Letting go of the gradual release model in literacy instruction in Kenya- CIES 2018 Presentation

CIES 2018 Presentation, given by Jessica Mejia. The gradual release of responsibility model has been a primary instructional approach in many early grade literacy programs, including the Tusome Early Grade Reading Activity in Kenya. The use of this model dominates literacy instruction for English and Kiswahili in grades one and two. It has been proven successful teaching the very basic skills of literacy at a national scale, rapidly improving learning outcomes in Kenya. The expansion of Tusome to grade 3 by the Kenyan Ministry of Education 2017 required a careful examination of whether and how a precise adherence to the gradual release model is appropriate for higher order skills such as vocabulary, comprehension strategies and writing in Grade 3. Instead, these skills and this grade level lend themselves to a less rigid hold on the gradual release model. When designing Tusome’s Grade 3 instructional materials, a combination of gradual release for the word study and grammar activities and direct instruction for the vocabulary, comprehension and writing activities was used. The leadership of Tusome worked closely with the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development to develop this new set of teaching and learning materials for Grade 3 which will be implemented in the 2018 academic year. This presentation discusses the rationale for a reduction in the adherence to the gradual release model in the design of the Grade 3 materials.