Reading Fundamentals #2:

Laying the Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction


Instructor Name:          Dr. A.N. (Bob) Pillay

Facilitator:                    Mick R. Jackson MS/ED

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:              8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday


Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:



Learning to read is the most important skill students learn in school because it serves as the foundation for all other coursework. Given the importance of this foundational skill, evidence-based practices in literacy development should be employed. This three-course Reading Fundamentals series will help improve your knowledge of evidence-based practices. This knowledge will make you a more informed consumer and an even better advocate for students.


The purpose of this second course in this three-course series is to lay the foundation for effective reading instruction. As part of this course, you will learn about the elements of effective instruction. It is important that all teachers have a firm understanding of effective instructional procedures. Teachers benefit, and more importantly, students benefit, both in terms of their behavior and their academic performance, from effective instruction. Further, you will learn about the importance of reading instruction and read some sobering statistics on reading performance in this country and what happens when individuals are not proficient in reading.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials (Online)

Title:                            Reading Fundamentals #2: Laying the Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction

Authors:                      Nancy Marchand-Martella, Ph.D.

Publisher:                     Virtual Education Software, inc. 2004, Revised 2010, Revised 2014

Instructor Name:          Dr. A.N. (Bob) Pillay

Facilitator:                    Mick R. Jackson MS/ED


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presumes a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed in part or in whole to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course with application to educational settings. The curriculum suggestions and teaching strategies explained here were designed to be used for the teaching and remediation of students in kindergarten through sixth grade and an age range from approximately five years to twelve years of age. Some alterations may be needed if working with specific populations such as gifted, ESL, or special education.


Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

1. Describe the elements of effective instruction.

2. Discuss the importance of reading instruction.

3. Describe the reading theories/models.

4. Differentiate between core/comprehensive, strategic/supplemental, and intensive/intervention reading programs.

5. Provide information on reading psychology and development.

6. Trace the evolution of reading from Adams (1990) to Snow et al. (NRC, 1998) to the National Reading Panel Report (2000) and Put Reading First (2006) to recent evidence-based practice guides developed for the Institute of Education Sciences by What Works Clearinghouse.

7. Describe key legislation and funding that affect reading.

8. Discuss what key legislation means to educators.


Course Description

Reading is the cornerstone of an effective education. Without this skill we are limited in so many important life activities. We cannot access the newspaper, read the directions of a new recipe, enjoy a favorite novel, or read a prescription bottle of medication. The list goes on and on. Reading is tied to all other academic areas. Without reading, mathematics, writing, spelling, and the content areas such as science and social studies are difficult, if not impossible, to participate in or complete at an adequate level. College becomes out of the question and many jobs are simply out of reach because they require some basic level of reading or other skill that hinges on reading. An inability to read renders these individuals almost powerless in our society.


Further, a report of the Commission on Reading (1985) entitled Becoming a Nation of Readers noted the following, almost 30 years ago:


Economics research has established that schooling is an investment that forms human capital—that is, knowledge, skill, and problem-solving ability that have enduring value. While a country receives a good investment in education at all levels from nursery school and kindergarten through college, the research reveals that the returns are highest from the early years of schooling when children are first learning to read. (p. 1)


Unfortunately, a vast number of our students are failing in learning to read and/or reading to learn in our schools. The problem does not go away over time. In fact, the majority of these students continue a trend of failure in reading. This problem has not gone without notice. Reading initiatives have tried to tackle this critical academic area “head on” by focusing on evidence-based practices. Further, five essential components of effective reading programs have been identified for grades K-3 and a separate set of components have been targeted for grades 4-12.  K-3 components include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension; components for grades 4-12 include word study, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and motivation. Empirical studies have shown that students need to acquire skills in these areas to become proficient readers.




Student Expectations 

As a student you will be expected to...

·         Complete all 4 information chapters covering Reading Fundamentals #2: Laying the Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete all 4 chapter examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Course Overview
Chapter 1: Importance of Effective Instruction
This course will shed some light on effective instruction by breaking it down into parts. There are three critical elements of effective instruction lead to student success in the classroom. These include: (a) the organization of instruction; (b) curriculum design; and (c) instructional delivery as noted by Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, & Tarver (2010).


When we look at how reading curricula or programs are designed, we must examine six curricular variables. These variables include: (a) specifying objectives, (b) devising strategies, (c) developing teaching procedures, (d) selecting examples, (e) sequencing skills, and (f) providing practice and review.


