The importance of literacy instruction is difficult to overstate, especially for students with learning difficulties. Novice teachers may experience problems teaching struggling readers at all levels. Therefore, the availability of sample lesson videos is crucial for educators with limited experience. Making such videos also help experts who develop them to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson. The present paper offers a reflection over a video of a model lesson for a small group of struggling readers discussing the advantages and limitations of the lesson plan and its delivery.
Summary of the Lesson
The lesson featured in the video is developed for a small group of struggling readers in PreK-5. The central objective of the lesson is to teach the students to recall and recognize letters and letter sounds based on objects that begin with the letters A, B, and C with 70% accuracy. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher greets the class and announces the question of the day. The teacher introduces letters A, B, and C to the class and puts on the alphabet song to increase the phonemic awareness of the class. After the song, the teacher asks the class to name some of the animals from the song and their first letters. After the introductory part, the teacher gives instructions and models the central class activity by naming the objects and putting distributing them into three bins according to the starting letter. Then, the teacher asks the class to practice the activity. In the end, the teacher asks students to answer the question of the day and summarizes what was learned.
Strengths of the Lesson
The featured lesson has several strengths that should be acknowledged. First, the lesson is based on relevant assumptions and meets the needs of struggling readers. In PreK-5, the students need to learn the association between letters and sounds, and the activity is an efficient strategy to meet those needs. Second, the lesson has a coherent structure, which includes four vital parts, which are the introduction, modeling, group activity, closure, and evaluation. Third, the lesson uses technology, which is helpful in increasing engagement in class activity. Finally, in the video, it is clear that the teacher is confident and inspirational to the students, which is a sign of high qualifications and careful lesson planning. There is no time wasted, which allows using every minute of the lesson to help the students acquire the desired skills.
Areas of Improvement
There are minor flaws in the lesson that should be addressed to increase its quality. First, the experience does not include any individual assignments. Even though it is acceptable for lessons for small groups not to have individual practice tasks, the present lesson can benefit from them. Second, the teacher does not put enough emphasis on the starting sounds of the letter. The teacher should say, for example, that the word “ball” starts with the letter “b,” which corresponds to the [b] sound. Finally, there are some inappropriate words included in the task, such as “chicken.” Even though the word starts with the letter “c,” it does not represent the usual [k] sound, which may be confusing for struggling readers.
Use as a Model Lesson
The possibility of using the video as a model lesson is limited as there is no actual class present in the video. The beginner teachers need to see the actual reactions of students and know what questions they may ask. At the same time, the lesson should picture how the teacher encourages students, corrects them, and evaluates the personal participation of every student. Moreover, the video lasts only for ten minutes, while such activities with a real class would take about 30 minutes. However, the video can be used as a model for the teacher’s behavior, lesson structure, and the use of technology.
Lesson videos help beginner teachers acquire the desired expertise. The lesson discussed in the present paper has several strengths, which is a coherent structure, adequate objectives, use of technology, and teacher’s behavior. However, despite an insignificant number of flaws in the lesson design, the use of the video as a model lesson is limited. A good video should feature the reactions of students to the tasks and instruction.