, or other activities reinforcing that core skill initially introduced.

Keeping all students together for this 45-minute period is intended to help students learn from each other. For instance, a student who is very fluent may struggle with comprehension, while a less fluent student may excel in comprehension. Each of these students can benefit from working together.

It is important to note that the teacher may still work specifically with groupings of high, middle and low achieving students at other times throughout the day. Students may also still be pulled out of the classroom at other times. The key is that all students receive 45 minutes of core instruction together.

2) Classroom teachers are the ones administering DIBELS or aimsweb assessments to their students. This is intended to help teachers better understand individual student needs. By digging into this data themselves, teachers should have a clearer idea of where each of their students is struggling, achieving at grade level or excelling. This should help teachers more effectively differentiate instruction and lead to discussions for Tier 2 and 3 strategic planning.

At the beginning of the instructional coaching process this fall, coaches assisted teachers with data digs of DIBELS or aimsweb assessment results. Coaches and teachers will perform two more data digs—one in the winter and one in the spring—to gauge student progress.
 
     
 

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