The Science of Reading and Amplify CKLA (5/4/21)

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Science of Reading and Amplify CKLA (5/4/21). The summary for this episode is: <p>Learn more about what the science of reading is, how to put it into practice in your classroom, and how Amplify CKLA can help you do so easily with results.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Quotes:</strong></p><p><span class="ql-cursor"></span>“This groundswell movement about the Science of Reading. And it’s become… This seems like a buzzword.”</p><p><br></p><p>“In order to really develop word recognition, one must be able to understand that language or words are made up of sounds and they have to able to connect those sounds to their symbolic representations or letters when they’re represented on paper.”</p>

Madigan: Hi everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, The Science of Reading in Amplify CKLA. Before we get started I want to remind you that this is being recorded and will be sent to all registrants afterwards. Please submit any questions that you have in the Q& A box in your tool bar along the bottom of your screen, and if we have time we'll get to them at the end. Closed captioning is also available by clicking on live transcript in your tool bar along the bottom of the screen. All right, Karen and Meagan, please take it away.

Meagan Molbert: Awesome, and welcome everyone. You know what, Karen? I think before we do this we should find out who's joining us.

Karen Venditti: That's great. I would love to hear who's joining us. As people are joining we're going to give them a second. There are still people popping in, so please let us know where you're from.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah, absolutely. We'd love to hear where you're joining us from today. Hopefully you've had some good weather.

Karen Venditti: All right, Portland. We're going to start shouting out to people, they're coming in fast.

Meagan Molbert: Yes they are. We have a lot of participants joining us today and we are so excited for you guys to be here. All over, Ohio, California, Arkansas, Minnesota, New Zealand, welcome. Kansas City, Kansas.

Karen Venditti: I was born in Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah? Karen, I learned something new about you today.

Karen Venditti: I know. We present an awful lot and we absolutely always learn new things from each other.

Meagan Molbert: Absolutely. And as Madigan mentioned, as we go through today's session, I see some of you have already found where the Q& A button is at the bottom of your screen. We have some participants for Maine joining us. If you do have questions that's where that button is.

Karen Venditti: Lots of Missouri, welcome. New Jersey, Ireland, Georgia, I love it.

Meagan Molbert: All over again.

Karen Venditti: Meagan, let's give it another second or two.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah, we still have participants rolling in.

Karen Venditti: We hope you are doing well. Today we're really excited to be here. We'll chit- chat for a minute before everybody gets logged in here. Thanks for coming. We hope you were here last week for Natalie Wexler's session. We're going to add some of that in today, so we'll make those connections.

Meagan Molbert: Oh, I see someone from Jamaica. I hope the weather is nice and beautiful and warm there. And, Karen, while we have participants joining I think we should go ahead and introduce ourselves.

Karen Venditti: I think that's a good idea. And so I'm Karen Venditti and I'm coming to you from Northwest Indiana, actually Crown Point, Indiana. I was a classroom teacher, first grade, fifth grade, middle school, language, arts. I taught pre- service educators as well. But what was the best part of my most recent work is getting into schools, working with teachers just like Meagan and she's going to share that, with high quality instructional materials, CKLA, seeing it in action. And so that's where this current discussion revolves around. And so, Meagan, why don't you share?

Meagan Molbert: Yeah, absolutely. Welcome everyone. My name is Meagan Molbert and I am actually from South Louisiana. I spend half my time in Louisiana and half my time in East Tennessee. But it was through my experience in the classroom as a kindergarten through second grade teacher that I really came to understanding or really came to understand what it took to effectively develop reading proficiency. And I stumbled upon that by implementing Amplify CKLA in my classroom. I am a former CKLA teacher and so you'll hear me reference here, both Karen and I reference CKLA, but as Karen mentioned, not only did I have that personal experience in the classroom but it was through working with other teachers who were bringing the science of reading, making it come to life in their classroom that we really got to and we really came to understand what that instruction should look like. And now we have the pleasure of presenting and working with educators across the country to further develop capacity for the latest research on literacy. And so Karen is going to kick it off by introducing today's session and we'll go ahead and get started. But once again, thank you all for joining.

Karen Venditti: Yeah. Thanks for coming. And I know there's still people joining in so I'm going to go a little slow. You haven't missed anything yet, we're just getting to the agenda. Meagan and I are really... We're going to talk about that research, but we also we want to level- set a little bit, get everyone on the same page. We had Natalie Wexler present last week, we are actually presenting again next week focusing in on the skills portion of CKLA, a little bit deeper dive into that next week with a teacher who's going to share. And then the following week we're also going to have a panel of educators speak. And so we really just wanted to make sure that you're aware about all of these things are going to connect, and it's all about the science of reading in action. I think that started with Natalie and all the way to our panel later this month. Meagan's going to talk about foundational skills, I'm going to talk about knowledge building, and we're going to answer your questions at the end and we'll take time for that. You can use the Q& A button and then we'll also be able to take them in the chat. We'll get there towards the end.

Meagan Molbert: And so we'll begin with this poll question and this is always so much fun for Karen and I to find out where you are in your science reading journey. So we're going to launch a poll and we'd love for you to share how familiar you are with the science of reading. One thing I always mention, and on these webinars and Karen and I feel the same way, and she can elaborate more on that, but no matter how many times I listen to another webinar or attend a science reading symposium or listen to a guest speaker on a podcast, I always feel like I am still learning so much. And that's the beauty of being an educator and continually learning about what we can do to do what's best for our kiddos, that's what we all want at the end of the day. And so we'll wait to see about five more seconds to see what our poll results reveal. And if we could share that, let's see where everyone is today. Awesome. Well, it looks like we've had a lot of feedback here.

