The SIM Innovation Award
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools and KU CRL have forged a partnership focused on literacy goals. To date, the partnership has resulted in descriptive data and intervention data that have the potential to inform the field about the skills and characteristics of struggling adolescent readers. In addition, studies under way in KCK will provide information about the effectiveness of SIM reading strategies designed for large classes taught by general education teachers. KCK Public Schools also has committed to work with KU CRL in future random assignment studies of SIM interventions.
Northeast Middle/High School in Goose Lake, Iowa, has been using SIM since 1983 with much success. SIM was first implemented in special education classes, when Kim Wilson and Mary Friedman began using the Word Identification and Sentence Writing strategies as part of the special education curriculum in grades 7-12. They were joined by Karen Daniels and the late Helene Spain in 1997. In the late 1990s, general education staff—including Deb Witt, Judi Mattis, and Darla Striegel—realized that the high school special education students’ reading and writing skills were strong even when compared to their general education peers. The language arts staff then requested professional development in the Sentence Writing and Paragraph Writing strategies, which have since been incorporated into the general education curriculum with positive results. The general and special education staff have worked collaboratively for several years to make significant gains in instruction and student learning. Students in special education receive instruction in the Word Identification, Error Monitoring, and Sentence Writing strategies in grades 7 and 8. Kim Wilson also developed an extension of the Error Monitoring Strategy in which students record and classify errors in a Daily Oral Language exercise. Use of this process builds confidence in students as it improves their writing ability. In high school, students continue instruction in the Sentence Writing Strategy and begin the Paragraph Writing Strategy. General education students began receiving instruction in Sentence Writing and Paragraph Writing in 2001. Teachers also use such Content Enhancement Routines as Lesson Organizer and Framing. As a result, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills indicates that most special education and general education students are proficient in reading and writing since the introduction of SIM across the curriculum. In addition, the New Standards Language Arts and Math Reference Exam given to eighth-graders also shows improvement in the percentage of students who are proficient in writing. In the Effectiveness and Conventions writing categories, 24 percent of eighth grade students scored well enough to be considered proficient during the 2000- 2001 school year (before SIM). With the implementation of SIM components in the 2001-2002 school year, the percentages of proficient students more than doubled, to 60 percent in the Writing Effectiveness category and 59 percent in the Writing Conventions category. Data showed improvement in the 2002-2003 school year as well.
Paula Hamp Nelson, special education teacher and SIM Professional Developer, and Sioux City West High School in Sioux City, Iowa, have used the Strategic Instruction Model to bring about drastic improvements in incoming high school freshmen. Three years ago, Paula developed an idea to help freshmen who were not reading at grade level. She proposed a summer program that would teach the Word Identification, Self-Questioning, and Visual Imagery strategies. The Transitional Reading Improvement Program (TRIP) was instituted that summer. Of the students who participated in the program, not one failed a course during their freshman year, and on average the students improved one year, five months, on the reading comprehension section of the Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED). Students not participating in TRIP improved only four months. The program will continue for its third year this year and accept more students.
SIM Professional Developers Laura Simons of Knights Ferry, California, and Cathy Spriggs of Modesto, California, have played a major role in developing alternative formats for teaching the Word Identification Strategy. They have written a new manual—using the format of the Content Enhancement Routine manuals—that enables the strategy to be taught within the context of the general education classroom to large groups of students. For the past four years they have collected data in several classrooms and have done several studies to measure the effects of this new intervention. They presented the results of their most recent research at the last conference, and the effect sizes they reported were most encouraging.
Delta Sierra Middle School, under the leadership of Ken Geisick, principal, has implemented a school-wide literacy plan based on SIM. From July 2001 to December 2002, all seventh- and eighth-grade students were placed in either a Corrective Reading class or a Content Reading Class. Targeted students were taught the Paraphrasing Strategy (RAP), Word Identification Strategy (DISSECT), Survey Routine (TRIMS), and Framing Routine (FRAME); benchmark and advanced students were taught RAP, TRIMS, and FRAME. During this period, students made significant gains as measured by a pre- and posttest. In addition, the school raised its Academic Performance Index, a state measure, 22 points overall, far surpassing its required growth of nine points. Since December 2002, Delta Sierra has focused on providing staff development for all teachers in RAP, DISSECT, TRIMS, and FRAME. All teachers are working on embedding these strategies and routines in every class. Every department also has developed a Course Organizer.
The Summer Reading Institute of Baltimore County, Maryland, introduces participants to SIM, providing instruction in the Word Identification Strategy, LINCS Vocabulary Strategy, and the Paraphrasing Strategy. The institute includes instruction for both teachers and students.
Ronald Wolf and Robert Daquilante - West VA Industrial Home for Youth
Muskegon High School, MN