RISE Arkansas

Welcome to the R.I.S.E. Arkansas Science of Reading Resources

Goal 1 - Sharpen the focus and strengthen instruction.

Enhance and increase professional learning to provide educators with in-depth information related to the science of reading, evidence-based instructional strategies, and the skills to make data-based decisions for students.

Goal 2 - Create community collaboration

Establish post-secondary programs alongside business and community partnerships that are critical to changing the landscape of literacy.

Goal 3 - Build a culture of reading.

Encourage school districts and community groups to plan local reading campaigns to promote the culture of reading within the state and provide access to books in the home.

Reading Between the Lines

The Science of Reading is Different!

Teachers must be very explicit in teaching phonics. We know that for phonics instruction to be successful, it must have scope and sequence that moves from easier to more difficult. From letter/ sound correspondences to blends, digraphs, syllable types and division rules all the way through morphology, teachers must understand the intricacies in order to help a student make sense of the language. Phonics has traditionally been taught in context of a specific book or need; the focus now is to provide more explicit phonics instruction. Research on successful reading instruction supports practicing what has already been learned. In contrast, leveled texts are largely predictable, filled with high frequency words, and contain a high level of picture support. When trying to read an unknown word, students were taught to look at the first letter and the picture and guess the word. These strategies did not provide students with the skills to decode unfamiliar words. The shift to using decodable texts – which have a large percentage of words that are decodable based on what has already been taught – will lead students to become automatic at decoding. The goal is to create readers who look at the word and try to sound it out before using the picture to check for visual clues. READ BETWEEN THE LINES 4 THE SCIENCE OF READING IS DIFFERENT Students in Arkansas will benefit as evidence based practices are incorporated into classroom instruction. 5 The four-part processor is one theoretical model used to explain how the brain learns to read. Use of this model started with the context processor and focused on context to make sense of the word. After extensive research using functional MRIs, neuroscientists have proven that the model has been taught in reverse order for decades. The phonological processor fires first, followed quickly by the orthographic processor. Then comes the meaning processor and finally the context processor. This is an example of existing research being refined and better understood through modern discovery. In the past, high-frequency words were considered to have no regular spelling pattern; however, this is often not the case. Students were taught to memorize high-frequency words using flash cards rather than decoding the parts. Using the research of permanent word storage and orthographic mapping introduced by Linea Ehri and brought back to the forefront by David Kilpatrick, we can teach students to build their sight word vocabulary much more quickly using decoding techniques. Readers analyze each word with a focus on the parts that are decodable first and then the parts that are irregular. We have very specific assessments for phonemic awareness and decoding which can help pinpoint areas of weakness in students. It is much more efficient to group students based on common needs and then work to build those skills in small group instruction than to put students into a common level of text. Teachers have difficulty using text level as a way to group students because of the lack of continuity in texts which are not based on a specific algorithm and differ between publishers.

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is in the process of developing rules for the various components of reading legislation. These rules will outline the process for ensuring teachers are able to demonstrate proficiency or awareness in scientific reading instruction as applicable to their teaching position. The Reading Legislation Guidance Document has been created to help educators understand requirements and timelines. This document provides clarification on pertinent literacy legislation that districts are required to implement. Educators are encouraged to read the laws in their entirety.

The DESE is in the process of developing rules to support public school districts and open-enrollment public charter schools that are required to include a literacy plan in the annual school improvement plan. This Literacy Support Plan Guidance Document has been created to serve as a resource to schools in meeting this requirement.

The Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E. Arkansas) is committed to transforming literacy education. Please read "A New Chapter for Arkansas Students-2018 Report" to learn how Arkansas is writing a new chapter focusing on a new way of thinking, a new focus of instruction, a new future for our state, and rising achievement.

A New Chapter for Arkansas Students 2018 Report

Sandy Shepard, Lead Regional R.I.S.E. Specialist

Division of Elementary and Secondary Education

Arkansas Department of Education

Four Capitol Mall, Room 202-B

Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

Phone: 501-682-9961

Email: Sandy.Shepard@ade.arkansas.gov