154: The Core Purposes of Reading





Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 6.41.02 AM


Reading Skills in the Common Core Standards:
  1. Key Ideas and Details
    • Recall and Infer
      • citing textual evidence to support analysis of texts
      • attending to precise details of explanations, descriptions
      • draw inferences from text
    • Summarize
      • identify central ideas and conclusions in texts
      • trace explanations of complex processes
      • summarize how ideas (especially central) develop over a text
    • Analyze
      • analyze series of events, sequences of steps, series of arguments, etc.
      • analyze cause and effect
      • attending to special cases, exceptions, defined in texts
      • sequencing and relating arguments in a text
  2. Craft and Structure
    • Acquire Academic Vocabulary
      • determine meanings of vocabulary (key & related words and phrases), symbols,
      • determining meanings of words in context, including their explicit and suggested meanings
      • analyze cumulative effects of word and phrase choices
    • Analyze Text Structure
      • analyze how structure is used to emphasize key points
      • analyze relationships among concepts
      • analyze how idea and claims are developed
    • Purpose and Point of View
      • compare/contrasts points of view of different authors
      • analyzing author’s purpose for selecting a specific research question
      • analyze how author uses rhetoric to promote a point of view
  3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    • Examine Text from Multiple Perspectives
      • integrate quantitative or technical analysis with qualitative analysis
      • translate technical texts into multiple representations such as equations, graphs, charts, etc
      • analyze different genres and mediums, noticing what details some mediums include and leave out
    • Evaluate Reasoning and Evidence
      • evaluate to what extent evidence supports author’s claims
      • identify false claims, false evidence, and specious lines of argument
    • Compare and Contrast Texts
      • compare various treatments of topics in primary and secondary sources
      • compare and contrast findings from different research groups
      • analyze seminal texts and how they address key themes and concepts
  4. Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
    • Read Deeply and Widely
      • reading content specific texts that span grade appropriate lexile levels
Characteristics of More Successful Content-Area Reading Activities
    • textbooks are not the sole sources of info
    • subject matter includes relevant issues that affect the world and students’ lives
    • read a variety of sources in order to make sense of what’s true and not
    • read about settled and unsettled (debatable) ideas
    • sample wide variety of genres – magazines, blogs, nonfiction books, other book genres, etc
    • bias towards current information
    • reading passages vary in length – short articles to book length
    • many texts take interdisciplinary approach
    • not just to pass a test; to gather information, make meaning and apply knowledge of ideas to important issues
    • teachers select some readings and students choose others
    • not every student reads the same texts; strategies like jigsawing used to share information
    • teachers scaffold thinking strategies that help students read more effectively
    • learning activities deepen engagement with texts
    • reading is seen as a social (not individual) activity
    • instead of focusing on “right answers”, leave room for debate
    • texts are connected by authentic themes; not isolated pieces of reading
    • reading is linked to real world tasks such as research, documentation, correspondence and advocacy
    • assessment to reading relied more on performance-based strategies, products and exhibitions


Teaching varied reading processes using engaging texts can help students develop better understandings of and more engagement with their courses.  There is an equity gap in students’ reading levels that is correlated to their socioeconomic status.  Using effective content-area reading strategies can help teachers support students in ways that narrow achievement gaps.


Preparation Steps
  • Analyze past reading text selections and reading-specific learning activities.  How do they stack up to the characteristics of effective content-area reading lessons?
  • Research texts and strategies to fill in the gaps in your library and scaffolding activities.  See above and Reading articles for ideas.
  • Analyze skills needed to learn targeted standards and develop products in upcoming projects.  Identify which of the reading skills listed above are critical to successfully learning targets standards and developing products.
  • Write learning targets that relate to the reading skills students need to succeed in a project.
  • Develop scaffolding activities that relate to reading learning targets
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding activities that relate to academic and reading learning targets
  • Use informal formative assessments to see if reading scaffolding is helping students to better learn
  • Have students reflect on how reading strategies are impacting their learning
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Use series of student reflections and formative assessments to determine what reading strategies students are finding the most helpful.  Incorporate most effective strategies into routines.

33: Clustering Student Needs For More Efficient Planning


Chapter 6 in Tomlinson, Carol A., and Jay McTighe.  Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids.  Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006. Print.



Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.59.20 PM


What does clustering learner needs mean?
  • use patterns to identify and plan for common student needs
Common Clustered Needs & Remediations:
  • Need for reading supports:
    • Optional reading partners on new texts
    • Make highlighted and marked up texts available
    • Teacher reads aloud complex parts of text
    • Provide audio recordings of texts
  • Need for vocabulary building:
    • Provide vocabulary lists with clear explanations
    • Pinpoint and focus on key vocabulary
    • Students hunt for vocabulary in textbooks, editorials, cartoons, TV, magazines, etc
    • Word walls
    • Vocabulary posters with words and related visuals
  • Difficulty Staying on Task:
    • Think pair share groups
    • Student choice on learning tasks and learning modes
    • Multiple modes of teacher presentation
    • Shift activities during a class period
    • Graphic organizers designed to model the flow of ideas
  • Strengths in Specific Areas of Studies:
    • Jigsaw groups
    • Interest groups, interest centers
    • Use learning contracts and learning centers to personalize learning
  • Need for targeted instruction and practices:
    • Routinely meet with students in small groups
    • Assign homework targeted to key skills students need
  • Varied Levels of Readiness
    • Tiering
    • Compacting
    • Think-alouds
    • Varied homework
    • Text digests
    • Writing frames
    • Small group instruction
    • Learning contracts
    • Learning menus
    • Materials with varied lexile levels
    • Word walls
    • Guided peer critiques
  • Varied Interests
    • Interest centers and groups
    • Expert groups
    • Web quests and inquiries
    • Group investigation
    • Independent studies
    • Personalized criteria for success
    • Design-a-day (personalized daily agendas)
  • Varied Learning Profiles
    • Visual organizers
    • Varied work options
    • Varied entry points
    • Intelligence preference tasks – see Differentiated curriculum charts.
    • Opportunities for movement
    • Varying modes of teacher presentation
  • Multiple Categories 



Clustering needs is more efficient than fulfilling IEP’s for every student.  More students benefit from intended remediations than initially intended.  It’s easier to plan units with built in remediations that address common needs than to identify these during the unit and make them a la carte.

Preparation Steps
  • Survey students interests and learning profiles
  • Pre-assess students to see who will need extra (less) support and what topics need extra resources
  • Determine what are the common clustered needs and variations – the top 3 that will serve most students
  • Gather and create resources (see above) that match common needs and common sources of variation
  • Assign students to groups that match activity types – it’s possible to use more than one grouping over the course of a project – learning groups could be different from product groups
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement learning strategies that align to common clustered needs and sources of variation
  • Use formative assessments with all students to give feedback on their progress so they can improve and to improve activities
  • Use student reflections to improve activities
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Design and implement systems that teach students how to set, track and reach academic goals
  • Continually survey students to check if the identified clusters of needs are the correct ones