Creating a Literate
Getting to Know Your
O In order to create a literate environment
you need to get to know your students.
O For students to be successful, it is
important for students to have a positive
self-concept and be motivated to read
O It is important to understand what
types of literature students enjoy
in order to help them find books
How did I get to know my
O I used academic and non-academic tests
to get to know my students.
O The academic assessments I used were
the CORE (Consortium on Reading
Excellence) Phonic Survey (Honig,
Diamond, & Gutlohn, 2000) and our
district wide EasyCBM (Curriculum Based
Measure) (University of Oregon, 2013)
O The non-academic assessment I used to get
to know my students was the Elementary
Attitude Survey by McKenna and Kear (1990).
O This assessment allowed students to express
how they felt about reading in a student
friendly format. Along with this, I also
interviewed each student to gain a deeper
understanding of their likes and dislikes.
O I feel that having meaningful conversations
with students will often times tell you much
more than a normed test.
Selecting texts for students
O Research indicates that students need to
be exposed to informational texts at an
earlier age (Duke, 2004).
O Through my conversations with the
students, I learned that they liked to read
O Their interests led to a great opportunity to
expose them to informational text that
they would enjoy.
Rain Forest Theme
O To capitalize on students’ interests, I
chose a region to focus on: The Rain
O I chose three texts for students to learn
about the Rain Forest, and to foster
critical thinking about the importance of
The three texts I used with
students are as follows:
O The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
O Going to the RainForest (2013)
O Life in the Rainforest by Christine A.
O These texts allowed students to learn
about Rain Forest animals, explore
informational texts, and to think about
different social issues concerning the Rain
The Interactive Perspective
O The interactive perspective of literacy
deals with the skills and strategies
necessary for students to be successful
readers and writers.
O In the interactive perspective students
work on becoming fluent readers and
writers so that they can comprehend texts
more fully (Laureate, Inc., 2011b).
O The major goal of the interactive
perspective is to teach children how to
navigate texts independently.
Planning a lesson to address
the Interactive Perspective
O Students that struggle to read find reading
tedious if lessons are not carefully
O To help struggling students become
confident readers, lessons need to be
carefully planned that address necessary
skills, provide them with the strategies to
understand what they are reading, and
still allow students to read interesting texts
(Laureate, Inc., 2011a).
O One goal of the interactive perspective is
to have students think about their thinking
(metacognition) (Laureate, Inc., 2011a).
O When students are able to conscientiously
think about the best strategy to decode
words or understand a text, they are able
to become more fluent and accurate
O The lesson I planned addressed decoding
words with beginning blends fluently and
O By helping students think about the
strategies they use to decode words, they
will begin to more fluently decode text.
O Increasing their fluency will increase their
comprehension which will allow them to
think more critically about their reading.
The Critical and Response
O Although the interactive perspective is
very important, I want students to move to
the next level of thinking.
O In our world of technology, students need
to be able to be evaluative of information
presented to them on the web.
O Therefore, it is imperative that I move my
students to the critical aspect of reading.
O In order for my students to move to the
more critical aspect of reading, they also
need to be able to respond in meaningful
O To respond in meaningful ways students
need to make personal connections to
O Students need to laugh, cry, or be
outraged by what they are reading
(Laureate, Inc., 2011).
Thinking about texts
differently: A critical and
response perspective lesson
O My goal was for students to move beyond
basic comprehension questions and think
about why the author wrote the book The
Great Kapok Tree (Cherry, 1990).
O Was it written to entertain, inform, or
persuade? Was it a combination of all three?
O In order to make judgments on why the author
wrote the texts, students had to critically think
about the text and go beyond basic
O By choosing a theme and working on various
aspects of the theme, students were able to
build background, explore areas of interests,
and think about social and cultural issues that
surround the Rain Forest.
O Students were asked to determine the
author’s purpose for writing the text and to
respond both orally and in writing.
O For second language and struggling readers it
is important that they be able to respond not
only in writing but orally as well (Dutro, 2010).
O Several different strategies were used to help
students think and respond more critically to the text.
O One of the strategies I used was a grand
conversation. The grand conversation is a strategy
in which students have an opportunity to prepare for
a conversation about the text, respond in small
groups, ask questions, and then reflect on the
conversation (Tompkins, 2010).
O To facilitate this conversation, I had students think
about their reading and then write questions on sticky
notes about the text.
O Sentence frames were also used to guide students in
responding more critically to the text. EX. The author
wrote____________ so that _______ can
All three perspectives
O The interactive, critical, and response
perspectives are all very important for
O Teachers must plan and implement
lessons that conscientiously target these
perspectives to help students move from
basic skills to advanced thinking and
O ALL students can accomplish this task
with the proper guidance.
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International Reading Association.
Caputo, C. (2013). Life in the rain forest. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
Cherry, L. (1990). The great Kapok tree. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.
Duke, N. (2004). The case for informational text. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 40-44.
Retrieved from the Education Research database.
Dutro, S. (2010). Constructing meaning: explicit language for literacy instruction handbook.
San Marcos, CA: E.L. Achieve, Inc.
Honig, B., Diamond, L., & Gutlohn L. (2000). Teaching Reading sourcebook for
kindergarten through eighth grade. Novato, CA: Arena Press.
Going to the rainforest. (2013). New York, NY: Wild dog.
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perspective: Strategic processing. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011c). The beginning reader, pre k-3.
[DVDS]. Response perspective. Baltimore: Author.
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new tool for teachers. The Reading Teacher, 43(9), 626-639.
Tompkins, G. E. (2010). Literacy in the 21st century: A balanced approach
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University of Oregon. (2013). EasyCBM: Progress made easy for RTI.
Retrieved from http://easycbm.com/