The use of reading instructional time by teachers in an urban balanced literacy setting

Geanine Pierro, Fordham University


The purpose of this exploratory study was to document the nature of the time used for reading instruction provided by novice and expert teachers in an urban balanced literacy classroom setting. ^ The participants of this study were six volunteer female classroom teachers of literacy in a large urban elementary school, of which three were designated as experts and three as novices. Each of the three expert volunteers modeled best practices in balanced literacy as lead teachers on their respective grades. Each of the three novice volunteers was mentored by an expert classroom teacher. Each participant was video taped while providing instruction for students during six of their daily reading instructional periods. Additionally, artifacts of the observed instruction were collected by the researcher as a source of qualitative data. ^ Quantitative data was gathered using a researcher-generated observation instrument known as the Reading Classroom Observation Matrix or R-COM. Using an interval recording method to note the frequency of 25 to, with, by, and other low inference behaviors that typically occur during a reading instructional period in a balanced literacy setting. In 1-minute intervals three expert raters indicated the frequency of each behavior and whether it occurred during instruction in a whole class, small group, or one-to-one instructional grouping. Additionally, raters recorded field notes for each of the instructional groupings observed, providing the researcher with an additional qualitative source. ^ Quantitative findings for this study found that there were no significant differences between the use of time by expert teachers and novices who were mentored by experts in an urban balanced literacy setting. However, qualitative findings revealed subtle differences that highlighted the ability of experts to make on the spot teaching and assessment decisions, and to be innovators in the creation of materials that supported the differentiation of instruction for students. Additionally, independent reading and one-to-one conferring represented the greatest use of instructional time for both expert and novice teachers. Finally, findings revealed that there was a clear pattern of descending teacher support from to occurrences to by occurrences as the size of instructional groupings decreased. ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary|Education, Reading|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Pierro, Geanine, "The use of reading instructional time by teachers in an urban balanced literacy setting" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361362.