Reading Fundamentals #2:

Laying the Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction


Instructor Name:

Dr. Karen Lea


Mick R. Jackson MS/ED



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday



Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

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)


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


Nancy Marchand-Martella, Ph.D.


Virtual Education Software, inc.  2004, Revised 2010, Revised 2014, Revised 2017, Revised 2020


Dr. Karen Lea


Mick 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 12th grade. Some alterations may be needed for those working with specific populations such as gifted, English Language Learners (ELLs), 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. Explain the before, during, and after reading management tips.
  4. Outline how behavior management approaches can be integrated into instruction.
  5. Describe the reading theories/models.
  6. Differentiate between core/comprehensive, strategic/supplemental, and intensive/intervention reading programs.
  7. Describe the continuum of effective instructional approaches including the continuum of constructivism.
  8. Provide information on reading psychology and development.
  9. 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 and the International Literacy Association.
  10. Describe key legislation and funding that affect reading.

11.  Discuss what key legislation means to educators.

12.  Describe what is meant by Response to Intervention (RTI) and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).

13.  Provide information on how to differentiate instruction for ELLs.



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, more than 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 four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *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 a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 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 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. Three critical elements of effective instruction lead to student success in the classroom: the organization of instruction, curriculum design; and instructional delivery (Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, Slocum, & Travers (2017).


When we look at how reading curricula or programs are designed, we must examine six curricular variables: (a) specifying objectives, (b) devising instructional strategies, (c) developing teaching procedures, (d) selecting examples, (e) sequencing skills, and (f) providing practice and review (Carnine et al., 2017).


In addition to examining the organization of instruction and how our reading program is designed, we should assess 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) teacher signaling, (d) pacing, (e) monitoring, (f) correcting errors and teaching to mastery, (g) diagnosing, (h) motivation, (i) accelerating student learning, and (j) whole-class instruction (Carnine et al., 2017). Before, during, and after reading management tips will also be covered as outlined by Marchand-Martella, Martella, and Lambert (2015).


Finally, a description of how effective behavior management approaches can be integrated within instruction will be provided and include behavior management related to organizing instruction, effective instruction, self-management, and social development. 


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.


A further description of this continuum will be provided with a focus on the forms of constructivism including the endogenous, exogenous, and dialectical forms.


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 titled Put Reading First (2006). Further, recent evidence-based practice guides developed for the Institute of Education Sciences by What Works Clearinghouse and the International Literacy Association are highlighted.


Chapter 4: Reading Intervention Strategies

Congress significantly changed the way in which schools could determine a child’s eligibility for special education under the specific learning disabilities category when it reauthorized 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 Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) and on a differentiated instruction approach to individualizing instruction. Additionally, methods of differentiating instruction for ELLs is explained in detail.




At the end of each 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.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  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.



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, the instructor of record, 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

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education. Dr. Lea has fifteen years’ experience teaching at the K-12 level and another fourteen years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. Currently she is a coordinator for a cadre of instructional developers and project manager for aerospace online training. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over fifteen times and has served on over a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.  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 800-313-6744 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.




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