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  1. Recalibrating the Focus of Teaching Reading to Engagement and Motivation

    Any Volunteers to Read an Engineering Textbook?
    Re-evaluating Text in the Classroom

    We are still in an interesting place in our field when it comes to student assessment and this culture of accountability. Whether we want to admit it or not, there has been some significant changes to our teaching practices. Decisions are being made, top down, bottom up, and even sideways, as everyone searches for the magic pill for what is best for children and teachers.

    Unfortunately these shifts, although well intentioned, have siphoned out the FUN in some of our literacy teaching and learning practices. Yes, F-U-N! FUN! It’s time for an intervention! Bring the fun back! Some of the teaching practices in our elementary schools look like middle and high school classrooms which can cause some of our early learners to sometimes not respond positively to reading and writing.

    Books should be relevant and engaging

    Sometimes, we, educators, are the first contact in exposing our readers to the idea of what it means to be ‘a reader’. We are the initial hook to get our readers excited, engaged and motivated about reading and writing. The next hook is the text that they are presented with to read independently, or shared, or with guidance. Our books should be relevant and engaging to support a reader’s motivation, and their identity as a reader. A variety of texts can help readers identify who they are as a reader. For example, they will begin to identify what genres they enjoy, who is their favorite author? Illustrator? and what do they appreciate about the author’s style of writing that they would like to use in their own writing?

    That is why Flying Start to Literacy has a rich collection of texts that readers will enjoy! You will notice that in this series readers will be exposed to fiction and nonfiction texts that spark their interest in many different areas. Additionally, readers strengthen their oral language and talk deeply about text such as Amazing Salamanders and Salamander Surprise or Clean Energy and Surviving the Earthquake. You can already hear your readers excited voices as they talk about slippery salamanders and rumbling earthquakes!

    So as stated earlier, BRING THE FUN BACK with great books! Once readers see reading as a pleasurable and engaging activity they will read often authentically. Thus, readers will strengthen their literacy processing system and their abilities to talk deeply and write deeply about text.

    Text selection plays an important role in supporting student engagement and motivation.

    With your colleagues, have an in-house audit of your text collections. Then rate them with your own rubric to identify the level of fun your text ignites. Try not to focus on what text are your favorite, and get input from your readers. Take informal anecdotal notes on your readers’ level of enthusiasm during interactive read alouds, shared reading, small group reading and independent reading. Reflect on your collective data and plan accordingly.

  2. Reading - Does that makes sense? No, Really, Does it?

    Text is meaningful We have to explicitly teach them to come to print with the position that this text is meaningful and I, as the reader, need to interact with the text. David E. Rumelhart, a psychologist, developed the Interactive Reading model, which highlights the importance of readers integrating meaning, semantics, syntax (structure) and the visual information as they process text.
  3. Guided Reading Success: Recognizing high-frequency words

    The key to success for beginning readers is recognizing high-frequency words

    One of the first hurdles a beginning reader must overcome when learning to read is being able to instantly recognize high-frequency words. The 100 most common high-frequency words make up 65 per cent of all written language. If students are to become confident and fluent readers, they need to recognize these words automatically. So how do students acquire this vocabulary? We know from our own experience in the classroom that beginning readers need to read these high-frequency words over and over again so that they are committed to memory and are instantly recognized. Research supports what our experience shows.

    Recently, I was taking a Guided Reading lesson with a group of eager prep students - Jessica, Tom, Danni and Luke. The group was reading a Level 2 book about a girl exploring a park. The students had no problem holding onto the pattern of the text. And, inspired by the engaging photographs, they had lots to say about what the girl was doing and what they liked to do in a park. We were off to a good start.

    We were re-reading the book when all of a sudden Danni’s eyes lit up. She pointed to the word play in the first sentence. “That says play,” Danni said. Then, she pointed to the word play in the second sentence. “And that says play.” It’s always a joy to witness a young reader make a discovery like this - Danni had worked out that she could recognize a word, that she could actually read! The pleasure I got from this small incident was twofold. I was pleased in my role as her teacher. But I was also pleased because I had had a consulting role in the development of the book she was reading. During the publishing process we paid great attention to the supportive features that would assist students as they learned this foundational vocabulary.

    We wrote books in pairs; each pair of books sharing the same high-frequency words but in different sentence structures and text types. We repeated the high-frequency words many times both within each book, and across several books. We made sure that there was a low ratio of unfamiliar words, and those words were highly supported with pictures, and by the pattern and the context. We introduced the high-frequency words gradually and systematically. It is always a great feeling to see a book do what it should – provide systematic support to beginning readers, as well as interest and excite students.

     

    Guided Reading Success

    Lyn Reggett is a literacy and publishing consultant currently working in the United States and Australia. Lyn began her teaching career in New Zealand where she taught mainly in elementary schools and became one of the first Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders in New Zealand. In the United States she has worked extensively as a consultant in elementary and middle schools particularly in New York City, Seattle, San Diego and Sacramento. In Australia she continues working as a coach, believing that coaches need to be working actively in classrooms, as well as leading professional development sessions. She has been associated with Eleanor Curtain Publishing since 2009, pursuing her interest in, and passion for literacy teaching and learning. She works as part of a talented and dedicated team to develop and produce high quality books for students. One of the joys of her job is to field test this material in schools, where students enlighten and teach her.

    Lyn joins an outstanding lineup of Presenters at the Third Annual Balanced Literacy Symposium.

    For further information and ticketing, see Balanced Literacy Symposium July 2019 

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