Quotes/Concepts from Text Your reactions/thoughts/questions
Best Practices in Adolescent Literacy Instruction Chapter 2 1. The term for students who are not native English speakers should be English as an Additional Language (EAL) because these students are competent users of a language, just not English. EAL students are a diverse group of people.
I hadn’t thought about this much, but it makes perfect sense. Just because a student doesn’t speak English fluently, that doesn’t mean they don’t have language skills. The skills they have in their native language can be used as resources while they learn English language skills. EAL students are not all the same. We need to consider this as we design instruction. We also need to make sure that we don’t make assumptions. This chapter pointed out that parents of immigrants or refugees may have a higher level of education than their current jobs reflect. A question to consider is, how can teachers best support EAL students and give them opportunities to demonstrate their understanding in different ways.
2. Bringing language to the forefront of disciplinary instruction benefits all students, not just EAL students. Explicit instruction of text structures, word study, and comprehension strategies helps all students understand the content better.
All students can benefit from literacy instruction tied to content areas. Starting around 4th grade, students are reading to learn, but they can’t learn if they don’t have literacy skills to back them up. Literacy instruction should be integrated into content area instruction to benefit all students, but especially EAL students.
3. Strategies that focus on language will enhance student learning across content areas. Close reading with annotation allows students to get a deeper understanding of the text through repeated readings. Students should be given opportunities to engage in classroom conversations to process and practice concepts they are learning. Using direct instruction and different types of groups, teachers can help EAL students learn through interaction with their classmates.
I learned about the close reading strategy in one of my previous classes and I think it’s an excellent strategy. I liked the example in the chapter where the teacher reads the passage first orally, then the students annotate while they read the second time (with instructions about what to look for), and they read the third time with a peer. The third time the students have the opportunity to discuss and clarify concepts with their partners.
Best Practices in Adolescent Literacy Instruction Chapter 4 1. Discourse is a structure that frames a groups interpretation of literacies and organizes and constrains their thoughts, words, and actions. The optimal situation occurs when the primary and secondary discourses match. This means that the literacies the students learn at home match those they are taught at school. When they don’t match students have several options. They can assume the secondary discourse or reject the secondary discourse. They can also acquire enough information about the secondary discourse to get by. The final option is to assert their primary discourse and force the secondary discourse to adjust.
When, the primary and secondary discourses don’t match, students will have a hard time succeeding if they choose to reject the secondary discourse. Even if they choose to acquire enough knowledge to fit in, they never really buy into it. The final option allows for the most change and can transform both the primary and secondary discourses. Discussing and analyzing discourses can help students understand different points of view and create borderland discourses to help bridge gaps.
2. A primary goal of learning is to mold students into responsible and active citizens who participate fully as effective communicators and critical thinkers and that use reasoning and evidence to make decisions. We want to teach students to develop multiple perspectives and value diversity. Discourse study can contribute to this goal. Discourse values literacies in print and nonprint texts, employs explicit instruction to develop meta-awareness, and develops multiple perspectives.
Creating 21st century learners who positively contribute to society through their skills and knowledge has been emphasized in all the classes I have taken in one way or another. When I was taking classes towards my master’s degree in library science, we learned how important it is to teach students media literacy and make sure they understand the importance of validity and reliability when it comes to internet sources especially. We need to prepare students for an adult world where they need to verify nearly everything they hear and where a reliable source is difficult to find.
Best Practices in Adolescent Literacy Instruction Chapter 5
1. When students struggle with literacy, it is framed in terms of their deficits and what they cannot do.
This is such an important idea because students are so affected by the way we treat them and our expectations. These expectations are often communicated to students starting at a young age. Children develop a sense of who they are as a student and this identity follows them through all their years of schooling unless someone steps in and helps them reconsider it. If this image is negative, it can lead students to believe they are bad at reading or math or whatever. This belief affects their motivation and their beliefs about what they are capable of. As educators, we need to work hard not to label students, to make sure they know that everyone experiences difficulties, and to help them learn strategies to help them overcome those difficulties.
2. A student’s reading identity reflects how capable they are at comprehending texts, the value they place on reading, and their understanding of what it means to be a reader within a given context. Struggling readers may avoid asking questions or interacting with texts in class because they don’t want to reveal their perceived weakness to others. Repeated negative experiences reinforce their belief that they are a bad reader and that nothing will change that fact.
