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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in reading instruction
Posted by on in Literacy

 

THIS. I read that 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills. One in five adults, two thirds of them, women. Not so bad, or staggering, depending on our perspective. Sobering, 60.7 million children are out of school and more drop out. Is this acceptable? As a nation of readers, we believe that the joy of reading is a joy forever. But we know, that reading generally leads to better jobs and ability to cope with an ever changing political and social environment.

There are several kinds of literacy, perhaps we are considering math, science and other disciplines. For my purposes here, let's stay with the notion of literacy as being able to read, write and master basic language needed for daily life.

However, Literacy Day actually casts a wider net, celebrating advances and needs remaining in math, digital competency, technical skills and softer skills needed for success in today's rapidly changing economy and every day world of work.

Today, September 8th is International Literacy Day, or World Literacy Day. In 1966 United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Sept. 8th each year as International Literacy Day, focusing on literacy for all. First celebrated in 1967, the day highlights the need for literacy in many facets of daily life.

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Posted by on in Education Resources

As a proponent of choice reading, I am always looking for ways to get books into the hands of my students and have them build their reading list, and what better way to celebrate Valentine’s week than having your students speed date books? Inspired by the speed dating scene in New York where single people met potential dates over a brief, timed conversation and ranked them, speed dating books is a way for students to quickly put their hands on several books in order to find one of interest.

To kick off each semester, my students speed date books. I’ll give our media center specialists a little information about my class, and they go to work pulling high-interest books. When we arrive in the library, several books are arranged on tables and students find a table and sit with their guided note page. I set the timer for anywhere between two to four minutes depending on the students, and the book dating begins. Students make notes on first impressions of the cover, the inside jacket blurb, and possibly even the first paragraph or two. The timer buzzes signaling students to move to another table and start the process with another book. We may repeat this process between five and ten times depending on student interest and the time of year. After students have completed the process, they will rank books deciding which book to begin reading immediately and which ones to add to their reading list.

I have experimented with book speed dating several ways. Books may be grouped at tables by genre helping students learn different types of genres and seeing the variances within a genre. Faculty members may choose books which have been personal favorites for students to browse or students may each submit a couple of their favorite books for others to choose from. Today my students will speed date books on Valentine’s day complete with chocolate and candles. The possibilities are limitless.

As a follow up to speed dating, I carry the analogy further by discussing dating the book. A book may start slow but grow on you as the more you read it, so I encourage students to not give up too quickly on a book. Sometimes, however, the book does not live up to the hopes and expectations of a student, and students have permission to break up with a book and try another one. Life is too short to trudge through a book without connecting to it especially for choice reading when there are so many other choices.

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Posted by on in Literacy

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Reading is fundamental, that’s true, but somehow this idea gets lost in the translation. Re-stated, it means, in today’s education system, that reading is fundamental when we make Johnny read and read and read until the words come out of his eyes and ears. At that point, it becomes a habit, so deeply ingrained in him, that it is only natural for him to pick up a book in his leisure time.

Imagine that: In a world of constant distractions and events flying by at high speeds, Johnny will read at a pace much slower than reality, where digressions and inner-space journeys intervene frequently. In order to prevent these diversions from happening, we bombard the child with a barrage—sometimes called a list—of thirty books to read on his own.

By reading, on average, three books per month, along with the summer bonus of ten more books, Johnny might become, for us, but unbeknownst to him, a reader, booklover, lifelong learner, in a naturally unnatural way. This is the fundamental way to impact the reading process, or the magic of reading, so he can sit engaged and bored simultaneously, and constantly thinking and asking questions about his future days, for example:  

What are the easiest books to read and respond to?

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

The Things They Carried

Brave New World

Of Mice and Men

Walk in Room 128 on any given day, and my students could be reading these books. Add The Catcher in the Rye to the list if it makes it through our approval process. These books are all on the top 100 most frequently banned books, and I want to defend why I teach banned books since this is National Banned Book Week.

Books are a way for students to learn about life, the world, different ways of thinking, injustice, and growing up. When I teach books, I am not only teaching my students literary devices and analysis but how to think. If I give students books of the same genre, theme, complexity, and issues, students will not grow in their thinking. What if a person ate only broccoli at every meal? Broccoli is healthy and good for you, but only broccoli doesn’t make for a well-balanced diet or healthy person. The same goes with reading. Students need a variety of books for their intellectual development. Isn’t this the basis of education to expand our thinking and expose ourselves to new ideas?

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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

reading joyIn the early childhood world there has been a lot of talk and concern expressed about the “pushdown” of academics into kindergarten and even preschool. And the Common Core kindergarten reading requirements have sparked outrage – particularly the standard stating that every child should be able to read by the end of kindergarten.

Standards such as these make it clear that the people devising them do not understand child development. Moreover, such standards, to my way of thinking, provide the best route to a resentment of reading. Ask children to do something before they’re ready and the end result will not be a love of the activity forced on them.

Nancy Bailey, an educator who left teaching because of the current “reforms,” stated it beautifully when she wrote:

While kindergarten is now the new 1stgrade, in 10 more years will kindergarten be the next 2nd or 3rd grade? When will the current reformers be satisfied? When will they quit demeaning children and making them jump through inappropriate developmental hoops?

Enough is enough! Let children be children. Let them be their age. Bring back the joy of learning to read.

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