Decodable Text, Leveled Text, and All the Rest

: :

Dr. Amy Murdoch discusses the importance of text in reading instruction for beginning readers and older struggling readers. Research indicates that the type of text matters and Dr. Murdoch shares specific recommendations based on the goals of reading instruction and intervention.


Dr. Amy Murdoch is chair and an associate professor in the Department of Graduate Education and program director of the Reading Science program at Mount Saint Joseph University. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Cincinnati with an emphasis in early literacy.

Professor Murdoch worked for six years in Cincinnati Public Schools as the director of a number of different literacy grants aimed at bringing research-based practices in instruction, intervention, family education, and assessment to children living in poverty. She has also worked as an education consultant at the Special Education Regional Resource Center. In this role, she worked with school districts to help them implement research-based reading practices within a Response to Intervention model.


Generic placeholder image
Tina Rodgers said

I agree with everything you said. I teach Life Skill students and have found the Lexile Score may be wrong at times because sometimes they guess and get scores that are either way below their level or too high for them. I don't go just by the Lexile score, especially when it seems too far away from what I've experienced in class with them. I find out what they need based on data, in-class assessments, and small group activities. I love watching them learn together by coming to the board or doing hands-on activities in which they are learning grammar or phonics. They are having fun and learning at the same time! They really like fixing mistakes! Especially if it is mine! I'll make mistakes on purpose to see if someone catches them and it helps them to see it is okay to make a mistake. First, we need to double-check our work, then we need to fix it, and move on. There is no reason to get upset with ourselves or feel bad. One thing I tell my students is that becoming better writers helps us become better readers, and becoming better readers helps us become better writers. Reading Horizons has been helping several of my students make connections with many phonic sounds they were having difficulty with and some grammar rules. I am pleased to say, they ask me if they can fix their mistakes now. They want me to reset an assignment when they do not do well. I tell them that I will do it one time, so they need to take their time and do their very best. It is amazing how much better they usually do. They want to improve! They have not gotten to the library books in Reading Horizons at this point. I hope they will soon. I only have so much access in my students' program or is there something I'm missing? I've tried to find out how to get to their books, but I have had any success. We are still working on grammar and phonics.
I am using Chapter books at higher Lexel levels when I read with them to increase their fluency and comprehension and on their levels when they read independently, so they build their fluency, comprehension, and self-esteem.
I have my classroom library leveled for my students and so I am able to tell a student to pick a Level 2 book if that is the level he/she is currently on to read independently for a book report. One of my students is able to to read two Lexile levels higher, but she can't comprehend it. This is very frustrating for her because she is able to decode, use phonics, can spell very well, and reads pretty fluently. She really wanted to choose the book she liked for her book report, so I let her do it; then she struggled and got angry. After that book, I sat with her and had a good conversation about how well she could read it and did she understand what she was reading? She was honest and said that she didn't know what was going on. I obviously knew that because she did not present a good report. She couldn't even tell us the characters in the book and where it took place. She agreed to let me help her pick her next book, which was on her Independent reading level. She did an excellent job on her report and was proud of herself. I told her that it takes practice when someone is behind with comprehension. If you don't understand something the first time you read it, read it again. Write down or say out loud the things you know for sure, then fill in the blanks you don't know. I give my students choices because everyone is not the same. People do learn differently, some need a graphic organizer, a notebook, or notecards to write down what is important as they read. If we are reading something together, I have them read at a higher Lexile level to increase their reading fluency and comprehension. I also make copies so they learn how to highlight what is important in their stories.

Generic placeholder image
Denise Swogetinsky said

I enjoyed this podcast. It was very informative. I teach adult literacy and use Reading Horizon Elevate program. I'm very interested in your upcoming episode on undiagnosed dyslexia.

Generic placeholder image
Anne Cormier said

Love these pod classes.

Leave Comment

Authors: No content items.