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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Listen-Read-Discuss: Simple Teaching Method for Content Area Reading and Language Development

A teaching method that allows a wide range of readers and ELL students to operate out of the same textbook...see the 5th edition for how to convert use of this method for Faculty Development.

Listen-Read-Discuss Heuristic: A Self-Initializing Instructional Method
For Teachers and Students

(In: Manzo, Manzo and Thomas, 2005, Content Area Literacy: Strategic Teaching for Strategic Learning, Wiley Publishers; and 2009, 5th Edition)
The Listen-Read-Discuss (L-R-D) method was created as a “starter” method for bridging from traditional instruction to a more interactive approach. Traditional reading-based instruction typically begins by having students read the assignment, listen to a brief lecture or overview by the teacher, and then discuss their responses to questions. The L-R-D simply inverts the first two steps.
Effective learning, including learning how to be an effective teacher, needs something to get it started, something to keep it going, and something to keep it from becoming random or misguided (Bruner, 1971). The L-R-D method (Manzo & Casale, 1985) tends to meet these requirements for both teachers and students. It is a simple lesson design that can be tried almost immediately and that offers several variations that can be phased in as a personal program of professional development. The L-R-D is a heuristic, or hands-on, activity designed to induce self-discovery about effective teaching by teachers and about effective learning by students.

Steps in the L-R-D
1. Review the reading selection, and prepare a brief, organized overview that points out the basic structure of the material, relevant background information, important information to look for, and generates interest in the topic..
2. Present the summary orally to students. (See Figure 1.1.)
3. Have students read the textbook version of the same material. Students will then be empowered to read material with which they have some familiarity.
4. Discuss the material students have heard and read. Begin the discussion with the information and ideas students were directed to look for.

Figure 1.1
Example of an L-R-D Prereading Script

The sample prereading script below is based on the article “Dance and Sport: the Elusive Connection,” which follows in this Figure.

Did you know that football coaches sometimes have their players take ballet lessons? Can you see Frank over there in a tutu? (Frank is one of the school’s star football players.) Well, this article tells about where this idea came from, and why it seems to work. Look for seven things dancers learn, and think about why these would be useful for football players. Write these down when you come to them -- there’re listed in one of the first paragraphs. Then the author tells how some sports are more like dance than others. and sport are different. In dance, it is the mastery over one’s movement that is important. In sport, it is the result of mastery over one’s movement that is important. Look for the difference between “open skill” sports and “closed skill” sport, and how one type is more like dance than the other. The title of the article is “Dance and Sport: The Elusive Connection.” Elusive means something that seems to keep slipping away. Read to see why the connection between dance and sport might keep slipping away.

Dance and Sport – The Elusive Connection
Techniques and principles effectively used in teaching dance can be applied to teaching sport

Sandra Minton
Bradford Beckwith

JOPERD May/June (?)
What are the functional connections between dance and sport and the benefits that are derived from participation in both pursuits? This article presents ideas which are applied to both dance and sport in order to enhance performance and reduce injury.
Many well-known people have recognized a connection between dance and sport skills. It may have been this kinship that convinced Knute Rockne, famed football coach at Notre Dame, to require his players to enroll in dance classes. Maybe it was the similarity between dance and sport that caused Woody Hayes, former Ohio state head coach, to expect his players to take dance as part of their practice procedures (Lance, 1981). Lynn Swan, three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver while playing with the four-time World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, studied dance for 14 years and attributed his graceful athletic abilities to dance.
It is possible that each of these individuals witnessed movement competencies shared by dance and sports. Some of these shared abilities include centering, balance, focus, breathing, transfer of weight, relaxation and the ability to use space, time, and energy with mastery. Such abilities are taught specifically in dance classes, while in athletics they are only alluded to as a part of skill instruction.
The basic difference between dance and sport is that sport takes place within the conditions of a game, while dance is performed in other contexts. A game is a contest in which opposing interests are given specific information and are then allowed a choice of moves with the object of maximizing wins and minimizing losses. A game entails dominance over an opponent and the acquisition of some mutually coveted symbol. The athlete, by improving his or her movement abilities, will then improve sport skills.
Dancers, on the other hand, are process-oriented rather than product-oriented. The goal in dance is the improvement of movement quality.
Similarities between dance and sport outweigh their differences. Paqr4ticipants in both areas train to go faster and farther, while moving with increased control. The dancer and the sport participant both work to expand their movement vocabulary so they can use a particular action when the situation demands. Biomechanical analysis has been used for many years by physical educators to help their students learn. In recent years, dancers have also begun to use biomechanics to analyze movement with the goals of sharpening perception of movement, decreasing learning time, and enhancing performance (Laws, 1984). Dance and sport and similar in another respect. While some would say a dance was choreographed but a sport contest was not planned, further examination indicates that all the X’s and O’s used in game strategy simply represent another form of choreography.
Some sport activities are more similar to dance training than others. The concept of open and closed skills helps explain this point. In a closed skill, one strives to master an effective and efficient motor program with the goal of being able to duplicate this program with each repetition. Environmental conditions remain relatively constant, and the performer attempts to be consistent in the execution of the skill. Sports such as the shot put, diving, and gymnastics are closed skills. Open skills exist in a changing environment, and the selection of appropriate movement responses is as variable as the environment itself. Baseball, football, soccer, and basketball are open skill activities (Sage, 1977). Both open and closed skill athletes can benefit from dance training. The abilities which are taught in dance classes used by both kinds of athletes are different, but are not less applicable to their sports’ requirements.
The principle of relaxation can be used as an example. Dancers frequently talk about using the right amount of tension in one part of the body while allowing other body areas to remain relaxed. The main idea is to use energy efficiently and only where needed to perform a movement. Efficient movement is characterized by using the appropriate muscle groups in proper sequence. The use of the wrong muscle group at the wrong time can be deleterious to the skill and possibly to the performer. Another common word heard in dance class is “centering.” Centering is finding the body’s center of weight and manipulating it effectively in relation to gravity. It also brings the mind and body together to produce better concentration. Achieving a heightened perception of and facility with space, time, and energy is another principle used in teaching dance. Dancers are asked to look at the direction or level of a movement, its speed in relation to an underlying pulse, or the quality of energy used to propel actions through space. Such movement descriptions are provided in dance classes to help students see movement more clearly and to enhance understanding of the expressive aspects of each action (Minton, 1984).
The point is that these principles are used in teaching dance, but generally not in teaching sport. In dance, these ideas are singled out in the classroom and used as learning tools. The examples given here are several of the techniques used in teaching dance that could be applied profitably to the teaching of sport.


