An Effective Literacy Environment for the Beginning Reader By: Angela Hannigan Walden University
An Effective Literacy Environment Includes: THE INSTRUCTION:THE STUDENT THE TEXT INTERACTIVE, CRITICAL, AND RESPONSIVE (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009c)
THE STUDENT• We teach students. We do not teach subjects. Therefore, students must be at the heart of what we do.• Really get to know your students. • Find out about their academic capabilities. • Find out about their interests. • Find out who they are as a person and what they can bring to the classroom. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009d)
THE STUDENT CONTINUED…• Knowing that my students are quite young, I had to find an assessment that would accurately assess both their cognitive and affective development as emergent readers (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009g).• When getting to know my students, I considered and assessed the following: • Their cognitive development: I chose to use parts of the “Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening Test” for Pre-K students to assess my students’ abilities to write their names, to recognize the letters of the alphabet, and to complete nursery rhymes (University of Virginia, 2004). • Their affective development: I then chose to use the “Effective Teaching Solutions Reading Survey” to assess my students’ feelings about literacy (Effective Teaching Solutions, 2008). I was able to find out if they like to read, with whom they like to read, and what they like to read.
As I now knew a lot about my students’Students cognitive and affective development, I could consider their needs when choosing my texts. Texts
Choosing Appropriate Texts:When choosing appropriate texts for my students, Iconsidered:• If the text was narrative or informational.• If the text was linguistic or semiotic (language or picture based).• If the text was of appropriate difficulty. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a)
Choosing Appropriate Texts Continued…Throughout this unit on the letter “B” and bears, I chose thefollowing text:Baby Bears (National Geographic Society, 2012) I chose this text because: • We must include informational texts to help teach our students how to read to learn. • My young students need to have texts that allow the pictures to help tell the story. • This text was short online text that used a large font size, included practice with the letter “B,” and was of interest to my students.
Choosing Appropriate Texts Continued…I also chose:The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor (Berenstain, S. &Berenstain, J., 1981) I chose this text because: •It was from a favorite book series of one of my students. •It helped me teach my students the difference between fiction and nonfiction. •It is a good book to read aloud to young students(Meller, Richardson, & Hatch, 2009).
Now that I know my students and have chosen my texts, I need to consider how to teach them.Students & Texts Instruction
Instruction: The Interactive PerspectiveThe Interactive Perspective focuses on how our students mustbe strategic in their learning of literacy. Students must betaught how to think strategically in all of these areas:• Phonics (sound of letters)• Phonemic Awareness (blending sounds into words)• Vocabulary• Fluency• Comprehension• Writing skills (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009d)
Instruction: The Interactive Perspective …continuedIn this unit, I guided my students in these literacy skills andstrategies:• Recognizing the sound of the letter “B”• Being aware of which words do and do not start with the /B/ sound• Writing both the capital and lower-case letter “B”• Organizing information from our “Baby Bears” text into a word map (National Geographic Society, 2012)
Instruction: The Critical PerspectiveThe Critical Perspective is the idea of being able to examinethe text from multiple perspectives, to critically evaluate thetext, and to make judgments about its validity (LaureateEducation, Inc., 2009b).It may include the following questions (Molden, 2007):• Who is this text about?• Why did the author write the text?• What do the images or words suggest?• Why have the characters been represented this way?• Which positions, voices, and interests are at play in the text?
Instruction: The Critical Perspective …continuedIn this unit, I incorporated the Critical Perspective by:•Working with them to create a web map of the things theylearned from our nonfiction text about bears (NationalGeographic Society, 2012)•Encouraging them to think like Sister Bear (Berenstain, S &Berenstain, J., 1981)•Encouraging them to consider why the authors wrote aboutgoing to the doctor•Helping them compare how going to the doctor was similarto or different from those of the Berenstain Bears
Instruction: The Response PerspectiveThe Response Perspective includes the ways in which we helpour students to react to the text on a personal and emotionallevel (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009f).To help our students respond to the text, we must:• Help them think deeply about the characters’ motives andemotions (Clyde, 2003)• Help our students empathize with the characters• Help our students experience life from someone else’sperspective
Instruction: The Response Perspective …continuedIn this unit, I helped my students respond to the texts by:•Choosing topics that were of interest to them (i.e. bears)•Helping them connect how they are similar to baby bears(National Geographic Society, 2012)•Helping them connect how going to the doctor might besimilar to or different from that of the Berenstain Bears(Berenstain, S & Berenstain, J., 1981)•Encouraging them to develop a sense of peace about goingto the doctor.
Student Text InstructionOne Final Note: While the student should always be at thecenter of our choices for text and instruction, they all worktogether. When we learn more about our students, wechange how we teach. It is a never-ending cycle.
ReferencesBerenstain, S & Berenstain, J. (1981). The Berenstain bears go to the doctor. New York: Random House, Inc.Clyde, J. A. (2003). Stepping inside the story world: The subtext strategy—a tool for connecting and comprehending. The Reading Teacher, 57(2), 150–160.Effective Teaching Solutions. (2008). Effective teaching solutions reading survey. Retrieved from www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/readingsurveys.pdfLaureate Education, Inc. (2009a). Analyzing and selecting text [DVD]. The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD.Laureate Education, Inc. (2009b). Critical perspective [DVD]. The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD.Laureate Education, Inc. (2009c). Framework for Literacy Instruction [course document]. The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD.
References continuedLaureate Education, Inc. (2009d). Getting to know your students [DVD]. The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (2009e). Interactive perspective [DVD]. The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (2009f). Response perspective. [DVD] The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD.Laureate Education, Inc. (2009g). The beginning reader. [DVD] The beginning reader. Baltimore, MD.Meller, W. B., Richardson, D., & Hatch, J. (2009). Using Read-Alouds with Critical Literacy Literature in K-3 Classrooms. YC: Young Children, 64(6), 76-78.
References continuedMolden, K. (2007). Critical literacy, the right answer for the reading classroom: Strategies to move beyond comprehension for reading improvement. Reading Improvement, 44(1), 50– 56.National Geographic Society. (2012). Baby-bears [Online non-fiction text]. Retrieved from http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/littlekids/baby-bears.htmlUniversity of Virginia. (2004). PALS-PreK assessment. Retrieved from https://pals.virginia.edu/tools-prek.html