Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scaffolded Silent Reading?

A comment on Reutzel, Jones, Fawson and Smith (2008): Scaffolded Silent Reading is just as good as Guided Repeated Oral Reading: OR just as bad.
Stephen Krashen

Reutzel et. al. is a comparison between a method labeled Scaffolded Silent Reading (ScSR) and Guided Repeated Oral Reading (GROR) done over one year using third graders.

In ScSR, children are required to set specific goals as to how much and what they will read, and are required to read in a variety of genres. In brief conferences with teachers, students are questioned about what they read, and choose a "book response project" to do related to the book they have just read. Students are also taught "book selection strategies" to avoid their selecting "inappropriate difficult books for reading practice" (p. 196).

In GROR, the students hear a passage read aloud, then reread it several times quietly and then aloud. Students are usually given feedback on their reading from the teacher. Reutzel et. al. do not provide details about how GROR was done in this study.

There were no significant differences between the groups of measures of accuracy in reading aloud, rate of reading aloud, "expression," and oral retelling of passages children read aloud. (Actual means and statistics are not presented, only graphs and percentages.) The authors conclude that this shows that ScSR is a "viable, complementary, and motivating approach that is comparable to … GROR" (p. 205).

In other words, ScSR is just as good as GROR. It could also be said that it is just as bad. No comparison group was used that did neither treatment. Also, the results do not indicate how ScSR compares to sustained silent reading (SSR), which is very different, as Reutzel et. al. note. In contrast to ScSR, SSR includes low or no accountability, allows free choice, and does not require follow-up projects. Also, SSR does not constrain students to read certain genres, but encourages "narrow reading" (Krashen, 2004).

Krashen, S. 2004. The case for narrow reading. Language Magazine 3(5): 16-20.
Reutzel, R., Jones, C., Fawson, P., and Smith, J. 2008. Scaffolded silent reading: A complement to guided repeated oral reading that works! The Reading Teacher 62 (3): 194-207.

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