Lance, J. (1981). Practicing for touchdowns. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 5, 38.
Laws, K. (1984). The physics of dance. New York: Macmillan, Inc.
Minton, S.C. (1984). Modern dance: Body and mind. Englewood, CO: Morton.
Sage, G.H. (1977). Introduction to motor behavior: A neurophychological approach. (2nd edition). Reading, MA: Addison-Wessley.
Sandra Minton is coordinator of the Dance Program at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639. Bradford E. Beckwith is a doctoral candidate, psychological kinesiology, at the same school

Other Values and Benefits of Listen-Read-Discuss
Use of the L-R-D tends to benefit teachers, students, and the school program in ways that are not always immediately apparent. One such value emerges almost immediately in the lesson-planning stage. When teachers select textual material for use in an L-R-D lesson, they find themselves looking at the textbook more carefully and from more points of view than they might otherwise. They begin, quite naturally, to sense where students’ comprehension is likely to falter and to better align the phrasing, facts, and organization of the lecture material they are preparing with the textbook material that students will read. With better alignment and organization, teachers automatically begin to heed a basic dictum of effective reading instruction: to stimulate active reading by preteaching key terms, pivotal questions, and new concepts before reading. Better organization and alignment also are likely to raise teachers’ levels of tolerance for reasonable digressions in the form of comments about how the new information relates to real-life events and experiences. In so doing, teachers help students to better recall and develop relevant background information and appropriate anticipation, both of which have been shown to be natural to proficient readers and of great value in effective comprehension (Crafton, 1983; Harste, 1978; Stevens, 1982).
Careful preparation of L-R-D lessons actually raises students’ ability to read a particular piece beyond their typical reading and thinking levels. This can be a positive and enabling experience for students and teachers. It tends to become a new benchmark for students to strive for in learning from text and for teachers to strive for in helping students to learn from text.
Following the lecture and empowered reading, the lesson design calls for discussion, providing a third repetition and elaboration of the material. This built-in redundancy factor is a most basic—and often overlooked—practice of effective teachers and principle of effective learning.
Finally, a teacher who follows the L-R-D guidelines will have begun to restructure class time and expectations from the typical 90% lecture format to one containing greatly increased proportions of purposeful reading and informed discussion. This achieves yet another important practice of effective teachers and precept of effective learning: increased time on task. Some have argued that the simple lack of attention to reading in typical content classes accounts for a great part of the current higher-literacy crisis in the schools. This conclusion seems justified by the fact that several observational studies of subject teaching at the postelementary levels reveal that virtually no purposeful reading goes on during class time (Feathers & Smith, 1987; Greenewald & Wolf, 1980; Mikulecky, 1982; Ratekin, Simpson, Alvermann, & Dishner, 1985).
Overall, the greatest value of the L-R-D seems to be its ability to provide a simple, hands-on way to introduce and initiate oneself to the principles and practices of content area literacy. The reapportioning of class time offers teachers with defensive teaching styles—who overuse either lecture or seatwork—an opportunity to experiment with reasonable alternatives (Manzo & Manzo, 1996). This tends to leave teachers with more energy and a greater willingness to try more sophisticated teaching methods and potentially benefit more fully from in-service workshops, consultations, and graduate coursework (Watkins, McKenna, Manzo, & Manzo, 1995).
A Self-Instructional Ladder
To help teachers’ self-discovery, that is, to ease their way into the actual use of more sophisticated, interactive teaching methods, and to provide rich alternatives for different learning styles, we have developed a self-instructional ladder for trying variations and elaborations on the basic L-R-D procedure (see Figures 1.2 and 1.3). You can use L-R-D variations and elaborations to develop your sophistication as an interactive teacher and to explore possible diverse student learning style needs. Try ascending this ladder as your own readiness and students’ needs suggest. It’s a good idea to keep notes of your thoughts and questions as you try different variations. Your notes and thoughts will be useful in discussions with your instructor and coursemates and in processing your own teaching experiences.
Figure 1.2
Ladder of variations and elaborations on Listen-Read-Discuss.

