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Curriculum Details for
RAVE-O (Retrieval, Automaticity, Vocabulary, Engagement with Language, Orthography)


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
RAVE-O (Retrieval, Automaticity, Vocabulary, Engagement with Language, Orthography)
Publication Date: Not fully published
Grade Level: K–4
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts
Costs: N/A
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
The Center for Reading and Language Research
Tufts University, Miller hall
Medford, MA, 02155
617-627-5074

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Program Description

Design Summary

RAVE-O (Retrieval, Automaticity, Vocabulary, Engagement with Language, Orthography) is a research-based fluency program that was created as a pull-out program for use with students one-on-one and in small groups. The curriculum is designed to assist struggling second and third grade readers by teaching reading explicitly and in multiple ways.  The program works systematically and simultaneously at the word level, text level, and with multiple linguistic components.  Each week students learn a small number of carefully selected core words that then serve as a pivot for learning multiple aspects of linguistic knowledge.  The developers hope that RAVE-O will elicit and harness what students already know about oral language to help teach the written language.  The more the child knows about a word, the faster he or she will read and understand the word.

RAVE-O materials include stories, introductory word cards and image cards, dice, sliders, spelling pattern cards, script for teachers, speed wizard computer program, and word webs.

Costs and Staff Training

RAVE-O is not yet packaged for sale, but will be shortly.  Training for RAVE-O is required, including a day and a half of training, plus three half-day seminars and conference calls, as well as videotaped and on-site observations.  Please contact the curriculum developers for more information.

Staff Qualifications

RAVE-O is best implemented by elementary school teachers with knowledge of how reading is taught.  Content expert reviews suggest that almost any teacher can, with the aid of the instructional DVD, pick up the scripted manual and teach the curriculum. Practitioner expert reviews agree, although also suggest that it is important for an instructor to have a strong knowledge of phonics rules.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None specified.
  • State: None specified.

Research Base

The program is based entirely on research, most of which can be found at: http://ase.tufts.edu/crlr/RAVE-O/About_RAVE-O.html.  RAVE-O’s curriculum components are intended to simulate what the brain does when it reads a single word or that word in connected text.

Evaluation Details

Extensive internal evaluations have been conducted and have looked at the impact of RAVE-O on reading assessments, attendance, behavioral measures of language and reading, as well as parent and teacher behavior ratings.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Reaches students of many different learning styles.
  • Positive, supportive learning environment for students.
  • Program seems fun to teach. Multiple opportunities for participation can help keep students engaged.
  • Taps into many different areas of language.
  • High energy pace may help maintain student focus without being so quick that students get left behind.
  • The focus on Many Interesting Meanings (MIMs) will likely make it exciting and challenging for students coming in at varied levels.
  • Activities are structured in such a way that students should feel a great deal of success as they work through the content.
  • Well-organized and clearly scripted.
Challenges
  • Preparation may be time consuming.
  • May take some time for an instructor to become familiar with the curriculum and figure out how to manage materials.
  • Will likely work best when adopted by a teacher who is well-versed in reading development and can determine the appropriate ways to make the necessary adaptations.
  • The role of the teacher, as outlined in teacher’s guide, requires high energy and enthusiasm.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

Two practitioners were interviewed for this review of Rave-O.  One practitioner works with early pre-school up through third grade students, and has been teaching for 29 years.  She has been using Rave-O for two years with a group of seven students who had been designated as struggling readers. She used it four days per week for about an hour each day.  She works in a private school, where students are mostly Caucasian and of different learning levels and reading abilities.  The other practitioner studied in graduate school with the Rave-O program creator, and worked for the past two years as a Rave-O program administrator, both coordinating and teaching the program.  She uses it with groups of second through fifth graders in small groups of three or four and also has co-taught it with groups of 6 students.  She uses it four days a week, for periods of approximately fifty minutes in a school for students with language-based learning disabilities.

Logistics

Training
  • Training is two days long and includes some hands-on practice.  Some practitioners needed follow-up training and support.
  • Strong background in phonics is useful.
Set-up/preparation
  • Preparation time is much greater during the first months of using the curriculum.  With more familiarity, this time decreases.
  • The curriculum was designed for groups of four, so using it with larger groups requires some adaptation.
  • Groups of three or four are ideal as students can interact with each other and instructor can still give individual attention.  Otherwise, one practitioner found groups of six to work well.
  • There are many materials that need to be assembled ahead of time.  One practitioner had to bring in some of her own props.
  • Helpful to have a specific area of your classroom to set up the materials, hang up words, props, etc.

