Build disciplinary and world knowledge. (AKA Background knowledge)
Provide exposure to a volume and range of texts.
Provide motivating texts and contexts for reading.
Teach strategies for comprehending.
Teach text structures.
Engage students in discussion.
Build vocabulary and language knowledge.
Integrate reading and writing.
Observe and assess.
Differentiate instruction (Samuels & Farstrup, 2012, p. 52).
This list comes from my new favorite book, What Research Says About Reading Instruction. I just discovered there’s also a What Research Says About Vocabulary Instruction which I’ve put on my Amazon wish list.
I don’t think any of this is new news to anyone teaching reading, but it is wonderfully affirming news. I realize that my weakness has been teaching text structure in non-fiction reading. I’ve busily been collecting information on structure so I can work with it more than usual next year. Last year my focus was student discussion. I’ve been preparing a website at Collaborative Classroom to have my students have online discussions as “boardwork” when they enter the room, exit tickets before they leave the room, or in-depth discussions in the middle or for homework. I love online discussions as it makes it possible for the teacher to monitor all the discussions not just those in earshot.
Samuels, S. J., & Farstrup, A. E. (2012). What research has to say about reading instruction. (fourth ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
I know it’s silly, but as my students leave each day I sing to them (decidedly off key), “Oh, it’s crying time again, you’re gonna’ leave me.” Many of them beam with joy that I’m going to miss them.
It’s that time of the school year for reflection–for us and for our students. Here’s a visual created by Peter Pappas for a taxonomy of reflection that would be helpful for all of us. Read more about it on his blog.
This morning I was reading some research about reading and came across some information about how our brains turn print into language. The idea that sent fireworks exploding in my brain is the very last step when words receive meaning: ”Reading a word such as stagger, limp, or tiptoe activates the motor areas in the brain that are involved in controlling the legs and feet, whereas reading a word such as chop or carve activates those controlling the hands. Whereas understanding a sentence about eating activates the areas related to gustatory sensations, understanding a visual description activates areas of the visual cortex (Adams, 2011, p. 8).
How cool is that! The next step is a response or completed circuit. Doesn’t that just give us all the more reason to include kinetic learning in our reading repetoire?
Samuels, J. & Farstrup, A., Editors (2011). What research has to say about reading instruction. Neward, DE: International Reading Association.
I just got back from the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) conference in Quito. It was fantastic, with speakers like Heidi Jacobs who challenged us greatly about preparing our students for the 21st century. The workshop that was the most practical for me was given by Sergio Martinez, who teaches at an American School in Venezuela. He taught about various websites for digital storytelling, and I can’t wait to introduce them to my students, as we all know about the reading/writing connection and how important it is. These sites make writing (and reading) super fun. They’re all free.
Blabberize can make any photograph or drawing into an animated photograph that speaks. Upload a photo of yourself, use the tools to indicate where the mouth is, and then tape yourself speaking. Voila! A talking photo.
Google Story Creator tells stories through Google search–in other words you make a story of your searches and what you found. Simply input the URLs, select music to play while you are showing the search–and you’ve created a story. Here’s a sample about dogs.
Photo Peach is a way to easily create rich slideshows with embedded quizzes. It has a VERY intuitive interface. You can have subtitles and music too.
Little Bird Tales is a super-secure website where students can build their stories using their own drawings (using an interior program similar to Paint), uploaded drawings and photographs, or using artwork provided on the site. Teachers may set up an account and give students a key to get in. This has the most versatility of any site I’ve used, including Story Bird which is a great site where you can create stories using illustrations created by artists.
I don’t quite know how to explain ZooBurst. It’s a site where you can create pop-up books using photographs you upload and/or thematic art on the site. After you’ve created your book, you can use something called augmentive reality, which is kind of difficult to explain (the book pops out of the computer onto a piece of paper). Here’s a You Tube video where you can see it in action.
Finally, Story Jumper is a site where you can create books from scratch, or using story starters. The story starters, for example a treasure map along with treasure-hunting pirates, come with artwork that can be used to build a picture and gives less and less support as the story goes on. This is great for reluctant writers.
When my sons were very young, I read the book Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. We began to stalk not just wild asparagus, but violet blossoms with which to make pancake syrup, nasturtium flowers with which to make salad, and rose hips with which to make tea. As embarrassing as all this may be to admit, I find that I have the same satisfaction when I forage for sentences that I had twenty-some years ago foraging for wild foods with my sons. Today’s post is directly from my Sentence Stalking Blog.
1. Because teachers can use model sentences to teach grammar and punctuation – and more than that, how grammar and punctuation help us write well. For example, when you teach coordinating conjunctions, scan through the stalked sentences to find great examples to teach with. Let students learn from great sentences.
2. Just to appreciate good writing.
3. Students can learn to appreciate good writing and articulate what makes a good sentence.
This morning, I saw a hawk outside, memorized his features sitting on the telephone wire, and then banged on the window so I could see him in flight. He didn’t move, just kept looking around. When I came out and stomped he flew away, and then I saw fresh blood where he had caught something and then lost it. I went to school, got out a guide book, and was so surprised to find this powerful sentence about the Bicolored Hawk in a bird book:
A sneaky and inconspicuous hawk; rarely seen although it can be very bold, indeed at times almost fearless of humans.
Isn’t that GREAT! And from a dry book about birds.