How does getting to know the literacy learner help create a literate environment?
Understanding the literacy learner is essential to creating a literate environment. Teachers must understand there students’ current level of literacy development as well as their motivations, identities, and background knowledge. One way to get to know these aspects of the literacy learner is by assessing their cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of literacy learning. Assessments provide the necessary information teachers need in which to provide effective instruction to the learners.
According to Dr. Almasi, we must find out about the whole child, which means their backgrounds, interests, identities (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009c).
Tompkins (2010) suggests that teachers use cognitive assessments such as running records, observations, anecdotal notes, and assessment tools like the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) to assess students progress, strengths and weaknesses, and provide instruction that accommodates student needs.
Dr. Afflerbach (2007) notes that reading assessment is essential to knowing about the progress and achievement of students. He also insists that “our use of assessments materials and procedures that focus on ‘the other’ in reading helps to fill a gap in our understanding of high quality teaching of reading, resultant student learning, and student growth that complements cognitive achievement” (Afflerbach, 2007, p. 168).
How does selecting the appropriate texts help to create a literate environment?
After determining students’ cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of literacy learning, teachers may begin to select the appropriate texts that accommodate these aspects. Besides the students developmental level and reading interests and identities, teachers need to consider the text structures, types, and genres (Walden University, 2011). There should be a variety of text types such as narrative, informational, poetry, as well as new literacies available to students in order to foster a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Text factors should be analyzed and applied to the daily reading and writing instruction.
According to Dr. Douglas Hartman, text comes in many forms whether it is printed or digital and can be analyzed using the matrix with dimensions from narrative to informational, and linguistic to semiotic (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a).
Dr. Janice Almasi also suggests another dimension which involves the level of difficulty based on readability, length of the text, text structures, size of print, and visual supports (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a).
How does implementing the Interactive Perspective help to create a literate environment?
In order to have an effective application of the Interactive Perspective, there must be instruction based on the “five pillars” of literacy instruction. They are phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. These components of literacy instruction are used to teach students how to read texts from different dimensions on the matrix, as previously described. Implementing this perspective in a lesson was not at all difficult due to the fact that the majority of literacy instruction in early grades focuses on this particular perspective. It is necessary for students to know how to read and choose the most appropriate strategies in which to use to create a literate environment.
Implementing the Interactive Perspective Research
Dr. Janice Almasi notes how the Interactive Perspective involves students becoming strategic processors and metacognitive about strategies they choose to use (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009d).
The goal of the perspective is for students to be reflective and self-regulating (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009d).
Strategies Implemented in the Interactive Lesson
Interactive Read alouds
Authentic Application Activities
Learning Across the Curriculum
According to Tompkins’ (2010) “Compendium of Instructional Procedures”, teachers use these procedures in many ways.
Classroom Critique of the Critical and Response Perspectives
How does classroom practices of the Critical and Response perspective help create a literate environment ?
After teaching students how to read and how to be strategic thinkers, we must consider what they will do with these set of skills. Students should then become critical and analyze the “whys” and “how comes” of text. It is necessary for students to be able to not just analyze text, they should also be able to respond and make personal connections to the text. These ideas are the basis of the Critical and Response Perspectives .
According to Dr. Janice Almasi it is essential that teachers provide opportunities for students to transact with text by critically analyzing it from different perspectives and reacting to texts through personal responses (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009b,e).