Literate Environment Analysis Ashley Adams Walden University Donna Bialach The Beginning Reader: Pre-K-3: EDUC 6706 June 17, 2012
A Literate Environment• A literate environment is the classroom atmosphere that a teacher creates to best support readers and writers in their literacy development.• A literate environment includes a balance of the following: – Getting to know the learners through assessment – Carefully selecting texts for use in instruction – The three perspectives of literacy • The Interactive Perspective • The Critical Perspective • The Response Perspective
Getting to Know Literacy Learners, P-3• Various cognitive and affective assessment tools can be used to learn about the abilities, interests, and attitudes of your literacy learners.• The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey gives data regarding a reader’s attitude toward academic and recreational reading (McKenna & Kear, 1990).• The Motivation to Read Profile gives an insight into the motivational levels of readers (Gambrell, Palmer, Codling, & Mazzoni, 1996).• Reading inventories are used to assess readers’ cognitive abilities, including fluency, accuracy, and comprehension (Afflerbach, 2007).• These assessment tools have helped me create a literate environment that attends to my students’ reading interests. I have also been able to implement activities and instructional strategies which increase readers’ motivational levels and attitudes toward academic reading such as adding high-interest texts, implementing sustained silent reading, book talks or literature circles, and reader’s theater (Tompkins, 2010). I have also been able to differentiate instruction based upon the literacy needs of my students with guided reading groups, writing and reading conferences, and word study activities.• These assessments can be used at the beginning of the year to get to know your readers well, and again throughout the year to monitor their progress, strengths, and needs as their literacy develops.
Selecting Texts• A teacher must carefully select a mixture of texts found across the literacy matrix for instruction (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008a). These texts can either be narrative or informational, semiotic (many illustrations) or linguistic (mostly print). Students should be exposed to a variety of these texts, and they should be appropriate for the students’ needs.• The explicit instruction of texts with specific structures and visual supports such as key words, illustrations or photographs, tables of content, subtitles, and charts help students independently navigate texts and improve comprehension (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008c).• Authentic texts, whether fiction or nonfiction, picture books or chapter books, are vital for the optimal progress of our students’ literacy development (Duke, 2004). Students should have access and many opportunities to explore these texts in the classroom as well at home.• Learning how to correctly select a variety of texts for instruction has helped me improve my literate environment. I have learned to ensure that students interact with various types of text in order to improve their comprehension. I have also learned to choose texts which have appropriate readability, text length, and visual supports to effectively scaffold readers’ development.• Explicitly teaching the elements of these texts and how to navigate them will also have a profound effect on my students’ learning.
Interactive Perspective• The interactive perspective of literacy is defined as teaching students how to be strategic in their reading (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008e).• This perspective includes phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008d). Students learn to be metacognitive in self-monitoring and using decoding and comprehension strategies. The goal of the interactive perspective is to create readers who are able to navigate texts independently and successfully.• Attending to the interactive perspective has greatly improved my literate environment. I carefully choose instructional strategies which enable my students to become comfortable in taking risks in their reading and writing.• These strategies include fluency building activities such as reader’s theater and tea parties (Tompkins, 2010). They also include shared reading, read alouds, and interactive writing which allow me to model my thinking and discuss decoding and comprehension strategies with students in an authentic context.• As a result, my students have become more accurate decoders and encoders, more fluent readers and writers, and more strategic thinkers.
The Critical Perspective• The critical response is described as teaching students how to carefully examine texts, including the validity of information and authors’ viewpoints (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008e).• This perspective encourages students to think more deeply about the characters, themes, and issues about which they read (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008b). Students make inferences, ask questions, and reflect upon different perspectives.• Attending to the critical perspective is having a profound effect on my literate environment. Through encouraging deeper thinking, my students are putting themselves into the stories they read and the topics they are interested in.• Instructional strategies which develop this perspective include grand conversations, literature circles, open-mind portraits, and the hot seat (Tompkins, 2010). These strategies allow students to communicate their questions and concerns that they encounter while reading texts.• As a result of implementing these activities, my students have become more comfortable participating in conversations, and are more critical of the information and points-of-view they read about.
The Response Perspective• The response perspective includes giving readers and writers time to reflect and respond to the stories they read in a variety of ways (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008e).• Readers’ experiences are very important to their comprehension and interpretation of texts. This schema allows readers to make deeper connections, share their thoughts and emotions, and grow in their transaction, or transformation, with texts (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008f).• Powerful texts give students the opportunities to share how they are affected by what they read. This is the point where learning happens. Students make very personal connections to what they read.• Carefully integrating the response perspective into my teaching has improved my students’ motivation, participation, and confidence as readers. My literate environment is now more cohesive. Instructional strategies that I find very helpful are thinkmarks, reading response journals, reader’s theater and dramatic skits (Tompkins, 2010).• These activities have improved my students’ self-monitoring, comprehension, and writing skills. My students have also become more thoughtful readers, and are more comfortable sharing their personal connections and emotions regarding the books they read.
ReferencesAfflerbach, P. (2007). Understanding and using reading assessments, K-12. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Duke, N.K. (2004). The case for informational text. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 40-44. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/Gambrell, L.B., Palmer, B. M., Codling, R.M., & Mazzoni, S.A. (1996). Assessing motivation to read. The Reading Teacher, 49(7), 518-533. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ ehost/Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008a). Analyzing and selecting texts [Video webcast]. In The beginning reader, preK-3. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008b). Critical perspectivve [Video webcast]. In The beginning reader, preK-3. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008c). Informational text in the early years [Video webcast]. In The beginning reader, preK-3. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008d). Interactive perspective: strategic processing [Video webcast]. In The beginning reader, preK-3. Retrieved from https:// class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008e). Perspectives on literacy learning [Video webcast]. In The beginning reader, preK-3. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008f). Response perspective [Video webcast]. In The beginning reader, preK-3. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?McKenna, M.C., & Kear, D.J. (1990). Measuring attitude toward reading: A new tool for teachers. The Reading Teacher, 43(9), 626-639. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ ehost/Tompkins, G.E. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
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