When students choose not to ask questions, they are limiting their learning. Students need to understand that we all use strategies when reading, and they are not alone in their struggles. They also need to understand that struggling with reading doesn’t mean there is no chance for improvement. Teachers need to design instruction that considers student’s identities as readers and helps them change the way they interact with texts.
3. Teachers need to help students change their identities as readers by giving them a chance to take ownership of their reading development. Teachers need to learn how students identify themselves as readers and what goals they have for improvement. Once teachers take these steps, students will increase the amount they talk about texts, talk in more substantive ways, and demand more opportunities to read in school.
I love the point that teachers need to change instruction from something they do to students to something they do with students. The more input we give adolescents in their reading instruction, the more ownership they will take of the process. We should let students tell us how they want to change and set their own goals (with guidance). They need to understand that they have the power to change and that their reading ability isn’t set in stone.
Reader Response Journal - Module 2 February 2, 2021
Summarize in one paragraph what you read. Discuss what you learned that you didn’t know before. The Complex World of Adolescent Literacy: Myths, Motivations, and Mysteries by Elizabeth Birr Moje, Melanie Overby, Nicole Tysvaer & Karen Morris This study focuses on 6th to 12th grade students so that researchers could document what role school and communities, changing independent status, and cognitive development play in literacy. The authors state that literacy is a result of the intersection of learner knowledge and interest, textual factors, and social, cultural, and disciplinary context. The research indicated that adolescents do read and write outside of school, but the texts may not be the same kinds of texts that adults value. In addition, they may not be reading or writing frequently enough outside of school to make a difference in school achievement. Adolescents want to read texts that allow them to identify with the characters. They identify with characters for various reasons including race, gender, age, or ethnicity. They identify with characters who are resilient through struggles, working through relationships, and figuring out who they are. Adolescents use these texts to help them figure out who they are, get ideas for self-improvement, find models to emulate, and understand how to maintain relationships or build new ones. Their reading and writing fosters communication, relationships, and self-expression among their peers and family members. They read and write to construct identities that offer them power in their everyday lives. In order to engage adolescents with texts from content areas, teachers should use new types of texts that invite them into a relationship with the text. Teachers can use digital platforms or other texts that demonstrate the thinking process of scientists or historians, and social networks to invite readers to build a relationship with the text.
Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescent Lives by Donna E. Alvermann & Kathleen A. Hinchman This chapter explored the touchstone texts that informed the lives of two adolescents, Eleanor and David. The goal was to learn why certain texts resonate with adolescents. Engagement with texts helps all readers and writers shape their identities, but adolescents engage in more fluid, intentional, and passionate interactions with their identities using texts. Adolescents use touchstone texts to help find their place in the world, try on different roles, and practice dealing with intellectual uncertainties and political tension. If other adolescents connect with the same texts, the texts frame social interactions as quotes, jokes, and behavior related to the texts. They read the texts multiple times and form strong connections with certain parts and memorize quotes that they love. Adolescents make connections with the characters because they see parts of themselves there, qualities they admire, or goals they aspire to. As adolescents grow into adults, their relationships with the texts may change, but they will always remember the effect the texts had on their lives.
Best Practices in Adolescent Literacy Instruction edited by Kathleen A. Hinchman & Heather K. Sheridan-Thomas Chapter 1 This chapter examines the types of connections adolescents make with texts and how teachers can encourage and expand these connections. Adolescents often don’t connect with texts because they don’t see them as relevant to their lives. Without those connections, adolescents are missing the chance to experience touchstone texts that could shape their lives. The chapter explored textual lineages and the historical relationship that adolescents from different backgrounds have had with texts. Connections adolescents make with texts include ethnicity, gender, personal, and age. Touchstone texts honor the voices of adolescents, make them feel empowered to be or do something, and expand what is traditionally found in the curriculum. These texts can be historical or modern. They should be straightforward, compelling, controversial, and thought-provoking. In order to make the most of these authentic texts, they should be integrated with powerful literacy instruction. Teachers should help students make connections that result in action beyond the texts and focus on translating the ideas emerging from the texts to something meaningful in their lives.
Chapter 3 This chapter focuses on engagement and motivation using Wigfield & Eccles’ Three Key Motivation Questions. The authors used these questions to analyze practices for normally achieving and struggling readers. Both types of readers are increasingly unlikely to want to read in school or for pleasure outside of school as they proceed through the grades. For normally achieving readers, reading changes from an adventurous, nurturing, social experience to a tedious task leading to a demonstration of narrowly defined competencies. Teachers should provide explicit instruction of strategies, reduce focus on competition, and increase the opportunity for students to read strategically for different purposes. Struggling readers believe that the factors leading to failure are beyond their control. They don’t expect to be successful and lack the effective strategies they need to succeed. Teachers should provide students with explicit instruction on strategies that leads to guided and independent practice. Teachers should also give students specific feedback to improve use of those strategies.
