Creating a LiterateEnvironment in the 21st Century By: Kameela Martin
Introduction• 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).
Getting to Know Literacy LearnersIt is beneficial for educators to find out about students’ interests, likes and dislikes, needs and wants, to know how to successfully instruct them.• Cognitive Development (A child’s reading development) * Assessment - Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) – 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).
Selecting Texts When selecting appropriate texts, we must think about whatmakes them appropriate and how are we going to use them in ourcurriculum. It is imperative that educators have an idea of how todetermine if a text is appropriate based on certain criteria.• Literacy Matrix 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 ofappropriate types to meet literacy goals and objects for students.• Interests Having students read books that are of interest to them, willcreate a more positive attitude toward reading (Afflerbach, 2007).It is important to get to know to students to find out what they areinterested in, as well as, what books or authors that have inspired ormoved them.
Literacy Lesson: Interactive Perspective• Interactive Perspective • Teaching students how to read and write fluently, accurately and with comprehension (Framework).• Activity: Read Aloud/Think Aloud • Making Connections • 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.
Critical and Response Perspectives• Critical and Response Perspective - 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 * Students should be about the reasons behind provided with ideas, concepts, etc. or opportunities to formulate answer the question why? a personal response to a (Laureate Education, Inc., text (Framework, 2010) 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.
ConclusionIt is imperative to realize that we, as educators, teach students and not texts andso we need to ensure we get to know the whole human being, to know how tosuccessfully instruct them (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010e). Although it isimportant to know a students’ cognitive development, it is as equally important toknow a students’ noncognitive development. Afflerbach states, “reading attitudesare closely related to reader motivation and reader self-concept” (Afflerbach,2007, pg. 161). Educators should use research-based assessment practices toproperly assess a students’ cognitive and noncognitive development. From theseassessments it is important to study and analyze data, to know the properresearch-based instructional practices to use. Texts are powerful tools to use inthe classroom and so when selecting texts for students, we must ensure they areappropriate to teach the skill identified as a need and that they are just right forthe student. We must remember, that in order for students to comprehend thetext, they must bring something to the text and so the must be active participantsin their learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010f). One way to ensure students areactive participants in their learning is by getting to know them, finding out whatthey are interested in, in order to incorporate and build on that in the classroom.
ReferencesAfflerbach, 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 ContinuedLaureate 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.