Daily one-to-one instruction with a student’s main teacher has been an integral element of the Oakland Way since the school’s inception. Each student receives at least one 35-minute period per day of one-to-one reading instruction. Children with severe reading disabilities often receive additional one-to-ones and may spend 2.5 to 3 hours daily in intensive reading instruction.
Beginning readers practice phonics skills, decoding, and the structural analysis of words using our research-based, multisensory approach. For example, we use tracing packets that correspond with their basal packets. Children trace the raised shapes of the letters of words as they hear and read the sounds orally to bring several senses into play. Drill and repetition are also features of the program at this level. As students become confident in their skills, we introduce oral reading in small peer groups to help children transfer and practice the skills they have learned in one-to-ones.
Recent research shows a nearly 3-year total reading gain in an Oakland student’s first year.
As children become more adept at reading words, oral reading continues to be a focus of daily individual instruction. We understand the immense effort required to read out loud for children with learning and attention issues, so we practice during the safety and acceptance of the one-to-one environment and alternate reading passages out loud. As the teacher reads, he or she is able to model inflection, punctuation observation, and pronunciation, giving the struggling reader a listening break and providing story continuity and improved comprehension. When the student reads, the teacher can observe and evaluate the reader’s skills, detecting weaknesses as well as offering praise and encouragement. Oakland’s daily one-to-one instruction can help students achieve 1.5 to 2 years of progress in reading each year as measured by standardized testing.
At Oakland, students gradually make the shift from learning to read to reading to learn and are moved ahead as quickly as their abilities allow. Daily one-to-ones transition to teaching specific comprehension strategies, developing vocabulary, and improving a reader’s fluency.
Individual instruction also serves as a foundation for building the valued relationship between student and teacher. Because the reading teacher is also the student’s champion and main teacher, he or she serves as a resource beyond reading, including helping students with the following:
Study for tests in other classes
Drill multiplication tables
Review spelling lists
Complete writing assignments
Develop a schedule for homework completion
Navigate social challenges
Set goals for life after Oakland