Literate Environment Analysis by Kinta Atkins Walden University Dr. Gene PeaseEDUC 6706G-9, The Beginning Reader, PreK-3
What is a literate environment?A rich literate environment typically contains written materials (newspapers, books and posters), electronic and broadcast media (radios and TVs), and information andcommunications technology (computers and Internet access) which encourage literacy acquisition, a reading culture, improved literacy retention and access to information (“Literate Environment,” 2010, August 7).
Literacy in the United StatesIn a 2009 study, researchers found that 1 in 7 Americans cannotread a primary level book (Toppo, 2009). Access to books is key to reading skills. Studies confirm thatthe number of books in the home directly predicts readingachievement. Children who grew up with books in their homesreached a higher level of education than those who did not. (FamilyScholarly Culture and Educational Success) It is up teachers to motivate students to want to read. Thereare numerous ways in which to provide students with books both inand out of the classroom. If we give students the knowledge andhelp them to create the desire to read, then our work will be done.
There are three components to creating an effective literate environment. • Getting to Know Literary Learners • Selecting Texts • Literacy Instructional Practices Interactive Perspective Critical Perspective Response Perspective This presentation is going to demonstrate how I used these threecomponents to create a literate environment conducive to learning andcreated lessons which help students reach higher levels ofachievement.
Getting to Know Literacy Learners• Teachers must motivate students to want to read and have fun while reading.• Teachers use numerous literacy assessments to determine students’ reading habits, abilities, and styles. Types of Literary Assessments Scholastic Reading Inventory A computerized assessment which gives the students short passages to read and measures word recognition and their ability to comprehend. Each of these literary assessments were used within my lesson to collect data on my students as well as the three focus students whom are the center of my lesson – Mary, Tyler, and Mae.
Getting to Know Learners continued … Once assessments have been made on learners, data collection is the next step to planning effective instruction. The insights gained from these assessments allow teachers to increase cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies to ensure that students comprehend what they are reading (Tompkins, 2010 p. 261). How children learn and process information is cognitive processing. It involves thinking. Non-cognitive processing is information based on students’ interests. The greatest effect of early childhood programs is on non-cognitive skills, motivation and achievement, not on IQ” (Harms, 2004). Much consideration goes into planning cognitive lessons. The following strategies are examples of cognitive learning.Cognitive and Meta-cognitive Strategies to ensurecomprehension activating background knowledge, connecting, determining importance, drawingconclusions, making inferences, evaluating, monitoring, repairing, setting a purpose, predicting, questioning, summarizing, visualizing, (Tompkins, 2010 p. 261)
Getting to Know Learners Summary Getting to know the learners is the first and foremost important component of creating a literate environment. In the beginning of the year assessing students through reading surveys, literacy autobiographies, and reading inventories are great ways to determine students’ interests, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Through the data collected, proper planning and instruction can begin.This research-based practice has helped me to understand how useful this data is. In the past, I have collected such data but failed to gain from it. Now, I have a better understanding of how to use the information obtained from the surveys, autobiographies, and inventories.
Selecting Texts Choosing appropriate texts is the keycomponent to successfully planning andcreating an effective literate environment.Supplemental texts can hugely enhanceany literate environment. Balancing thetypes of texts and text difficulty also playan important role in selecting texts.
Selecting Texts continued …The following are to be considered when selecting texts. Text Sources Novels PoetryBasal readers Informational books Online books
A very useful tool to use when selecting text is the . This tool helps teachers to balance the text and difficulty of the text. Linguistic (word oriented)Narrative Informational Semiotic (picture oriented)
Selecting Texts SummaryIn summary, selecting text for students’ needs is a task within itself. Not until all the factors have been taken into account such as students’ reading levels, abilities, needs, and interests should a teacher begin to select texts. Choosing supplemental texts are even more important because these are usually selected for certain students, not everyone.The dimensions of difficulty are also vital. The selection of text can make or break a students’ love for reading. This research-based practice helped me to better analyze the types of texts I am choosing and why and how this text is most suitable for my students. In the future, I will be choosing literary texts and supplemental texts from various sources and utilizing the many resources in which to obtain text such as the internet, other technology sources like a Nook or Kindle, and verify with the data collected that this text will meet my students’ needs.
Three Learning Perspectives Through the use of the Framework for LiteracyInstruction (www.class.waldenu.edu), planning lessonswhich incorporate the three learning perspectives helpsto create meaningful lessons. In planning for my literarylesson within this course, I came to understand how theuse of each perspective allows the teacher to focus onthe learners, the text, and the instructional practices bestsuited to meet the needs of the students. Response Perspective
Interactive Perspective Through the interactive perspective, lessons are created which engagestudents in interaction among reading and writing. In this lesson, my main focus wasto expand vocabulary and develop better comprehension strategies such ascharacterization, sequential order, and comparing and contrasting. I alsoincorporated a good bit of writing into this lesson. As I planned the lesson on The Hundred Dresses (Estes, 1944) and focusedon the interactive perspective, I thought about ways in which to involve my studentsin the lesson. I began by introducing the book’s title, author, genre, and purpose.While introducing the vocabulary words, two students partaking in a bullying skitunpronounced to the class interrupted and acted out a mock incident in which teasingand bullying took place. After handling the incident, I opened a discussion on thetopic of teasing then shared a brief synopsis of the theme of The Hundred Dresses(Estes, 1944). By having students interact within this introduction, I was able to hookstudents into the book. They could not wait to begin reading. Vocabulary was introduced and students were provided with pictures of whatthe words looked like. Each day following, students verbally stated the definition andcorrectly used the words in context. On days 3 and 4, skits were developed bygroups and the audience had to guess the word being acted out. After modeling howto use a meaningful sentence graphic organizer, students worked in groups to writedetailed meaningful sentences which included these six details:who, what, where, when, why , and how. The three focus students were givendifferentiated instructions with expectations according to their ability levels. Thesestudents were frequented by me and assessed through observations, one-on-onediscussions, and their performance.
