Creating a Literate EnvironmentShona HendricksonWalden UniversityEDUC 6706: The Beginning Reader, PreK-3Instructor: Dr. Martha Moore
What is a Literate Environment?● A place where one develops skills to communicate authentically through speaking, listening, reading, and writing (Cooper, 2000).● A place rich in language and print (Cooper, 2000).● A place accessible to all students regardless of their learning abilities, home language, or learning styles (Ruckdeschel, 2011).
Three Essential Parts of a Literate Environment1. Getting to Know Literacy Learners2. Selecting Texts3. Literacy Instruction -Interactive Perspective -Critical Perspective -Response Perspective
Getting to Know Literacy Learners Literacy remains paramount in learning, not only forlanguage development, but also as the foundation of all academicdisciplines including science and mathematics (Huffaker, 2005).Literacy is a process that begins in infancy and continues intoadulthood, if not throughout life (Tompkins, 2010). In order to create a literate environment, as teachers weneed to first get to know out students. We need to get to knowtheir cognitive and non-cognitive abilities (Laureate EducationInc., 2010b). This information about our students is important as itwill contribute to their success in reading (Afflerbach, 2007).
To provide an effective classroom environment that caters to thecognitive needs of students, it is important that assessment be done to seewhat reading levels they are at. Assessment should be done to test theirvocabulary skills, reading fluency, comprehension skills, decoding skills, etc.Examples of Cognitive AssessmentsRunning RecordsComprehension Questions Activity‘Words I Know’ Test
Teachers must get to know their students better in order to havetheir best interests at heart (Laureate Education Inc., 2010d). Teachersneed to find out about students’ interests, family background, experiencesand what motivates them. The better you know your students, the betteryou can connect them with texts that impact them in profound ways(Laureate Education, Inc., 2010b).Examples of Non-Cognitive Assessments Journals Composition Exercises
Selecting Texts Texts are presented in many different forms today (LaureateEducation Inc., 2010). All of which has a place in the literacy classroomwhether it is in the form of printed books or digital media. However,when selecting texts for students, it is important to think about textdifficulty, readability, length, structure, size of print and visual support(Laureate Inc., 2010). This is very useful in creating a literateenvironment I now realized from Dr. Almasi that texts selected should fall onthe continuum of linguistic to semiotic and narrative to informational(Laureate Education Inc., 2010). Selecting texts through this LiteracyMatrix, will allow me as a teacher to consider a variety of literacyexperiences that would be best suitable to students’ needs andinterests.
Literacy Matrix: The literacy matrix is a 2 digital construct for analyzing and selectingtexts (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). Texts selected should fall on thecontinuum of linguistic to semiotic and narrative to informational. A text with no illustrations at all tells a story that is linguistic andnarrative (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). A text that is made up of only pictures is semiotic and narrative(Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).Even though both of these are narrative texts, the way the narrative iscommunicated differs.
Linguistic HardNarrative Text Information Text Semiotic Easy (Laureate Education Inc., 2010f)
Things to think about when selecting text Length of text Size of print Number of sentences Text structure
Literacy Lesson: Interactive Perspective Interactive perspective is a strategy/style of teachinggeared towards getting students to construct their own meaningfrom any experience. It does not mean leaving students to makewhatever sense they can from any experience, but, needs theinteraction of teachers to interact and challenge studentthinking exposing them to new ideas (Hammonds, 2011). Inreading the interactive perspective focuses on students beingstrategic and metacognitive readers and writers; meaningstudents can read and write accurately, fluently, and withcomprehension.
Through this practice, I learned that the goal ofthe interactive perspective is to help students becomestrategic readers and writers (Laureate Education Inc.,2010i). This can be done through the use of strategiessuch as read aloud, shared reading, word walls, wordsorts and K-W-L charts.
The lesson I created for the interactive perspective focused oncomprehension of informational text. In this lesson, students read abook about Gardens. The K-W-L chart was used to get students tointeract with the text. Students had to identify what they knew aboutgardens, what they wanted to know and at the end what they learnedfrom the text about gardens. This lesson was effective as it gotstudents to open up and share their experiences. Students were alsoable to make connections with the text because it was within theirexperience which is an important aspect of the interactiveperspective.
Literacy Lesson:Critical and Response Perspectives The critical and response perspectives are two important components of literacy instructions that should be used by teachers. The critical perspective teaches students how to critically examine text; while teaching students to think about who wrote the text and how the author feels about the topic they are writing about (Laureate Education Inc., 2011).
The response perspective on the otherhand gives students the opportunity toexperience and respond to text (LaureateEducation, Inc., 2011). However across each perspective, theteacher must be cognizant of planning for thelearners, the texts, and the instructionalpractices (Hoffman, 2011).
Teaching a lesson using the critical and response perspective hasgiven me ideas of how I could create a literate environment. In order to getstudents to develop the skills of thinking critically and responding to text,text would be selected on topics such as ethnicity, race, gender, or socialstatus. This would give students the opportunity to put themselves in theshoes of the author based on text content. When students examine texts critically, they would begin to thinkmore deeply about them; and that is vitally important (Laureate Education,Inc., 2010a). According to Dr. Almasi, looking at text and examining it fromdifferent perspectives can allow students to look at the believability ofwhat they read (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010c).
Activities to reinforce the critical and response perspectives:- Open-mind portraits- Question-Answer-Relationships (QAR)- Questioning the Author- Response Journals
References* Afflerbach, P. (2007). Understanding and using reading assessment, K–12. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.* Cooper, J. D. (2000). Literacy: Helping children construct literacy. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.* Framework for literacy development [Lecture notes]. (2011). Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com* Hammonds, B. (2010). Interactive teaching approach. Retrieved from http://www.leading-learning.co.nz/quality- learning/interactive-teaching.html* Hoffman, B. (2011). Framework for literacy instruction: 3 Perspectives. Retrieved from http://mylearningspringboard.com/framework- for-literacy-instruction-3-perspectives/* Huffaker, D. (2005). The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom. AACE Journal, 13(2), 91-98. Norfolk, VA: AACE. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/5680* Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2011). Perspectives on Literacy Learning [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Analyzing and selecting text. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010a). Analysing and Selecting Text [Webcast]. The beginning reader, Prek-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010b). Changes in Literacy Education. [Webcast]. The beginning reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010c). Critical Perspective. [Webcast]. The beginning reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education Inc. (2010d). Getting to know your students. [Webcast]. The beginning reader, PreK-3 . Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education Inc. (2010f). (Executive Producer) Analyzing and Selecting Text. [webcast]. The beginning reader, PreK-3. Baltimore: author* Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010i). Strategic Processing. [Webcast]. The beginning reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Assessing word knowledge. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Getting to know your students. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author.* Ruckdeschel, S. (2011). How to create a literate classroom. eHow Web. Retrieved May 8, 2011, from http://www.ehow.com* Tompkins, G. E. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.