Why we can't stop reading aloud

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Content: THE MISSOURI READER Journal of the Missouri Reading Association Volume 37, Number 1 Spring 2013
Journal of the Missouri Reading Association
Volume 37, No. 1 Spring 2013
Editor Keisha Panagos, Ph.D. Scott City R-1 School District
Assistant Editor Beth Hurst, Ph.D. Missouri State University
The Missouri Reader is available online from the Missouri State Council of the International Reading Association. The journal and newsletter are available on our website: www.missourireading.org
The Missouri Reader
Editorial Board 2013-2014
Carla Bergstrom Hickman Mills Kit L. Blake, Ed.D. Missouri Western State University Carolyn Brown, Ph.D. University of Missouri, St. Louis Julie Bryant, Ed.D. Southwest Baptist University Dawna Lisa Buchanan Butterfield, Ph.D. University of Central Missouri Jeanie Cozens, Ph.D. Missouri Southern State University Lauren Edmondson, Ed.D. Drury University Jennifer Fox Southwest Baptist University Cindy Hail, Ph.D. Missouri State University Barbara Hiles Missouri Council IRA Dennis Kear, Ph.D. Missouri State University Dianne Koehnecke, Ph.D. Webster University Anita Lael, Ph.D. Lincoln University Denise Kelly Springfield Public School
Jana Loge Southwest Regional Professional Development Center Terry Lovelace, Ph.D. Northwest Missouri State University Denise Mounts, Ed.D. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Clover Noack, Ed.D. Ft. Zumwalt School District Debra Porter, Ed.D. Southeast Missouri State University Marie Puett St. Joseph School District, Retired Donna Rhinesmith, Ed.D. Truman State University Lenny Sбnchez, Ph.D. University of Missouri, Columbia Kathleen Scales Republic High School Terry Sherer Culver-Stockton College Cheryl, K. Snyder, Ph.D. University of Kansas Kara Swofford, Ph.D. College of the Ozarks Betty Porter Walls, Ph.D. Harris-Stowe State University Paula Witkowski-Dieckmann, Ph.D. Webster University
Executive Committee Missouri Council, International Reading Association 2013-2014 President .......................................................... Terry Sherer President-Elect............................................................ Open Vice President .................................................... Diana Houlle Corresponding Secretary ........................................ Mary Piazza Director of Membership Development ......................Barbara Hiles Treasurer................................................... Betty Porter Walls Assistant Treasurer ...............................................Traci Mosby State Coordinator............................................. Mary Jo Barker Recording Secretary.............................................. Mary Piazza Legislative Chair ........................................Mary Eileen Rufkahr Parliamentarian ............................................ Linda McGlothlin Historian ....................................................... Glenda Nugent Past President .............................................. Linda McGlothlin Missouri IRA Newsletter ................................ Laurie Edmondson The Missouri Reader, Editor................................... Keisha Panagos The Missouri Reader, Assistant Editor .............................Beth Hurst Website Coordinator ........................................ Mitzi Brammer State Coordinator............................................. Mitzi Brammer Zone Coordinators Big Springs Zone ........................................... Winnie McKinley Lake Ozarks Zone ......................................... Carol Perry Davis St. Louis Zone .................................................... Sarah Valter Pony Express Zone .................................Cindy Mires & Pat New Kansas City Zone .................................................. Jessica Cox Mark Twain Zone ......................................................... Open Ozark Mountain Zone ............................................ Sarah Logan River Heritage Zone ..................................................... Open
The Missouri Reader
The Missouri Reader is a peer-reviewed online journal that is published twice per year by the Missouri State Council of the International Reading Association as a forum for thoughtful consideration of issues, practices, research, and ideas in the field of literacy. Its purpose is to serve teachers, parents, consultants, supervisors, administrators, college/university faculty, and others interested in promoting literacy. Writing for The Missouri Reader You are invited to submit your writing for consideration in upcoming issues of The Missouri Reader. Articles, book reviews, and both student and teacher original poetry not published or under consideration for publication elsewhere are welcome. Submissions may be sent electronically at any time. When submitting your manuscript, please send it as a Microsoft Word e-mail attachment. Manuscripts must be 12-point font, double-spaced, page numbered, and follow APA (6th Edition) formatting. Clear photographs sent as electronic files are welcome. Your manuscript should include a cover page with your name, position/occupation and affiliation, as well as your business and home addresses, phone numbers, email address, and a short (25 words or less) biography. The Review Process Manuscripts submitted to The Missouri Reader are first reviewed internally by the editor. If it is determined that a manuscript fulfills the mission of MR, it is sent to at least two peers for review. Criterions for evaluating manuscripts are: 1) interest to readers; 2) clarity of writing; 3) content-fresh, accurate, consistent, well-reasoned; and 4) blend of theory and practice. Articles are the expression of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the International Reading Association, the Missouri State Council, or The Missouri Reader editor or editorial advisory board. Advertising Donations: $200 for full page; $125 for half page; $75 for one-quarter page; and $50 for one-eighth page. The Editor must receive a check, made payable to MSC-IRA, plus a camera-ready copy by September 1 for the fall issue or March 1 for the spring issue. Electronic copy is required. Acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsement of a product or the views expressed.
Contact Send manuscript submissions to: Dr. Keisha Panagos, Editor The Missouri Reader Email: [email protected]
Manuscript Deadlines: Fall 2013 submissions due: June 1, 2013 Spring 2014 submissions due: November 1, 2013
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.5
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Reading and Writing to Support Literacy Letter from the Editor ...................................................................................7 Keisha Panagos, Ph.D. Letter from the Assistant Editor........................................................................8 Beth Hurst, Ph.D. Middle School Students` Perceptions of Writing Strategies in helping them learn Pre-Algebra ....................................................................9 Stephanie Reid Becoming a Middle School Reader: Appreciating Young Adult Literature as an Adult........................................................................... 15 Julie Morris Critical Listening: Sensible Ways to Teach a Neglected Skill ................................... 20 Randall Wallace Why We Can`t Stop Reading Aloud ................................................................ 25 Amber K. Howard, Deanne Camp, Cindy Hail, and Beth Hurst Using Trade Books in all Content Areas ............................................................ 31 Dianne Swenson Koehnecke Making Parents Partners to Increase Young Children`s Expressive Language Skills........................................................................................... 34 Diana Brannon and Linda Dauksas My Experience with the Sign Up for Reading Strategy ........................................ 42 Kate Tupper If You Can Write a Lesson Plan, You Can Write an Article .................................... 44 Beth Hurst and Deanne Camp Original Poetry A Rhyme Through Time ............................................................................... 47 Cheri Harrington ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.6
Letter from the Editor Keisha Panagos, Ph.D. Dear Supporters of The Missouri Reader, I am pleased to be releasing Volume 37(1) of The Missouri Reader. After being the assistant editor for the past five years I am proud to be putting out this issue as Editor. We have made great strides throughout the year to increase the integrity of the journal and take great pride in the fact that it is peer-reviewed by some of the best literacy professionals in the state of Missouri. Thank you to all who responded to our call for reviewers. We would be hard pressed to put out a journal if it weren`t for the thought provoking and critical examinations of our reviewers. Thank you for your support and dedication; we appreciate all that you do. I would also like to welcome Dr. Beth Hurst to the Editorial Board. She has been active with the organization for many years and has always been a constant supporter of the journal. I am very honored to have her fill the position as Assistant Editor. We have been working hard to ensure that The Missouri Reader is a quality resource for best practices and current literacy trends. Our authors are diverse, yet united by the common theme of literacy. We believe this issue has something for everyone, and we hope you enjoy your reading. Thank you for your continued efforts in supporting literacy. Keisha Panagos ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.7
Letter from the Assistant Editor Beth Hurst, Ph.D. Dear Readers, It is a special privilege for me to have the opportunity to serve as Assistant Editor of The Missouri Reader because this is where I received my first publication in 1994. Since then I have seen the work of many good colleagues in this wonderful journal. It is a good place to be. My first task of assistant editor was to update the Editorial Board whose job it is to review the manuscripts. That was great fun. I got to meet new colleagues from around the state. I was impressed with their level of expertise and the helpfulness of their reviews. I hope you`ll take a moment to read the list of reviewers. I believe we have a good representation of literacy professionals from around the state. I look forward to working on this journal with Keisha Panagos who does a beautiful job as editor. Beth Hurst ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.8
hile many current educational theories support the use of cross-curricular writing strategies to help students process information and actively construct knowledge, such strategies seem to be much less commonly used in mathematics classes. After studying the existing research in an attempt to improve my personal teaching techniques--and ultimately my students` success (based on student engagement, concept retention, and...let`s face it...most importantly, test results)--I decided to give my students a voice in the matter. The following is a synopsis of a study I conducted with my middle school (6-8th grade) pre-algebra students to determine their perceptions of several common writing strategies that are not as commonly used in mathematics classes. The study involved administering to my students a survey containing statements regarding the perceived effectiveness of several writing strategies used during certain units throughout the year, as compared to comparable units without the implementation of the writing strategies, on which students would rate their level of agreement. The primary purpose of the study was to better inform my instructional decisionmaking; yet, the conclusions drawn could have further cross-curricular implications. Theories based on the constructivist approach to teaching maintain that knowledge is actively constructed by students, rather than passively received (Steffe & Gale, 1995). While writing strategies have been shown to be effective in helping students construct knowledge across content areas primarily involving reading, many objectives of these strategies align with the objectives of mathematics curricula as well. Certain writing strategies can be used to supplement traditional mathematics curricula in order to actively involve students in the thinking process involved in higher-order mathematics skills. While most traditional mathematics instruction is based on the view that students passively absorb mathematical ideas and concepts presented by an authoritative teacher in the form of facts and figures (Clements & Battista, 1990), constructivists maintain
that people construct meaning about concepts by reflecting on experiences and acknowledging the learner`s active role in the creation of knowledge (Steffe & Gale, 1995). The focus is often on the process of learning, rather than a final product. One of the major goals for mathematics instruction within a constructivist classroom is not simply completing tasks, but rather making sense of, and communicating about, them (Clements & Battista, 1990, p. 35). Stephanie Reid teaches kindergarten at Greenwood Laboratory School, a laboratory school of Missouri State University, in Springfield, MO. She received her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Mississippi and her master's degree in Literacy with special reading certification from Missouri State University. Fundamental principles of constructivism as it relates specifically to mathematics instruction include fostering problem-solving skills within meaningful, real-world context, developing students` abilities to reason, and encouraging students to communicate their ideas regarding mathematics concepts through clarifying, refining, and consolidating their thinking (Nesmith, 2008). In addition, learning takes place when students are able to relate new concepts to existing knowledge, students are better able to ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.9
understand and retain new concepts (Vacca, Vacca, & Mraz, 2010). Writing strategies offer a means of reflecting on these connections. Certain writing strategies also allow students to convey their level of interest in and their understanding of a particular topic or concept. This information is critical in planning for future instruction. Furthermore, current theories acknowledge the importance of differentiating instruction based on students` individualized needs (Holloway, 2000). Certain needs can be determined through the assessment of students` writing, particularly that which pertains to mental processes used in learning. In addition, by allowing students to express their input on the effectiveness of instructional approaches and strategies, teachers display a regard for students` opinions and needs. Research also supports the idea that if students are motivated to learn and they consider the academic tasks to be useful, then they are more likely to be engaged in the learning process (Halawah, 2006; Howey, 2008), and therefore, perform better. Middle School Math Standards and Best Practices Because of the many social and academic changes middle school students are typically undergoing, they tend to experience more success when teachers foster a student-centered environment in which the students` needs, preferences, and interests are considered and the students are actively engaged in the learning process (Janzen, 2005). Among the best practices for middle school math lessons, Janzen (2005) includes tasks that are built on and then connected to students` prior knowledge. Students are then encouraged to explain their thinking involving concepts and processes used. In the mathematics standards, NCTM (2000) suggests looking for interconnected concepts and integrating content strands in order to address multiple standards within a single lesson. Two strands that lend themselves to ease of content and standards overlap are communication and connections. Incorporating these particular strands into lessons fosters students` reasoning abilities by presenting students with opportunities to question, examine, and make conjectures about concepts and then explain their thinking and reasoning (Janzen, 2005).
