Instruction to Support Orthographic Mapping

Instruction to Support Orthographic Mapping

First Author: Katharine Miles -- Brooklyn College
Keywords: Orthographic learning, Grapheme-phoneme correspondences, Word reading, Instruction
Abstract / Summary: 

This symposium examines instructional approaches that support orthographic mapping skills at the individual, small group, classroom, school, and curriculum level. Study one demonstrates the effect of a first-grade intervention (one-on-one and small group) that emphasizes multi-sensory phonics. Study two shows that students with reading difficulties learned to read polysyllabic words better when given more individual practice rather than learning complex decoding rules. Study three investigates the effect of a classroom-wide phoneme-manipulation training on remembering words for students with severe word reading difficulties. Study four shows that implementing a school level phonics curriculum grounded in Ehri’s Phase Theory improves overall reading scores in K-2nd students. Study five examines the relationship between words’ orthographic complexity and type of literacy curriculum provided (phonics-based or not) with rates of pronunciation errors in K-3rd students. The symposium is important because it highlights various instructional approaches/considerations for supporting orthographic mapping, especially with struggling readers.

Symposium Papers: 

Supporting struggling readers' orthographic mapping skills through a small group version of Reading Rescue.

First Author/Chair:Katharine Miles -- Brooklyn College, CUNY
Additional authors/chairs: 
Karen McFadden; Danielle Colenbrander

Purpose
Reading Rescue is a 30-minute one-on-one reading intervention that emphasizes orthographic mapping through multi-sensory phonics instruction to support decoding and spelling. The effectiveness of the program has been demonstrated (Muller, 2004; Ehri et al., 2007; Miles et al. 2017), and more recently, requests have been made to adjust the program to reach more students through a small group protocol. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether students in a small group version (3 students) of the Reading Rescue protocol perform equally as well on early literacy measures as students in the one-on-one version.

Method
Ten high needs public schools in a large urban northeastern city participated in the study. Across the schools, 146 first grade struggling readers were randomly assigned to three conditions: one-to one (N = 39), small group (N = 51), control (N = 56). DIBELS measures (LNF, PSF, NWF, ORF, Composite) served as outcome measures.

Results
Results showed that the treatment conditions (one-to-one and small group) significantly outperformed students in the control group on all measures. Moreover, there was no substantive difference between the small group and one-to-one group, providing evidence to expand the reach of the program. Another round of the study is underway to replicate findings.

Conclusions
Reading Rescue continues to be a highly effective intervention that improves struggling readers’ orthographic mapping skills. Results regarding the small group protocol fall in-line with some findings from the NRP (2000). Importance of instructor proficiency and experience in order to execute the small group effectively will be addressed.

Effects of rules, practice, and contextual diversity on orthographic learning in elementary-age children.

First Author/Chair:Devin Kearns -- University of Connecticut
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jay Rueckl; Sandra Flores-Gonzales; Manqian Zhao

PURPOSE: Teachers provide different kinds of instruction to help students acquire orthographic representations of unfamiliar polysyllabic words—especially for students with dyslexia. “Rule” instruction involves teaching principles involving consonant-vowel patterns and vowel pronunciation (Kearns, in press). “Practice” instruction involves many opportunities to pronounce syllables (e.g., <LAD> in “ladder” or <BAT> in “battle”). The instructional effect might depend on contextual diversity (Apfelbaum et al., 2013) of the words. For example, is the <A> practiced with <D> (“ladder”-“caddy”) or also with <M> (e.g., “hammer”)? Which combination of factors would produce the greatest orthographic learning?

METHOD: Children in 3rd and 4th Grade (N = 54) with reading difficulty (between the 10th and 30th percentile on word recognition) were randomly assigned to participate in one of four conditions (crossed factors of Rule/Practice Instruction and Limited/Diverse Context”). Children were assigned to learn 40 words with diverse contexts or 40 with limited context. Over six 20-minute lessons, “Rule” children learned and applied the rule (half children in diverse group); “Practice” children practiced reading words parts from target words (half in diverse). Students read word lists using Presentation software; pretest-posttest accuracies and RTs were recorded.

RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary analysis indicates that being in the Practice condition resulted in faster response times but no differences in accuracy compared with the Rule condition but no effect of context. We hypothesize that exposure facilitates orthographic learning more than learning a targeted rule—particularly in terms of achieving fluency. These data raise questions about the educational benefits of learning complex decoding rules.

Does training phonemic proficiency enhance orthographic learning in older struggling readers?

First Author/Chair:David Kilpatrick -- State University of New York College at Cortland

Purpose
There is little or no evidence that word-reading intervention studies proceed from an understanding of how words are encoded into long-term memory (LTM) as articulated in the orthographic learning theories of David Share (self-teaching hypothesis) and Linnea Ehri (orthographic mapping). The present study examines whether applying insights from these theories enhances a successful phonic intervention.

