The first aspect of creating a literate classroom is getting to know the students. We must strive to get to know our students individually by assessing their knowledge of and attitude toward reading. The most important goal of any type of instruction is being loyal and faithful to the students (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012a).
Assessing Attitude and Motivation › The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (Liberty County Schools, 2011) can be administered to assess a student’s attitude toward reading. Research has proven that a student’s attitude toward reading is a major factor in reading achievement (McKenna & Kear, 1990).
Assessing Cognitive Abilities › The DIBELS assessment (University of Oregon, 2011) can be administered to assess a student’s acquisition of early literacy skills. The data collected from this assessment is used to make instructional decisions that will benefit the students (Tompkins, 2010). The skills that a student acquires in phonemic awareness and phonics determines the child’s ability to decode and read words (Tompkins, 2010).
How does getting to know your student’s create a literate environment? › The data that is collected from these assessments helps me determine who needs additional support and in what areas. › The information from the attitude survey gives me the opportunity to gear my instruction toward topics that I know will interest my students. › The assessment results give me concrete evidence to share with others at RTI meetings and conferences.
Choosing the appropriate texts for students is important. Students need to be introduced to a read a variety of texts including both stories and informational texts (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b).
Informational Texts › Students need to be given many opportunities to read and learn about informational texts in the early years of literacy instruction (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b). › The future success of each child is influenced by his or her ability to understand informational texts especially when entering the third and fourth grades (Duke, 2004). › Most of the texts that are read by adults are informational texts whose main purpose is to provide information (Duke, 2004).
Internet Texts › There are many opportunities for students to broaden their reading experiences by allowing access to Internet texts (Castek, Bevans-Mangelson, & Goldstone, 2006). › Allowing students the opportunity to access reading material through the Internet increases motivation for reading as well as develops skills that will be necessary in the digital future (Castek, Bevans-Mangelson, & Golstone, 2006).
How does selecting the appropriate texts help to create a literate environment? › Selecting texts that will interest students will build their motivation for reading. › Texts should not be too easy or too difficult but should fall into the student’s instructional reading level (Tompkins, 2010). › Allowing students to read a variety of material in the early years will prepare students for the future.
Students will build upon early literacy instruction throughout their lives to become learners who are able to fluently read material and understand what they are reading. Educators must teach students how to become strategic readers who are able to decode words, read with expression, and comprehend the material (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010c).
The lesson plan that I created allowed me to help students begin to use a comprehension strategy, prediction, to understand the story they read (Tompkins, 2010). The students were also introduced to a sound-blending activity that allowed them to decode unfamiliar words (Tompkins, 2010).
Introduction/Anticipatory Set › The students will activate background knowledge by discussing different animals and listing information that is already known. The students will practice blending the phonemes to words containing the short /i/ sound. The students will predict what events will occur in the story. Building/Applying Knowledge and Skills › The students will participate in a shared reading of the text. Synthesis/Closure › The students will create a drawing describing what events took place in the story as well as other things that pigs can do. The students will write two sentences containing words that contain the short /i/ sound.
How did this lesson help to create a literate environment? › By implementing this lesson plan in my classroom, I was able to teach my students the comprehension strategy, predicting, in a way that maintained their attention. › I was also able to teach a sound blending strategy that my students will be able to use in the future to decode words.
Critical Perspective › Teaching students how to examine texts from multiple perspectives is important for complete understanding (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010d). Response Perspective › Allowing students the opportunity to experience texts that can change their lives in some way is essential (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010e).
The lesson plan that I created allowed me to discuss with my students a negative situation that was occurring in my classroom. I was able to do this without pointing any fingers at specific students. The students were given the opportunity to share their emotions and reactions as well as model different ways to deal with the situation.
Introduction/Anticipatory Set › The students will activate background knowledge by discussing what they already know about bullies. The students will describe any encounters they have had with a bully. Building/Applying Knowledge and Skills › The students will participate in a shared reading of the text. The students will pause occasionally to discuss what events have occurred and their thoughts about the bully’s actions. Synthesis/Closure › The students will discuss the effects of the bully’s actions on the characters in the story. The students will use hand puppets or costumes to act out situations in which another student is being a bully.
How did this lesson help to create a literate environment? › By implementing this lesson in my classroom, I allowed my students the opportunity to take a deeper look at the story and its meaning. › The students were given the opportunity to make connections between the story and their personal lives. › The students were given the opportunity to share their emotions about the events in the text.
Castek, J., Bevans-Mangelson, J., & Goldstone, B. (2006). Reading adventures online: Five ways to introduce the new literacies of the internet through children’s literature. The Reading Teacher, 59(7), 714–728. Duke, N. (2004). The case for informational text. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 40–44. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010A). Week 1: Changes in Literacy Education [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010b). Week 3: Informational text in the early years. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010c). Week 5: Interactive perspective: Strategic processing. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010d). Week 6: Critical perspective. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010e). Week 6: Response perspective. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author. Liberty County School System. (2011). Elementary reading attitude survey. Retrieved from http://www.liberty.k12.ga.us/jwalts/reading%20materials/Elementary%20Reading%2 0Attitude%20Survey.pdf. McKenna, M. C., & Kear, D. J. (1990). Measuring attitude toward reading: A new tool for teachers. The Reading Teacher, 43(9), 626–639. Tompkins, G. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. University of Oregon. (2011). DIBELS. Retrieved from https://dibels.uoregon.edu/dibelsinfo.php.