Karen Venditti: That's great. We've got a range all across the spectrum and so we hope we can add to your knowledge base today and we're eager to take your questions at the end as well.

Meagan Molbert: And if today is your introduction welcome because that's the first step in this journey, is becoming introduced to this. And so we'll start with this. And what you see here, there's been this huge push for states across the country to not just implement high quality instructional materials that are preparing students for college and developing proficient readers and all of those things, but it really is there's been this groundswell movement about the science of reading. And it's become... This seems like a buzzword. I've heard so many educators on calls lately say the buzz word, the buzz word, science of reading. And so we have really received access to so many great articles, so many great books and phenomenal events that are really making all of this research very accessible for educators. In fact, in March Amplify hosted a virtual symposium where we brought over, I think it was 18,000 educators together, and the energy was phenomenal. Just educators are so excited to begin this new learning and continue and further go along their science of reading journey and spread the good word. And you guys are here because you signed up for this webinar series and hopefully you got to hear Natalie Wexler last week talk about building knowledge and using a knowledge rich curriculum. And today we're going to really look at some key characteristics of science- based instruction within the classroom and give you guys a tool to leave with after this. And we have other, like Karen mentioned, other webinars coming up where we're going to feature educators who like myself have put the science of reading into action in their classroom and just hear about that shift and also the differences. But why is that? Why all of a sudden is the science of reading this groundswell movement? Why is everyone talking about it? Why is it such a hot topic? And it always goes back to data. And so I'm going to let Karen dive into the data, she does this so well.

Karen Venditti: Well, and I'll tell you what? I'm not really going to dive into the data so much today because I think we've heard a lot about data, and every webinar I've seen or everyone talks about the loss of instruction time and I think we're aware, everyone's aware of that, so to harp on that is not something I want to do. Everyone's here to learn about the science of reading, high quality instructional materials and how it can help students move forward. And so even if you look at what's happened recently in the last year in a year and a few months, or if you look back even more to that data for NAPE, because this is not a new problem so COVID did not bring about a problem where everyone's all of a sudden wanting to learn about the science of reading, it's been a problem. And so we want to look at high quality instructional materials, the practices that we can put into place, those research- based practices, so that we can help our students move and change that trajectory for our kiddos. And so that's really what we're here for, not to focus on what have happened in the past year, we want to focus on the future and where we're going with the science of reading.

Meagan Molbert: And really how to empower teachers to make informed instructional decisions in the classroom. Because as Karen mentioned, the data has been there, we're ready to turn the trajectory around and so I comment everyone for joining on this Tuesday afternoon to learn how to do that.

Karen Venditti: Exactly. We know that everyone's committed to what it takes for kids to be successful and that's why you're here and giving up your time, and we appreciate it very much.

Meagan Molbert: Absolutely.

Karen Venditti: And so let's talk about that simple view of reading, because that is really that research when we think about the science of reading behind everything that we're focusing on. And so some of you may already be familiar with Philip Goff and William Tunner's work around that. We've got two aspects that are just as important, two sets of competencies. We're looking at word recognition and oral language comprehension. So when you think about that, the decoding skills that kiddos need and that knowledge- building, that vocabulary, that oral language development, both of those things when you look at this equation are multiplied. And so when you think about a multiplication problem, and I know we're all on the call as literacy folks, but if we have a zero in either of those boxes, we're not going to build proficient readers. We know that you can't make up for one without having the other. And so more of one without the other isn't going to help us, we have to have both and both of those have to be developed very intentionally, systematically, explicitly, and so we're going to do that and we're going to explore what that means today. But keep in mind, when you look at that work, that one without the other isn't going to happen, they are both equally important in that equation.

Meagan Molbert: Absolutely. And we can look at Scarborough's Rope to really expand on these two components. And in fact, we just had Michelle in the chat say your first graphic was similar to Scarborough's Rope model, the Scarborough Rope model. And you're exactly right. We can use the Reading Rope to really expand on the competencies that make up those two components of what it takes to develop a proficient reader that Karen just identified in the simple view. And to kind of give you guys some background about the Reading Rope, we see these strands start off separate. And when we think about these strands starting off separate this is really those foundational years where kids are just beginning to learn to read. And so we know that kids have to have word recognition and language comprehension, and that their journey that begins this development of these competencies is going to start off separate. But when Dr Scarborough develops the Reading Rope or this graphic that has... I mean, we see it all over, and today's world when we discuss the science of reading, what we know is that when she developed the Reading Rope, what she really wanted to show was, hey, if we place an equal emphasis on both word recognition and language comprehension during ELA instruction, what's going to happen is these strands, or these competencies, are going to begin to strengthen and reinforce one another, and really provide that support. And we see the Reading Rope integrate at the end of this. We see it becomes sort of complex in the way that it begins to interweave and reinforce and support one another. The goal here is to develop word recognition skills so that students can decode or lift words on a page and to develop oral language competencies that are going to allow students to really make meaning of texts, to bring some background knowledge and vocabulary to a text, think strategically about a text while they're reading it, so ultimately they can read to learn here. And so when we look at the Reading Rope we're going to really break that down as to what that looks like in instruction today.

