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Approaching Literacy Instruction without a Textbook: A Qualitative Study of Elementary Literacy Instruction
AuthorMorency, Andrea C.
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This investigation examined teacher-directed, rather than program-directed, literacy instruction in elementary classrooms in a school where no comprehensive or core reading program was adopted or implemented. Observations, interviews, and artifacts were the data collected and analyzed over a six month period from four teachers during a single school year. The findings provide a description of how elementary teachers teach literacy without a textbook, and the following conclusions were drawn from the findings: 1. Teachers employed a variety of instructional practices in the absence of an adopted comprehensive reading program. Both literature-based instructional practices such as literature circles and independent reading, along with instructional practices that are more skill and strategy based, such as word study and comprehension strategy instruction, were utilized. 2. Teachers made decisions about what and how to implement instructional practices based on adopted state standards, student need, and student interest while teaching literacy without a comprehensive program. Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and school-wide instructional foci also influenced teachers’ instructional practice decisions. 3. Teachers used a variety of authentic texts and materials to teach literacy without a comprehensive program, including leveled texts, texts selected by students or based on students’ interests, trade books, and informational texts. Teachers gathered text and materials from local sources like the school library, from online sources, and created texts and materials themselves. ii 4. In the absence of a comprehensive reading program, teachers selected texts and materials to support literacy instruction based on student need and level, student interest, and that aligned with learning outcome goals. The learning outcome goals that guided text and material selection were set by teachers to meet the needs of their students and with the support of professional books. 5. Teachers used a wide range of both summative and formative assessments to monitor students’ progress. Summative measures included end of unit projects and formal assessments. Formative measures included observational notes, teacher created interim assessments, rubrics, checklists, and teacher discretion.