Writing Strategies Used in Mathematics By supplementing a traditional mathematics curriculum with writing strategies, many of the principles of a constructivist approach are implemented, as this less traditional approach fosters a more student-centered environment in which students are given opportunities to provide input regarding curriculum and not only given choices in their learning, but rather challenged to explore and explain multiple methods for solving problems. Writing is acknowledged by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000) as an important component of mathematics instruction. In Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, it is stated that mathematics instruction should enable students to organize their mathematics ideas and use the language of mathematics to express ideas clearly through written and verbal communication (NCTM, 2000). Just as the writing process involves gathering, organizing, and clarifying thoughts, this same process is used in solving many math problems. While the end product in the writing process often looks quite different than the solution in a math problem, the approach and mental process involved in both tasks are, in many instances, very similar. In content area classrooms, teachers use a variety of instructional activities and strategies to put into play the power of writing to facilitate thinking and learning in their disciplines (Vacca et al., 2010, p. 272). This includes teachers in mathematics classrooms who can utilize research-based writing strategies such as math autobiographies and attitude surveys, word sorts, brainstorming, math journals and double-entry journals, and admit slips and exit tickets in their instruction and assessment. In these classrooms, writing strategies can be used to meet a variety of objectives, including activating existing knowledge about a particular topic or skill, explaining a process involved in solving a multi-step problem, and communicating a student`s level of understanding of a concept or lesson to the teacher. Certain writing strategies can offer opportunities for student selfreflection and assessment and can be used to inform a teacher of students` individual needs and learning styles as well. According to Janzen (2005), writing provides mathematics teachers valuable insight into their students` mastery of concepts. Math autobiographies and attitude surveys ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.10
completed at the beginning of the year allow students to reflect on memories of their former experiences with mathematics (Janzen, 2005) and allow the teacher to acknowledge these differences in attitudes and learning to better facilitate classroom communication and differentiate instruction. Since the constructivist theorists contend that students actively construct meaning or knowledge by making connections between concepts that are introduced and their prior knowledge of related concepts (Dixon-Krauss, 1996), strategies such as math journals and admit slips provide opportunities to assess and/or activate students` existing knowledge about a particular topic or concept. Strategies such as word sorts and brainstorming also activate prior knowledge in students (Vacca et al., 2010) and put them in the correct frame of mind to approach an academic task. Math journals allow students to reflect on the process involved in solving a problem, and the writing involved requires students to clarify their thinking (Burns, 2004, p. 31). In a study by Ulep (n.d.) on how mathematical interactions related to student learning outcomes, data revealed that students who had not always been encouraged to self-reflect in mathematics practices benefitted from such reflections because they allowed the teacher to acknowledge and address students` different ways of thinking. In addition, Ulep found that double-entry journals can be used in solving multi-step word problems to help students organize their thoughts and explain their reasoning throughout the problemsolving process. In a study by Saurino (1998) that evaluated the impact of concept journaling on critical thinking dispositions, data suggested concept journaling positively affect(s) the students` criticalthinking dispositions and problem-solving skills of the participants (p. 8). Admit slips, also known as entrance tickets, offer a logical way to begin a lesson by connecting information from the previous lesson, while exit slips, also known as exit tickets, give students an opportunity to describe their level of understanding about a concept or lesson. By addressing students` issues or problems in subsequent lessons, the teacher reinforces that she values her students` writing (Burns, 2004). Exit slips also serve to bring closure to a lesson (Vacca et al., 2010) and can engage students in using higher-order thinking skills by requiring students to summarize, synthesize, or
evaluate lesson content (Vacca et al., 2010). Learning Differences Between Boys and Girls While numerous data exist to support the effectiveness of writing strategies in fostering an educational environment that accounts for students` differences and promotes higher-level thinking (Burns, 2004; Janzen, 2005), some research also further differentiates learning abilities and styles based on gender (Arnot , Gray, James, Ruccock, & Duveen, 1998; Bevan, 2001). According to the Council for Exceptional Children (2011), girls tend to be more verbal in their learning--typically excelling in tasks involving reading and writing--while boys typically do not learn this way. In a longitudinal study by Matthews, Lietz, and Darmawan (2007) that examined the impact of personal values, learning approaches, gender, and academic discipline area on student achievement, differences in learning approaches with respect to gender were consistently observed. Ryan and David (2003) addressed the contrast between separate and connected knowing as each relates to gender differences in learning. They suggested that females are more likely to be connected knowers who are more likely to consider multiple meanings or processes in learning and focus on reasoned reflection than males. Of the dominant themes pertaining to gender differences in learning, among the most significant may be attitudes and motivation, as well as learning styles of boys and girls (Bevan, 2001). While attitudes and motivation may be assessed through various strategies (many of them writing strategies) and those factors considered in planning instructional practices, it is the latter that is perhaps most pertinent when considering the effectiveness of certain writing strategies in regard to fostering mathematical reasoning abilities. According to Arnot et al. (1998), boys typically learn better with traditional approaches that require basic memorization of abstract facts and rules, while girls do better than boys on sustained tasks that are open-ended, process-based, related to realistic situations, and that require pupils to think for themselves (Arnot et al., 1998, p. 28). In this regard, it would seem that girls would perhaps benefit more from the integration of writing strategies into a traditional math curriculum. Since, regardless of gender, students have varying ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.11
needs and learning styles, the Council for Exceptional Children (2011) recommends using a constructivist, student-centered approach to teaching by assessing students` needs and interests and differentiating curriculum accordingly. Many writing strategies enable teachers to formatively assess such differences. Students' Perceptions The purpose of this study was to determine 1) if middle school students consider writing strategies to be beneficial in learning pre-algebra and 2) if there is a difference between boys` and girls` perceptions of the usefulness of writing strategies in learning prealgebra. The study involved analyzing archival data previously gathered from a questionnaire given to a class of middle school pre-algebra students as part of the regular classroom instruction and assessment. The data was collected as a means of formative assessment after a change in typical instruction style (from a traditional, lecture style to a less traditional,
constructivist approach involving the use of writing strategies) took place from one unit to the next, both containing concepts of a similar level of difficulty. The objective was to generate data to help determine which strategies, if any, middle school students find helpful in pre-algebra instruction. Students' perceptions of writing strategies. Table 1 shows the percentages of students who responded favorably (strongly agree/agree) to the Likert-scale statements regarding the perceived effectiveness of each writing strategy used, as it pertains to its intended objective. The remaining students in each category responded neutrally or unfavorably to each statement. Percentages of total students, as well as those for boys and girls, are included.
Table 1. Percentages of total students and boys/girls who responded favorably to Likert-scale statements regarding perceived effectiveness of writing strategies.
Writing Strategy Math Autobiography Word Sort Brainstorming Math Journal Exit Slip
Fraction and Percentage of Total Students/Boys/Girls
Responding Favorably
17/24=50% 19/24=79% 23/24=96% 9/24=38% 11/24=46%
5/10=50% 9/10=90% 9/10=90% 3/10=30% 4/10=40%
12/14=86% 10/14=71% 14/14=100% 6/14=43% 7/14=50%
The results indicated that 50% or more of the total students considered brainstorming, word sorts, and math autobiographies helpful in learning prealgebra in regard to their intended objectives of activating prior knowledge, connecting prior knowledge to new learning, and conveying individual learning needs to the teacher, respectively. Reasons provided for perceived helpfulness of brainstorming, which had the highest favorability response (96% of total students/90% of the boys/100% of the girls), primarily pertained to activating prior knowledge of a topic. One student cited this strategy as helping her focus on math, rather than the other stuff from the day, while another referred to brainstorming as a good way to get [her] thinking about creative ways to solve real world
math problems. Of the 79% of total students who considered word sorts to be useful, a few students expressed how this strategy helped them see how different math terms are related to each other. Exactly half of the students considered math autobiographies an effective way have input in instructional decisions, some considering the strategy a good way to let [the teacher] know how [they] learn best. The lowest percentage of total students responding favorably to a strategy was 38% who considered math journals effective in meeting the intended objective. While the few students who responded favorably about the effectiveness of math journals cited reasons related to helping them organize their thoughts in multi-step problems, ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.12
reasons provided to corroborate the disagreement with the questionnaire statement relating math journals to helpfulness in learning pre-algebra pertained to an increase in confusion about the topic. One student mentioned that trying to write an explanation for a problem [he didn't] understand very well just made it more confusing. While slightly less than half (46% of the total students/40% of the boys/50% of the girls) responded favorably about the use of exit slips in prealgebra, indicating that they agreed to some extent with the statement regarding exit slips providing an opportunity to communicate their level of understanding to the teacher, 12 out of the 13 who did not respond favorably to some extent responded neutrally. The one remaining student (boy) did not provide an explanation for his response. Difference in boys' and girls' perceptions. Regarding the difference in perceptions between genders, the only strategy for which there was a notable difference (20% or more) in percentage between boys` and girls` responses was math autobiographies. While 36% more girls than boys responded favorably to this strategy, none of the boys who disagreed with the statement (five out of 10 boys) on the questionnaire about math autobiographies serving as a means of conveying their individual needs to the teacher provided reasons for their responses. According to the data analysis, three out of the five writing strategies for which student perceptions were assessed on the formative questionnaire were considered effective in meeting the intended objective by 50% or more of the participants in the study. Perceived as helpful in learning pre-algebra by the highest percentage of students was brainstorming (96% of the total students). This strategy was perceived by students as helpful in activating existing knowledge of a topic or concept. Put[ing] students in the right frame of mind for approaching math problems and helping students make connections between concepts, word sorts were considered useful by 79% of the total students. Fifty percent of the total students considered math autobiographies effective in serving as a means to convey specific needs and interests to the teacher. Math journals and exit slips were found to be the
least favored writing strategy used by the students, with only 38% and 46% of the total students responding favorably about the effectiveness of each strategy in meeting its intended objective. The only strategy for which a notable difference between genders was evident was math autobiographies, with 36% more girls than boys perceiving them as helpful in meeting their intended objective in learning pre-algebra. Conclusion While researchers emphasize the importance of activating prior knowledge of a topic and connecting this knowledge to new concepts (Dixon-Krauss, 1996; Vacca et al., 2010), many students also perceive certain writing strategies as effective in meeting this objective. An overwhelming majority of students in this study (96% of the total students/90% of the boys/100% of the girls) perceived brainstorming to be helpful in learning pre-algebra, with many students citing reasons pertaining to the activation of prior knowledge. Similarly, many students (79% of the total students/90% of the boys/71% of the girls) considered word sorts to be beneficial in the same regard. To better facilitate classroom communication and differentiate instruction, it is necessary for teachers to assess student attitudes and former educational experiences (Janzen, 2005). Such considerations are critical factors in student motivation (Halawah, 2006). According to half of the study participants (50% of the total students/50% of the boys/86% of the girls), math autobiographies administered at the beginning of the year allowed students to convey their specific learning needs and preferences to their teacher. Slightly less than half (46% of the total students/40% of the boys/50% of the girls) considered exit tickets to be beneficial for similar reasons. Although math journals have been regarded as an effective strategy for helping students organize and express their mathematics ideas and for providing opportunities for them to use both the verbal and written language of mathematics (Vacca et al., 2010), only slightly more than a third of students in this study (38% of the total students/30% of the boys/43% of the girls) perceived math journals as useful in learning pre-algebra. Those who responded favorably with regard to the implementation of math journals felt ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.13
that the journals helped them organize their thoughts when solving more difficult problems, while those responding unfavorably cited increased confusion when trying to explain an unclear concept as the primary reason for their response. Because some research suggests that gender plays a role in student motivation and achievement (Bevan 2001; Council for Exceptional Children, 2011), differences in student perceptions of certain strategies may be expected to differ as well. However, the only writing strategy for which there was a noteworthy difference (20% or more) in percentage between boys` and girls` responses was math autobiographies, to which 36% more girls than boys responded favorably. Consistent with the research supporting the theory that girls tend to be more verbal in their learning than boys (Council for Exceptional Children, 2011), none of the five out of 10 boys who disagreed with the statement about math autobiographies serving as a means of conveying their individual needs to the teacher provided reasons for their responses. Therefore, no specific patterns in unfavorable responses were able to be determined. In the same regard, a determination about whether or not the perceptions could be attributed to gender was unable to be made. References Arnot, M., Gray, J., James, M., Ruccock, J., & Duveen, G. (1998). Recent research on gender and educational performance, OFSTED Reviews of Research. London: The Stationery Office. Bevan, R. (2001). Boys, girls, and mathematics: Beginning to learn from the gender debate. Mathematics in School, 30(4), 2-6. Burns, M. (2004). Writing in math. Educational Leadership, 62(2), 30-33. Clements, D.H., & Battista, M.T. (1990). Constructivist learning and teaching. Arithmetic Teacher, 38(1), 34-35. Council for Exceptional Children. (2011). Gender differences impact learning and post-school success. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children. Dixon-Krauss, L. (1996). Vygotsky in the classroom: Mediated literacy instruction and assessment. White Plains, NY: Longman. Halawah, I. (2006). The effects of motivation, family
environment, and student characteristics on academic achievement. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(2), 91-99. Holloway, J. H. (2000). Preparing teachers for differentiated instruction. Educational Leadership, 58(1), 47-51. Howey, S.C. (2008). Factors in student motivation. NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. Janzen, H. (2005). Integrating writing into the mathematics classroom. Teaching Today. Retrieved from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/s ubject/intervention_strategies.phtml Matthews, B., Lietz, P., & Darmawan, G. (2007). Values and leaning approaches of students at an interNational University. social psychology of Education, 10(2), 247-275. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author. Nesmith, S.J. (2008). Mathematics and literature: Educators` perspectives on utilizing a reformative approach to bridge two cultures. Forum on Public Policy, 2008(2), 1-11. Ryan, M.K., & David, B. (2003). Gender differences and ways of knowing: The context dependence of the attitudes toward thinking and learning survey. Sex Roles Mental Health Journal, 49(11/12), 693699. Saurino, D. (1998). A qualitative study of middle school collaborative team action research (Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia). Dissertation Abstract International. Steffe, L., & Gale, J. (1995). Constructivism in education. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Ulep, S. (n.d.). Student learning in mathematical interactions. Unpublished manuscript, National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development, University of the Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines. Vacca, R.T., Vacca, J.A.L., & Mraz, M. (2010). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across the curriculum (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.14
s a child of the 1990s, I grew up using Accelerated Reader (AR), a software program created by Renaissance Learning for monitoring the progress of reading practices. It is still widely used in schools throughout the country. Students first take an assessment to determine their reading level and then are supposed to choose books that are on their level, as determined by the program. The program uses a readability formula called ATOS to assign a level to each book. In order to show their reading skills are progressing, students are required to read at, or above, their designated level. From the time I was in sixth grade, the program determined that I had a post- high school reading level. This posed a problem when searching for a book in the middle school library. In August of this year, NPR posted the results of a vote on the top teen novels ever written. In 2001, when I was in eighth grade, 14 of the now top 20 had been written, and I had read absolutely zero of them. These books were not on my reading level that I was assigned by AR, so I was not supposed to read them at school. While my school was not very big, with between 75 and 100 students per grade, our library was fairly well equipped to meet the needs of most students. My friends were delving into J.K. Rowling`s Harry Potter series, but I was busy reading Margaret Mitchell`s Gone with the Wind and Alex Haley`s Roots. I did not realize it then, but my advanced reading level was robbing me of the right to be a young adult, at least in the literary sense, and it is still happening to young readers today. During my undergraduate studies, one of my course requirements for the English Education program was a Young Adult Literature course. It was during my junior year of college that I began to read the books I should have been reading 10 years prior. The books assigned for that class included S.E.