In addition to examining the organization of instruction and how our reading program is designed, we should view our instructional delivery techniques. That is, how do we actually provide instruction to our students? Remember, we can have good classroom organization and an effective reading program, but if we do not have the skills to deliver the program in an effective manner, we will struggle to teach our students at high levels. Instructional delivery techniques include: (a) small group instruction, (b) unison oral responding, (c) appropriate instructions, (d) signals, (e) pacing, (f) monitoring, (g) diagnosis and correction, (h) teaching to criterion, and (i) motivation.


Chapter 2: An Overview of Reading Instruction

This chapter details staggering statistics that describe the failure we see in our society. These statistics note the progression of failure if we do not teach reading effectively and early in school. Further, phenomena such as reification and the Matthew Effects are described.


The chapter describes various reading models. A continuum of effective instructional practices as they relate to reading is proposed to help draw light on using both approaches—but it is a matter of when each should be done. Additionally, information is provided on core/comprehensive reading programs as well as on strategic/supplemental and intensive/intervention programs, given their emphasis in our schools.


The chapter also provides important information on reading psychology and development. It is important for teachers to have this background to be better prepared to provide instruction in the classroom so that every child learns to read at a proficient level.


Chapter 3: The Evolution of Reading

Chapter 3 details the reports that set the stage for the National Reading Panel (2000) report. These included the Adams (1990) report and the Snow et al. (NRC, 1998) report.


In 1997, Congress asked the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), in concert with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children to read. That report is discussed in this chapter along with a publication entitled, Put Reading First (2006). Further, recent evidence-based practice guides developed for the Institute of Education Sciences by What Works Clearinghouse are highlighted.


Chapter 4: Reading Intervention Strategies

Congress significantly changed the way that schools could determine a child's eligibility for special education under the specific learning disabilities category when reauthorizing IDEA in 2004. The current research has led to an alternative approach to diagnosing reading problems and delivering services. Two broad approaches will be covered in this chapter that address the diagnosis and delivery issues. This chapter will focus on Response to Intervention (RtI) and a differentiated instruction approach to individualizing instruction.   



At the end of each course chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times.  Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary.  You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

This course has two required writing components.  ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE REVIEWED. Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy noted in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. Be sure to refer to the Grading Guidelines for Writing Assignments, sent as an attachment with your original course link.

It is highly recommended that you write and save all writing assignments in an external word processing program (such as Word or Notepad), and then copy and paste these into the course program so that you will have backup copies.

To save your essays:


When you select the question or article you wish to respond to, ‘Simple Text’ or ‘Text Edit’ will launch automatically. When you are finished entering your response, simply click SAVE. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


1)       Essay Requirement: Critical Thinking Questions

There are four Critical Thinking Questions that you must complete. You will do research on the questions and write brief essay responses relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences, when possible).  To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  You must write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you have completed your edits.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


2)   Essay Requirement: Journal Articles

This task requires you to write a review of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles, preferably written by an author with a Ph.D. (blogs and news articles are not acceptable) of your choice on a topic related to this course.  You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.).  Choose three relevant articles and write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your review with your thoughts and impressions (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum). Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article.


To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


Facilitator Description

Reading Fundamentals #2: Laying the Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction has been developed by a team of professionals with educational backgrounds in the areas of clinical psychology, direct reading, and phonetic instructional practices. Mick Jackson is a Behavioral Intervention Specialist with a Master's Degree in Special Education with a focus on Behavioral Theory and a minor in Reading Remediation.  He has 15 years’ combined experience in self-contained special education classrooms, resource rooms, and a hospital day treatment setting.  He has conducted oral seminars, presenting to school districts and teacher groups, as well as at educational conferences.  Please contact Professor Jackson if you have course content or examination questions.


Instructor Description

Dr. A.N. Bob Pillay is a doctoral-level professor who has been teaching in the field of exceptional education, curriculum approaches, English, reading and mathematics for the past 30 years. Dr. Pillay has received numerous national and international awards for his research in these fields. He has headed boards and committees in more than five countries, including Australia, the Philippines and Southeast Asia, to develop and strengthen curriculum approaches and special services. Dr. Pillay has extensive knowledge of education issues in the U.S. due to his doctoral studies at the University of Louisville. He was the Founding Director of the Learning Improvement Centre, which is a training facility for teachers, and was a service provider to students with learning problems. He is currently a retired Senior Lecturer and Senior Fellow in Special Education at the University of Melbourne. Please contact Professor Jackson if you have course content or examination questions.


Contacting the Facilitator

You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Jackson at or calling him at 509-891-7219 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.

Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.


