During partner work in STARI, students:
Partner work supports reading development by:
Watch students work in partners to complete a workbook page on The War in Iraq
Watch eighth-grade students work in partners to complete a workbook page on the Walter Dean Myers novel, Game
Students work in partners to complete a workbook page on Game
Guided reading in STARI helps students:
Guided reading format:
Reducing group size promotes opportunities for everyone to talk.
Writing the words on a whiteboard and using interactive strategies to teach vocabulary helps students see word parts or spelling patterns and learn key vocabulary for that chunk of text.
Setting a purpose for reading helps students focus on the main ideas in the passage.
Students read a section silently. The focus of this component is on comprehension, not decoding.
Students stop and talk about their understanding of the text. The discussion helps students build comprehension.
STARI Reading Guide (PDF)
Sixth-grade STARI teacher Mike Andrews talks about guided reading
Watch a complete guided reading lesson
Watch how teachers prompt students to engage more deeply with the text
Discussion and Debate
Discussion and debate promote deep comprehension.
Students have opportunities for discussion and debate in STARI when they:
Cathy O’Connor talks about the importance of discussion
Students talk about how discussion helps
Students debate on which character has more power in the Unit 1.1 novel The Skin I’m In
Students discuss the Unit 2.1 novel Game
Because STARI relies on partner work and small group discussion, and because STARI materials raise provocative issues, it is important to develop a safe and collaborative culture.
STARI students may be initially reluctant to read out loud or share ideas. Some may have learned to be silent to mask their reading challenges. In early weeks of the program, STARI activities provide opportunities for the teacher and students to get to know each other and develop shared norms. Because of STARI’s emphasis on classroom talk about text, students need to feel safe offering their views.
The physical set up of the classroom can affect the quality of interactions during partner work, guided reading, and group discussions. During partner work, seating students side-by-side or facing each other is ideal. For guided reading, pull chairs into a circle or square so that students can see each other. This set-up helps the teacher promote cross-talk, and helps the students see and hear each other. During whole class discussions and debates, students should ideally all be able to see and hear each other.
Cheri Stewart talks about the importance of setting up routines
Struggling readers are often lost with a moderately challenging text. Students may not “self-monitor” as they read—they may not evaluate whether they are making sense of the text. Their approaches for organizing information as they read and solving challenges are often underdeveloped.
STARI uses Reciprocal Teaching (RT) as a core framework for improving reading comprehension. RT develops four strategies: clarifying, summarizing, predicting, and questioning.
Teachers introduce and model the strategies in mini-lessons. Teachers prompt for use of the strategies during guided reading. Students learn to apply the strategies independently, through partner work activities.
Sequence in which strategies are introduced:
STARI targets decoding strategies for reading multi-syllable words.
Students learn two kinds of “chunking” strategies:
In STARI, whole-class mini-lessons introduce decoding strategies. Students practice strategies in partner activities and throughout the unit’s fluency materials. Teachers reinforce the strategies in guided reading.
Patterns addressed in Word Study:
Teachers explain how word study helps their students
Teachers explain how word study helps their students
Stacia Lemond reinforces a decoding strategy in guided reading with the 1.2 unit novel, Locomotion
Mike Andrews talks through a chunking strategy with a student
Fluency is the ability to:
As STARI students practice fluency, they:
STARI fluency passages:
What does the fluency routine look like?
Fluency Routine Chart (PDF)
Fluency Levels in STARI (PDF)
Lowry Hemphill discusses how fluency fits in the STARI curriculum
Elaine Miller discusses the benefits of fluency work
Students discuss their perspectives after reading a fluency passage
Ms. O’Connell introduces students to the Day 1 fluency routine
Students in Ms. Giordani’s class complete the Day 2 fluency routine
A student reads a fluency passage and marks his words per minute
The same student does the phrase-cued reading activity
Students complete the tricky words and phrases activity
Hear more from Lowry Hemphill
Program developer Lowry Hemphill discusses what differences are expected in students across the year
What is difficult about teaching adolescents to read?
Discussion and Debate
Building Classroom Culture
Throughout each STARI unit, students are exposed to both nonfiction and fiction texts through partner reading and guided reading. This combination of guided and more independent work allows students to gain greater skill and confidence with reading strategies and workbook assignments. Units generally conclude with structured classroom discussions and debates where students compile evidence and build perspective-taking skills. Building a positive classroom culture is critical to developing productive daily discussions, as well as unit debates.
To deepen comprehension, the STARI program uses learning strategies for deriving meaning, such as Reciprocal Teaching (RT) and the Question-Answer Relationship (QAR). Word study mini-lessons on basic reading topics such as syllable-chunking connect the theme and readings of the unit to the practical skills that struggling readers need. In addition, STARI fluency materials build word study skills for the decoding strategies taught throughout the unit, while also fostering oral reading accuracy and stamina.
How STARI Works
STARI aims to accelerate the progress of struggling readers by addressing both basic reading skills such as fluency and decoding, and deep comprehension skills simultaneously. A guiding theory of the STARI intervention is that talking to peers about what is read gives students access to multiple perspectives on a text and can promote more complex reasoning. Peer-to-peer talk is also helpful in supporting student motivation and engagement with text. Opportunities for talk are embedded in every component of the curriculum: fluency, word study, partner work, guided reading, and debates that are linked to unit themes. Each unit has a different overall theme or topic that is meaningful and engaging for students.
Development of STARI was led by Lowry Hemphill (Wheelock College) through a SERP collaboration with Harvard University and four Massachusetts school districts. The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305F100026 to the Strategic Education Research Partnership as part of the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.
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