Student Engagement

  • Curriculum empowers students, come away feeling like they “get it” and are successful.
  • Parents have been very supportive of and pleased with the curriculum.
  • Students are continually engaged.  For example, the repetition of the many interesting meanings words helps students to make connections to their lives.
  • Students particularly enjoy the magic theme, use of “word wizards,” wands, etc.
  • Learning the minute stories, timed reading, Many Interesting Meaning words, use of props, and built-in incentives were particularly enjoyable for students.
  • Very age-appropriate for students up through third grade, older struggling readers might find the content of the curriculum less appealing.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Scripted program.  However, instructor can be flexible, spend more time on specific topics than others.
  • Breadth of lessons ensure that all students’ needs are touched upon.
  • Program is very intense, helpful to work in small breaks for the students.
  • Instructor can adapt his or her approach to the curriculum. For example, this practitioner brought in props and had students act out the many interesting meanings words.
General skills taught
  • Academic skills: sounds of letters, spelling, comprehension, fluency
  • Dictionary skills
  • Builds curiosity about words and reading.
  • Helps teach social skills such as cooperation, taking turns, etc.
  • Can be very empowering for students who struggle with reading.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Especially effective with students who struggle with word retrieval.
  • Can give time for antsy students to take a break and move around.
  • Is attractive to a range of learning styles – visual, kinesthetic, etc.
  • Effective with students who have learning speed deficits.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Reaches students of many different learning styles.
  • Positive, supportive learning environment for students.
  • Program seems fun to teach. Multiple opportunities for participation can help keep students engaged.
  • Taps into many different areas of language.
Challenges
  • Preparation may be time consuming.
  • May take some time for an instructor to become familiar with the curriculum and figure out how to manage materials.

Content Expert Review

Content Expert Reviewer

Erin Schilling
Erin Schilling brings her wealth of experience of teaching and studying English to her reviews of literacy curriculum. She taught English at a charter school in Boston, Massachusetts, for four years, and during that time served a Lead Teacher, overseeing the development of English Language Arts Curriculum for the school. She also monitored the allocation of school resources for English Language Learners, and researched and implemented a Sustained Silent Reading Program. She has a bachelor of science in English from Northwestern University, a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning as well as a Master of Education in Risk and Prevention, both from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently the Site Supervisor at Options Academy - The Arts in Hamilton, Ohio.

Content

  • The RAVE-O curriculum is focused on building reading fluency and comprehension with young readers.
  • It covers phonics, orthography, morphology, syntax, semantics, word retrieval, reading comprehension strategies, and decoding.
  • The curriculum teaches a list of core words, and then students learn the word starters and rimes using the sound sliders.
  • Minute Story Anthologies contain short stories embedded with the core words for the week, and often help reinforce the activities of the week.
  • Word endings are included in each unit, with activities asking student to use the words within the context of particular sentences.
  • Various word-based activities, such as the Speed Wizard computer game, Word Wall, RAN charts, Spelling Patterns, Word Webs, BINGO, and Sound Sliders are used to deliver the content.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • Fluency and comprehension, word retrieval, and decoding
  • Students practice encountering unfamiliar words and learning both to pronounce them and figure out what they mean.
  • Students learn the multiple meanings of words, as well as spelling and grammatical rules.
Study Skills
  • Create word webs to help understand the vocabulary associated with a given core word.
  • Word attack skills, which can help students approach more advanced vocabulary.
Non-Academic Skills
  • While opportunities may arise to incorporate work on interpersonal skills or classroom “manners” into the lessons, such moments are not included in the teacher script.

Alignment to Standards

Alignment to state or national standards is not detailed within the materials. However, the program design is grounded in research on “each of the major linguistic component processes that play a central role in reading.”

Assessment

  • Student learning is formally assessed through “tickets out the door,” “RAN charts,” and the Speed Wizard computer game.
  • More informal means of assessment are also suggesting.

Structure

  • The curriculum is highly structured. The manual includes a detailed breakdown of each week’s activities, with a provided script and time frame for each activity.
  • There are a few “teacher made” materials necessary each week, but for the most part, all materials, such as manipulatives, handouts, etc., are provided.
  • The content is entirely defined. The sounds, words, and activities build on each other in such a way that there is less room for teacher or program topic choice.
  • Some optional phonology review is included throughout
  • Majority of lessons and activities are teacher-directed.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • Individual or paired work, included in the last half of each week, seems to be an opportune place for individuation.
  • Several activities offer multiple levels of difficulty, allowing for students to work at their own pace.
  • The incorporation of multiple interesting meanings is also adaptable, as some of the meanings are more advanced and some more basic, so all of the students should have a good chance of coming up with at least one meaning on their own.
Developmental level
  • The games, riddles and questions are appealing to this age group and  stretches student thinking.
  • Allows students to feel comfortable looking at the complexity of language without feeling frustrated.
  • Teaches children several definitions and uses for each word, helping them to build fluency.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Artistic learning: Students are given the opportunity to create their own image cards for a word meaning if the meaning they think of is not represented.
Multiculturalism
  • The pictures in the minute stories include a multicultural group of children.
  • The “Many Interesting Meanings” also provide entry for different cultural idioms or interpretations.
  • Diversity of students’ cultural backgrounds is not specifically addressed in the content beyond this.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • Well-organized and clearly scripted.
  • High energy pace helps maintain student focus without being so quick that students get left behind.
  • Many opportunities for student participation.
  • Activities are structured in such a way that students should feel a great deal of success as they work through the content.
  • The focus on Many Interesting Meanings (MIMs) will likely make it exciting and challenging for students coming in at varied levels.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Will work best when adopted by a teacher who is will versed in reading development and can determine the appropriate ways to make the necessary adaptations.
  • The role of the teacher, as outlined in teacher’s guide, requires high energy and enthusiasm.

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