Methods
This study is being conducted in the Los Angeles Unified School District with 214 2nd through 8th graders with normal intelligence and severe word reading difficulties (mean normative scores = 2nd percentile). The control group (n = 65) was provided with a phonics instruction program previously shown in this district to produce good results while the experimental group (n = 149) received the same phonics instruction plus systematic oral-only phonemic manipulation training. The rationale is that many severely dyslexic students receiving phonics intervention in this district became skilled at phonically decoding new words, but were not efficient at remembering words (i.e., not building the orthographic lexicon).

Results
The results will be available prior to SSSR 2020. A 2 ½ month pilot study last spring looked promising.

Conclusions
Ehri’s theory says that to remember words, spoken pronunciations are analyzed into their constituent phonemes, which are mapped onto written letter sequences, anchoring those letter sequences into LTM. Share’s theory indicates that orthographic learning normally occurs while reading connected text. Once new words are phonically decoded, the reader resumes a focus on comprehension, not word study. Thus, to do what Ehri’s theory claims readers are doing, in the extremely time-limited scenario under which Share says they are doing it, the phonemic analysis skills required by Ehri’s theory must be highly proficient and automatic. Phonics programs do not train students to that level of phonemic proficiency.

Evaluating EL Education’s K-2 language arts curriculum: Does grapheme-phoneme instruction make a difference?

First Author/Chair:Ben Friedman -- EL Education
Additional authors/chairs: 
Candice Bocala ; Jennifer McMaken; Karen Melchior

Purpose
The gap in standards-aligned curricula is being filled by a new ecosystem of open education instructional materials. However, substantial evidence of impact, such as that required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is in relatively early stages of development. Researchers conducted two quasi-experimental studies of the effectiveness of EL Education’s ELA curriculum, which supports orthographic mapping through the “Reading Foundations Skills Block” component and provides a structured phonics approach grounded in the Phase Theory of Dr. Linnea Ehri. The studies compare ELA achievement results for K-2 treatment students to both a national and a local matched sample with NWEA MAP scores serving as the main outcome measure in both studies.

Method
Two simultaneous quasi-experimental studies were completed in a large urban school district during the 2018-2019 school year. In the first study, the treatment group consisted of 1,095 K-2 students from seven schools that used content-based literacy Modules and the Reading Foundations Skills Block and were compared with a matched “virtual comparison group” created by NWEA. In the second study, the same K-2 students were compared to an in-district group (N=1,047) from eight schools that used Modules only.

Results
Treatment students who received the Modules and Skills Block performed 13 percentile points higher than the national comparison group and 9.8 percentile points higher than the in-district comparison group. Both findings were statistically significant.

Conclusions
The results provide evidence that combined Modules and Skills Block instruction, which is phonics-based and emphasizes orthographic mapping skills, significantly improves reading skills more than Module only and traditional instruction.
The results of the study provide evidence that the combination of content and phonics instruction in the EL Education Language Arts curriculum improves student achievement over one school year.

The impact of orthographic complexity and curriculum type on word reading errors.

First Author/Chair:Billy Skorupski -- Amira Learning
Additional authors/chairs: 
Gena Kukartsev; Mahesh Rao

Purpose
The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the relationship between orthographic complexity of common words and type of curriculum with rates at which early literacy students make pronunciation errors during oral reading fluency (ORF) assessments.

Method
Data were collected from a nationwide representative sample of children in grades K-3 (N = 889; 128 Grade K, 216 Grade 1, 251 Grade 2, and 294 Grade 3; data collection is ongoing). Children were presented with standardized grade-level-appropriate unrehearsed stories (representing 339 unique words across grade levels) and evaluated for ORF. Assessments were delivered via Amira Learning, a fully automated intelligent reading tutor and assessment software system.

Results
Preliminary results indicate that word error rates vary by grade level, but also by how difficult words are to decode, even after accounting for grade level. Longer words and those with more syllables and phonemes tend to be more difficult for early readers to pronounce fluently, as the orthographic mapping burden is greater. Additionally, our research found that the average age-of-acquisition (based on Kuperman et al, 2012 and Brysbaert & Biemiller, 2017) at which words enter children’s expressive vocabulary was a very good predictor of word error rate, especially for older children.

Conclusion
These results demonstrate that as children develop more complex orthographic maps, the number of letters, phonemes, and syllables in a word are less predictive of error rates, while the vocabulary level (age-of-acquisition) becomes increasingly predictive. Additional analyses will investigate differences among these error rates for children at schools using different reading curricula (Phonics-focused, Comprehension-focused, and Balanced).