Hinton`s The Outsiders,
L.M. Montgomery`s Anne of
Green Gables, Gary Paulsen`s
Hatchet, and Lois Lowry`s
The Giver. I was completely
enthralled by the storylines
that I had never been
exposed to. Who knew a
13-year-old could survive
on his own in the
wilderness? Or that
Greasers were tuff and Socs
were lame? These works
opened up whole new worlds to discover.
As time went on, I began to read more and more
YA literature. I finished the entire Harry Potter series
in a couple months, I own every book written by
Ellen Hopkins, and the Twilight Saga has a place on my
bookshelf right next to Gone with the Wind, along with
hundreds of other books with a fourth through tenth
grade reading level. This new found love of middle
school literature came in handy this year as I began my
first year as
a middle
Julie teaches 7-8 Reading
reading and English teacher. When hired
and English and English I at Macks Creek High School in Macks Creek, MO. She is
currently pursuing a
February, I was given the list of books that
Master's Degree in English Education at Missouri State University.
were being
read that year in reading class and at once I began
reading, because I had not read most of them.
The seventh grade reads Wilson Rawls`s Where
the Red Fern Grows, which is the only one of these that I
read in seventh grade; Gary Paulsen`s Hatchet, which
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.15
thankfully I read in college; Mark Twain`s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which my mom read to be as a child; and Suzanne Collins`s The Hunger Games, which I had never even heard of at that time. My eighth graders were scheduled to read S.E. Hinton`s The Outsiders; which, again, I read in college, J.R.R. Tolkien`s The Hobbit, which I had heard of, but never read; along with Jeanne DuPrau`s City of Ember and Pat Frank`s Alas, Babylon, both of which were brand new to me. I also found out I would be teaching Harper Lee`s To Kill a Mockingbird, another classic that I never read because it was not on my reading level. It is really a weird situation to be teaching books that I was never even allowed to read. The only novels I remember reading as a class in my seventh through twelfth grade school career were Where the Red Fern Grows, L. Frank Baum`s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and F. Scott Fitzgerald`s The Great Gatsby, the latter of which was not until my senior year, so I honestly do not have a strong model from my own experiences. Sure, my college course work had taught me how to be a teacher, but I never got to experience these books at the age my students are, so it is somewhat difficult to put myself in their shoes and teach it in a way that they will find beneficial. The biggest help I found in solving my dilemma was to put myself in the place of my students and read various Young Adult texts, both classical and modern. Reading a text for the first time, no matter what the age of the reader, brings up questions and interests relevant to life in general. The things that intrigued me and made me want to know more were generally the same things, I found, that my students were interested in learning about as well. While I would have loved to have been able to read more young adult books as a pre-teen and teen, I am thankful for the opportunity to read them now. It is my job as an English and reading teacher to keep up-to-date with books that are popular with my students, as well as relative to their lives. This can include newly published books or classics that have influenced young readers for decades. It is also my responsibility to find ways to make the teaching of it interesting and engaging. By finding ways to get my students to connect the reading to their own lives, they are able to see the story in a more meaningful way. By giving students opportunities to write about what they read, they are able to think through their emotions and questions and respond to the literature in a open and honest
way. By having students do hands-on activities, move around, talk to one another, create projects, or even simply spend a few minutes reflecting on their own, teachers are able to break their students free from the mundane routines that are so easy to fall in to. Gallagher (2009) wrote in his book, Readicide, a recipe for killing a reader`s joy of reading: dicing a novel into pieces, it dousing with sticky notes, and inserting worksheets until it is overdone and unrecognizable. Though I do fear this is the reality of many classrooms, according to Gallagher, this is not what reading should be. Reading should be something kids love to do, not something they are forced to do to reach a point goal by the end of the year or regurgitate specific details for a test. The idea of higher-level readers reading lowerlevel books seems to be a hot topic in some areas of the literary world. The New York Times published an article under the Room for Debate section titled The Power of Young ADULT FICTION. Some people shared in my enthusiasm for everyone enjoying YA literature, such as Lev Grossman, book critic for Time magazine. Grossman (2012) stated, ...most adults were young adults at some point in their lives, and some of us are still processing that experience. Young adult novels can be as powerful as anything out there (para. 5). Other critics may not share in this opinion, such as Joel Stein (2012), a columnist for Time magazine who wrote under that same debate forum: The only thing more embarrassing than catching a man on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading The Hunger Games (para. 1). While these authors are most likely thinking about adults in the chronological sense, the same stigma seems to be true for younger readers who are on the reading level of adults. Should eighth-grade students with a post-high school reading level be reading books that are written for their age or their reading level? Or maybe should they be reading for their interest? Or maybe they should be reading books that are complex and will increase their higher level thinking skills? With an emphasis on range, quality, and complexity, all of these issues arise when thinking about the Common Core State Standards and how to engage students in reading worthwhile texts. As educators, we are all aware that the ultimate goal of education is to strive to make all students perform at or above their grade level. And as educators, we are probably all aware that that goal is nearly impossible. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.16
Students develop at different rates in their cognitive abilities, their social skills, and their maturity. There is no mold that all students come out of, so there should not be a mold that the education system tries to put them back in to. The range of texts that a student can read, interpret, and appreciate will vary greatly depending on the student. The quality of the text is dependent not only on how well the piece is written, or what it offers to society, but it is also dependent on how the student will react to the piece. Although eighth-grade students with a post-high school reading level can undoubtedly decode and have a surface level understanding of Thomas Paine`s Common Sense, would they be able to fully appreciate it? Would the words have any meaning past their dictionary definitions, or would the value of the text be lost on readers unable to fully understand its importance and social significance? Just because a piece of writing is on students` designated reading level does not necessarily mean that it is the best reading material for them. Cris Tovani mentioned at the 2013 Write to Learn Conference that there are many things that make a text complex. The complexity of a text cannot be based solely on the word usage or length or any one specific factor. Complex texts are rigorous, but there is a definite distinction between rigorous and hard. Just because a text is harder to understand does not necessarily make it a qualifier for being better for a higher level reader. A gifted middle school student may be able to read it, and possibly even understand it, but that does not mean that he or she will enjoy it and want to pursue knowledge in that subject matter any further. That same gifted middle school student who is continually forced to read texts that he or she does not find enjoyable simply because it is a higher level can easily lose the joy of reading all together. There are likely many teachers who, like me, struggle with how to challenge readers, but also foster the readers` interests. Many of us grew up with our lexiles and reading levels being the most important thing on the planet, and other factors were never taken into consideration. Now, we as teachers realize the importance of the other factors, such as interest levels and relevance to students` lives. What is in the text is not necessarily as important as what a student can get out of the text.
Teachers are the ones who know their students best and are able to suggest books they know their students will find engaging. By knowing that a student is interested in sports, a teacher may recommend various books by Dan Gutman. A teacher who knows his or her student is interested in dragons may steer the student toward the Inheritance Cycle. This knowledge comes from the teacher`s own experiences as a reader and student, which is why it is vital for educators to keep up-to-date on reading materials they may find beneficial. Below is a list of six books from the NPR list of voter chosen top teen novels that I have recommended to my students. Alexie, S. (2007). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This is the coming of age story of a Native American boy trying to fit in with his traditional family and cope with his desire to be a normal kid. Readers open their hearts to Arnold, the protagonist, as they enjoy his humor and ingenious cartoons, as well as feel his pain as he learns the consequences of bad decisions and the meaning of true friendship. This is a great story to show cultural diversity, as well as deal with issues like alcohol and its dangers. It is written with a 600L Lexile, a 3.4 Grade Level Equivalent, but the interest level is grades 9-12. This book works great for readers of all levels as it is easy to read, so struggling readers will not be discouraged. It also discusses many issues that teens struggle with, so even though the reading level is lower, it still is relevant to higher level readers. Hinton, S.E. (1967). The Outsiders. This became the overwhelming favorite of my eighth-grade students. The story follows a group of teenagers in 1960s Oklahoma. These kids come from the wrong side of the track and wind up fighting with a rival group of rich kids, sometimes to the death. The story is easy for students to relate to, as it talks about rivalries, friendship, love, social ostracism, and many other problems that teenagers face today. This novel has a lower reading level. It has a 750L Lexile, which is a 5.1 Grade Level Equivalent, but the interest level is Grades 6-8. This allows it to be an easy read that interests the students, and depending on their individual levels, the teacher can include various activities. Higher level readers would be able to delve deeper into the symbolism of Johnny Cade as a Christ figure, while lower readers could analyze the relationships of the characters in relation to their own ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.17
experiences. No matter what the reading level, this book has something to offer every reader. Hopkins, E. (2004). Crank. Along with everything that she has ever written, this is an amazing book. This novel, as well as the two that follow it, chronicles the life of Kristina Snow, a teenage girl who becomes addicted to methamphetamine and learns the monster that someone with this lifechanging addiction can become. The story is loosely based on Hopkins`s own daughter, who became addicted to meth and lost her family, her children, and basically, her whole life. This is a great story for anyone. It is a quick read and has a 4.4 Grade Level Equivalent, but is definitely not intended for a fourth grader. The novel is written completely in poetic form and uses various techniques to tell the story in different ways. This opens up a plethora of teaching opportunities focusing on style, format, word choice, narration, characterization, and can be discussed as in depth as needed based on the students` abilities as readers. I personally believe this should be a staple in every school as a wake-up call to all students about the dangers of this terrible drug, of which Missouri is the top producer. Rowling, J.K. (1997-2007). Harry Potter (series). I believe this is appropriate for all ages. I did not read it until age 25 when I completely fell in love with it. The series follows a young boy named Harry Potter who is born with extraordinary powers. From his arrival at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to his final defeat of the evil Lord Voldemort, the reader gets to see an entire school career unfold. There is magic, mystery, action, adventure, a love story or two, and an overlying theme of the importance of friendship that is enough to keep the young and the young at heart completely spellbound. This is probably the most juvenile of the list, even though it is one of the ones with a higher lexile. Grade Level Equivalents for this series range from 5.9 to 7.9, and Scholastic gives it an average interest level of Grade 4. However, many readers above grade four are interested in this series, especially since the major motion pictures skyrocketed at the box office. Higher-level readers can look into themes such as the value of humility, the occasional necessity of rebellion, or the dangers of desire. Lower level readers may focus on the intricate characters or the elaborate settings created by Rowling.
Salinger, J.D. (1951). Catcher in the Rye. The story follows the crazy life of Holden Caulfield as he gets kicked out of school and travels back to his parents` house, making a pit stop in New York City just to see the sights. You see the world through Holden`s eyes, and it is a strange place, full of phonies and people he does not like. There is a bit of foul language and sexuality, but it is meant for young adults, not children. I did not read it until after graduating college, but I have taught it to eleventhgrade students and they loved it, as they could really relate to Holden as an overwhelmed, stressed-out teenager on the brink of a breakdown. It is written on an 8.1 reading level, but the controversial language and topics are definitely not meant for an average eighth-grade reader. Those students may be able to understand what the book says, but the discovery of what the book really means is meant for a somewhat older audience. Tolkien, J.R.R. (1937). The Hobbit. This is a true classic tale of the heroic journey. Bilbo, a hobbit, is wrangled into going on an adventure with a group of dwarves. They encounter many obstacles, such as trolls, goblins, giant spiders, elves, and even a great talking, fire-breathing dragon. Bilbo finds out just how courageous he can be and learns there is more to life than the comfort of The Shire. My eighth-grade students this year really enjoyed it. The boys seemed to like it more than the girls, but they all overall found it to be worth the time to read it. As with the Harry Potter series, the major motion pictures that Peter Jackson is directing is creating a whole new audience that is engulfed with everything Tolkien. This novel has a lexile of 1000L, which puts it at a sixth-grade reading level. Lower-level readers can enjoy the variety of characters, settings, and adventures introduced in the novel. Higher-level readers may use this as a stepping stone into the vast world of Middle Earth where they can then begin to explore all of the wonders of the creatures, places, and languages created by Tolkien for his numerous works about Middle Earth including the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are a multitude of texts that readers of all levels can find beneficial by looking at it in various ways. The way that I read Where the Red Fern Grows when I was in seventh grade is not the same way I read it when preparing to teach it, but I got something out of it both times. This is the same with readers of ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.18
different levels. A lower-level reader will get different benefits from a higher-level reader who read the same text, but both students will be able to make valuable contributions to the overall understanding of the text as a whole. The world of young adult literature is ever changing, just as young adults are ever changing. Some novels are able to stand the test of time, while other novels spring up and change the world of YA literature in the blink of an eye. The one thing that never changes, though, is the need for students to be allowed to grow their love of reading and become lifelong readers, without focusing on their reading level or current point total.
References Gallagher, K. (2009). Readicide: How schools are killing reading and what you can do about it. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Grossman, L. (2012, March 28). Nothing`s wrong with strong plot and characters. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com Stein, J. (2012, March 28). Adults should read adult books. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
The primary purposes of the Missouri State Council are:
1. To improve the quality of reading instruction at all levels by: encouraging the study of the nature of the reading process; stimulating and promoting research dealing with all aspects of reading; acting as a clearinghouse for information relating to reading; and encouraging the development of high quality teacher education programs, both pre-service and in-service.