Karen Venditti: And so we're going to look at that top half of the Rope, all of these threads waning together. Language comprehension is really developed through that knowledge building around a variety of topics. Kids are going to acquire vocabulary and those verbal reasoning skills through that. And so when you think about all of those aspects of the Rope, which, that part of the equation that the oral language development, that those competencies that we definitely need to explicitly and intentionally work on. We're going to dig deeper in both sides, but let's talk about the language comprehension first. When we think about naturally- occurring competencies, that we are born with this, we are from birth as babies, we immediately start to understand language, unless we've got some type of auditory processing issue we're going to continue to build that and internalize it our entire lives. That we are listening and so that is our receptive language. We are hearing that language spoken to us and that becomes our expressive language so whatever we're hearing is what we're going to produce. And so that vocabulary that we use, the structure of sentences, all of that verbal reasoning, or a language, we're developing it from the get- go or we're not, we're building that until we're done. We're building it today when you think about that. You're building that knowledge base right now. That, if our expressive and our receptive language, if we're not building that, this is what's going to put kids at a definite disadvantage. And so as you think about that, this language comprehension side, I bet you can think of some kiddos coming to school, coming into your classrooms that are at a disadvantage that may lack some of this and we want to make up for that. We're going to make up for that and show us how we can do that today.

Meagan Molbert: Absolutely. And the second key that, or second key component that's needed to develop a proficient reader is word recognition. And so when we think about word recognition, unlike language comprehension, word recognition doesn't occur naturally. In fact, our brains are not wired to read so the ability to lift words off of the page has to be explicit, those skills have to be explicitly taught and practiced and mastered. And so in order to do that, in order to really develop word recognition, one must be able to understand that language or words are made up of sounds and they have to be able to connect those sounds to their symbolic representations or letters when they're represented on paper. And that has to become so automatic that the decoding of words becomes almost effortless here. But as I mentioned, unlike language comprehension this doesn't occur naturally. And so I'm going to really be taking a deep dive into word recognition and how to develop that and what that instruction should look like in the classroom to develop those pathways in the brain that were missing. And so what today is really about is, hey, we can learn about the science of reading but we have to be able to learn about this and then take that back into our classrooms and really implement these best practices that are grounded in reading science, and then that's why we're all here. And not only are we going to unpack and really identify some key characteristics of these instructional practices today, but you guys we'll get to leave with a tool that's really beneficial to help you evaluate if your current practices are reflective of what science- based research tells us, or if maybe there are some areas that we need to revamp or reevaluate. We'll start by looking at developing word recognition. And this word recognition is something that is probably pretty familiar to the majority of us today. We think about word recognition it's really foundational skills, and what is the purpose of word recognition or developing this? Well, as I mentioned, learning how to read is not a natural process, our brains were not naturally wired to read. We actually have the speech center located in the left side of the brain, that's where we make meaning of text here or meaning of language here. And then in the back side of the brain is actually the visual processing center, and that's something that, actually, the brain does relatively easy. It looks at objects and can quickly identify them. But it's really about, when we think about word recognition it's really about connecting speech to print and having that fluid, those open pathways that allow children's to make the connections between the sounds that they're hearing into the letters that they're seeing in words, and being able to do that almost automatically so that there's room for comprehension. But when I talk about the brain not being wired for reading, the piece that's missing is this critical little switchboard, it's called the visual word form area. It's that pathway that's making those connections. And basically if you have this visual word form area developed you can read it. If you don't then you can't. When we think about word recognition it's really all about developing that pathway or this visual word form area, so that way the brain can transfer written words or text into speech, whether they're spoken or not. And the absence of the visual word form area is really what makes learning to decode words, that unnatural process and something that's really complex and why we have to use an explicit systematic approach to teaching foundational skills to develop skilled influence decoders. So we'll level- set here, make sure everyone's on the same page with explicit systematic phonics or foundational skills instruction. What is explicit? Well, explicit is defined as clearly stating, leaving no doubt. So in relation to what this looks like in the classroom, this is going to include direct instruction. The teacher explicitly stating what we're learning, modeling that new skill or content. For example, when we're introducing a sound it's really about stating," Boys and girls today we're learning a new sound," that sound. We're not relying on the discovery method for students to discover this new learning or a new skill on their own. But when we think about systematic, systematic means that we're going to follow a continuum from easier to more complex skills, and we're going to slowly introduce new skills to build on what's already known. This really makes learning more obvious and easier for readers to connect to what's familiar. And when we think about instruction spiraling, we have to continue to review what's known and continue that cycle of repetition for kids to really internalize these skills. That way they can experience success and really develop mastery over the new skills. And going back to the science of reading and looking at explicit systematic foundational skills instruction, and Amplify has really been a thought leader in this science of reading space and providing teachers and educators across the country and internationally as well with resources, but there was actually a leadership brief released by ILA that identified some key characteristics as well. And I love using this article because it really just goes to show how we can identify these key components or these key characteristics and core instruction program. And so right now we're going to launch another poll. We want to know based off of how we just defined explicit and systematic, are you currently using an explicit systematic phonics program in your school? And so we want to know where you are with this. If you are, maybe it's looking at these key characteristics and just to double- check that you are, maybe it's that you joined today because you really want to know how to identify those key characteristics, what are they. We'll give you guys about 10 more seconds to go ahead and vote.

Karen Venditti: And this may change by the end of... You may change your thoughts about are we using that by the end of Meagan's discussion.

