By Kim Sexton Walden UniversityEDUC-6706R-4 The Beginning Reader, PreK-3 Dr. Denise Love
A literate environment adapts to new literacies, including technology. The methods used for instruction, must match the target, or goal, to be achieved by the learner (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010a).
Teachers must get to know their students and what motivates them to learn, both on an academic and personal level. It is critical that children are actively engaged in the process of their own learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b).
A child’s literacy development is effected by their culture and language exposure. Teachers must respect where a child comes from. A teacher must work with the learner to broaden their worlds to make them more literate (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b). A child’s literacy is nurtured by interaction with responsive adults.
Methods of non-cognitive assessment: These assessments allow teachers to asses a student’s attitudes and motivations in regards to reading. Students must be motivated, have a good self-concept, and a positive attitude to become successful readers (Afflerbach, 2007). Student observations Student interviews Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS) (McKenna & Kear, 1990) to assess student’s self-concept of their reading abilities as well as their view of the academic value of reading.
Methods of cognitive assessment: These assessments help us to understand how students process and use language to construct meaning when they read (Afflerbach, 2007). Easy CBM: reading fluency, reading comprehension and vocabulary assessment with appropriate benchmarks for each grade level. Miscue analysis: a reading fluency that tracks the number and types of errors (including hesitations) a student reads when reading aloud.
The use of non-cognitive assessments has allowed me to focus on the whole child. That is to say, it has caused me to focus on why it is, exactly, that my students either struggle or excel at reading. Knowing what motivates them to read and getting to know them on a more personal level has allowed me to help them choose appropriate texts that address both their cognitive and non-cognitive needs. It has also caused me to focus on the needs of my students from diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, and vocabulary.
Using both cognitive and non-cognitive assessments, I assessed three transitional readers, described as mid-second to third grade readers who are capable of using reading as a tool for learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010c). Two of them are English Language Learners (ELLs). The one girl, who scored the highest of the three on the ERAS (McKenna & Kear, 1990), has a reasonably strong self- concept when it comes to reading and sees the academic value in reading. The lower scoring of the two boys struggles most with comprehension, but has a high fluency level, which means he is fairly adept at word-calling, but does not connect with what he is reading. The third student has low scores in both areas of reading fluency and comprehension. He struggled so much with decoding words that it was extremely difficult for him to comprehend what he was reading.
When selecting texts, it is as important for students to have some background knowledge on the topic about which they are reading as it is for them to be active participants in their literacy learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b). Students can use background knowledge, or schema, to help connect with text and create meaning out of its content (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010d).
Matrix for analyzing text Linguistic (word oriented) Narrative Text Informational Text Semiotic (non-linguistic, picture-oriented text) When selecting texts, it is important to consider which quadrant on this matrix the book can be placed (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010e)
The difficulty of text must be considered in the following ways: Readability: sentence length, concept difficulty frequency of word use. Length of the text: this effects student motivation to read the selected text. Text structure: informative/descriptive, cause/effect, problem/resolution, compare/contrast, Size of the print in the text Visual Support such as charts or graphs and illustrations. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010e)
Using this information, I chose a selection of books about bats to develop a literacy unit for the three transitional readers I assessed. Texts chosen to support this unit Stellaluna, written by Janell Cannon, read by actress Pamela Reed on www.storylineonline.net. This text falls in the narrative/linguistic quadrant of the matrix. The Magic School Bus Going Batty: A Book About Bats, by Joanna Cole. This text also falls in the narrative/linguistic quadrant. Let’s Look at Bats, written by Ruth Berman. This text falls in the informational/linguistic quadrant
The use of the matrix for the purpose of selecting texts for my transitional readers enabled me to select texts that met both the cognitive and non-cognitive needs of my transitional readers. I chose books that were informational and allowed for exposure to new vocabulary and opportunities for critical thinking. Students need early and continued exposure to informational text in order to begin the development of background knowledge to build upon (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010f).
I also chose books that were interesting and entertaining to meet the students’ non-cognitive needs, and would provide opportunities to access the students’ own schema in order connect with the text. The use of technology, which is considered to be one of the new literacies (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010a). The materials we use to expose students to literacy have changed greatly. The use of technology as a way to access literacy is a common tool for today’s literacy learners. It is interactive and engaging, and provides an almost unlimited supply of learning opportunities for learning.
The Interactive Perspective dictates that literacy learning must contain aspects of all of the Five Pillars of Literacy (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010g) Alphabetic Principal Phonemic Awareness Reading Fluency Vocabulary Comprehension
Strategies: different strategies are used for informational and narrative text. Narrative text: strategies focus on such topics as character/setting/plot, conflict and resolution, cause and effect (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010e). Informational text: strategies may focus on compare and contrast, vocabulary development, building of content knowledge.
Using the previous selection of texts about bats, I developed a unit for my three, below-level, transitional readers. As my formal, cognitive assessments dictated, some of their areas of greatest need were vocabulary and reading comprehension, so these were the areas of focus for this literacy unit. In consideration of the students’ non-cognitive needs, I knew that they would find these texts interesting which would make them more likely to remain actively engaged.
One objective for this small group of students was for them to be able to use context clues to be able to determine the meaning of new or unfamiliar vocabulary. My second objective was for the students to be able to answer comprehension questions about the text and be able to show where in the text they were able to find the information to correctly answer the questions.
The students were actively engaged in all three texts and participated willingly throughout the lessons. All three students showed growth based on pre- and post- assessments in both areas. The true assessment in this unit is ongoing and requires that students continue to use the skills that they learned and can transfer the strategies that we used to identify word meaning and to locate information to their independent reading.
Dr. Almasi states that the critical perspective includes evaluating text from multiple perspectives, making judgments about a text and its believability based upon who wrote it and why. It requires thinking critically about text (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010h). This includes determining the author’s purpose and perspective in writing at text, whether to inform, persuade, or entertain. Understanding why the author wrote at text will help a student to know what his or her purpose in reading a text, whether for enjoyment or to gain knowledge of content matter.
The response perspective refers to the exposure to text that affects a student on both emotional and personal levels (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010i). It also includes the connection between reading and writing as a way of having students respond to text. Reading and writing reinforce each other’s development. They help students to make connections to what they are reading and provides opportunities for constructing new world knowledge (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010k).
Students can respond to what they read using a number of tools. Response Journals: used to develop an open-ended interpretation of text as well as helps a student write how he or she connects to text on a personal level (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010j) Double-Entry Journals: journal pages are divided and sections are used for different purposes, such as identifying specific portions of text to respond to on one side and their response on the other. These journals are used for a more teacher directed response in order to help students structure their thinking about text (Tompkins, 2010)
I used the my understanding of these two perspectives to design a literacy unit that required students to determine the authors purpose in writing a text and to determine the main idea and lesson or moral to be learned from a text. Guiding my small group of students through learning how to use the double entry journal was very effective. It allowed me to provide specific ideas for them to respond to on both a personal and critical level.
The implementation of these strategies helped me to deliver a lesson that addressed multiple perspectives. Students were able to respond to specific questions that I asked them and to identify the main idea of the text. They were also able to personally respond to text and identify how they related to the main character in Stelalluna, by Janell Cannon.
Please provide me with feedback in the following areas: New insights about literacy and literacy instruction How this information changes literacy practices or your interactions with students How I can support you in literacy development of your students/children? Any support you might be able to provide Any questions you might have after viewing this presentation.
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