Reutzel article on early literacy research on effective classroom strategies.

September 25, 2015 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

The July/August issue of The Reading Teacher, 69:1, 14-24, includes an by article D. Ray Reutzel, titled Early Literacy Research: Findings primary-grade teachers will want to know. Read it here: (I am not sure whey we can read it for free, so take advantage of it – if you have problems contact the library and we’ll send TDSB teachers a print copy).

Here are some of the key points:


  • Handwriting needs to be returned to the elementary language arts curriculum. When handwritten letter transcription becomes fluent, young students can turn their attention to higher-level cognitive processes that allow them to compose high-quality written texts across a wide range of genres. (page 15)

Phonemeic Awareness

  • Focusing early phonemic awareness instruction on blending, segmenting, and manipulating phonemes has been shown to produce greater improvements in phonemic awareness and future reading achievement in young children than time spent on rhyming and alliteration. (page 16)

Alphabett letter names

  • Teaching students brief, multicomponential alphabet letter lessons daily [bolding is mine, not weekly] followed up with multiple review cycles provides strong support for young students’ alphabetic knowledge acquisition. (page 18)

Concepts about print

  • Concepts about print are effectively taught to young children by immersing them in shared reading experiences using pointing, circling, framing, counting, highlighting, verbal punctuation, matching, and so on. As children develop CAP, teachers can invite them to follow along using fingerpoint reading in their own copy of a text as they develop increasing control of the visual system.(page 19)

Writing workshops- all from page 20

  • For many years now, researchers Harris, Graham, Mason, and Friedlander (2008) have been conducting studies of powerful writing strategies called Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD).
  • The sequence of SRSD writing instruction begins with developing students’ background knowledge, followed by discussions about the strategy to be learned; then teacher modeling, followed by guided, supported practice; and finally, independent performance of the strategy.
  • As a complement to writers’ workshop, teachers of young children can embed SRSD instruction within a writers’ workshop framework with little effort by replacing the minilessons with SRSD lessons.

Text structure

  • The takeaway message from all of this research on early comprehension instruction and oral language? It seems that if children can listen to texts read aloud, learn to identify the texts’ structural components and organization, and then use this text structure knowledge to generate “text structure talk” in spoken texts, their later reading comprehension is empowered. (page 21)

Read the article in full for details and summaries of the research (it is all based on research). If you like Reutzel’s article,the Professional Library has 3 of his books which TDSB teachers can reserve via the catalogue at


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