Meagan Molbert: Really. Awesome. Let's see our results. We have about 41 of our participants saying," Yes." We have the rest of you who are saying," No, not yet. We used some pieces," or," We're not doing it at all." And so hopefully today we can give you guys a way to really ensure that you're using these... Or your core instruction program has these key characteristics of effective phonics instruction. One of the first key characteristics of using an effective approach to teaching foundational skills is ensuring that whatever materials you are using or you're looking to implement, it's needs to follow a scope and sequence that is systematic. This is really what's going to set the stage for the entire curriculum and how it students are going to encounter all aspects of instruction. First, when we think about this we want to make sure that the foundational skills program is rooted in phonological awareness from the beginning. Students in kindergarten should start by manipulating the larger chunks of words to develop skills like syllabification and rhyming, identifying beginning, middle, and ending sounds and words. And as they've mastered manipulation of larger word parts, instruction should shift and move to focusing on the more complex phonological awareness skills, that being phonemic awareness. This is where instruction should drill down to the phoning level and students should develop skills like blending and segmenting in tandem. Now, these are done orally, these skills are explicitly taught orally. And when we think about building a house, the first thing that you're going to develop in that building process is laying the foundation. And no one wants a faulty foundation before putting up walls, and so in regards to literacy skills this is that foundation that has to be solid because this is what students are going to need to successfully and effectively decode and encode words. And so looking at that scope and sequence we have to make sure that we're developing these skills effectively, and then also that has to be done before that instruction is going to shift the phonics here. And when we talk about systematic phonics instruction it really is about explicitly teaching the basic code first in kindergarten and then moving into building on that simple code knowledge or the basic sound spellings to explicitly teach the advanced pieces of code here. And so this is a general overview of actually CKLA's kindergarten through second grade foundational skills scope and sequence...

Madigan: Meagan, we've lost your audio, or I've lost your audio. Okay, I think we've all lost you, Meagan. You're cutting in and out a little bit but we can't hear you.

Meagan Molbert: Let's see.

Madigan: Now we can, but...

Meagan Molbert: Karen?

Karen Venditti: Yep.

Madigan: We're hearing, I mean-

Meagan Molbert: I'm hearing. Okay. Now you can hear me?

Madigan: I think so, yes.

Meagan Molbert: Okay, perfect. All right. I'm not sure what we heard or what the last thing you heard was, can you tell me, Karen, so I don't repeat myself?

Karen Venditti: Well, it was on the scope and sequence and I kind of lost, I was around there, just...

Meagan Molbert: Okay. What I'll just highlight is that when you're looking at your scope and sequence we want to make sure we're developing the strong foundational skills that underline parallel reading and writing, that's phonological and phonemic awareness. When looking at your phonics scope and sequence we want to make sure that that's sequential across those K- 2 grades and moves from more simple phonics, spellings, to the more complex and in a very intentional way across those grade levels. We also want to ensure that we're explicitly teaching all 150 sound spellings for the 44 sounds and we're not leaving a stone left unturned, we want to make sure that third graders or second graders going onto third grade actually have the ability to crack the code and that's what it takes. The next key characteristic of effective explicit systematic phonics instruction identified in ILA's brief was readiness skills. And so when thinking about readiness skills are the two best predictors of early reading success or alphabet recognition and phonemic awareness. When we think about phonemic awareness, this skill really opens the gate for reading. It's vital to ensure that phonemic awareness instruction addresses the wide range of sub skills that make up phonemic awareness. So before connecting letters and sounds the students really should be taught that words are made up of sounds or phonemes, and then they should have opportunities to develop skills like blending and segmenting orally. These are skills that can be developed in the dark, we're not connecting anything to print here. In fact, we talk about blending and using kinesthetic motions to decode words like cat, cat, or using a gross motor motion along the arm, segmenting those sounds into sounds and words like cat, cat. These are both those skills that or these are two skills that students are going to meet especially once they are learning how to decode and encode multi- syllabic words. Now, when I talk about blending, science- based reading instruction has identified blending as the key character or the key strategy for actually decoding words. Blending is that primary strategy that we're going to use to read words because what we're essentially doing is we're straying together those sounds to symbols here to actually read those words. So explicit modeling for you as teachers should be done to teach this strategy. Whenever we think about kids who are struggling with the blending of sounds orally, if they can't do it orally there's going to be some challenge for them whenever they're connecting it to print here. But it really is about setting them up for success, developing a skill or a way so that way when they do apply it to a text and they can push through those words and decode those sounds. And so whenever you think of... If you have a third grader who is struggling with reading multisyllabic words it really is, I mean, just ask them to blend some sounds together into a word really to see if they can really do that first. And that will give you tremendous insight if they have that basic phonological or phonemic awareness skill. The next key characteristic that you should look for in your core program is does our core program use word awareness activities? When we think about word building, this really increases students' ability to manipulate individual sounds flexibly and fully analyze words for their component sounds and spellings. So word awareness is all about adding, subtracting, or deleting individual phonemes that students have learned or that they're learning in words. This is what's developing math mapping, this is what's developing those pathways in the brain that are essential for connecting sounds to letters so that decoding and encoding become automatic. What you see even in this video here is an example of a word building activity in CKLA called Chaining. Students are actually building the word, Maine, using large letter changing cards and the teacher is going to say, Alica Zam here, and they're going to transform this word into Maine, so they're adding that magic piece. We can even see that complexity of the sound spelling is being built here. We have CVC words and now we're introducing a vowel team, which is a pretty big conceptual leap. We also see these chaining folders that ask students who're learning sounds, they're building and reading words through those tactile- engaging experiences to change words like at to that, that should be done alongside that phonics instruction. Those fun activities really tie together word awareness and we also want to make sure that kiddos can actually transfer those same correspondences to writing. Here we're working on encoding. This segmenting is that oral skill that actually enables this. One way to do to measure that is through dictation activities. Can students actually produce or select the sound spelling that represents that sound when they're writing a word? Can they express that in written form? And this is really where that measure can take place. And not only is it about dictation, but when we think about spelling instruction, the spelling instruction that you're using should be tied to the phonics scope and sequence of your program, and in CKLA that's exactly what it does. Not only does CKLA include dictation opportunities but it also includes spelling instruction that is tied to that phonics scope and sequence, is that ultimate way to measure, hey, have my students really mastered this connecting this sound in words? Can they produce that spelling correctly in words in their spelling lists? And so this is something that can give you true insight into mastery and another key characteristic you should look for. Now, we'll move into that last strand of Scarborough's Reading Rope, which is actually site recognition. And when we think about site recognition, ILA identified high- frequency words as the ability to... Or having high- frequency word instruction as one of those key characteristics but it really is about identifying the words that... Or the parts of the words that are not decodable, explicitly teaching, that drawing that awareness to that, and also looking at maybe high- frequency words that kindergartners are going to use, that they won't learn how to decode until later years, maybe first or second grade. But we know that kiddos need this high- frequency word instruction, so how are we introducing those high- frequency words? Does our core instruction provide instruction around these non- decodable or irregular high- frequency words. And your core program should have this piece to it. But really sight recognition is about having the pathways in the brain, so that decoding of unfamiliar words or familiar words becomes almost automatic. These obviously would become very familiar because the object here or the objective here is really to master these in print. But this is really what wraps it all up. If we want to make sure that our phonics instruction is meaningful then it takes a connected text for students to really apply all of the foundational skills you've explicitly taught up until that point. This is a huge difference maker in core programs that truly reflect explicit systematic foundational skills instruction that's proven to be effective. When we look at controlled text or decodable text, these really help kiddos develop a sense of comfort and control over their reading growth. And this should be a key learning tool. As I mentioned, this is what makes your phonics instruction meaningful and this is also what helps build fluency, it strengthens those pathways in the brain that connects speech to print. And so when we're providing students with on- level connected texts that follows the scope and sequence of the core program like CKLA's decodable text or connected text too, we are giving our students an opportunity to apply the skills they've learned instead of asking them to use unreliable strategies or apply skills that we haven't explicitly taught. And so when we're doing that with a decodable text that's 100% decodable, we are really increasing their chances for mastering these foundational skills that are going to enable or allow for energy to be left for comprehension and that's really the ultimate goal here. I know, Karen, many districts whenever they're looking at connected text or looking at level text in a core program, and does this reflect science reading- based practices? One thing that I always recommend is Emily Hanford hits it's spot on with her podcast, Hard Words, why kids aren't learning to read. And I love that she embraces this opportunity to say," Hey, you know what? When we're looking at science- based reading instruction, this is really that key piece. All kids deserve access to an on- level text where they actually get to apply the foundational skills that you've taught." Now, we can sum this all up, lots of information here about looking at your foundational skills or your phonics instruction. And what's kind of happened in the past is researchers have found that the biggest problem with phonics instruction is that unbalanced approach or this haphazard implementation that's found in so many programs. So the purpose today is really to provide you guys with the information to go back and evaluate your current core program. Maybe if you're in the process of selecting a new core program, looking at some of the examples that we provided you today with CKLA and understanding, okay, how does this program that we're looking at really compare to this, or maybe it's that you want to make sure that you're choosing to even evaluate or look at programs that are going to have some of these key characteristics. But as we already discussed, word recognition is only one part of the equation. And that ILA brief identified some great key characteristics. Amplify has done a phenomenal job of identifying these key look fors in the tool that we're going to provide you guys with at the end of this session. But we're going to dive into that other key component, that other half of the equation that's equally as important when trying to develop a proficient reader, that being language comprehension here. And so, Karen, did you want to go ahead and share your screen?

