Creating a LiterateEnvironment Greta Giglio Walden University August 12, 2012
Getting to Know My Students• What are their attitudes about reading?• What motivates them to read?• What are they interested in?• How important is reading to them? Current theories suggest that self-perceived competence and task value are major determinations of motivation and task management (Gambrell, Palmer, Codling, & Masonni, 1996, p. 318) for children. Understanding my student’s dispositions toward reading help me to plan for effective lessons that address their individual needs.
Choosing Texts for Students Supplementing the reading series by providing a variety of texts, including trade books (fiction/non- fiction), Internet texts, iPad applications, magazines, newspapers, etc. helps to create a more literate environment for students.• Tompkins (2010) contends that it is unrealistic to assume a basal reading series alone could constitute a complete reading program.
Choosing Texts for Students, Cont.• Include texts on several levels of difficulty.• Include texts that strike a balance between the amount of words and pictures, and narrative and informational pieces.• Provide students with texts sets (collections of fiction and non-fiction books that are centered around a theme).
Teaching from theInteractive PerspectiveTompkins (2011) contends that it is important forstudents to be metacognitive, explaining their thinkingduring or after reading in order for teachers to be able toget an insight into what is going on inside their heads.• Ask students probing questions about the characters, setting, and plot.• Teach them the features of narrative and non-fiction texts.• Help them learn reading and comprehension strategies and how to apply and select those strategies independently, through techniques such as guided reading groups. This perspective involves supporting student’s interaction with texts so they can be more strategic as they apply reading strategies. This metacognitive activity helps create a literate environment that students are able to navigate on their own.
Teaching from the Critical and Responsive PerspectivesAlmasi (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011) describes student’sinteraction with text at this level as a transaction” betweenreader and text in which the text, as well as the reader, aremarked by the experience in such a way that both arepermanently transformed by the event., like clay billiard ballsthat collide are changed forever.
Teaching from theCritical and Responsive Perspectives• Teach students how to activate background knowledge about theme and key vocabulary to help them understand and think critically about the text.• Ask probing questions about the author’s purpose, character’s motivations, and importance of the settings that help students analyze and make judgments about the text.• Use teaching tools such as reading logs, dramatic play, and think-a-louds to model reading and thinking strategies and evoke personal responses from the students.
Summary When planning for language and literacy instruction, keep in mind three vital ingredients for success:1. Know your students and develop assessments to help you do that.2. Be able to select a variety of quality literature based on what you have learned about your students academically as well as non-cognitively.3. Teach with the interactive, critical, and responsive perspectives in mind, so that students are taught to think deeply, analyze, judge, and respond to text in a meaningful and authentic way.
“Teachers therefore do not lead classes carefully along to foreseenconclusions, sustained by critical authority,about literary works. Instead, they face the difficult but interesting task ofacknowledging the differences, and craftingout of that material, significant discussion” (Probst, 1987, p. 2).
References• Gambrell, L. B., Palmer, B. M., Codling, R. M., & Mazzoni, S. A. (1996). Assessing motivation to read. The Reading Teacher, 49(7), 518--533.• Laureate Education, Inc. (Almasi, J.) (2011). Responsive perspective. [DVD]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore, MD: Almasi.• Probst, R. E. (1987). Transactional theory in the teaching of literature. Resources in Education, 22(12).• Tompkins, G. E. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.