2. To develop an awareness of the impact of reading by encouraging the development of worthwhile reading tasks and permanent interests in reading; promoting the formation of lifetime habits of reading; and developing an appreciation of the value of reading in a democratic society.
3. To promote the development of literacy for all persons to a level which is commensurate with their capacity. 4. To encourage the organization of new councils in areas not now adequately served by the International Reading Association.
5. To communicate and promote the purposes of the organization through a reading conference, supported by the various local councils, the location and time of which shall be decided by the Board; and A State journal and other materials which may be printed at the discretion of the Board.
6. To support the efforts and activities of local councils in Missouri.
7. To coordinate literacy development efforts with other organizations with similar goals. 8. To celebrate, recognize, and support various forms of literature by: participating in Missouri state book awards; sharing book recommendations at local council meetings, board meetings, and leadership retreats; focusing efforts to encourage reading aloud in homes and at school; and assisting public and private schools in literacy development and the use of literature.
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.19
It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) ancorous verbal confrontations among liberals and conservatives regarding the national debt, healthcare reform, or other political events must make educators wonder how well the communication arts curriculum is addressing the listening component of the core curriculum. Listening has been considered by some to be the most meaningful of the communication arts (Crink & Buntley, 1955); and about 80% of what children learn is acquired through listening (Hunsaker, 1990). Yet, teaching listening skills is often overlooked; in fact, Wolff, Marsnik, Tacey, and Nichols (1983) refer to listening as the orphan of education (p. 3), Tiedt (1983) describes it as the invisible language arts skill (p. 88), and Cox (2005) calls it the neglected language art (p. 154). It is important for educators to understand why purposely teaching listening is an imperative aspect of educating their students. The intent of this article is to draw attention to the importance of teaching and practicing critical listening skills and to offer an approach to teach listening without adding another layer of skills to an already over-crowded curriculum. Listening is the basis for improving reading, speaking, and writing (Hunsaker, 1990). Yet, when addressing the language arts curriculum, teachers often ignore it. In fact, it was not until 1978, with an amendment to the Elementary and secondary education Act, that speaking and listening were formally considered to be basic literacy skills like reading and writing. In a classic study by Rankin (1928), it was estimated that students spent about 68% of the day communicating; an analysis of this 68% indicated that about 9% was spent writing, 16% reading, 30% speaking, and 45% listening. Yet, Rankin found that reading received about 52% of the instructional time
and listening received
about 8%. Since Rankin`s
seminal study, others have
found that listening takes
up about 50 to 60% of the
school day (Duker, 1971;
Funk & Funk, 1989;
Laurent, 1963).
Listening is the
backdrop upon which
reading and writing
depend (Cox, 2005).
Listening and reading are
active, interdependent processes that depend on
worldly experiences, language skills, and thinking
strategies. They require the interpretation of
information, mature through developmental stages,
and are effective ways to learn new information.
Some teachers shy away from teaching listening skills
for various reasons: some think that it is analogous to
learning to walk and improves naturally, some think
that it cannot be taught; some see it as additional
content in an already time-cramped curriculum, and
some attribute the failure to teach and improve
listening skills to teachers not being provided pre-
service instruction on how to teach it (Funk & Funk,
are many definitions of listening.
Dr. Randall Wallace is Associate Professor of
Reading in the Reading,
(1979), in a
Foundations, and
Technology Department at
ard manner, defines
Missouri State University.
listening as:
The process by which spoken language is converted
to meaning in the mind (p. 1). Lunsteen
differentiates listening into two general categories--
general and critical. General listening is an important
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.20
skill to address. It refers to recalling details, following directions, paraphrasing, identifying the main idea, devising goals, and enjoying music or poetry. With respect to general listening, miscommunication problems often arise when the listener does not give full attention to the speaker. Wheless (1998) reports: By some estimates, 60 percent of the errors made in business can be directly or indirectly attributed to poor listening (¶ 2). Students often exhibit poor general listening skills in the classroom. Teachers frequently give instructions regarding an assignment, later to repeat the same instruction multiple times to different students, and then have the assignment submitted with the instructions not having been followed. Aspects of the Common Core State Standards for listening suggest that students should be expected to learn how to ask, answer, and clarify questions from information presented orally; to determine the main ideas and supporting details of an orally read text; and to interpret information and delineate speaker arguments and claims to analyze for accuracy (Common Core, 2012). As such, critical listening is closely allied to critical thinking and high-level comprehension skills; it refers to distinguishing fact from opinion, judging the logic of an argument, making comparative judgments, and detecting bias and propaganda. Critical listening skills closely resemble those skills suggested for the reading comprehension curriculum. Devine (1978) suggests that when one examines specific areas of listening and reading, such as critical reading and critical listening, the same kind of breakdown into separate processes or subskills is apparent in the literature of teaching and research (p. 302). Because of the similarity between listening and reading comprehension, critical listening can be taught by slightly adapting many of the approaches and strategies used to teach reading comprehension (Cunningham, & Cunningham, 1976; LeFevre, Moor, & Wilkinson, 2003). Using Comprehension Strategies to Improve Critical Listening Three common approaches for teaching reading comprehension skills are: 1) using the before, during, and after reading lesson plan format, where specific comprehension skills may be illustrated and applied directly to text; 2) using different reading strategies as
a basis for text analysis; and 3) using audio-assisted texts to assist struggling readers obtain written information. With a simple change of focus, critical listening may be taught and practiced using these same three approaches. Approach 1: The before, during, and after reading lesson plan format. A popular approach for organizing a reading lesson is the before, during, and after lesson plan format: 1) in the before reading phase, the teacher introduces the conceptual vocabulary in an upcoming selection, creates interest by tapping into the background experiences of the students, and sets a purpose for reading the selection; 2) in the during reading phase, the teacher focuses the reader`s attention by setting a purpose for reading the selection. This is often accomplished by stopping at pre-planned points of the selection to re-evaluate predictions or by probing the reader on certain aspects of the selection through effective prompting or questioning; and 3) in the after reading phase, the teacher has several options such as testing or summarizing the selection, or using the information as a springboard for a written assignment. The exact aforementioned lesson format can be used when teaching listening with one slight variation (National Capital Language Resource Center, 2012). Teachers can easily change the reading focus to a listening focus; instead of having the students read a selection in the during reading phase of the lesson plan format, have the students listen to the selection before reevaluating their predictions or responding to teacher prompts or questions. Approach 2: Adaptation of commonly used reading strategies. A second approach used to teach comprehension is by using of strategies. Comprehension strategies are frequently used by teachers when teaching the concepts and meaning of a given selection. First, the teacher studies the characteristics of the selection to be taught--the selection`s length, organizational structure (narrative or expository), and content. Next, the teacher organizes the lesson around a specific, evidence-based strategy. The following two comprehension strategies were adapted as critical listening strategies. Guided Listening Procedure (GLP). A prime example of adapting a reading strategy to a listening strategy is illustrated by the modification of ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.21
the Guided Reading Procedure (GRP) (Manzo, 1975). Using the GRP strategy, the teacher presents to the class an intact text selection, usually expository. Students are instructed to read the selection silently and to remember as much as possible. Then, students cover the selection and the teacher asks students to verbally recall any information they remember as she writes it on the board. When the students have generated all of the information they can remember, they refer back to the selection to check for the accuracy of the recalled information; then, with the help of the teacher, the information is sorted, categorized, and organized on the board. Finally, the teacher administers a short quiz over the reading selection. This is an excellent strategy for teaching readers to recall specific information and improve their ability to organized information into logical headings. Cunningham and Cunningham (1976) modified the GRP reading strategy to enhance student listening skills by developing the Guided Listening Procedure (GLP). The steps of this strategy are identical to those delineated in the GRP except students listen to the text as it is read aloud rather than reading it themselves. Directed Listening-Reading Activity (DL-TA). For the Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR- TA) (Stauffer, 1975), the teacher analyzes a selection to decide logical places to stop during the oral reading of a selection and has the students make predictions about future events in the story. At each stop, the teacher asks students to respond to the questions: What do you think is going to happen next? Why? These questions help students become actively engaged in reading and to view reading as a problem solving process. DR-TA was modified from a reading strategy into a listening strategy (Reutzel & Cooter, 1992). Referred to as the Directed Listening-Reading Activity (DL-TA), this strategy is identical to DR-TA except that the material is read to the students rather than having the students read the material. Essentially, a reading comprehension lesson can be made into a listening lesson by simply substituting a listening component for the threading component. Approach 3: Using audio-assisted texts to improve comprehension skills. Student listening can be improved by using audioassisted texts. While some consider listening to audio-assisted texts different than reading, others
argue that they are equivalent (Aron, 1992; Moyer, 2011). Chelton (2003), in fact, found that most people who listen to recorded books continue to be active readers. A major benefit of listening to audiobased texts is that students can often comprehend stories aurally that they cannot read effectively (Medwell, 1998). LeFevre et al. (2003) used listening to teach a comprehension strategy to students who were unable to read the selected text at an instructional reading level. They modified a strategy called Reciprocal Teaching. Reciprocal Teaching is an effective comprehension strategy where, when given a selection of text to read, teachers and students take turns summarizing sentences and paragraphs, generating questions, clarifying words and concepts, and predicting upcoming information (Palincsar & Brown, 1984). LeFevre et al. had the students listen to audiotaped passages rather than read them to create a context where poor readers were engaged in the strategic comprehension aspects through listening. Listening served as a support that helped struggling readers improve their reading comprehension skills. The authors used materials that were too difficult for students to read silently, and through listening, motivated students to generalize and transfer the logic of the reading comprehension strategy to written materials they were able to read. Assessing Listening Skills Two good questions regarding the intentional teaching of critical listening skills are: 1) how do teachers measure improvement in students` listening skills? and 2) how often should teachers make listening the focus of their reading lessons? First, because listening is a complex developmental process, changes in listening skills cannot be measured easily or quickly. The complexity of listening, as it relates to reading, was illustrated by Durrell (1969). He compared listening comprehension and reading comprehension as children progressed from the primary grades through grade eight. Using vocabulary as a measure of comprehension, Durrell found that in all primary grades, listening vocabulary was greater than reading vocabulary, and that it was not until the eighth grade that listening vocabulary and reading vocabulary became equal. Apparently, the development of listening and reading skills progresses together but at different rates throughout the grades. Consequently, it is difficult to ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.22
measure the growth of a student`s listening skill over a short period of time. With respect to intentionally teaching students` to listen more critically, a teacher would be prudent to begin the school year by measuring the listening comprehension level of each of his or her students to establish a baseline listening level. A student`s listening level can be established using the passages of any commercially published informal reading inventory. The teacher reads a graded passage to a student and asks the student questions related to the passage reading. If the student is successful in answering 75% of the questions correctly, he or she is moved to the next grade level. The listening level is established at the last grade-level passage where the student answers 75% of the questions correctly. This baseline information is valuable in helping the teacher estimate students` reading capacity and vocabulary development; and ultimately, over time, helps when evaluating how well the student has been responding to listening instruction. How often a teacher intentionally adapts a reading lesson to focus instead on listening comprehension depends upon how well students are performing on the comprehension tasks required of the listening-adapted lessons. Teachers should modulate the frequency of their teaching depending on how well students respond to the prompts and questions in the listening adapted During and after Reading Format, or the amount of information recalled during the Guided Listening Procedure, or in the number of predictions or quality of the discussions in the Directed Listening-Thinking Activity. If students are not doing well on the listening aspects of the lessons, then more lessons focused on listening need to be taught. Conclusion A considerable part of the school day is spent listening (Barbe & Myers, 1954; Cox, 2005; Rankin, 1928). Listening is a key to student success; furthermore, accurate listening is needed for virtually all adult jobs; listening is key as members of society become more and more dependent on cell phones and other forms of technology; and as more and more books are accessed through various listening formats, listening is becoming an alternative choice for reading for enjoyment and information. Yet, teaching listening skills has a history of being ignored in our schools. In this article, a common
sense method is proposed to teach critical listening with little change to the daily curriculum. Critical listening can be addressed by substituting the reading component of the before, during, and after reading lesson format with a listening component, or by substituting the reading aspect of a reading comprehension strategy with listening. Furthermore, audio-assisted passages can be practiced while teaching comprehension reading skills using materials that students find too difficult to read. Paul and Elder (2008) emphasize the importance of teachers intentionally addressing the skill of listening: Since students spend a good deal of their time listening, and since developing critical listening skills is difficult to achieve, it is imperative that faculty design instruction that fosters critical listening (p. 34). Today, our teachers need to ask themselves whether or not they are consciously working to improve student listening skills, particularly critical listening skills? If not, they need to: (1) make a conscious decision to improve the listening skills of students, particularly their ability to listen to information critically; (2) plan to have the students regularly listen to text rather than read it in the during phase of the before, during, and after reading lesson plan format; (3) when possible, change comprehension strategies so the reading component is substituted by a listening component, and (4) take advantage of modern digital technologies, such as audio-assisted text, to practice critical listening and teach comprehension strategies. References Aron, H. (1992). Bookworms become tapeworms: A profile of listeners to books on audiocassette. Journal of Reading, 36(3), 208-212. Barbe, W.B., & Myers, R.M. (1954). Developing listening ability in children. Elementary English, 31(2), 82-84. Chelton, M.M. (2003). Reading with your ears. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 42(4), 318323. Common core: Curriculum maps. (2012). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Cox, C. (2005). Teaching language arts (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Crink, C. L., & Buntley, A. (1955). Learn to listen. Grade Teacher, 72(3), 51, 62, 64. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.23
Cunningham, P.M., & Cunningham, J.W. (1976). Improving listening in the content area subjects, NASSP Bulletin, 60(404), 26-31. Devine, T.G. (1978). Listening: What do we know after fifty years of research and theorizing? Journal of Reading, 21(4), 296-304. Duker, S. (1971). The teacher of elementary science and listening. In S. Duker (Ed.), Teaching listening in the elementary school: Readings (pp.100105). Metchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press. Durrell, D.D. (1969). Listening comprehension versus reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 12(6), 455-460. Funk, H.D., & Funk, G.D. (1989). Guidelines for developing listening skills. The Reading Teacher, 42(9), 660-663. Hunsaker, R. A. (1990). Understanding and developing the skills of oral communication: Speaking and listening (2nd ed.). Englewood, CO: Martin Press. Laurent, M-J. (1963). The construction and evaluation of a listening curriculum for grades 5 and 6. Doctoral dissertation. Boston University, Boston, MA. Abstract: Dissertation Abstracts 27: 4167A-68A, 1967. LeFevre, D.M., Moor, D.W., & Wilkinson, I.A.G. (2003). Tape-assisted reciprocal teaching: Cognitive bootstrapping for poor decoders. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 73(1), 37-58. Lundsteen, S.W. (1979). Listening: Its impact at all levels on reading and other language arts (Revised ed.). Urbana, Ill: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and communication skills. Manzo, A.V. (1975). The guided reading procedure. Journal of Reading, 18(4), 287-291. Medwell, J. (1998). The talking books project: Some further insights into the use of talking books to develop reading. Reading, 32(1), 3-8. Moyer, J.F. (2011). What does it really mean to read` a text? Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(33), 253-256. National Capital Language Resource Center. (2012). Teaching listening. Retrieved from http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/listening/goal slisten.htm Palincsar, A.S., & Brown, A.L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1(2), 117-175.
