Enfield Public Schools

SRBI Standard Protocols in Language Arts

Heidi Borski

Pat Clair

Vicki Hathaway

Linda Paradise

Elizabeth Patria

January 2010

Enfield students learn in classroom environments that provide meaningful opportunities for reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing. In this learning community, students are encouraged to explore ideas which enable them to move toward independence and become responsible for their own learning. This classroom environment respects the unique contributions of each individual and encourages a partnership between teacher, student and parent in the learning process. The knowledge and expertise of the classroom teacher is the primary variable in determining the quality of educational practices enacted in classrooms. Enfield’s Core Language Arts Curriculum incorporates the five critical areas of reading as identified by the National Reading Panel (2000): Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension. Richard Allington (2001) identifies five additional pillars of scientific reading instruction based on the available evidence of what really matters for learning to read. The additional pillars are:

  1. Access to interesting texts and choice: Motivating students to read; Evidence for classroom practices that increase motivation and achievement. (Guthrie and Humenick, 2004)
  2. Matching students with appropriate texts: Making it different makes the difference. (O’Connor and Bell, 2002)
  3. Writing and reading have reciprocal positive effects (Shanahan, Barr, Kamil, Mosenthal and Pearson, 1991)
  4. Classroom organization: Small group instruction is powerful. (Taylor, Pearson, 2000)
  5. Availability of expert tutoring (D’Agostino and Murphy, 2004)

All Enfield’s classrooms should include a variety of practices including:


Build routines for student learning. Time and attention is dedicated to establishing and maintaining student routines, behavioral expectations, student responsibility for own learning and reinforcement and extension of learning.


Provide uninterrupted time for literacy — limit intercom announcements, phone calls, etc.


Utilize physical arrangements that promote reading.


Display and use word walls and teacher and student made strategy posters. Student work is displayed including published pieces, surveys, responses to texts and anchor charts.


Supply many leveled books and a variety of genres. Students need to read material at their independent level 85% of the time.


Describe the strategy and its purpose, model its use within the context of a lesson, provide guided practice and encourage self-monitoring, evaluation, and implementation across various subjects and genres.


Provide a set of cues to all students that are tailored to a student’s initial level of competence.


Utilize whole class, small group explicit instruction (guided reading as well as skill focused lessons), cooperative learning, and independent work.


Provide the daily opportunity to model, teach, and reinforce reading strategies in all five major reading areas: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.


Use effective questioning techniques by both teacher and student.


Encourage student engagement by having them ask questions, use strategies and prior knowledge and making connections.


Use a set of assessment procedures to determine students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction.


Use technology as a tool for learning.

Research-based Instructional Strategies Across the Tiers

What is a strategy?

Strategies are the deliberate use of methods to make sense of print. Strategies should be taught directly and practiced frequently in order to become automatic. Different types of strategies are employed within instructional settings throughout the school day. Teachers use instructional strategies to guide student learning. Effective learners activate cognitive strategies to perform academic tasks. Students and teachers utilize specific steps, known as learning strategies, to accomplish short and long-term goals and objectives.

What is an activity or a skill?

Skills are the automatic use of those same methods. Classroom activities, then, should be done for two reasons: 1) directly teach new strategies or 2) practice strategies so they become internalized skills. Activities that are not used as tools for strategies or skills are simply “things to do” and use up valuable teaching time. Effective readers have a bank of skills that they employ effortlessly to make meaning of print

Why is strategy instruction important?

The guidelines of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 demand that today’s teachers reach all students. The exercise of strategic teaching encourages metacognition – the understanding and monitoring of one’s own learning. When struggling readers are taught strategies coupled with reassurance, guidance, and practice, they improve in their ability to process information.

When should strategies be taught?

Strategy instruction is not another subject for teachers to squeeze into an already overtaxed schedule. Strategy instruction is a distinct part of every subject. It runs throughout the school day and the school year. When strategy instruction becomes an integral part of quality instruction, how teachers teach takes precedence over what teachers teach.