Karen Venditti: Yes, but I can't while you're doing it. It's...

Meagan Molbert: Okay, perfect. I'll go ahead and stop.

Karen Venditti: Okay, here we go. I think I'm okay. And are you seeing my screen, okay, Meagan?

Meagan Molbert: Yes, absolutely.

Karen Venditti: All right. Okay, great. Thank you. That was wonderful, Meagan. Thank you for sharing so much about the word recognition side, that other aspect that's just as important as what we're going to share now. And Alison asked a question in the chat and that's going to come up right now. There are two sides to that equation. There are two competencies, two sets of competencies and we're going to deal with that now. And so let's really think about that language comprehension side of this. That building background is as critical as the decoding skills. And so when we think about... I don't know if all of you were there from Natalie's webinar last week, but she really talked about things that have been happening for decades. Thinking about teaching comprehension is a set of skills, the main idea of making predictions. And she talks about how that really wasn't effective in selecting that text to highlight that skill. And we know that research shows that that that skill doesn't transfer, and if students don't have that background knowledge or the knowledge, the vocabulary to make meaning of that text, that's going to be a problem for them as they continue on in school. And so we know that hasn't really been working and so when you think about a kiddo that maybe you've taught that strategy to, you thought they got it, you assessed it and then they go to a state assessment and it doesn't transfer, that's what we're talking about. And so this is what when Natalie was talking about a knowledge- rich curriculum, that's what we're going to talk about today as one part of that core literacy instruction there. And so as we move... Let me see if I can.... All right, is it moving, Meagan? I'm having a little trouble with the screen.

Meagan Molbert: It's not moving. I'm not sure if you're on the Google slides. There we go, it just switched.