Paul, P., & Elder, L. (2008). Critical thinking: Strategies for improving learning, part II. Journal of Developmental Education, 32(2), 34-35. Rankin, P.T. (1928). The importance of listening. English Journal, 17, 623-630. Reutzel, R.D., & Cooter, Jr., R.B. (1992). teaching children to read: From basals to books. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co. Stauffer, R.G. (1975). Directing the reading-thinking process. New York: Harper & Row. Tiedt, I.M. (1983). The language arts handbook. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Wheless, B. (1998). Is anybody listening? Business & Economic Review, 44(2), 9-12. Wolff, F.I., Marsnik, N.C., Tacey, W.S., & Nichols, R.G. (1983). Perceptive listening. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Missouri State Council Zone Coordinators Big Springs Zone ­ Winnie McKinley Lake Ozarks Zone ­ Carol Perry Davis St. Louis Zone ­ Sarah Valter Pony Express Zone ­ Cindy Mires and Pat New Kansas City Zone ­ Jessica Cox Mark Twain Zone - Open Ozark Mountain Zone ­ Sarah Logan River Heritage Zone ­ Open To find out more information about Missouri State Council Zones go to http://www.missourireading.org/membership/zones ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.24
WHY WE CAN'T STOP READING ALOUD Amber K. Howard, Deanne Camp, Cindy Hail, & Beth Hurst
"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children" (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985, p. 23). any classroom teachers have told us that because of the increasing demands placed on them in the classroom, the time-honored tradition of reading aloud to students is often placed on the back burner. Some teachers have even told us their district has instructed them not to take time to read aloud. Others have told teachers if something cannot be measured and assessed, it is not important. This is a shame. As reading teachers know, reading aloud is probably the most powerful and long-lasting activity teachers do to influence students to learn how to read and develop a love of reading. This article is a plea for teachers to follow their instincts and read aloud to their students in spite of those who tell them it is not worth the time. We know it is worth it. Harris and Sipay (1990) knew it was worth it when they wrote: A teacher who regularly reads fascinating stories to her class usually has no trouble arousing interest in reading (p. 675). Trelease (2006), who wrote the classic book, The Read-Aloud Handbook, contends that reading aloud to students is one of the best advertisements for the joy of reading. Routman (2003) believes that reading aloud to students is a critical factor in developing students who are not only good readers, but who also enjoy reading. Castle (1994) states there is no more powerful way for teachers to foster a love of reading than to read to, with, about, and in front of children (p. 147). What the Research Says In our effort to remind you of the importance of reading aloud to students, we have looked to the literature. Glasgow and Farrell (2007) believe reading aloud to students is a key factor in creating a motivating learning environment (p. 150).
Beth Hurst, Amber Howard, Deanne Camp, and Cindy Hail Trelease (1989) provided a list of the benefits of reading aloud to children: A positive reading role model New information The pleasures of reading Rich vocabulary Good grammar A broader variety of books than he`d choose on his own Richly textured lives outside his own experience Amber K. Howard is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Reading, Foundations, and Technology Department at Missouri State University; Deanne Camp is Professor and Director of the Graduate Literacy Program at Missouri State University; Cindy Hail is Professor and Interim Chair of the Childhood Education and Family Studies Department at Missouri State University; and Beth Hurst is Professor in the Reading, Foundations, and Technology Department also at Missouri State University. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.25
The English language spoken in a manner distinctly different from that in television sitcoms or on MTV. (p. 16) For this article, we chose to explore how reading aloud can help students achieve what is required of them as outlined in the Common Core State Standards for Reading Foundational Skills for K-5. For our purposes, we utilized the current outline of the Common Core State Standards for grades K-5 that divides skills into 4 sub-skills for teachers to address with their students: print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency (Common Core, 2012). These foundational skills provide what students need to develop reading comprehension, which we also included as an important skill for students to develop through teacher read alouds. Below is a highlight of the research about the positive impacts of reading aloud as it connects to each of these five areas. Print Concepts Students must understand print concepts to support their comprehension and vocabulary development. Print concepts refer to the understanding of the conventions of print, such as the way a book opens, knowing to read left to right and top to bottom, alphabet knowledge, and recognizing punctuation. Reading aloud to students reinforces these concepts. According to Clay (1993), teachers need to provide instruction and practice in the conventions of print. If print conventions do not become second nature in reading, they will continue to become stumbling blocks in the future. Reading to children introduces them to the language of books, which is different from speech and conversation. Including reading aloud in a well-balanced reading program appears to build critical concepts about reading including book concepts, story structures, literary language, and specialized vocabulary and begin to anticipate that particular structures will occur within written language (Dorn, French, & Jones, 1998, p. 30). Create an environment that is print-rich and offer activities to provide a rich, motivational exposure to the English language (Cecil, 1999, p. 42). "Shared reading is designed to be used with very young readers to model how readers look
at, figure out, and operate on the print. During shared reading, teachers typically use an enlarged text called a big book. Big books permit teachers to guide and demonstrate for children how to operate effectively on the print" (Reutzel & Cooter, 2004, p. 394). Phonological Awareness Phonemic awareness is the recognizing of individual sounds or phonemes. It is the underlying skill that helps children become prepared to make connections between sounds and letters. Reading aloud can provide students with the appropriate sound-letter connections and can benefit long term language development. Studies suggest that programs that encourage high levels of student engagement and interaction with print (for example, through read-alouds, shared reading, and invented spelling) yield as much growth in phonemic awareness abilities as programs that offer only a focus on oral language teaching (Cunningham, Cunningham, Hoffman, & Yopp, 1998, p. 5). Teachers of young children can encourage play with spoken language as part of a broader literacy program. Nursery rhymes, riddles, songs, poems, and read-aloud books that manipulate sounds are all effective vehicles (Cunningham et al., 1998, p. 6). Reading aloud enables children to hear the rich language of stories and texts they cannot yet read on their own or might never have chosen to read (Routman, 2003, p. 18). Playing with alliteration also tunes children in to the sounds our language makes. In wholegroup instruction, [the teacher] reads aloud books, poems, and nursery rhymes that play with beginning sounds (Diller, 2007, p. 90). Phonics and Word Recognition Reading aloud helps students increase their word recognition and verbal phonics skills, even if it is just recognizing the word spoken. Once they can use the word in speech, then it can be added to their reading and writing vocabulary, leading them to explore more challenging texts with more complex words. Reading aloud to children can be a very ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.26
powerful way to increase their vocabulary, listening comprehension, syntactic development, and word-recognition skills (Lane & Wright, 2007, p. 674). Teacher read-alouds put verbal words into students` listening and speaking vocabularies (Hurst, Wilson, Camp, & Cramer, 2002, p. 57). "We advocate focusing children's attention on phonics in the beginning stages of learning to read, while helping them to use context and other clues such as pictures, to support and confirm. At the same time, we strongly urge the reading of good literature to assist children in understanding why they are learning all about sound-symbol relationships" (Vogt & Shearer, 2011, p. 162). They may hear words they`ve never before heard and familiar words used in new ways (Taberski, 2000, p. 81). Fluency Fluency is a reading concept that should be practiced and reinforced at all ages. Adults even benefit from hearing texts fluently read aloud. Students can learn so much about fluent reading from hearing teachers read aloud, such as how to read with expression, how to read at an appropriate speed, and how the use of phrasing supports comprehension. When one is able to read texts fluently, the love of reading will likely increase as a result. Reading aloud whets the appetite of children for reading, and provides a model of skillful oral reading (Routman, 1996, p. 51). Most children begin to acquire the concept of phrasing by being read to well (Harris & Sipay, 1990, p. 548). To help develop students` fluency skills, teachers can use a variety of techniques, including modeling fluent reading by reading aloud to students (Hasbrouck, n.d., p. 1). Teacher read alouds at all grade levels furnish students with models of fluent reading (West Virginia Department of Education, n.d., para 1).
Among the many benefits of read alouds...modeling fluency (Rog, 2001, p. 34). Comprehension Comprehension is one of the primary reasons we read aloud to our students. Verbalizing our thoughts while reading aloud is the vehicle by which students develop vital comprehension skills. Thinking aloud with students models for them how to understand a text. Once these skills are modeled and practiced through read alouds, students gain ownership of the skills and are able to transfer them to independent reading, resulting in greater comprehension and engagement. In this age of digital and multiliteracies, there are increasing demands for interpretive critical thinking in interactions with texts (of all kinds). We can begin to foster these higher level literacy practices with children in instruction, and one authentic context is the classroom read-aloud (Hoffman, 2011, p. 193). Read-alouds provide a way for teachers to demonstrate for students the mental processes used to make sense of what they are reading. Read-aloud experiences should go beyond brief isolated experiences during which the teacher reads and students listen. These bigger` read-aloud experiences should be interactive (Vacca, Vacca, & Mraz, 2011, p. 383). Read alouds are essential throughout the elementary grades because research has shown that (1) listening comprehension, on average, is greater than reading comprehension until children are 12 to 13 years old, and (2) even elementary written texts are richer and more complex than spoken language. So while the ultimate goal is for students to read complex texts independently, a teacher obviously can`t start there. She can, however, ask children to listen carefully to a text that she herself reads aloud. Then she can deepen their understanding by discussing it with them at length (Dubin, 2012, p. 36). ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.27
Concluding Reminders Reading aloud is a treasured time for teachers who enjoy sharing stories and literature with children of all ages. This important strategy has yielded many benefits literacy experts know to be true. Yet, there is some external push to reduce time devoted to reading aloud in today`s classroom because of pressures from the current curriculum. It is important to think about the connections of reading aloud to future reading success. Reading aloud will help students develop the Missouri Core Academic Standards. Reading aloud fosters a connection of trust between the reader and listeners. It conjures up a memory of young children sitting upon their mother`s lap listening to stories while being protected from the big bad wolf or other sinister characters. Likewise, as teachers read to their classes, the children look to them as their guardians--sharing the adventures of stories. It becomes almost personal as listeners connect one-on-one with the reader. Ogle and Beers (2012) state, Reading aloud to students can be a very important factor for providing motivation for reading, building critical concepts about reading, and developing an understanding of literature (p. 151). Reading aloud affirms the importance of language and meaning and often equalizes the amount of content students learn. As teachers read aloud, students hear words and inflections that add to their own cache of words. They hone their listening skills and build their own ability to comprehend. They learn to make mental pictures of the text being read aloud and interpret the author`s message. And they begin to appreciate the cadence of reading. Children with limited language proficiency, reading disabilities, and even lack of background knowledge have equal access to the content when read to aloud. Hearing the content often assists students in catching the content, especially if they are struggling to read the text on their own. As reading teachers, we believe in reading aloud. It is great for children of all ages. It can bring Skippyjon Jones to life as easily as Catcher in the Rye. It is magical to watch the students as they are taken into the story line, and we revel in delight as they predict the upcoming events. However, nothing excites us more than when they beg us to keep reading. Harvey and Goudvis (2007) conclude that There is nothing more powerful than a literacy teacher sharing her
passion for reading, writing, and thinking. Passion is contagious. Kids will respond (p. 12). References Anderson, R.C., Hiebert, E.H., Scott, J.A., & Wilkinson, I.A.G. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers: The report of the commission on reading. Washington, DC: National Institute of Education. Castle, M. (1994). Helping children choose books. In E. H. Cramer & M. Castle (Eds.), Fostering the love of reading: The affective domain in reading education (pp. 145-169). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Cecil, N.L. (1999). Striking a balance: Positive practices for early literacy. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers. Clay, M. (1993). Reading Recovery: A guidebook for teachers in training. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2012). English language arts standards, reading: Foundational skills introduction. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/ELALiteracy/R F/introduction Diller, D. (2007). Making the most of small groups: Differentiation for all. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Dorn, L.J., French, C., & Jones, T. (1998). Apprenticeship in literacy: Transitions across reading and writing. York, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Dubin, J. (2012). More than words: An early grades reading program builds skills and knowledge. The American Educator 36(3), 34-40. Glasgow, N.A., & Farrell, T.S.C. (2007). What successful literacy teachers do: Research-based strategies for teachers, reading coaches, and instructional planners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Harris, A.J., & Sipay, E.R. (1990). How to increase reading ability: A guide to developmental and remedial methods. New York, NY: Longman. Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2007). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Hasbrouck, J. (n.d.) Reading Fluency. Retrieved from califtreasures.com/monographs/Hasbrouck.pdf Hoffman, J. (2011). Interactive literary discussions in kindergarten read-alouds. The Reading Teacher 65(3), 183-194. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.28
Hurst, B., Wilson, C., Camp, D., & Cramer, G. (2002). Creating independent readers: Developing word recognition skills in K-12 classrooms. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers. Lane, H. B., & Wright, T. L. (2007). Maximizing the effectiveness of reading aloud. The Reading Teacher, 60(7), 668­675. Ogle, D., & Beers, J.W. (2012). Engaging in the language arts: Exploring the power of language (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Rog, L.J. (2001). Early literacy instruction in kindergarten. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Reutzel, R., & Cooter, R. (2004). Teaching children to read (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Routman, R. (1996). Literacy at the crossroads: Crucial talk about reading, writing, and other Our Personal Favorite Read-Alouds Early Childhood Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff Love you Forever by Robert Miunsch The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown Tough Boris by Mem Fox Lower Elementary Charlotte's Web by E.B. White Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! By Dr. Suess Saturday's and Teacakes by Lester Lamiack The BFG by Roald Dahl The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner Upper elementary Frindle by Andrew Clements Little Britches by Ralph Moody Number the Stars by Lois Lowry The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan The Giver by Lois Lowry Middle School A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls High School Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton The Hunger Games; Catching Fire; Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
