Literacy education is extremely important in a child’s education. It has been stated that the best predictor of a child’s ability to function competently in school and contribute to a literate society is how well that child progresses in reading and writing (NAEYC, 1998). As literacy educators, it is imperative that we recognize literacy starts early in a child’s life and a student’s background and culture influence their literacy education (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010a). When a student comes into the classroom, it is our job as educators to expand on what students know about written language and environmental print through meaningful experiences with reading and writing (Tompkins, 2010).
– criterion-referenced assessment, which assesses a students’ reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension. This assessment is used to determine students’ just-right books (Tompkins, 2007), which are books they can fluently read and comprehend, independently.
Noncognitive Development (A child’s attitude towards reading)
* Assessment - Elementary Reading Attitude Survey
- researches the role of attitude in children’s literacy development. This assessment is used to determine a child’s academic and recreational attitude towards reading, developed by Michael McKenna and Dennis Kear (McKeena & Kear, 1990).
When selecting appropriate texts, we must think about what makes them appropriate and how are we going to use them in our curriculum. It is imperative that educators have an idea of how to determine if a text is appropriate based on certain criteria.
Douglas Hartman presented the idea of the literacy matrix, where texts are placed in one of the following four quadrants, linguistic, informational, semiotic or narrative (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010a). This matrix helps educators to determine texts of appropriate types to meet literacy goals and objects for students.
Having students read books that are of interest to them, will create a more positive attitude toward reading (Afflerbach, 2007). It is important to get to know to students to find out what they are interested in, as well as, what books or authors that have inspired or moved them.
Teaching students how to read and write fluently, accurately and with comprehension (Framework).
Activity: Read Aloud/Think Aloud
One of the ways beginning and transitional readers can deepen their understanding of the texts they read is by connecting to the texts (Tompkins, 2010).
Students listened to a read aloud, where the teacher modeled how to make personal and text connections to better understand a story. The students then read independently, using sticky notes to mark a place where they made a connection.
- Teaching students how to judge, evaluate and think critically about a text and how to react and respond emotionally and personally to texts.
Critical Perspective - Response Perspective
*Students should think about the reasons behind ideas, concepts, etc. or answer the question why? (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b)
Activity: Recognizing the Author’s Purpose
The students participated in grand conversations, which are student-centered discussions about stories, exploring the big ideas (Tompkins, 2010), where they discussed the reasons behind the author’s purpose. They then chose a character and thought about the character’s purpose and the reasons behind that purpose.
* Students should be provided with opportunities to formulate a personal response to a text (Framework, 2010)
Conclusion It is imperative to realize that we, as educators, teach students and not texts and so we need to ensure we get to know the whole human being, to know how to successfully instruct them (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010e). Although it is important to know a students’ cognitive development, it is as equally important to know a students’ noncognitive development. Afflerbach states, “reading attitudes are closely related to reader motivation and reader self-concept” (Afflerbach, 2007, pg. 161). Educators should use research-based assessment practices to properly assess a students’ cognitive and noncognitive development. From these assessments it is important to study and analyze data, to know the proper research-based instructional practices to use. Texts are powerful tools to use in the classroom and so when selecting texts for students, we must ensure they are appropriate to teach the skill identified as a need and that they are just right for the student. We must remember, that in order for students to comprehend the text, they must bring something to the text and so the must be active participants in their learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010f). One way to ensure students are active participants in their learning is by getting to know them, finding out what they are interested in, in order to incorporate and build on that in the classroom.
References Afflerbach, Peter. (2007). Understanding and using reading assessment, K–12. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Framework for Literacy Instruction (2010). Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com . Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010a). Perspectives in early literacy. [Webcast]. Learning experiences. Baltimore, MD: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010b). Changes in literacy education. [Webcast]. Learning experiences. Baltimore, MD: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010c). Analyzing and selecting appropriate texts. [Webcast]. Learning experiences. Baltimore, MD: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010d). Critical perspective. [Webcast]. Learning experiences. Baltimore, MD: Author.
References Continued Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010e). Getting to know your students. [Webcast]. Learning experiences. Baltimore, MD: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010f). Perspectives in early literacy. [Webcast]. Learning experiences. Baltimore, MD: Author. McKenna, M. C., & Kear, D. J. (1990). Measuring attitude toward reading: A new tool for teachers. The Reading Teacher, 43(9), 626–639. National Association for the Education of Young Children. (1998). Learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Washington, DC: Author. Rathvon, Natalie. (2006). DRA review. Retrieved from natalierathvon.com/images/ DRA _Review-08-25-2006.pdf. Tompkins, G. E. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.