•The STAR Reading program (Renaissance Learning) helped create a literateenvironment in my classroom through analyzing each child’s strengths andweaknesses in order for the teacher to meet their needs more efficiently. Thestudent is able to take a computer generated and maintained assessment andthen the teacher is able to print out data that gives an indicator of thestudent’s reading level and skills to be taught in order to help the childsucceed.•“Me Stew” which was introduced by Leigh-Ann Hildreth (LaureateEducation, Inc., 2009c) was a great activity to get to know the students anddiscover what interests them. Students take home a paper bag and bringthree ingredients to create the stew that describes them. This activitybenefits the students and the teacher in that as different stories arepresented in class, students take turns being the experts and all of thestudents feel valued. Another benefit to using this strategy to get to knowthe students is when students decide they are bored with reading, the teachercan always pull out a book that interests them.
•The “Literacy Matrix” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a) helps the teacherselect text that is just right for the students. The top of the matrix is linguistic,which means the text is more word oriented and the bottom of the matrix issemiotic, which means the text uses things other than words. The left side ofthe matrix is narrative, which is a story and the right side of the matrix isinformational, which focuses on giving information on a topic. This matrix hasbeen beneficial in ensuring the types of texts being read are balanced.Literature in this quadrant Literature in this quadrantwould be stories with Linguistic would be informational withwords only words only. Narrative InformationalLiterature in this quadrant Literature in this quadrantwould be stories with Semiotic would be provided through websitespictures only with pictures and videos only. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009)
•Elements of story structure (Tompkins, 2010, p. 295) is another helpful toolin selecting texts to teach certain skills. Students in second grade need tobe able to discuss plot, characters, and setting.Plot-“The most basic aspect of plot is the division of the main events into thebeginning, middle, and end.” (Tompkins, 2010, p.295). Students have been creatinggraphic organizers with this information about the nonfiction stories they havebeen reading.Characters-“Characters are the most important structural element when stories arecentered on a character or group of characters.” (Tompkins, 2010, p. 298).Students have been able to describe how they would feel if they were a certaincharacter in a certain story.Setting-“The setting is generally thought of as the location where the story takesplace, but it’s only one aspect. There are four aspects of setting: location, weather,time period, and time” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a). Students have also beenable to complete graphic organizers with this data as well.
Guided Reading is a great way to create a literacy environment in the classroom.Modeling after Stahl (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009d), the teacher usedstrategies for before reading, during reading, and after reading.•Before reading the teacher will reread familiar text, review high-frequency words, and introduce a new book. When introducing a new book, the teacher sets apurpose for reading, performs a picture walk, and introduces one to three essentialvocabulary words that students may not already know.•During reading the students read the text softly to themselves at their own paceand the teacher informally assesses the children’s reading and assists if necessary.•After reading the teacher engages the students in guided writing by creating asentence in a small group and then working together to cut the sentence up andrecreate the sentence.
The critical and response perspectives allow students to interact with what theyhave read in order to get a better understanding of the story. According toAlmasi the critical perspective assists students in critically viewing multipleperspectives (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009b) and Almasi also mentioned theresponse perspective is useful for the reader to be transformed by the text(Laureate Education, Inc., 2009e).The response perspective was used to so that students could explore thecharacters in a story. Students are taught to use journal writing to explorecharacters. The character journal is a variation of response journal. Thestudents wrote in their journal as if they were a character in the story and theyresponded from that character’s perspective (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009f).
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Week 3: Analyzing and selecting text. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Week 6: Critical perspective. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009c). Week 2: Getting to Know Your Students [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009d). Week 5: Interactive perspective: Guided reading. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009f). Week 6: Response perspective. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009f). Week 6: Response perspective: Reading-writing connection. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader. Baltimore: Author.Renaissance Learning. (2012). STAR Reading Enterprise. Retrieved from http://www.renlearn.com/sr/default.aspxTompkins, G.E. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.