Karen Venditti: Super, thank you. All right, we're going to have another poll question. And so we're thinking, are you currently using a knowledge- rich curriculum? Now, you may not be able to answer that yet, maybe by the end of the call today just like the other poll question that may change, but thinking about... And maybe you weren't in Natalie session last week. If you can answer, yes, not yet, we're trying, or we're none of the above. We'll give you another couple seconds to answer that. We'll see where you are, if people are using a knowledge- rich curriculum. All right. And if we want to close out that or give everybody a second and close out that poll. And as you can see people are moving in that direction so I think more people were focused on that phonics, that explicit a systematic approach, more so than the knowledge- based curriculum, but hopefully after today you're going to move even further towards that knowledge focus. And so, as you think about that... I'm having a little trouble here with my screen. As we think about... There we go... The aspects related to a knowledge- rich curriculum, Natalie hit on a lot of these things. When we think about a wide variety of topics and organized around various content areas, thinking about knowledge, building around topics about the world, intentional building with vocabulary within and across grade level. Thinking about how do we do that from the get- go, from early on, from pre- K onwards. And that doesn't stop, that can go into high school, and vocabulary development that's connected to that knowledge. Thinking about how instruction is going to support that comprehension both during and after reading and she talked a lot about connecting and having kids, how important it was in terms of critical thinking for all of what we're learning to become part of our long- term knowledge or our long- term memory. And so also thinking about opportunities for kids to speak and write about the content. And so what you're seeing here is a CTLA curriculum, our knowledge sequence, it demonstrates what we just talked about in terms of those top three points. If you look really closely at this sequence here you're going to notice there's about nine to 12 different topics per grade. It helps kiddos with that breadth and depth of knowledge, both with the vocabulary. Also, again, within and across grades, you're going to see connections and literature and social studies, science, and they don't always jump out at you. That's what's really neat. When you look at some of those topics, you don't know when the study of the Maya in first grade and their use of pyramids or building pyramids as observatories is going to connect to astronomy right after that. And that doesn't just jump out at teachers when they look at the topics but there's lots of connections across. And what's really neat about this, we don't know, we want to inspire kids in a wide variety of ways. We don't know when we're going to inspire kids who become a Supreme Court justice or a geologist or an entomologist discovering the next insect or the next Amanda Gorman, a poet laureate, we don't know who we're going to inspire and so we want to provide these topics for all of our kids to be exposed to. Because we know it's a matter of equity and all of our kiddos are not coming to school with that same knowledge, we know that. Too many times in too many curricula they're going to assume that kids are going to enter a classroom knowing a lot of those same things. We want to build on what kids bring to the table, bring to school, celebrate those differences, because we know kids are going to have different kinds of experiences, but it's also it's incumbent upon us to really as educators provide that background for kids, to provide that rich wordily topics into the classroom and make sure all kids have access to that. And back to the vocabulary too, Natalie, talked about the Matthew effect, the rich get richer, we want kids to be able to build on all of what we're sharing with them in that literacy rich environment. And so when we think about the research that undergirds CTLA, how are we going to help kids who do come with different entry points? Well, there's research from Tom Stitch and I hope you might be familiar with this, looking at listening comprehension and reading comprehension, and that listening comprehension far outpaces reading comprehension. Until around the age of 13 when you look at those bars, those orange bars, it gives us some real insight on how we can help kids develop oral language in an equitable way, age appropriately in those early years. The tremendous energy that it requires kids to decode as Meagan just talked about, all of those things that kids are needing to do to decode words on the page, we want to take that cognitive demand off of kids, but we want to capitalize on that listening ability. And so we're going to do that through wonderful rich read- alouds, two to three grade levels above what kids can comprehend in terms of that reading comprehension. We know, though, those skills are going to catch up and so then we want kids to be actively reading about those wonderful topics. And so that's what it looks like in CKLA, we're going to have kiddos actually listening to read-alouds, well, I'm going to flip back there, listening to read- alouds, and they're also going to be actively reading. And so with that we're going to capitalize on those listening skills. And then the emphasis shifts as kiddos get into those upper grades to those wonderful rich readers that they're going to be responsible for. And so how do we do that in CKLA? We're going to start with great images. We're going to start... In this case I'm going to walk you through a few things with the insects domain, it's in grade two, and we're going to look at images, we're going to talk about images. I'm going to be reading aloud to you as students. You're going to be hearing vocabulary. They're going to be discussing, and that's such an important piece, building those speaking and listening skills. They're going to engage with us as we're engaging with them with these wonderful images.

Speaker 4: You have a reservation? Oh, I do. Great. Let me just check you in and give you your activity schedule. Oh, exciting. The schedule includes plenty of time for all the things I love to do as a solitary insect.

