Breaking the Cycle

Aug 30, 2010 by

As this new school year begins, I am going to write a short series of reflections on the teaching of reading.  I believe it is critical that teachers approach all teaching with some self-reflection.  Topping my list of self-reflective questions is always “What are my beliefs about how children learn and do my practices match these beliefs?”  If there is a disconnect, I start to think about why it is there and what I can do about it.  The self-reflection of my literacy practices began during my first year of teaching when I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working.  I began by thinking about how I became a reader (my own personal literacy history) and how I could help my students do the same.   More recently,I wrote these experiences into a mini-memoir...

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Factors That Motivate Students to Read...

May 12, 2010 by

A review of current professional literature led me to conclude that the following factors contribute most to motivating lifelong reading habits.  The articles listed on the reading motivation page of my website address these factors and provide suggestions for incorporating them in classroom instruction. Self-selection/choice Personal interests Access to books Social interaction Caring community Series books/light reading Varied texts Mentoring/Modeling Read-aloud Time to read Meaningfulness Appropriate level of difficulty Scaffolding Feedback The following resources give further information on ways to motivate our readers: Share...

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Reading Quotes

Mar 1, 2009 by

During the break times at a recent seminar on reading motivation, I projected a PowerPoint show that featured quotes from famous people about the power of reading.  A seminar participant asked if she could get a copy of all the quotes, so I decided to share them with all of you as well.  Following the list of quotes is a PowerPoint slide show that you can download and show in your classroom.  The slides automatically loop, so try projecting the slide show on your screen as students arrive in the morning.  Have them discuss the quotes and try making up some of their own.  (You may have to adjust the font style and size if you don’t have the same font on your computer). "In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds,...

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Recommending Books to Readers

Feb 27, 2009 by

The matchmaker’s goal when delivering book talks is to introduce students to a potential new “bibliomate.” —from The Book Club Companion by Cindy O’Donnell-Allen Read-Aloud It is important to remember that a child cannot be interested in literature he has not been introduced to yet.  A great way to encourage readers to try new authors and genres is by reading aloud a book or by reading a portion of a book and doing a book talk on it.  Two great resources are Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud edited by Jim Trelease (grades 1-4) and Read All About It edited by Jim Trelease (grades 5-8).  These books contain excerpts from 48 children’s books, along with an introduction and background information for each and suggestions for further reading.   Book Talks Nancy Keane...

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Matching Readers with Text

Feb 3, 2009 by

Reading Interview One of the best ways to discover what a child likes to read is to ask. At the beginning of the year, interview and/or ask each child to complete a reading interest survey to assess reading interests, attitudes, and knowledge of reading strategies. Interview questions may include: •Do you like to read? Why or why not? •What do you like to read? •What is the last good book you read? •Do you like when adults read aloud to you? •What is the most important thing about reading? •When you are reading, what are you trying to do? •What is reading? •When you come to a word you don’t know, what do you do? •Do you think it’s important to read every word correctly? Why or why not? •What makes a person a...

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