How should strategies be taught?

Strategies should be taught directly. If teachers do not teach specific strategies for learning, students will create their own, which are often not effective or reliable. The steps in teaching a strategy are:

1. Describe a direct explanation of the strategy and its purpose.

2. Provide Direct Systematic and Explicit Instruction. There needs to be a carefully planned and purposeful sequence for instruction. In explicit instruction, teachers tell readers why and when they should use strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them. Direct Systematic and Explicit Instruction includes the following:

*The teacher providing a direct explanation

*The teacher modeling

*The teacher providing guided practice and application

3. Model the strategy within the context of a lesson. Modeling includes a demonstration by the teacher that clearly defines the expectations of the skill being taught. For example, a teacher could demonstrate proper oral reading expression (a fluency skill). The teacher also can use modeling to demonstrate a sequencing strategy that enhances comprehension.

4. Use Interactive Read Alouds and Think Alouds. These provide the teacher an opportunity to model, teach and reinforce reading strategies in all five major areas of reading (phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension).

5. Scaffold Instruction. Provide a set of cues to students during instruction that are tailored to student’s initial level of competence and that are gradually withdrawn as students acquire increasing skill.

6. Provide guided practice of the strategy.

7. Provide repeated opportunities for the student to practice.

Repetition involves the following:

· Rereading for understanding using multiple materials such as authentic literature/anthology selections, leveled books, decodable text, poetry, word lists etc.

· Rereading for fluency using choral reading, echo reading, shared/paired reading, story tapes, reader’s theatre

· Rapid recognition of sight words

· Rapid decoding

8. Encourage self-monitoring, evaluation, and implementation across

various subjects and genre (Beckman, 2002).

Who benefits from direct strategy instruction?

Implementation of strategies results in engagement on the part of the learner. Engaged, rather than passive, readers are motivated to attend to instruction and text (Guthrie & Alao, 1997). As engagement, or involvement, increases, so does intrinsic motivation and understanding (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992). Therefore, all readers benefit from strategy instruction, but especially struggling readers who don’t know how to help themselves when decoding or comprehension breaks down for them. Motivated students access their prior knowledge in multiple areas to monitor their comprehension. As students develop good habits in employing strategies, the strategic thinking goes “underground” and becomes an automatic skill. When strategies are taught directly, practiced with guidance, and used consistently before, during, and after reading text, even struggling readers can be taught to be skillful readers. (Allen, 2000)

The strategies supported in research literature can be used by the teacher, parent, or student to improve overall achievement in all tiers. The strategies should be used consistently in all five major areas in reading- phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Scaffolding involves:

*Modeling and clearly defining the expectations of the activity being performed

*Simplifying the task to make it more manageable and achievable for a child

*Providing some direction in order to help the child focus on achieving the goal

*Indicating differences between the child’s work and the standard of desired solution

*Reducing frustration and risk in order to foster independence

*Modeling and clearly defining the expectations of the activity being performed

SRBI Standard Protocols

Standard protocols involve the delivery of evidence-based, multi-component programs with strong research bases focused on specific skill areas. The primary advantage of SRBI-Standard Protocol is that the use of a standardized approach to intervention assures opportunity for quality control. (Fuchs, Mock, Morgan, & Young, 2003).

Standard Protocols:

· Are designed to be structured and explicit in defining the steps needed for implementation and are able to be delivered to small groups of children.

· Have well-defined steps for implementation.

· Have a high probability of producing improved outcomes for students if followed as prescribed.

Students are grouped based on the area of concern and matched to a protocol. These protocols are not limited in their usefulness to a particular tier, content, grade level, or student demographic. All students benefit from high-quality teaching. The strategies described here are very effective when implemented under the right conditions to support reading, writing, listening, speaking and viewing.

Enfield Public Schools Reading Department 2010