Karen Venditti: I wanted you to hear that's where we're going to start. We're going to start with vocabulary and we're going to have that solitary insect focus. And so that vocabulary in context is very important. And so when kiddos, they have a video like that at the beeswax hotel they're going to go to, learn about social and solitary insects, but they're going to hear it in context of the story as well. And so we're going to help them internalize these words and moving them from the receptive to express the vocabulary as we talked about earlier. That's key getting kids speaking and writing and using those verbs, or the vocabulary. It is the internalization that's important for that. Now, we're going to have them write about that vocabulary. When we talked about that social insect, in this case, you heard about the solitary insect, we're also looking at the social insect, we are going to have them write about that and so we're going to have them write in an insect journal. And so they're going to use that vocabulary and share back from that read- aloud, which is really important in terms of being able to internalize what they're learning, that application. When we talk about, in terms of that social and solitary insect, we have other words that can connect. And so in this case we've got a word work lesson that's going to work on the word cooperate, where social insects are going to have to cooperate and so we bring it back to the story we're going to read back in that read- aloud, what is the sentence from the read- aloud we're going to go in at that sentence level, talk about that, get kids connecting that to their lives as well. And as you see, this approach really is founded on Isabelle Back's work, if you're familiar with Isabelle Back and her colleagues. And so we're going to have those word work lessons embedded to be able to bring that content and that vocabulary to life for kids. Language development also happens through multiple meaning words. And so in this case that honey comb that where social insects are exposed to, we want to connect kids with other meanings of that word so they can also see what they already know and what they can connect it to in terms of the new vocabulary they're learning. In terms of language development and syntactic awareness activities, in terms of various parts of speech, here we're going to read this from the story, so we're going to have students identify an adverb in a sentence from the read- aloud. In this case, we're looking at grasshoppers and we're going to ask them about when they heard the grasshoppers wings move rapidly and making sounds. And so we're going to get them, was it, how were the wings moving? Rapidly, quickly, getting them to connect to that, but then also we're going to have them repeat motions to demonstrate their understanding. So how are we going to get them to connect to vocabulary, various language aspects? And that's all about that top half of Scarborough's Rope. And so writing is that next logical step. We're going to have them write about it but we're going to have them write about related to that content. So thinking about what we're learning because we are learning content, why not have them use that one of a rich content in an English language arts environment, and then we're going to have them write, regardless, various types of writing, whether it's informational, a narrative, persuasive, we're going to have them write. And that's key too when you look at the top half from Scarborough's Rope, getting kids exposed to various formats in terms of the text but also getting them exposed in terms of formats of different types of writing that they're going to do. One thing that we didn't talk a lot about and I know Meagan and I've talked about, when you think about the skills side, the decoding side, that's where that extension from the phonological aspect of language moves to the morphological, but it also happens in that language strand, and in this case we look at complete metamorphosis, incomplete metamorphosis. We can look at that prefix in and talk about the meaning of that and it's very simple, the kids can see that connection. And we want to try to do that and CKLA does try to do that whenever possible. And so I hope as you heard some of the examples we shared from CKLA in terms of the knowledge- rich curriculum and how does that play out, I hope that you saw where your curriculum is doing similar things or if not how can I add areas to my curriculum to build that knowledge and to build that vocabulary. We really wanted to just shed a little bit more light on that, and thinking about that list as you're working on that language development for your students. But remember, it's really important to be working on both sides of that Rope, Scarborough's Reading Rope. And so as, we hope you want to learn more, we've got a lot to share with you, I know that. And I'm hoping in the chat we bring up the... There's an e- book that's going to help you look for... Will give you look fos to determine if you're looking for a new curriculum. Is it explicit systematic phonics? Is it a knowledge- rich curriculum? And so we definitely hope that will come in handy as you are determining future needs.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah, absolutely. And this is really, this ebook is a phenomenal tool that you can use to really make sure that it just gives you a way to check the pulse here. Where are we in this process? Are we truly using a core program that is putting the science of reading into action and bringing it to life in our classroom? And so that's a great tool that you can use. Another thing that we want to make sure we invite you guys to is our Reading Reimagined virtual summit on May 13th. If you're interested in learning more about personalized learning and really what it takes to make the shift to a tailored instruction for all students in your classroom that is grounded in reading science, we want you to make sure to sign up, register, and join us. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Maria Murray, who's the CEO of The Reading League, who's truly been a leader in the science of reading movement as well. We're really excited, so we want to make sure you guys sign up. If you can't join, it's okay, you'll still receive the recording and you'll still have that professional learning available to you then. But please join us. And also something else we want to make sure we do is invite you to join our Science of Reading: The Podcast, if you are not already a member. And Karen and I, we have conversations about different episodes and Karen has some of her key favorites but I definitely want you, Karen, to kind of hit on some of those and share those with our participants.

Karen Venditti: Well, and what I was going to say back when you were talking about Dr. Maria Murray, some of you may have just heard her on the podcast because she was on that recently, as well as, yeah, one of my favorites who was just interviewed, Dr. Sonia Cabell. I hope you get a chance to listen to her if you haven't already because she's focused on the top half of Scarborough's Rope, and we don't hear as much about that. So wonderful to listen to her so I hope you get a chance to do that. We've got some great folks being interviewed. Susan Lambert, our fearless leader in the science of reading really does a phenomenal job with that, and so please join us for that. As well as our Facebook group, sign up for that and we'd love to hear more from you there.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah, absolutely. And if you want to learn more about Amplify CKLA, Amplify, and someone even asks, what does CKLA stand for? CKLA stands for core knowledge language arts and amplify CKLA is actually a pre- K through fifth grade comprehensive core literacy program. And so all of the images you saw or the experiences or the instructional activities you saw on today's presentation are directly from CKLA, and CKLA is truly the only program that's grounded in reading science and makes bringing the science of reading into your classroom and it coming to life a possibility. And we're going to feature a panel of CKLA teachers in our upcoming webinars that can attest to this just like I can. And so that's something we're really excited about as well. If you want to learn more you can go to\ ckla. And now we'll open... I know we're almost right at time. Not only do we want to thank you guys for joining and spending an hour with Karen and I, but we want to make sure we get to some of these questions and thank you so much for the great feedback in the chat. I love that we just had a comment from Laura. She said," I love CKLA. My son loves the decodable readers, he's always eager to read." And that's a great point. My son is also a CKLA student, and being a former CKLA teacher, whenever my kiddos were... CKLA student readers are in chapter book format and so they constantly wanted to continue reading. And that really is the testament to how explicit foundational skills instruction that's effective can actually enable all kiddos to feel successful with reading and on- level text, and that's really what it takes, and so I love that you shared that. Thank you so much.

