For Years: PP – Year 2
Last month I attended a PD from the SSTUWA called Sharp Reading (Stages 1 & 2 Decoding Strategy Instruction) being given by ex-teacher, Hilton Ayrey. The workshop was based on 15 years of his own personal action research on running reading programmes, as well as the research & writings of Michael Pressley, Gerald Duffy and Tom Nicholson. Ayrey recommended a text called “Reading Instruction that Works: The Case for Balanced Teaching” (Pressley, 2015; 4th ed), for us to read later on, to supplement the workshop.
So what is SHARP Reading?
SHARP is a mnemonic representing:
S – Simple
H – Habitualization
A – Autonomy
R – Routine
P – Progression
Here are some of my jottings from the workshop:
The idea behind much of the workshop was to give teachers simple strategies broken into 5 parts that help the students “frontload” the meaning of the text they are reading, so that they can focus on decoding. This breaks down reading into 2 different parts, simplifying it.
An important part of the program are the 5 phrasal triggers, which turns the activity into a routine and makes it very predictable for the reading group every day. I would share what the 5 phrasal triggers here, but I’m a little worried that am breaching Sharp Reading’s copyright by doing so – as he made a point of discussing copyright during the workshop. I will try to get hold of the text though, and do a summary later on, for those who are interested.
Ayrey suggested that when we do SHARP Reading we minimise the “teacher talk” and avoided “teachable moments” – even when students experience errors. He suggested we use inflection correction instead – that is,repeat the correct word with an inflection. Or simply come back to it later on during the day.
Other Notes: I enjoyed this PD and think that it covered a lot of very useful strategies that teachers can add to their pedagogical toolbox- especially for those who wants to run guided reading groups in Lower Primary. I can see it working very well because of the simplicity and the directness of the strategies. Teachers are often overrun with so many things to do, and this particular program simplifies guided reading both for the students and the teachers. The workshop itself was 6 hours long, and we were given the opportunity to take turns and coach each other on actual text, in that period. It’s quite simple on the one hand, but I think I definitely would need to practice this a lot more on my own time, using the notes we were given (or read the recommended book) to nail it, before doing it with students. If the workshop came round again, I wouldn’t mind going a second time either.
This Training Relates to Professional Standards for Teachers
Standard 2 – Know the content and how to teach it.
Standard 3 – Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
Standard 4 – Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
Standard 7 – Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.