• Have students reread the information covered in the L-R-D format rapidly to increase their speed of reading and thought processing. Reading speed tends to rise as a result of increases in prior knowledge, although it can also be easily improved simply by systematic attention and practice.
• Inform the class that you will lecture, intentionally omitting a few important details that they will need to read their texts to discover. This gives practice in recognizing what is not yet known and experience in careful reading and knowledge seeking.
• Inform the class that your lecture will cover all the details of a lesson but that they will need to read to discover what questions these details answer. This is one way to teach students to actively seek an understanding of the concept base, or central question, around which an area of study is focused.
• Inform the class that a quiz will follow the L-R-D sequence. Allow a short study period. This is recommended to activate a high level of focused attention, give practice in test taking, and set the stage for questions and discussion about how to study effectively.
• Invert the core process occasionally by having the class R-L-D, or read (for about 15 minutes), then listen, and finally discuss. This variation tends to focus and improve listening attention and the ability to learn from an effective lecture. This effect can be further heightened when joined with the other listening training and note-taking techniques covered ahead.
• Watch a videotape, educational film, or multimedia presentation on a text topic before reading about it in the text. Such visual representations are compatible with the habits of contemporary youngsters and can help build new bridges to print. (See Figure 1.3.)
• Ask students which portions of the text struck them as inconsiderate, that is, poorly written, poorly organized, or presuming too much prior knowledge. This activity can help students learn when to ask for help with textual and class material. It also helps the teacher become more aware of student learning needs. Analysis of the writing in texts is also a good way to informally teach some of the basics of effective writing.
• Provide the class with a definitive purpose for reading and discussing that will require critical and/or creative expression or application. State that purpose clearly on the chalkboard for easy reference, for example, “As you read this section on the steam engine, try to determine why it was bound to be replaced by the gasoline engine.” This will serve as a reminder to read actively and with reference to real-life problem solving.
• Hold postreading discussions on teaching and learning strategies. Make the discussion positive by asking students what they or you may have done that resulted in solid learning. Such discussion gives credit to student intuition, develops reciprocity, and furthers metacognitive processing, or thinking about thinking.
• Create research teams, and provide time for students to delve into a topic in greater depth. One group could simply see what other textbooks say on the topic. Another could check with other authoritative references—persons, books, and the InterNet. Another could write a best estimate of which real-life problems the information learned might help solve or answer. Still another group, where appropriate, could try to identify and discuss theme-related stories, poetry, music, or art. Activities such as these provide links between text topics and nonprint resources and among school learning, artistic expression, multicultural perspectives, and the rest of the real world.

Figure 1.3
Example of L-R-D elaboration 6:
Viewing a videotape or film before reading in a world geography class.

Purposes for Viewing
Teacher: Today we are going to continue our study of Kenya by focusing on the Maisi tribe of Southern Kenya. First, we will watch a 20-minute National Geographic tape on this most unusual tribe of people. Listen carefully as you watch for two things, which you will then read about: the diet of the Maisi and the names of three other tribes of the north whom few people know of but who figure in Kenyan life in a big way.

Brief Review Following Viewing

Teacher: OK, what were the two points we listened for?
Student: The Maisi basically live off their cattle, eating meat and drinking their blood and raw milk.
Teacher: And?
Student: Well, there were three other tribes mentioned, but I can’t remember any of them.
Teacher: OK, read pages 66 to 71 in your text now to learn more about the Maisi diet, and let’s get the names of those tribes. If you happen to finish reading early, there are a few copies of a recent magazine report on cholesterol here on my desk that might help answer the question “Why aren’t the Maisi dying of clogged arteries and heart failure from their high-fat diet?”

Postreading Discussion
Teacher: What did you understand best from what you watched and read about?
Student: The names of the three other tribes.
Teacher: Say and spell them, and I’ll write them on the board.
Student: Samburu, Turkana, and Hamitic.
Teacher: What did you understand least from what you watched and read about? [When students have understood what they have viewed and read, they will take this question to mean pretty much the same thing as the next one: What questions or thoughts did this lesson raise in your mind?]
Student: I pretty much understood what was said, but I don’t understand why the Maisi don’t raise things the way the other tribes do.
Teacher: The land they live on is not arable. There is poor topsoil and little water. But that really doesn’t explain why they don’t move to where there is arable land.
Student: I was wondering about their high-fat diet, so I read fast to get to the article you talked about. It seems that there are at least two reasons why they don’t have high blood cholesterol. The raw milk has enzymes that break down fat in the blood. Also, they lead very active lives. They burn off the fat as fast as they put it on.
Teacher: If raw milk is so good for you, why do we homogenize and pasteurize ours, I wonder? Why don’t you ask Mrs. Shell in science today if she can help us out with this.

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