Karen Venditti: And so a couple of things and maybe, Madigan, can we share the virtual summit again? Someone asked for that in the chat, I just saw. Lots of great feedback, lots of people talking about letters and letters training and just all the... I love it. And I don't know if everyone's seeing it because you might only be sharing to the panelists, so you might want to share to everybody because there's some great comments coming in.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah. We had a question come in as well. How does CKLA explain spellings like the number word two to students? And I think that this is a great question, and I'll just touch on this very quickly. When it comes to high- frequency words that are not decodable, in CKLA, what we're going to do is we're going to explicitly draw awareness to the parts of the word that are decodable and not decodable. And so if I were introducing this, now, I haven't looked at this lesson, this is what I recall about introducing a tricky word. I'd write that word and say," All right, let's apply this or let's sound out this word." And based off the sounds we know it would sound like this... At that point. Well, that's not really a word, that fact doesn't make sense. Well, there's actually parts of this word that aren't making the sounds that we know and so we would draw awareness to those. I'd say, this is actually the number word two, oh, it's making the right sound I wouldn't underline it. But the W and O sound the... Obviously aren't doing what they're supposed to do so I would underline that and call that a tricky word. And what tricky words do and the way that we teach kiddos how to approach tricky words is, hey, we have to approach these with caution here. We have to make sure that we're not only mastering these words but we have to look at this word and think," Okay, I know this part of the word, but this part is tricky," and so that's how that instruction looks like?

Karen Venditti: All right. And I did answer a question in the chat about if CKLA is available internationally, and yes, it is.

Meagan Molbert: We also had a question come in. My district is adopting CKLA next year. Our teachers are pushing back. As a reading specialist, how can I help alleviate their anxiety? And that is a great question and a million dollar question I would say, but the main thing here is it's all about becoming informed. When we know better we do better. And so I think also hearing from other CKLA teachers is such a much easier way to help alleviate that. And thankfully in our upcoming webinar episodes next week and the following week we're actually going to feature CKLA teachers who are going to speak about this same exact experience, but it really is about building capacity. Keep understanding, keep growing when it comes to the science of reading and continue on that journey and just develop or foster those conversations and spark those thoughts and interests and you'll see it get there.

Karen Venditti: Meagan, there's a couple, though I know we're over time or happy to answer a few more questions and there's a few that have come in. One asked about the knowledge strand sequence and can you choose various lessons? It is built sequentially and there are reasons. And when you go through the CKLA training we talk about that in terms of skills and the vocabulary, the builds and the standards that build. And so when you talk to teachers and I love, again, Meagan, hit the nail on the head with hearing from teachers. Teachers will tell you that there's a reason when they teach the sequence of domains in order. And they see that connection, they see how it benefits kids to keep to that order. And so we can explore that more with you talking to other teachers and I think the Facebook group gets into that conversation every once in a while as well. There's also a question about English language supports. And though we do have those built into the program, we didn't show everything today, we just touched on a very... It's just the tip of the iceberg here today. If you want to learn more, I think we did share with you how to learn more and we can go back to that, actually. But, yeah, definitely there's more to hear about English language supports within the program as well as something called language studio, we do have something called language studio that aligns to that. Have you seen other questions, Meagan? I've tried to keep up with the chat and I've probably missed some.

Meagan Molbert: Yeah. I saw that there's a question that says," Can the panel address reading assessments?" And so I guess two trains of thoughts here with... It's a little broad, that question, and I want to make sure we're answering it in a multifaceted way. And so when we talk about reading assessments with core instruction, obviously, especially with a literacy program for elementary grades, having formative assessments and summative assessments is something you will see in CKLA's core program, checks for understanding benchmark assessments. But when it comes to the science of reading and universal literacy screening and looking at how we're screening for dyslexia and also those key literacy skills, I think it's really important to go back to what is the science of reading, truly identifying as those key critical skills that need to be measured and understanding what those are first before choosing a universal literacy screener that's really going to measure those critical skills. Obviously when it comes to things like blending and segmenting and students producing language, those are going to be measured best. When it's done through an observational approach to assessing students, especially in elementary school teachers, not only do we have kiddos who are more comfortable with us as teachers, we're more comfortable with them, but also there's a lot of different factors that play into their day. And as a classroom teacher you catch on to those, you know if it's truly a valid assessment. It's not the question of are parents helping answer these questions at home on this digital program, so really it is about understanding those key critical skills that science of reading research tells us that needs to be measured to determine who's at risk, but also just that social aspect of it as well, making sure that we're conducting an assessment in a developmentally- appropriate way.

Karen Venditti: And, Meagan, I think something that we didn't talk about today that you and I talk about an awful lot is the interconnectedness of an assessment system as well as core curriculum, personalized practice. And so that is something I think we're going to talk about when we present the summit coming up because it is so important and people bring up those questions and they all do connect. Everything does come back to that whole circle of interconnectedness.

Meagan Molbert: Absolutely. It looks like we are five minutes over and I am just thrilled with the participation, the feedback, the questions. We couldn't have had a better group join us on this Tuesday afternoon. And so with that being said, we want to thank you guys again and we hope to see you on our next webinar which is going to be next week, right, Karen?

Karen Venditti: Tuesday, we have our skills session with a teacher that is going to share some things. If you didn't get your questions answered, please reach out to us. We are happy to follow up with you. At a school level we are definitely there to provide more information for you.

Meagan Molbert: Yep, we touched the tip of the iceberg. We're here, reach out to us and we hope to hear from you soon and see you next week. Thank you guys.

Karen Venditti: Thanks everyone. Have a great afternoon.


Learn more about what the science of reading is, how to put it into practice in your classroom, and how Amplify CKLA can help you do so easily with results.


“This groundswell movement about the Science of Reading. And it’s become… This seems like a buzzword.”

“In order to really develop word recognition, one must be able to understand that language or words are made up of sounds and they have to able to connect those sounds to their symbolic representations or letters when they’re represented on paper.”