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Chapters 4 & 5 Summary 1

Chapters 4 & 5 Summary

Nathan L. Tamborello

The University of Houston

Summer 2018 – CUIN 7331


Chapters 4 & 5 Summary 2

Chapter 2 of Darrell Morris’ Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Problems focuses on

how to interpret the scores from the chapter 3 diagnostic reading battery of tests in order to both

help the teacher/ aid establish the reading level of the child and identify areas of strengths and

weaknesses in the child’s reading performance and ability.

The chapter begins by discussing the case summary sheet and how to read and interpret

it. In order to read the scores and make sense of them, we must apply the performance criteria

against the child’s case summary sheet. The performance criteria were introduced in chapter 3

and are the base scores for the independent, instructional, and frustration level for the scoring

guides in word recognition, oral reading accuracy, comprehension, and spelling. Morris explains

that even before trying to interpret the scores, we can see visually whereabouts the child will fall

just by our anticipation of the relationships amongst the scores at various grade levels and

difficulties.

Morris makes sure to emphasize throughout the chapter, and throughout chapter 5, that

these scores are hypothesised relationships between components of the reading process and the

child’s actual ability. The scores should inform instruction and not be tied to it - a teacher should

visually and developmentally assess a child individually to see if they fall within their score

range, do worse than their scores, or are progressed passed where their scores place them.

Chapter 4 introduces 6 different case studies that centre around various events that may

arise when interpret and assess a child’s reading ability. The first step is to identify the student’s

frustration level - go down the scores, comparing them with the established norms, and find

where they fall below the acceptable levels. Then progress up the chart to establish the child’s

instructional level. Next, you must attempt to confirm these levels by looking for performance
Chapters 4 & 5 Summary 3

drop offs and having the child read IRI’s. Next, establish spelling instructional and frustration

levels.

Chapter 4 ends by discussing the difficulties of assessing 1st graders, in that they present a

diagnostic problem because they become frustrated early on in the reading process. Morris break

the 1st grade difficulty levels beyond the base “first grade” into emergent, preprimer, primer, and

late first levels in order to more accurately assess results.

Chapter 5 moves beyond the diagnoses and cases described in chapter 4 and describes

that beyond an initial score, there are things that affect a child’s reading performance that a

diagnostician should be cognizant of, such as family history, trauma, behavioural issues, or

earlier reading difficulties. Morris discusses two specific cases where students were struggling

readers with no visible or neurological reason to be. Through parent interviews, Morris

discovered that one of the children was a twin that had lost his twin in a car accident that the

other had witnessed; in another interview, the parents admitted that reading disorders had been

common in their family and the disability might be related hereditarily.

Morris further discusses the obvious need for parent interviews: the parent often knows

detailed information about when the child first started exhibiting developmental issues, whether

a teacher or aid pointed them out or if the parent noticed, anything that has been done thus far to

combat the issues, or if the school had offered assistance in the form of special education classes

or further support. Parent interviews, while long and tedious, have been overlooked to the

chagrin of Morris; Morris states that they are detrimental in the diagnosis and correction of

reading disabilities in children, especially earlier on.

Morris then discusses the difference between formal and informal testing and

standardised testing: standardised testing provides known norms with which to analyse testing
Chapters 4 & 5 Summary 4

scores, but also is a one-size-fits-all model that may not effectively and accurately reflect true

placement.

Morris’ anecdotes of the parental questionnaire lead me to the conclusion that should I

have reading troubles with a student, even a simple questionnaire sent to parents - even through

an online means - could be instrumental in helping me determine a correct path towards

diagnoses and the eventual correction of the reading disability.

One thing that stood out in every chapter was that Morris continually reassured the

reader/ diagnostician that correction of these reading problems is often slow, yet effective. The

teacher needs to remember that while slow progress is often painful, it is yet another step

towards putting the child where they should be developmentally. So, being patient through the

process is a huge key in the success of both the teacher and the child. Often, student vocabulary

will begin small, but through repetition, hard work, and good input from the teacher or aide, the

vocabulary of the student will strengthen and begin to expand.

Another thing I took from chapter 5 was that it is detrimental for adults to stop reading

books to children. When adults read to children, their vocabulary widens, they end up paying

more attention, and they pick up on the pattern and rhythm of speech. In my future classroom, I

should set aside time to either read books aloud to the students or administer book talks to them.

I will be teaching 8th grade, so they are on the tail end of the development discussed in these

chapters, but making sure to continually read to them and provide opportunities for them to read

aloud to each other would be helpful in not only the development of their vocabularies, but also

strengthen their oral reading skills. After the reading, we could discuss the oral work, checking

for comprehension and adding to theirs by providing input and collaboration from their peers.