teaching dilemmas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Routman, R. (2003). Reading essentials: The specifics you need to teach reading well. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Taberski, S. (2000). On solid ground: Strategies for teaching reading K-3. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Trelease, J. (1989). Jim Trelease speaks on reading aloud to children. The Reading Teacher, 43(3), 200-206. Trelease, J. (2006). The read-aloud handbook (6th ed.). New York, NY: Penguin Books. Vacca, R.T., Vacca, J.L., & Mraz, M. (2011). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across the curriculum (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Vogt, M., & Shearer, B. (2011). Reading specialists and literacy coaches in the real world (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. West Virginia Depart of Education. (n.d.). Teacher read-alouds. Retrieved from http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/Teacher ReadAloud.html ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.29
To the right is a bookmark for you to print to remind you of the importance of reading aloud. IRA 59th ANNUAL CONVENTION Reading...The Teachable Moment In New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center May 9-12, 2014 For more information go to http://www.reading.org/convention.aspx
"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985, p. 23
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.30
ne of the Major problems in teaching young adult literature is that it is not regarded as necessary in all content areas. Teacher training programs in the secondary area do not help this situation; in fact, they may inhibit students` progress in understanding and using young adult literature. Most secondary programs only require one course in content area reading. A Young Adult Literature course is required only for middle school students in language arts and secondary programs in English. However, today`s course contents are not only expected to include reading in all content areas, but to choose books wisely for diverse learners. Trade books (any type of fiction or nonfiction book that is not a textbook) can help teachers in all content areas incorporate interesting material for their students just by using the common KWL theory with relevant, up to date trade books. Often, students struggle to comprehend their textbooks because they are usually not given any trade books to enhance the material in the texts. Few students rave about a wonderful textbook, but many adolescents will share their enthusiasm about nonfiction/fiction books, interesting articles in magazines, newspapers, or on the internet. Today, Young Adult Literature does not merely refer to trade books, but also includes a wide range of literacies other than the textbook. By using these various literacies, teachers can enhance student understanding and appreciation in all content areas. The American Library Association (ALA) through their YALSA (Young Adult Literature Library Services Organization) offers a list of award winning books for adolescents in all content areas. These books are not stuffy or difficult in language, but offer relevant information young adults enjoy. When using a common reading strategy for different subjects, students understand that their curriculum is integrated because they can use similar reading strategies for the various types of literacies they are reading, whether it be a newspaper article,
an internet article, an article from a library data base, or a fiction or nonfiction trade book. Unfortunately, secondary content area teachers may think the task of teaching reading and writing is the job of the English teachers and may say they don`t have the time to teach these skills. Ironically, English teachers have just as much specific content to teach as other areas and do not have any more time than other content-area teachers do to teach students how to read to learn (Irvin, Buehl, & Klemp, 2003). In addition to the frustration reading level of young adults, another group of students can be classified as alliterate, which means they can read but prefer to do other things, such as play sports, talk on their cell phones, or socialize with their friends and say they are just too busy to read. Dianne Koehnecke is an Associate Professors at Webster University-St. Louis, where she teaches graduate courses in: Content Area Reading; Young Adult Literature; and Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Dianne is currently completing an eBook with colleague Paula Witkowski called Connecting Content Area Reading Creatively. Before Reading, During Reading, and After Reading Strategies Before reading, during reading, and after reading strategies are effective in helping students understand the process and product of comprehending and appreciating young adult literature. Good readers automatically use these strategies, but all readers, no matter what their readability level is, can benefit from ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.31
this method. A useful reading strategy that can help students with this process is called KWL, which, literally means, what you already know, what you want to know, and what you have learned. (Ogle, 1986). This instructional model addresses before, during, and after reading strategies that build reading persistence and result in a higher rate of reading retention. The idea is that before reading, good readers question themselves to access prior knowledge and establish a foundation on which they can build knowledge about the subject or topic at hand. The K stands for what we know and metacognitvely allows for access of background knowledge. The W stands for what we want to find out to establish reading purpose for the during reading process. Finally, the L or what I learned is the after reading step that promotes reading reflection. Good readers, the theory goes, consider what they knew before reading, recognize gaps in knowledge and finally, consider what was read in relation to what they already knew or hoped to learn (Presley, 2006).
Ogle`s work with KWL is widely cited as a by researchers and practitioners alike (Gallagher, 2004). Not only has KWL stood the test of time and proven to be effective far beyond the elementary grade levels but it has also proven to ladder-up (scaffold) thinking about reading and its relationship to research and writing. Carr and Ogle (1987) built on the original KW-L process just one year after its first publication. The resultant K-W-L+ extends the learning process...by making a semantic map or graphic organizer of the key information (Blachowicz & Ogle, 2001, p.111). Ogle (2009) continues to extend the use of KWL by exploring and providing examples of how KWL can work in all content areas.
K Before Reading Check what you know and what you want to know by looking over a chapter. Use titles, pictures, subheads, and graphs.
W During Reading Read to find out the answers to what you wanted to know.
L After Reading Review what was learned.
Nonfiction is especially conducive to the KWL theory. For every article, film, or trade book used in a classroom, the teacher can do an oral KWL. When students read the chapter, they will be reading to learn based on their overview. Their expectations about what they will learn increase, because they are reading for a purpose.
Using the KWL in Different Content Areas Use the KWL in English and Janis Joplin: Music to read a Rise up biography of a Singing person.
Use the KWL in Math to read a biography of a person who excelled in math and technology.
Bill Gates: Software Genius of Microsoft
Use the KWL in Science to study and apply learning about brain science.
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science
Use the KWL in Social Studies to read how the United States was born by reading about persons in the biography.
Journals of Lewis and Clark
Use the KWL in Art to study famous painters who created their art during the time of the person in the biography: then review the painter`s work.
Vincent van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.32
Although the KWL is a basic strategy, applying before, during, and after reading tools with this strategy can help teachers understand if it is working. In addition, by choosing trade books wisely in different content areas, such as the ones shown in the preceding examples, the KWL does not appear to be a daunting task for students. While they are learning content material, they are also reinforcing what they have learned by reading in an appealing trade book format. All of the books chosen for this article feature local areas, local writers, or important figures from a particular era. In addition, the trade books featured have all been award winners in a variety of content area sites, such as YALSA. When students use trade books in a variety of different subject areas through the use of a simple KWL method, their interest in course material becomes much stronger. Since interest is a key factor in reading (Brown, 1972), we know that once young adults find material relevant, they are much more willing to understand and apply what they have learned. References Angel, A. (2010). Janis Joplin: Rise up singing. NY: Abrams. ALA: American Library Association (ALA). http://www.ala.org Irvin, J.L., Buehl, D.R. & Klemp, R.M. (2006). Reading and the high school student: Strategies to enhance literacy (2nd Ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Blachowicz, C., & Ogle, D. (2001). Reading comprehension: Strategies for independent learners. New York, NY: Guildford Press. Brown, M. (May-June, 1971). The literature of crisis. Reading Newsreport, 5:7, 32-35. Fleischman, J. (2002). Phineas Gage: A true story about brain science. NY: Houghton Mifflin. Gallagher, K. (2004). Deeper reading: Comprehending challenging texts, 4-12. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Greenberg, J. & Jordan, S. Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an artist. Delacourt Press National Geographic Society. (2002). Journals of Lewis and Clark. Washington DC.
Ogle, D.M. (2009). Creating contexts for inquiry: From KWL to PRC2. Knowledge Quest, 38(1). p. 56-61. Ogle, D.M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository Text. Reading Teacher, 39. p. 564-570. Peters, C. (2003). Bill Gates: Software genius of Microsoft. Berkeley Heights, NJ. Pressley, M. (2006). Reading instruction that works. NY: Guilford Press. Yalsa (the Young Adult Library Services Association). http://www.ala.org/yalsa/ Missouri State Council of the International Reading Association Membership in the Missouri State Council is open to any and all persons engaged in teaching or supervision of reading at any school level, to parents and to all teachers interested in the purposes of the Council. Active Members. Active membership in the Missouri State Council shall consist of all members in good standing in various local councils in the state of Missouri of the International Reading Association. Member-at-Large. Any person from an area not being served by a local council may become a state IRA member by paying an annual assessment, as recommended by the Board of Directors and approved by the Assembly, to the State Treasurer. To obtain the membership form, please go to http://www.missourireading.org/membership, click on the Membership tab, and then select Form.
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.33
o one can question the importance of parents to their children`s education. One of the most important ways that parents and caregivers can become involved in their young children`s education is through reading aloud. Reading aloud to children provides many benefits including positive effects on their oral language, print concept knowledge, and comprehension (Crook, 2010). Reading aloud to children is clearly beneficial; however, reading with children, such as done in dialogic reading, provides benefits beyond those seen when just reading aloud. Dialogic reading is a form of shared reading that encourages interactions between parents and their children going beyond the written text. The strategy encourages children to become active participants in the story being shared by commenting, asking questions, and answering questions about the illustrations and text. It also encourages children to make connections between the story and their lives, experiences, and interests. Dialogic reading facilitates children`s participation through parents` responses during verbal interactions being adjusted according to their children`s ability (Arnold & Whitehurst, 1994). Some of the benefits of dialogic reading include increasing young children`s vocabulary (Hargrave & Sйnйchal, 2000), expressive language (Hargrave & Sйnйchal, 2000), sound and letter identification, emergent writing skills, and knowledge of print concepts (Bus, van IJzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995). PARTNERS Program The Parents as Reading Teachers Nightly Encouraging Reading Success (PARTNERS) Program is designed to help educate parents about how they can use dialogic reading to share a book with their
young children. The program can be implemented at any school or library, reaching out to all families regardless of home language, parental education level, or socioeconomic status. The current paper shares the findings of the PARTNERS Program Pilot Study. It also provides instructions for implementing the program for schools, libraries, and parent programs that would like to provide dialogic reading training for their parents and caregivers. Diana Brannon is an Associate Professor of Education at Elmhurst College and a Nationally Board Certified teacher with 20 years teaching experience. Her research interests include parent involvement, emergent literacy, and working with English Language Learning families. Linda Dauksas is an Assistant Professor of Education at Elmhurst College. Before joining the college she dedicated thirty years teaching and leading programs for children with special needs. Her specialty area is early childhood special education. The PARTNERS Program pilot met at a school with preschool parents for 15 minutes, 3 days a week, every other week, for 10 weeks. The school the program was piloted in requires 15 minutes of parent ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.34
involvement in their prekindergarten program daily. The preschool program is designed to serve children and families identified as at-risk. Two groups of parents with children in the preschool program were involved in the study. One group of parents participated in the usual parent involvement program, which asked parents to find a book and read aloud to their children for 15 minutes daily at school before leaving their children. This group served as the control group. The other group of parents participated in the PARTNERS pilot. This group of parents received 15 minutes of dialogic reading training on Mondays, observed dialogic reading being modeled in the classroom on Tuesdays, and then practiced using dialogic reading with their children in the classroom on Wednesdays. This practice was especially important because providing parents times to practice with their children has been found to be more effective than providing services for either group alone (Cleveland, Corter, Pelletier, Colley, Bertrand, & Jamieson, 2006). Participants A total of 40 parents and caregivers participated in the study. A majority of the participants were the preschool children`s parents. However, three grandparents and one babysitter participated in the
study in place of a parent. Parents and caregivers whose children attended preschool in the morning participated in the dialogic reading training. Parents and caregivers whose children attended preschool in the afternoon participated in the traditional preschool parent involvement program and did not receive any training. Twenty-one parents and caregivers were in the morning dialogic reading group and 19 parents and caregivers participated in the afternoon group. An initial survey was given to determine if there were any significant differences between the groups that might impact the results of the study or give one group an advantage over the other. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding students` involvement in afterschool programs, the number of adults and children living in the home, number of books in the home, visits to the library, or the number of times children see a parent reading in the home. The groups were very similar. An important characteristic to highlight is that a majority of the parents and caregivers participating in both groups had a high school education or less and spoke a language other than English in the home (Table 1).
