About Pathways

Professional Development

Pathways to Reading (PTR) focuses on enabling the teacher. PTR recognizes the teacher as the most significant element in a student's ability to learn.

The focus of levels 1 and 2 PTR training is on the knowledge and skills needed by a teacher to teach beginning readers and provide reading instruction that both prevents and remediates reading difficulties.

In PTR Level 1 Training Teachers Learn

Phonemic Awareness
  • What it is
  • How it differs from phonics
  • Its relationship to the development of reading and spelling
  • How to teach phonemic awareness to all students and how to blend it with systematic, explicit instruction in phonics
  • How to assess and assist the development of phonemic awareness through small group instruction and scaffolded questioning
The Decoding Process
  • Its stages of development
  • Its relationship to reading comprehension
  • How to develop decoding fluency and accuracy
  • How to judge differences in materials for reading practice
  • How to develop comprehension during decoding practice
  • How to assess and assist the development of decoding through scaffolded questioning
The Instruction of Spelling
  • The role of phonemic awareness, phonics, and visual memory
  • Techniques for teaching spelling
  • How to assess and assist the development of spelling
The Art of Differentiated Small Group Instruction
  • How to asses and assist student skill development
  • How to pace instruction
  • How to incorporate Pathways to Reading instruction into reader's workshop, guided reading or a basal curriculum.
Tests that Inform Instruction
  • How to use PTR assessments with AIMES, DIBELS or other district assessments.
  • How to use PTR assessments to evaluate where students are on a phonics and phonemic awareness continuum.
  • How to use PTR assessments with all ages of students in an RTI model.
  • How to use assessments to inform instruction and measure growth.

PTR Level 2 is a Practicum with Students Attending for Several Hours Each Day

Level 2 Teacher Opportunities
  • Administer and interpret the results from assessments to determine instructional needs.
  • Practice PTR instructional strategies with guidance from a consultant.
  • Practice responding to student errors through scaffolded questions.
  • Practice taking observation notes and using them to make the next day's instructional plan.
  • Choose leveled and/or decodable materials that match the student's needs.
  • Practice reading in context to achieve fluency and accuracy, phrasing and expression, comprehension strategies.
  • Problem solve with the consultant and peers problems that they have encountered.

Additional Reference

Linda Darling Hammond

Linda Darling Hammond, an expert on education and teaching, when asked the question, What effect does the teacher have on how well students do in school, answered:

In the last ten years there's been a lot of research done about what makes a difference for student achievement, and it's now clear that the single most important determinant of what students learn is what their teachers know. Teacher qualifications, teacher's knowledge and skills, make more difference for student learning than any other single factor.

Louisa Moats

Researcher Louisa Moats wrote, Teaching Reading is Rocket Science. In this NICHD pamphlet Dr. Moats makes a case for what expert teachers of reading should know and be able to do in order to prevent reading failure. The importance of phonemic awareness and phonics in learning to read and preventing reading failure in emerging readers is well documented. Yet, if teachers are asked to define phonemic awareness and to separate phonemes from phonics in words they show the same lack of knowledge as any other citizen asked the same information.