LITERACYEDU 669: The Reading Writing ConnectionKatura Lesane, PhD
For a long time, I only thought ofliteracy as simply reading. Being literatemeant being able to read. And yet, timeand research has shown me that literacyis much more than being able to read.Literacy involves the ability to speak,listen, read, write, and think. It includesuse of a myriad of resources to accessliteracy. Effective instructors infusedirect instruction with real experiences.For young learners, literacy instructionbegins with listening and speaking.Literacy begins at home where parentstalk to their children, model readingpractices, use environmental readingopportunities such as signs (stop and exitsign), read together, use variedvocabulary, and ask questions.
What is Reading?Reading involves decoding and comprehension.Students must have the tools to attack the words onpaper. They must then be able to make meaning ofthose words. Critical thinking develops during theprocess of reading.
What is Writing?When one writes, he or she conveys meaningthrough graphic symbols. Writing involvesencoding or spelling. It is the process of usingreading skills to further express language.Critical thinking develops during the processof writing.
DifferentiationIn reading instruction it is important thatlearning styles and multiple intelligences areaddressed. Students learn differently and havedifferent needs. Some students need direct orexplicit instruction (modeling from theinstructor). Some students prefer student-centered learning (learning implicitly).
Stages of LiteracyCooper, Kiger, Robinson, and Slansky (2012) discuss the various stages of literacy.These five stages include:Stage 2: Emergent LiteracyLearners become more interested inliteracy and develop oral languagepatterns (letters). This normally occurs atthe end of kindergarten or the beginningof first grade.Stage 1: Early Emergent LiteracyLearners develop the foundations ofliteracy. This occurs before a childenters school. They develop orallanguage and may draw or scribble.
Stages of LiteracyCooper, Kiger, Robinson, and Slansky (2012) discuss the various stages of literacy.These five stages include:Stage 5: Fluent Reading & WritingThe learner uses reading and writing forvarious purposes. This occurs duringfourth grade and continues throughoutupper elementary into middle school andhigh school. In fact, it continuesthroughout our lives.Stage 3: Beginning Reading &WritingLearners read and write inconventional ways. They developfluency. This occurs through firstgrade into second or third grade. Thisis a critical stage of the literacy.Stage 4: Almost Fluent Reading &WritingLearners read silently more and domore writing. Their vocabularyincreases. This occurs at the end of thesecond grade and continues into thebeginning of fourth or fifth grade.
Effective Literacy InstructionAccording to Taylor (2008), as referenced in Cooper, Kiger, Robinson, and Slansky(2012), there are certain necessary components of effective literacy Instruction. Howmany of these have you used or had the most success with when working with students?For me, phonemic awareness and comprehension instruction have been essential in mydaily routine. Also, making good instructional choices that challenged learners has beencritical. Finally, reading was a part of our daily routine; students need constant practice.
Effective Literacy InstructionPhonemic Awareness Fluency Instruction Vocabulary InstructionComprehension Instruction Good InstructionalChoicesClarity of Purpose andTimingUse of Data Culturally ResponsiveInstructionChallenge for LearnersGrouping Practices Teacher and StudentActionsTime Spent on ReadingAlignment of Standards,Curriculum and Instruction
To be effective with literacy instruction, a teacher must also consider the zone ofproximal development. Vygotsky (1978) maintained that children follow theadult’s example and gradually develop the ability to do certain tasks withouthelp or assistance. He called the difference between what a child can do withhelp and what he or she can do without help as the zone of proximaldevelopment (ZPD).Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development
Balanced LiteracyBalanced literacy incorporates teacher-direction and student-centered instruction.It combines direct instruction by theteacher combined with studentperformance. Balanced literacy modelsdifferentiation of instruction that isnecessary for effective teaching andlearning. This includes daily independentreading, daily independent writing,reading for learning skills and strategies,reading to apply skills and strategies,writing to learn (teacher directed),developmentally appropriate writing, andinterventions for students who needadditional support. Effective literacyprograms include substantive time –mostly up to 90 minutes – for literacy
Balanced Literacy LessonAfter introducing the text, a balanced literacy lesson includes reading andresponding to the text. Students may read the text in various modes to includeindependent reading, cooperative reading, guided reading, shared reading, read-alouds, or a combination of all of the reading modes. During these processes, theteacher may scaffold or support students or encourage metacognition. Usingvarying modes provide differing amounts of instructional support. The goal is tomove students towards independent reading where they become critical thinkers.The next phase includes extending the text. This includes many student-centeredactivities where students may make connections and incorporate other subjects orareas of learning in the text. In this phase, students demonstrate understanding ofthe text. This is a great time for teachers to introduce interdisciplinary learning.
Balanced Literacy LessonIn an effective balanced literacy program, a variety of texts are used. The textsused may depend on the students’ literacy levels. A basal series is typicallyadopted by school system as their core instructional material. They typicallyare used for grades K-6 and include anthologies, practice books, teachersmanuals, paperback books, decodable texts and other supportive materials,many that include technology.
Modes of WritingIn a balanced literacy lesson, writing must be considered when extending thetext. Writing is a critical component of the balanced literacy approach. Modes ofwriting include independent writing, collaborative or cooperative writing, guidedwriting (scaffolding and teachers support), shared writing (interactive writing),and write-alouds (teacher modeling). As with reading, the use of writing is a wayto demonstrate literacy.
Reading Mini-lessonA minilesson provides direct instruction tohelp students with reading strategies andskills. This is a time for teachers to alsofocus on the strengths and weaknesses ofstudents within the groups. To effectivelyconduct minilessons, teachers must havegood classroom management skills. Thisincludes introducing the text, modelingreading of the text, guided practice withthe text (including corrective feedback tostudents and data collection of students’capabilities), and summarizing andreflecting on the text. After theminilesson, students should haveindependent practice, application of theskills, and reflection or discussion.
What Does it All Mean?Click on the link aboveIf you are an educator, you must ask yourself how literacy is developed in yourclassroom and how you incorporate differentiation in the process of literacyattainment. Do you know where your students are regarding the stages ofliteracy? Are you using a balanced literacy approach to meet their learningneeds? Is writing and technology incorporated in your literacy program? Areyou collaborating with co-workers to develop a schoolwide literacy programthat involves all teachers despite the discipline they teach? These are just a fewof the questions for self-assessment as a literacy instructor.
ReferencesCooper, J. D., Kiger, N. D., Robinson, M. D., & Slansky, J. A. (2012). Literacy:Helping students construct meaning (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth,Cengage Learning.Parent Involvement in Home Literacy [Video file]. Retrieved formhttp://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=188165Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.