Children's Book Reviews The Missouri Reading Association values children's literature and provides it's readers with many valuable resources. One of the many great resources we provide are book reviews. Our children's book reviews can be found at http://www.missourireading.org/professional-development/childrens-book-reviews Do you like to read and share your experiences with others? Would you want to contribute your expertise by writing a children's book review? If you are interested in writing a book review for our website please send your review to [email protected] for consideration. In the subject line please use the key words: MO READER children's book review
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.35
Table 1: Education Level and Home Language of Parents and Caregivers
Total Group
Dialogic Reading Traditional Family Time
(N = 38)
Group (N = 20)
Group (N = 18)
Less than high school
Some high school
High school
Some college
College graduate
Language at Home
English and Spanish
There were 42 preschool children (26 boys and 17 girls) between the ages of three and five in the study. On average, the children of the parents and caregivers in the dialogic reading group (13 boys and 9 girls) were four years three months (SD = 6.09 months) and the children of parents and caregivers in the control group (13 boys and 8 girls) were four years two months (SD = 6.66 months). All of the children were identified as at-risk based on screening results of their expressive and receptive language, fine and gross motor skills, and social / emotional and intellectual processing. Many of the children had deficits in expressive and / or receptive language. Parents and caregivers involved in the PARTNERS Program were provided easy to follow dialogic reading techniques during the Monday
trainings which were based on the dialogic reading strategies CAR and 123. The CAR strategy, designed by Washington Research Institute, teaches parents and caregivers to Comment and wait (provide a language model), Ask questions and wait (encourage interaction and reflection), and Respond and add more (build expressive language). This technique was taught first to help parents and caregivers understand the basic format and structure of dialogic reading. Next, a technique designed by one of the authors called 1, 2, 3 Tell Me What You See was taught to help shift the focus of the literacy interactions from being more parent-led to being more child-led. This strategy asks children to comment on what they see (encourage expressive language), parents or caregivers to teach new words (build vocabulary), and to connect the story to the children`s lives (connect to background knowledge) (Tables 2 and 3). ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.36
Table 2: Prompts and Responding Techniques Taught for Dialogic Reading ­ CAR Strategy
How is it done?
How does it help?
C - Comment A ­ Ask questions
Comment on something you see.
Adult: I see a barn.
Ask your child a question about something that you see.
Adult: Who is in the barn? Child: Cow
Focuses child Provides language model Encourages reflection and interaction
R - Respond
Repeat what your child Adult: That`s right. A little
has said and add more.
brown cow.
Provides a language model Builds expressive language
Note: Based on CAR developed by Washington Research Institute, http://www.walearning.com/products/language-is-thekey/car-strategies/
Table 3: Prompts and Responding Techniques Taught for Dialogic Reading ­ 1, 2, 3 Tell Me What You See Strategy
How is it done?
How does it help?
1 ­ Tell
Ask the child to comment on what he sees.
Adult: What do you see? Child: Truck Adult: That`s like a truck. It is called a tractor.
Shifts conversation from parent to child lead.
2 - Teach
Adult: That is a tractor. Teach new vocabulary. Farmers ride it in the fields.
Builds vocabulary
3 - Connect
Connect the story to the child`s life. Discuss.
Adult: Do you remember when we visited a farm? What did you see?
Encourages meaning Connects to background knowledge
Results Paired t-tests were performed between groups and within groups across time to determine the effect dialogic reading training had over time on program participants. There were no significant differences between the group of parents and caregivers who were going to receive the dialogic reading training and the control group regarding interactions at the beginning of the program.
There were significant differences by time of the post-test. Parents and caregivers in the dialogic reading group allowed their children access to the book significantly more often than the control group (p < .01). They also posed and solicited questions (p < .01) significantly more than the control group. Children with parents or caregivers in the dialogic reading group held the book (p < .01), and posed and ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.37
solicited questions (p < .01) significantly more than children in the control group. Overall, parents and caregivers in the dialogic reading group exhibited significantly stronger skills in two categories of reading: promoting interactive reading (p < .01) and using literacy strategies (p < .01). Planning and Implementing Family Nights The pilot for the PARTNERS Program was conducted during the day at an elementary school. However, teachers, classroom assistants, or trained parents could easily provide parent training in dialogic reading over two or three family nights. To do this, facilitators would need to provide dialogic reading training for parents and caregivers, opportunities for modeling, and time for parents and caregivers to practice sharing a story with their children. Family events are usually held in the evening or on weekends to increase the likelihood of parents` and caregivers` availability. That is why we discuss hosting family nights. However, issues related to food, childcare, and transportation will also need to be considered. If the children in your program are dropped off by a parent or caregiver, it might be practical to offer the training during the day when family members are already there dropping their children off. Family Night Training Sessions The first family night session should be designed to help parents understand the importance of sharing books with their children, introduce the CAR strategy, provide caregivers a chance to watch the strategy being modeled, and allow caregivers an opportunity to apply the strategy with their children. This session should focus on parents` understanding that sharing books with their children is simple, fun, and very rewarding. It is important to help parents understand that sharing books for as little as 10 minutes a day can result in improving young children`s school readiness, vocabulary, and reading
readiness. When introducing the CAR strategy, explain to parents that: The C stands for Comment and wait. Before asking their children about a picture, parents should talk about it. The A stands for Ask questions and wait. Parents should ask their children simple questions about the picture. Make sure to explain to parents the importance of giving their children time to answer. Encourage parents to slowly count to the number 5 in their heads to give their children enough time to answer. Also, make sure that you discuss the importance of praising children for their attempts. The R in CAR stands for Respond by adding a little more. Help parents understand that their children will often only provide 1-word answers. This is a great place to start. Explain that parents can help their children learn new words by adding more description or details to their children`s responses. Encourage parents to ask their children to repeat the expanded responses. This will help their children learn new words and encourage language. It is very important to provide parents with an opportunity to watch the CAR strategy being modeled. There are English and Spanish training videos available from Washington learning systems that that show parents using the CAR strategy with their children. However, you can choose a big book and easily model both the CAR and 1, 2, 3 strategies yourself encouraging parents to interact with you as you use the strategy. Make sure that you spend ample time modeling the strategy so that parents understand what they need to do before asking them to practice with their children. After everyone feels comfortable with the CAR strategy, provide parents with time to practice the strategy with their children. It is preferable that the book that the parents use with their children is the same as the big book used for modeling. Also, if funds are available, allow parents to keep the book that they practiced with their children. This encourages additional literature in the home, increases parents` ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.38
confidence in using the strategy, and improves the
dialogic reading that could be introduced at a third
likelihood that strategies being taught at school will be
family night or provided to parents as a handout as a
carried over to the home.
follow-up to the second family night.
Session 2 should be held about a month later
when parents have had the opportunity to practice and become familiar with the CAR strategy, but not so long that they loose interest in the process. Session 2 should be used to review the CAR strategy and check in with parents to provide an opportunity for them to share successes, questions, and / or concerns. After this initial review, the 1, 2, 3 Tell Me What You See strategy (Table 3) can be introduced. Again, after a brief introduction, the strategy should be modeled with parents, and parents should be provided with time to practice with their children. It is important to help parents understand that they can use dialogic reading strategies with any book regardless of their home language or literacy skills. Appendix 1 provides a list of English and Spanish books the authors recommend for dialogic reading. However, this list is just to get parents started. The only thing parents need to look for are children`s books that have detailed and varied illustrations including a simple and interesting story line for their children. Appendix 2 provides additional strategies
Conclusion Dialogic reading is a research-based program that helps parents expand their children`s language and emergent literacy skills by sharing a book together. Research has shown that exposure to dialogic reading opportunities for young children results in significant gains in expressive language, sound and letter identification, emergent writing skills, and knowledge of print concepts. Huebner and Payne (2010) found that two years after receiving brief dialogic reading training, parents who received training used 90% more dialogic reading behaviors than parents who had not received training. This leads to the encouraging conclusion that parents` literacy interactions with their children can be positively influenced with limited dialogic reading training. The PARTNERS Program is a quick and easy research-based program that can be used to help parents and caregivers of young children increase their children`s vocabulary and verbal interactions.
about how to increase children`s vocabulary using
Appendix 1: Sample English and Spanish Books Recommended for Dialogic Reading
English Books
Bilingual and Spanish Books
10 Minutes till Bedtime, by Peggy Rathmann Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown Good-bye, Hello!, by Shen Roddie Good Night Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann In Grandma`s Arms, by Jayne C. Shelton Is Your Mama a Llama?, by Deborah Guarino
Bravo, by Ginger Foglesong Guy Fiesta, by Ginger Foglesong Guy Hello Night / HolaNoche, by Amy Costales I'm Just Like My Mom; I'm Just Like My Dad / Me Parezco Tanto a Mi Mama; Me Parez, by Jorge Ramos My Way / A Mi Manera, by Lynn Reiser
Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney Max Cleans Up, by Rosemary Wells Old MacDonald Had a Farm, by Jane Cabrera
Nuestro Autobus / The Bus for Us, by Suzanne Bloom Perros! Perros! / Dogs! Dogs!, by Ginger Foglesong Guy
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.39
Poor Puppy, by Nick Bruel Quick as a Cricket, by Audrey Wood The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book, by Jez Alborough
The Runaway Piggy / El Cochinito Fugitivo, by James Luna Siesta, by Ginger Foglesong Guy Ten Little Puppies / Diez Perritos, by Rosalma Zubizarreta What Can You Do with a Paleta?/ Que Puedes Hacer con una Paleta?, by Carmen Tafolla
Appendix 2: How to Encourage Vocabulary Using Dialogic Reading
1. When sharing a book with a child, begin with simple Who, What, Where questions that can be asked throughout the story (Where is, What is, Who is?).
Where is the little dog? What is the little girl doing? Who is on the bridge?
2. Expand on the child`s answer encouraging the use of adjectives, prepositions, and synonyms. 3. Ask questions that are related to the illustrations. 4. Increase the number of questions asked as the story continues. 5. Increase the complexity of questions being asked as the child`s language skills improve.
Where is the little dog? In the big red car By the little green ball Under the small wooden table Next to the little girl
References Arnold, D. S. & Whitehurst, G. J. (1994). Accelerating language development through picture book reading. In D. Dickinson (Ed.), Bridges to literacy: Approaches to supporting child and family literacy (pp. 103-128). Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.
Bus, A. G., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 65, 1­21. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.40
Cleveland, G., Corter, C., Pelletier, J., Colley, S., Bertrand, J., & Jamieson, J. (2006). Early childhood learning and development in child care, Kindergarten and family support programs. Toronto, ON: Atkinson Center at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Crook, D. (2010). Books abound: Benefits and guidelines for reading to young children. Texas Child Care, 34(2), 2-5. Hargrave, A. C. & Sйnйchal, M. (2000). A book reading intervention with preschool children who have limited vocabularies: The benefits of regular reading and dialogic reading. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15(1), 75-90.
Huebner, C. E., & Payne, K. (2010). Home support for emergent literacy: Follow-up of a community-based implementation of dialogic reading. Journal Of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(3), 195-201. Washington Research Institute. (1997). Language is the Key: A program for building language and literacy in early childhood [Motion picture]. (Available from Washington Learning Systems, 2212 Queen Anne Avenue North, #726, Seattle, WA 98109)
Call for Manuscripts Do you have a passion for academic writing? Do you enjoy staying at the top of the field of literacy when it comes to literacy research and best practices? Would you want to contribute your expertise and support the field of literacy by becoming a writer for The Missouri Reader? If you are interested in becoming a writer for The Missouri Reader please send your manuscrip to [email protected] for consideration. In the subject line please use the key words: MO READER manuscript submission
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.41
enewed interest in reading aloud came in the 1980s from the book Becoming a Nation of Readers, which states, The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985, p. 23). Trelease (1989) believes that reading aloud to students is the most effective advertisement for the pleasures of reading (p. 201). In addition to teachers reading aloud to their students, there are also benefits to students reading aloud too: it encourages other students to read about a certain shared topic. One way to get students to read aloud and hear others read aloud is the Sign Up for Reading strategy (Hurst, Scales, Frecks, & Lewis, 2011). Hurst et al. (2011) state: It is simple: students choose a day to read, pick a text, read to the class, the class applauds, and the student returns to his or her seat (p. 440). Many teachers read aloud to their classes on a daily basis, but Hurst et al. (2011) recommend that students also read aloud to their classmates. They state this strategy gives students a reason to read; provides opportunities for oral reading, rereading, practice reading, and selecting reading material (p. 439). They further contend it cultivates civility toward classmates through audience participation, fosters reading confidence, and provides a platform for social learning (p. 439). When students have the desire to read, it is easy to work with them and see their improvements in reading. However, when students have no desire to read, this is particularly difficult for reading teachers. Applegate and Applegate (2010) contend engagement in reading and the motivation to read seem instinctively to go hand in hand (p. 230). They believe the focus teachers should make is to be certain children move from unenthusiastic readers to readers who are highly motivated and excited about reading. When I learned the idea in The Reading Teacher about having students sign up for a day to read
aloud to the class (Hurst et
al., 2011), I was eager to
try it because I thought it
was something my second
grade students might enjoy
and that would help them
practice reading. I
continually strive to keep
students interested in
reading, find material they
enjoy reading, and that motivates them to read.
Students need motivation, but sometimes it is hard for
teachers to be the only motivator, as students are
motivated more by their peers. Edmunds and
Bauserman (2006) found in their study of what
motivates children to read that children are
motivated to read by sharing books with one another
(p. 419). McKool (2007) found both avid and
reluctant readers were more likely to read when
teachers, friends, and family members suggested a
good book to them (p. 120). When teachers are able
to determine students` interests, they can better
motivate them to read.