Archer, A. L., & Hughes, C. A. (2011). Explicit instruction: Effective and efficient teaching. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.


Armbruster, B. B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2006). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read (3rd ed.). Jessup, MD: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement.


Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2013). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.


Biancarosa, C., & Snow, C. E. (2006). Reading next: A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy. A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.


Boardman, A. G., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Wexler, J., Murray, C. S., & Kosanovich, M, (2008). Effective instruction for adolescent struggling readers: A practice brief. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.


Brozo, W. G. (2009). Response to intervention or responsive instruction? Challenges and possibilities of response to intervention for adolescent literacy. Journal of Adolescent Literacy, 53, 277-281.


Burns, M. K., & Ysseldyke, J. E. (2009). Reported prevalence of evidence-based instructional practices in special education. The Journal of Special Education, 43(1), 3-11.


Carnine, D. W., Silbert, J., Kame’enui, E. J., & Tarver, S. G. (2010). Direct instruction reading (5th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson/Merrill.


Coyne, M. D., Kame’enui, E. J., & Carnine, D. W. (2011). Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.


Gersten, R., Compton, D., Connor, C.M., Dimino, J., Santoro, L., Linan-Thompson, S., and Tilly, W.D. (2008). Assisting students struggling with reading: Response to Intervention and multi-tier intervention for reading in the primary grades. A practice guide. (NCEE 2009-4045). Washington, DC: National Center for Edu­cation Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from


Isakson, L., Marchand-Martella, N. E., & Martella, R. C. (2011). Assessing the effects of the McGraw-Hill Phonemic Awareness program with preschool children with developmental delays: A case study. Education & Treatment of Children, 34, 1-15.


Kamil, M. L., Borman, G. D., Dole, J., Kral, C. C., Salinger, T., & Torgesen, J. (2008). Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices: A Practice Guide (NCEE #2008-4027). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from wwc.


Lee, C. D., & Spratley, A. (2010). Reading in the disciplines: The challenges of adolescent literacy. New York, NY: Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Marchand-Martella, N. E., & Martella, R. C. (2013). Explicit instruction. In W. L. Heward (Ed.), Exceptional children (10th ed.) (pp. 166-168). Columbus, OH: Pearson/Merrill.


Marchand-Martella, N. E., Martella, R. C., Fisher, D., McTighe, J., Kosanovich, M., Johnson-Glenberg, M., & Morrell, E. (2014). SRA FLEX Literacy. Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-12. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill. See program samples at


Marchand-Martella, N. E., Martella, R. C., Modderman, S. L., Latterell, H. M., & Pan, S. (2013). Key areas of effective adolescent literacy programs. Education & Treatment of Children, 36, 161-184.


Marchand-Martella, N. E., Ruby, S., & Martella, R. C. (2007). A three-tier strategic model of intensifying reading instruction. TEACHING Exceptional Children Plus, 3, Article 2, available from (Reprinted in 2012, Spring, Direct Instruction News, 19-23.)


Marchand-Martella, N. E, Slocum, T. A., & Martella, R. C. (Eds.). (2004). Introduction to Direct Instruction. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


National Governors Association for Best Practices. (2005). Reading to achieve: A governor’s guide to adolescent literacy. Retrieved from:


National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Retrieved from http://


National Institute for Literacy (NIFL). (2007). What content-area teachers should know about adolescent literacy. Retrieved from http://www.


National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Roberts, G., Torgesen, J. K., Boardman, A., & Scammacca, N. (2008). Evidence-based strategies for reading instruction of older students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23, 63-69.


Scammacca, N., Roberts, G., Vaughn. S., Edmonds, M., Wexler, J., Reutebuch, C. K., & Torgesen, J. K. (2007). Interventions for adolescent struggling readers: A meta-analysis with implications for practice. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.


Shanahan, T., Callison, K., Carriere, C., Duke, N. K., Pearson, P. D., Schatschneider, C., & Torgesen, J. (2010). Improving reading comprehension in kindergarten through 3rd grade: A practice guide (NCEE 2010-4038). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from guides.


Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). National Research Council. (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.


Snow, C. & Moje, E. (2010). Why is everyone talking about adolescent literacy? Kappan, 91(6), 66-69.


Stewart, R., Benner, G., Martella, R. C., & Marchand-Martella, N. E. (2007). Three-tier models of reading and behavior: A research review. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 9, 239-253.


Torgesen, J. K., Houston, D. D., Rissman, L. M., Decker, S. M., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., …Lesaux, N. (2007). Academic literacy instruction for adolescents: A guidance document from the Center on Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.  4/8/15 jn