Making Sense of Decoding and Spelling: An Adult Reading Course of Study

Resource URL:
Author(s): 
Charles A. MacArthur, Ph.D.
Judith A. Alamprese, Ph.D.
Deborah Knight, Ph.D.
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
University of Delaware
Abt Associates Inc.
Atlanta Speech School
Published: 
2010
Keywords: 
Reading, Reading Instruction, Spelling, Spelling Instruction
Number of Pages: 
518
Product Type: 
Instructional Material
Target Audience: 
Local Program Administrators, Professional Developers, Teachers
Skill Level: 
NRS EFL 3--ABE Intermediate Low
Required Training: 

None

Abstract: 

Making Sense of Decoding and Spelling: An Adult Reading Course of Study is an evidence-based course of study designed to teach adult learners to decode and spell words accurately and fluently. The materials were developed during a research study by Charles MacArthur, Judith Alamprese, and Deborah Knight. The course of study begins with a review of basic alphabetic decoding skills and then teaches the most common and useful patterns of English words, and their applications in decoding, spelling, and fluent reading. The course was evaluated in an experi¬mental study. When implemented as designed, the course was found to have positive learner gains. Materials for the course of study include three publications: (1) Teachers’ and Administrators’ Guide, (2) Lesson Plans, and (3) Learner Activity Book. All three publications are needed to deliver instruction as designed.

The research behind the materials
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute for Literacy and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education funded six adult literacy research awards in September 2002. The research focused on increasing understanding of the specific cognitive, socio-cultural, and instructional factors, and the complex interactions among these factors, which promote or impede the acquisition of English reading and writing abilities within adult literacy programs. Dr. Charles (Skip) MacArthur, University of Delaware and Judith Alamprese, Abt Associates Inc. are researchers from the projects who are part of the Adult Literacy Consortium. Consortium members have contributed to the literature base on reading and/or writing. A webcast archive of Dr. MacArthur and other members of the consortium discussed their findings, including the Making Sense materials, in a webcast which is available in the LINCS archive.

Benefits and Uses: 

How to Use the Materials
The materials are designed to be used as one component of a comprehensive adult reading course targeted to adult basic education (ABE) learners at the low-intermediate level (fourth to seventh grade equivalence level). The lessons are scripted and sequential, with each building on skills taught in previous lessons. The materials are best suited for use by teachers with some prior training in teaching reading. It is important to have all three publications to use the course effectively.

Teachers' and Administrators' Guide. The Guide is designed to assist ABE instructors in using the Making Sense course of study, and provides important information for ABE administrators and teachers to use in supporting instruction with Making Sense. Lesson Plans. The Lesson Plans document contains 30 scripted lesson plans with related charts to create overhead transparencies, PowerPoint presentation sor handouts. The course of study begins with a review of basic alphabetic decoding skills and then teaches the most common and useful patterns of English words, and their applications in decoding, spelling, and fluent reading. Learner Activity Book. The Learner Activity Book is designed for use by individual learners in conjunction with the lessons. Each learner should have a copy.

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