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Scripted Reading Instruction
Definition:
Scripted reading instruction is reading instruction where the commercial reading program, not the classroom teacher, determines what the teacher says during instruction and/or the particular lessons and the pace at which the lessons are taught (e.g., so many lessons taught in so many days). The teacher's role is to execute the plan of the commercial program without making adjustments for the instructional needs of the children in the classroom.
Seminal research:
  • The Cooperative Research Program in First-Grade Reading Instruction, a large government-funded study commonly referred to as the "First Grade Studies", found that teacher excellence, not method, was the single biggest factor in student achievement in reading, accounting for 33% of the variance in children's reading achievement. (Bond and Dykstra, 1967, p. 43; Feldmann, p. 575).

      Bond, G.L., & Dykstra, R. (1967). The cooperative research program on first-grade reading instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, II, 4, 5-142. Republished in 1997 in Reading Research Quarterly, 32, 348-427.
      Feldmann, S.C. (1966). Study in depth of first-grade reading. Elementary English, XLIII, 6, 573-576.

Replication research:
  • Moustafa and Land found scripted reading instruction is less effective than reading instruction where teachers are allowed to exercise their professional judgment and match instruction to instructional needs. They compared the average SAT 9 reading scores of second through fifth grade English-only children in schools using a scripted commercial reading instruction program (where teachers are expected to teach every lesson in the program whether it was appropriate for the children or not and to do so at a prescribed pace) with the SAT 9 reading scores of schools using any of three non-scripted commercial programs.

    They found the SAT 9 reading scores in schools using the scripted reading program were significantly more likely to be in the bottom quartile than the SAT 9 reading scores of the schools using the non-scripted reading programs (p<.01).

      Moustafa, M. and Land, R. (2002). The reading achievement of economically-disadvantaged children in urban schools using Open Court vs. comparably disadvantaged children in urban schools using non-scripted reading programs. American Educational Research Association (AERA) Urban Learning, Teaching and Research 2002 Yearbook, 44-53. Available at http://curriculum.calstatela.edu/margaret.moustafa

 
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