Interactive Perspective continued … Comprehension focused on the following skills: characterization,sequential order, and compare and contrast. I began each day with readingaloud the first two pages of each chapter then students read the remainingof the chapter through partner reading and independent reading. Studentsused graphic organizers – character maps, story maps, and Venn diagrams-to assist them in comprehension practices. Students verbally discussed theevents of the story and created a summary of each chapter. This part of thelesson was completed by discussing and writing answers to thecomprehension questions that followed. Comprehension was assessedthrough observation/participation in discussions, the completion of graphicorganizers, answers to comprehension questions, and a story test whichfollowed the completion of the book. Writing was brought into this lesson by having students write one ormore paragraphs telling if you or someone you know has ever been inWanda Petronski’s position. Students had to describe the situation and howthey handled it or how they would handle it. This writing assignment wasassessed by the use of a writing rubric. Closure to this lesson included a discussion on the topic of bullyingand teasing along with what to do if you ever find yourself in this situation.Students also simulated a skit and demonstrated what they would do in thissituation. This skit was assessed through a performance assessment
What did I learn? This research-based practice helped meto better understand the importance ofplanning lessons which involve studentinteraction. The Framework for LiteracyInstruction graphic organizer showed methe components of the interactiveperspective and how to include thelearner, text, and practices into mylessons.
Critical and Response Perspectives Getting students to think, much less think critically is a trying task. In order for childrento become productive citizens within our society and grow into the effective leaders oftomorrow, teachers must teach them to think critically and how to respond to these criticalthoughts. The lesson I planned to promote critical thinking and responsive feedback involves theuse of the texts The Wump World (Peet, 1970) and The Lorax (Seuss, 1972). Althoughboth of these texts are narratives, they stimulate thoughts about real-world situations andallow students to take a stand for there beliefs. I began the lesson by having students think about and respond to several higherorder thinking questions about pollution and the environment. I showed an eBook(www.youtube.com) , The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, (1972). Next, I introduced the vocabularywords to The Wump World (Peet, 1970) . Comprehension was taught by having students read aloud by partner reading andthen independently reading the story, followed by many higher order thinking questions todiscuss and write answers to. Students then listed numerous cause and effect relationshipsshown throughout the book. The final comprehension activity was for students to compareand contrast the two texts. Venn diagrams were available for use as well as cause andeffect sentence strips to accommodate differentiated instructional practices for the threefocus students. Student comprehension was assessed through observation/participation,descriptions of the cause and effect relationships, and the content of two comparing andcontrasting paragraphs comparing the two texts selected for this lesson. The lesson was brought to a close by having students list at least three ideassuggesting ways to help educate others on how to protect the envrronment. Students wereassessed by sharing their ideas on a display. This practice helped me to plan my lessons with more critical thinking andunderstand how critical it is to have students demonstrate critical thinking skills andrespond to such questions in a mature and thoughtful manner.
In Closing Creating a literate environment has helpedme to better plan my reading lessons. In the past, Ihave planned good lessons, but I feel they lackedmany of the great components I am now aware of.The three literary perspectives are terms I was notfamiliar with, but I now understand the importance ofusing these perspectives to enhance my lessons andensure student interaction, critical thinking, andresponses.
ReferencesHarms, W. (2004, January 8). Heckman’s research shows non-cognitive skills promote achievement. 23(7). The University of Chicago Chronicle.Estes, E. (1944). The hundred dresses. Harcourt Childrens Books.Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Analyzing and Selecting texts [Webcast]. Baltimore, MD: AuthorNueman, S.B. (n.d.). First Book Statistics: Literacy in America. Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ctr. for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. Retrieved from http://www.firstbook.org/images/pdf/Statistics-on-Literacy.pdfPeet, B. (1970). The Wump World. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA.Seuss. (1972). The Lorax. Ebook. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soRbNlPbHEoToppo, G. (2009, January 8). Literacy study: 1 in 7 U.S. adults are unable to read this story. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-01-08-adult- literacy_N.htm
Feedback from Colleagues and Family Members• What insights did you gain about literacy and literacy instruction from viewing this presentation?• How might the information presented change your literacy practices and/or your literacy interactions with students?• In what ways can I support you in the literacy development of your students or children?• How might you support me in my work with students or your children?• What questions do you have?
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