Flip the Script on Scripted Teaching and Reading Skill Gaps

Updated: Jun 10


Wouldn't you like to choose your own words when you're providing instruction? Especially if it's Specially Designed Instruction for Reading?


Let's consider Scripted Instruction. Scripted Instruction is generally considered to be highly structured, time restricted, and provides educators with a word for word script what what to say during instruction.


Many reading "programs" are scripted (I won't name program names, but they are probably in your schools being used right now!). They tend to move students forward lesson by lesson through skills in a pre-determined order, in a pre-determined time frame.


But what happens when students have splinter skills? Or need additional practice on a specific skill? Or you have a group of students that need differentiation for varying skill gaps?

  • Would you spend time teaching a skill that they have already mastered? NO!

  • Would you move ahead in "the program" knowing that additional practice is needed in order to master a skill? NO!

  • Would you teach every child the same skill even if some already have the skill mastered? NO!

Specially Designed Instruction for students with reading skill gaps needs to be provided in a way that specifically addresses deficits.


Sidebar: During my years as an Instructional Coach, I worked with several teachers that needed further explanation on WHY it was not necessary to teach every child in the small group the same high frequency word. We differentiate instruction so we are consistently moving forward with skills.


So what is the best plan of action to address reading skill gaps and deficits?


Instruction that is Explicit and Systematic.


I've already shared why Scripted Instruction might not be the most beneficial for closing skill gaps, but how is Explicit and Systematic Instruction different? WHY could this be more meaningful in closing skill gaps?


When instruction is Explicit, skills and concepts are explained in a clear and direct manner with a clear explanation with modeling of skill or concept. I do, we do, you do.


Students have the benefit of seeing you model a specific skill, receives support and practice, and has an opportunity to master the skill independently.


One skill at a time.


Systematic Instruction is carefully thought out, builds on prior knowledge and moves from simple to complex. When we give students an opportunity to deepen the knowledge of previously learned skills, they can make connections to syllable and word concepts and generalize skills back to grade level content.


Let's do more of that.


If you need support with Specially Designed Instruction or with students access grade level content, Inclusiveology can help with that.





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