When I introduced the Sign Up for Reading
strategy to my diverse group of second graders, I told
them that reading aloud was completely voluntary but
strongly encouraged. Students were told, If you
would like to read aloud to the class, then come and
sign your name. I was aware that some children may
not like to read aloud to the class. This strategy
allows for
any child
Kate Tupper is a second
to opt to sign up for that day or wait until
grade teacher at Royal Heights Elementary school in Joplin, MO. She has a Master's degree in Literacy
from Missouri State
sign up
day comes
along. I had several students who were reluctant
to read the first time around, change their minds and
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.42
want to sign up after seeing other kids read aloud. For those students who were having trouble really getting involved in the sign up, I encouraged them to sign up and said to make sure they got signed up for the next round. All 25 of my students eventually chose to sign up to read. This was my first indication that the students were enjoying the strategy. To maintain organization and fairness, my students read in the order of how they signed up, unless someone was absent. Before beginning the Sign Up for Reading strategy, I modeled reading aloud so they knew that when they took their turn to read that they needed to 1) pick a book with a topic that interests them, 2) practice the book several times so they know all of the words, and 3) read in a loud, clear, expressive voice. A procedure I always had my children do was to say why they chose the book at the beginning of the read aloud. After reading the book, I allowed time for 2-3 questions from the other students. These were two very important components to my students. If a student accidentally skipped one of those parts, the other children reminded him because they wanted to know why he chose the book, and there were always several questions at the end. I usually had to say they would have to finish asking questions at recess because they wanted to keep asking questions. This was a second indication to me that the students were enjoying the strategy. I further believe my students enjoyed the strategy because I had to make a point of keeping the list posted so they could always see the order. If not, there were lots of questions such as, When do I get to read? As their turn approached, they always asked me questions about a word in their book with which they were having trouble. I would see them practicing, and they would ask me questions about preference choice for their classmates between two books. This strategy is one I will use in my class in the future. I think my second graders handled it better the second semester than they did the first semester, so I will continue using the strategy during second semester. This strategy is great because it gets the kids excited about reading. I no longer hear Do I have to read?, but now Do I get to read? or Is it my turn? Not only do my students enjoy reading and spend time practicing their fluency and working on vocabulary in an independent manner, but the other students really enjoyed listening to their classmates
read. They enjoyed the variety of topics from people their own age who share similar interests. Conclusion Overall, students are influenced by their peers. There were a variety of students at different reading levels who signed up to read, and they all enjoyed reading to the class no matter what their reading level. They were not only encouraged by their peers to read books on the same topic, but were influenced by their peers to want to read in general. The Sign Up for Reading strategy worked to encourage reading and influence of topics to other classmates. It was a great experience for them to get in front of their classmates, and it helped them practice reading. I`m glad I tried it. References Anderson, R.C., Hiebert, E.H., Scott, J.A., & Wilkinson, A.G. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers: The report of the commission on reading. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education. Applegate, A., & Applegate M. (2010). A study of thoughtful literacy and the motivation to read. The Reading Teacher, 64(4), 226-234. doi:10.1598/RT.64.4.1 Edmunds, K.M., & Bauserman, K.L. (2006). What teachers can learn about reading motivation through conversations with children. The Reading Teacher, 59(5), 414-424. Hurst, B., Scales, K., Frecks, E., & Lewis, K. (2011). Sign up for reading: Students read aloud to the class. The Reading Teacher, 64(6), 439-443. doi:10.1598/RT.64.6.6 McKool, S. (2007). Factors that influence the decision to read: An investigation of fifth grade students` out-of-school reading habits. Reading Improvement, 44(3), 111-131. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.43
ave you ever been told by a fellow teacher that you should write an article about your teaching ideas, but you haven`t known where to start? One way to begin and to break any mental blocks about writing is to [relate] the unfamiliar to what is already known (Smith, 1975, p. 1). If writing is new to you, connect it to something you know and do well ­ writing lesson plans. If you can write a lesson plan, then you can write that article! Our intent is not to reduce writing to a formula, but to provide a formula to help reduce the fear of writing. So many people think they can`t write. In his book On Writing Well, Zinsser (1994) stated, It`s not necessary to be a write` to write well (p.167). He encouraged would-be writers by saying that writing is thinking on paper and that if you can talk to someone about the things you know and care about, you can write (p. vii). By giving students formulas such as biopoems or diamontes, we show them they can write poetry; in the same way, by comparing writing an article to the steps in a lesson plan, we want to show you that you can write about your teaching ideas. Many variations of the elements in an effective lesson plan exist (Betts, 1946; Cunningham, Moore, Cunningham, & Moore, 1995; Hunter, 1984). We have chosen the following seven components to discuss: (a) objectives, (b) building background, (c) setting purpose, (d) introducing vocabulary, (e) instructional procedure, (f) independent practice, and (g) closure. These same steps can be used to produce a well-written article. Objectives. Every lesson has objectives to be taught. Teachers often begin a lesson by stating the objectives so students will know what they should be able to learn and what benefit learning the material will offer them. An article has an objective as well. For example, the objective of this article is to provide
steps for writing in an effort to make it seem less daunting for reluctant writers. One way to begin writing the article you`ve dreamed of is to narrow your focus. Once you`ve established a main idea, write it in a strong thesis sentence. Wyrick wrote in her book Steps to Writing Well (1979) that a thesis statement, prepared before you begin your first rough draft, is perhaps your single most useful organizational tool (p.20). The sentence not only lets your readers know your intent, but it will guide your writing as well. Your objective, or thesis sentence, expounded upon will become the opening paragraph or paragraphs for your manuscript. Beth Hurst is Professor in the Reading, Foundations, and Technology Department at Missouri State University. Deanne Camp is Professor and Director of the Graduate Literacy Program at Missouri State University. Building background. Reutzel and Cooter (1992) defined building background as providing the necessary knowledge to facilitate comprehension (p.74). Stevens (1982) found in her research that building background on a particular topic enhances comprehension. Is there any background knowledge that you readers need to understand before they can relate to your article? For example, if you are writing about ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.44
how to create a thematic unit, you will first need to provide readers with your definition of a thematic unit. Educational terms often have different connotations. You may use your own definition or provide an established one. Educational articles may have a short introduction to provide a review of pertinent literature. This review gives readers information concerning what has been written about the subject, and it can serve to build background. Setting purpose. As we well know, our students learn better when we can make the material relevant and give them a reason to learn what we are teaching. When given a purpose, students are able to focus on information in the text and attend to the information. Burns, Roe, and Ross (1996) stated, All of the reading children do should be purposeful, because children who read with a purpose tend to comprehend what they read better than those who have no purpose (p.214). In writing, it is just as important to give potential readers a reason to read what you have written. In your title and opening paragraph, provide your readers with a purpose for reading your article. Give them enough information to entice them further into your article. Introducing vocabulary. In our lessons we teach new words in the context of real literature. Armbruster and Nagy (1992) state that learning new vocabulary...often involves simply learning a new label for a concept the student already possess (p.550). Vocabulary instruction should occur throughout the day within the context of real experiences, not only during language arts time. Cunningham et al. (1995) suggested that we limit the words to be taught by holding them to the criterion of being unfamiliar yet important for understanding the passage (p.175). The same can be said for writing. While it is best to avoid jargon, if you find it is unavoidable, then define such terms when you use them--in the context of your writing. As with building background, you may define terms using your own words or by citing research literature. Instructional procedure. Because most lessons contain new information, the instruction part
of a lesson focuses on teaching this new information. As with the steps in a lesson plan, instruction carries over to introducing vocabulary and building background. Modeling the desired outcome is important and may be part of the instruction. Although you cannot be with your readers as they read your text, you can guide their thinking in the direction you want it to go. Lead you readers along your story line. Just as you do in a lesson, demonstrate with examples of the ideas or concepts you are trying to explain. We have learned about the use of think-alouds (Davey, 1983) in which we show our students our thinking processes. You can use the same strategy in your writing. Let your readers see the thinking that went into the development of your teaching ideas. By doing this you will not only be providing your readers with one or two good ideas, but you will be showing them how to come up with their own. Remember the analogy of teaching a man to fish--if you give him fish he eats for a day; if you teach him to fish he eats for a lifetime. Just as the instructional procedure is the heart of your lesson, it is the core of your article. If you are writing about an idea you use in your classroom, give specific details about how you do what you do so that other teachers can duplicate your lesson. When explaining a teaching idea, give careful instructions on all the steps or procedures for putting it all together. Independent practice. One purpose of this step in lesson planning is to give students a chance to internalize the information--to determine whether or not the material was learned in such a way as to apply it to other tasks. Blanton, Wood, and Moorman (1990) reminded us that the goal of instruction should always be conceptualized as helping students make a transition to independence (p. 487). When writing your article, offer readers specific suggestions for ways they can put into practice your teaching ideas. Sometimes textbooks and self-help books offer lists of exercises for readers to practice what is being suggested. The idea is to help the reader get beyond the article and into the classroom to try out your ideas. Closure. This simply means summarizing and perhaps reviewing the main points of the lesson-- always referring back to the objectives. When planning a thematic unit for your classroom you usually plan something exciting for the end of the ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.45
unit. Fourth-grade teacher Lori Elliott completed her unit on cowboys with an after-school campfire cookout on the playground. She invited her students and their families to come dressed for the occasion. This certainly created a lasting impression on everyone involved. It helped to cement in the minds of her students all the reading, writing, and learning they had accomplished during the unit. Zinsser (1994) told us that every successful piece of nonfiction should leave the reader with one provocative thought he or she didn`t have before. Not two thoughts, or five--just one. So decide what single point you most want to leave on your reader`s mind (p.53-54). What lasting impression do you want to leave on your readers? Perhaps you want to leave them with specific suggestions for how to write a thematic unit. We want to leave you with the confidence to write the article you have dreamed of writing. Sometimes the hardest part is believing you can do it. In writing an article you are doing what you know how to do--you are teaching. You know how to teach--so go ahead and use that knowledge. Special Note: Hurst, B., & Camp, D. (1999/2000). If you can write a lesson plan, you can write an article. The Reading Teacher, 53(1), 22-23. This material is reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. References Armbruster, B.B., & Nagy, W.E. (1992). Vocabulary in content area lessons. The Reading Teacher, 45, 550-551. Betts, E.A. (1946). Foundation of reading instruction. New York: American. Blanton, W.E., Wood, K.D., & Moorman, G.B. (1990). The role of purpose in reading instruction. The Reading Teacher, 43, 486-493. Burns, P.C., Roe, B.D., & Ross, E.P. (1996). Teaching reading in today`s elementary schools (6th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Cunningham, P.M., Moore, S.A., Cunningham, J.W., & Moore, D.W. (1995). Reading and writing in elementary classrooms: Strategies and observations (3rd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman. Davey, B. (1983). Think-aloud--Modeling the cognitive processes of reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 27, 44-47.
Hunter, M. (1984). Knowing, teaching, and supervising. In P.L. Hosford (Ed.), Using what we know about teaching (pp.169-192). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Reutzel, D.R., & Cooter, R.B. (1992). Teaching children to read: From basals to books. New York: Macmillan. Smith, F. (1975) Comprehension and learning: A Conceptual framework for teachers. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Stevens, K.C. (1982). Can we improve reading by teaching background information? Journal of Reading, 25, 326-329. Wyrick, J. (1979). Steps to writing well. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. Zinsser, W. (1994). On writing well (5th ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. Resources for implementing the ELA Common Core Standards The International Reading Association offers a variety of tools to help you in the process of implementing the ELA Common Core State Standards. You can link to books and journal articles, resources from Reading Today, and our members-only section. They also offer professional development opportunities such as webinars and live events, community conversations, and non-IRA websites that contain quality information. Please visit http://www.reading.org and click on Common Core. ©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.46
ow did I learn to write? When did I see the light? Tracing a dotted line? And expanding my mind. How did I learn to read? With my teacher taking the lead? Before that even? With older brother Steven Reading Cat in the Hat And books like that. irst grade came With books so tame See Spot Run? Reading was fun! Circled up in my group. Or spelling words in alphabet soup. Reading street signs like STOP And books like Hop on Pop! lder sis always had a book Curled up in her nook. Copying her was my goal; Her passion I stole. She taught me so wellPut me under the spell Of mysteries and Nancy Drew And the Hardy Boys too! y now I know The places you can go Lost in the pages Bounding through stages Increasing the speed With which I read.
ravings to write Night after night Stories of my own f comical tone... And mysteries too Like Nancy Drew.
Then an all-time fav reated a wave Penned by Harper Lee About how society used to be To Kill a Mockingbird Its heartfelt message I heard.
ours and days Lost in a haze Of faraway times And fairytale rhymes. Escaping in my book Oh the trips that I took!
utting pen to paper My fears would taper Creating magical scenes About other awkward teens. Writing a story Brought so much joy!
And poems helped me vent
ittle House on the Prairie
When mom was heaven sent.
Made my Christmas so merry!
Birthdays were so great New books were my fate! Childhood friends would come and go But live without books? NO, NO, NO!
he years have passed The poems I`ve amassed And stories I`ve writ Have been quite a hit! My kids share my joy
n libraries I hid As a book-loving kid Reading books by Stephen King
Of reading a story And a good book too To keep from feeling blue.
Like Carrie and Christine
Swapping books with sis
ow I barely have time
Helped add to my list!
To make up this rhyme
From Agatha Christie to Louis
Or read before a nap
To my grandson on my lap.
And so many, many more
Step On a Crack
All through high school-
Started several weeks back
Books were so cool!
Now all covered with dust
With Shakespeare and Hemingway Because homework is a must!
In bed I would lay.
©The Missouri Reader, 37 (1) p.47

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