Reading and the Native American Learner Research Report



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First Grade Accomplishments





  • Makes a transition from emergent to “real” reading.

  • Reads aloud with accuracy and comprehension any text that is appropriately designed for the fast half of Grade 1.

  • Accurately decodes orthographically regular one-syllable words and nonsense words (e.g., sit, zot) using print-sound mappings to sound out unknown words.

  • Uses letter-sound correspondence knowledge to sound out unknown words when reading text.

  • Recognizes common irregularly spelled words by sight (have, said, where, two).

  • Has reading vocabulary of 300 to 500 words, sight words, and easily sounded out words.

  • Monitors own reading and self-corrects when an incorrectly identified word does not fit with cues provided by the letters in the word or the context surrounding the word.

  • Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for grade level.

  • Shows evidence of expanding language repertory, including increasing appropriate use of standard, more formal language registers.

  • Creates own written texts for others to read.

  • Notices when difficulties are encountered in understanding text.

  • Reads and understands simple written instructions.

  • Predicts and justifies what will happen next in stories.

  • Discusses prior knowledge of topics in expository texts.

  • Discusses how, why, and what-if questions in nonfiction texts.

  • Describes new information gained from texts in own words.

  • Distinguishes whether simple sentences are incomplete or fail to make sense; notices when simple texts fail to make sense.

  • Can answer simple written comprehension questions based on material read.

  • Can count the number of syllables in a word.

  • Can blend or segment the phonemes of most one-syllable words.

  • Spells correctly three- and four-letter short vowel words.

  • Composes fairly readable first drafts using appropriate parts of the writing process (some attention to planning, drafting, and rereading for meaning and some self-corrections).

  • Uses invented spelling/phonics-based knowledge to spell independently when necessary.

  • Shows spelling consciousness or sensitivity to conventional spelling.

  • Uses basic punctuation and capitalization.

  • Produces a variety of compositions (e.g., stories, descriptions, journal entries), showing appropriate relationships between printed text, illustrations, and other graphics.

  • Engages in a variety of literary activities voluntarily (e.g., choosing books and stories to read, writing a note to a friend).




Second Grade Accomplishments


  • Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for grade level.

  • Accurately decodes orthographically regular multisyllable words and nonsense words (e.g., capital, Kalamazoo).

  • Uses knowledge of print-sound mappings to sound out unknown words.

  • Accurately reads many irregularly spelled words and such spelling patterns as diphthongs, special vowel spellings, and common word endings.

  • Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for the grade.

  • Shows evidence of expanding language repertory including increasing use of more formal language registers.

  • Reads voluntarily for interest and own purposes.

  • Rereads sentences when meaning is not clear.

  • Interprets information from diagrams, charts, and graphs.

  • Recalls facts and details of texts.

  • Reads nonfiction materials for answers to specific questions or for specific purposes.

  • Takes part in creative responses to texts such as dramatizations, oral presentations, fantasy play, etc.

  • Discusses similarities in characters and events across stories.

  • Connects and compares information across nonfiction selections.

  • Poses possible answers to how, why, and what if questions.

  • Correctly spells previously studied words and spelling patterns in own writing.

  • Represents the complete sound of a word when spelling independently.

  • Shows sensitivity to using formal language patterns in place of oral language patterns at appropriate spots in own writing (e.g., decontextualizing sentences, conventions for quoted speech, literary language forms, proper verb forms).

  • Makes reasonable judgments about what to include in written products.

  • Productively discusses ways to clarify and refine writing of self and others.

  • With assistance, adds use of conferencing, revision, and editing processes to clarify and refine own writing to the steps of the expected parts of the writing process.

  • Given organizational help, writes informative, well-structured reports.

  • Attends to spelling, mechanics, and presentation for final products.

  • Produces a variety of types of compositions (e.g., stories, reports, correspondence).


Third Grade Accomplishments


  • Reads aloud with fluency and comprehension any text that is appropriately designed for grade level.

  • Uses letter-sound correspondence knowledge and structural analysis to decode words.

  • Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for grade level.

  • Reads longer fictional selections and chapter books independently.

  • Takes part in creative responses to texts such as dramatizations, oral presentations, fantasy play, etc.

  • Can point to or clearly identify specific words or wordings that are causing comprehension difficulties.

  • Summarizes major points from fiction and nonfiction texts.

  • In interpreting nonfiction, distinguishes cause and effect, fact and opinion, main idea and supporting details.

  • Uses information and reasoning to examine bases of hypotheses and opinions.

  • Infers word meaning from taught roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

  • Correctly spells previously studied words and spelling patterns in own writing.

  • Begins to incorporate literacy words and language patterns in own writing (e.g., elaborates descriptions, uses figurative wording).

  • With some guidance, uses all aspects of the writing process in producing own compositions and reports.

  • Combines information from multiple sources when writing reports.

  • With assistance, suggests and implements editing and revision to clarify and refine own writing.

  • Presents and discusses own writing with other students and responds helpfully to other students’ compositions.

  • Independently reviews work for spelling, mechanics, and presentation.

  • Produces a variety of written work (e.g., literature response, reports, “published” books, semantic maps) in a variety of formats, including multimedia forms.40





Reading Comprehension
As previously stated, in order to become successful readers, American Indian children, like all the other children, need a supportive, challenging and culturally relevant learning environment to foster their language development and to provide them with pertinent experiences, background knowledge, and cognitive strategies.
Comprehension difficulties can be prevented by actively building comprehension skills as well as linguistic and conceptual knowledge, beginning in the earliest grades. Comprehension can be enhanced through instruction focused on concept and vocabulary growth and background knowledge, instruction about the syntax and rhetorical structures of written language, and direct instruction in comprehension strategies such as summarizing, predicting, and monitoring. (Snow, et al. 1998, p.6)
In the following section we discuss reading comprehension and its two most important correlates: background knowledge and vocabulary.41

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