Conclusion I never thought much about touchstone texts and how they might shape a person’s identity. I am an avid reader and made connections with quite a few texts as a teenager. I remember how I felt reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time and how I never wanted it to end. One of my goals as a librarian is to help students find texts that they can love in the same way. I encourage teachers to try new, current books and different formats to help connect students to stories, but I didn’t realize how important these connections are in helping adolescents grow into healthy, empowered adults. I also hadn’t thought about how normally achieving readers can be missing the opportunity to practice strategies because the texts aren’t challenging enough. I think teachers tend to overlook the normal achievers because they are so concerned with the lower and higher achievers. One thing I connected with from the readings that always bothers me is the focus on assessment, competition, and grades instead of the process of reading and the personal benefits. When I work as a librarian in schools, one of my main goals is to help teachers explore new ways to connect students with reading and help them realize the difference reading can make in their lives.
Learning Log 4 Reading comprehension is a complex process. In addition to teaching strategies, we must help students build background knowledge, promote motivation, and help students think about their thinking (metacognition) (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). There are several models of reading comprehension we should use to inform instruction. For instance, the construction-integration model emphasizes background knowledge and the sociocultural model points out the importance of discussion in improving students’ thinking and comprehension. Comprehension is a process that is dependent on the text, the purpose of reading, and the individual students (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). While all of those things are important, we must remember too that not all reading should be analyzed, students must also read for enjoyment or their motivation will suffer. A good reader is metacognitive, uses strategies, monitors understanding, makes connections, and is motivated (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). Good readers have goals in mind and actively evaluate whether their reading is meeting those goals. Good readers preview the text, read selectively, and construct, revise, and question meanings as they read. They also read different types of texts differently and pay close attention to their understanding of the text. Comprehension is a continuous and complex activity, but good readers find it satisfying and productive (Samuels & Farstrup, 2011). Skilled readers possess greater background, vocabulary, text, and world knowledge than less skilled readers. Fortunately, instructional practices can help all readers develop the knowledge, skills, and strategies they need to become good readers. The assessment of comprehension is also a complex process and no single assessment can adequately measure it. Teachers can gather evidence of the student’s knowledge using informal assessment and observation. One method is the question-and-answer-relationship (QAR) scheme (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). The QAR identifies four types of questions: 1) Right there (answers are found in the text); 2) Think and search (answers require the reader to compare and contrast information found in the text); 3) Author and you (answers require inferential thinking); and 4) On my own (answers are not dependent on the text but require students to give an opinion or draw on prior knowledge. Another method is to use a checklist to monitor participation in discussions. The teacher creates a list of strategies and then indicates if the student initiates the strategy on their own, after prompting, or not at all. This knowledge can inform further instruction by indicating areas where some or all students require more practice. Conferences are another way to check a student’s progress. Conferences should be scheduled at regular, rotating intervals. They should be 5 to 7 minutes long and focused. The teacher should only do 3 to 5 conferences per day and should keep notes as a record and to monitor progress (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). The important thing is obtaining a clear profile of the student’s growth and knowledge. Ongoing, informal assessment helps teachers decide what to focus on during instruction, which is vital to developing self-reliant, mindful, and capable readers (Brown & Dewitz, 2014).
References Brown, R., & Dewitz, P. (2014). Building comprehension in every classroom. instruction with literature, informational texts, and BASAL programs. New York: Guilford Press. Samuels, S. J., & Farstrup, A. E. (2011). Essential Elements of Fostering and Teaching Reading Comprehension. In What research has to say about reading instruction (4th ed., pp. 51-93). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Learning Log 3: How do we ensure children comprehend word and world? World knowledge is an essential part of comprehension (just as important as word knowledge). Authors expect readers to come prepared to understand their meaning without explicitly stating every detail. Every text assumes the reader’s familiarity with a wide range of facts about the cultural and natural worlds (Hirsch, 2003). As we have seen in previous readings, there is a limit to the value of teaching comprehension strategies. In the classroom, the best language-arts programs focus on building general knowledge by “spending extended time on reading and listening to texts on the same topic and discussing the facts and ideas in them” (Hirsch, 2003). The three principles Hirsch cites for increasing comprehension are fluency, vocabulary, and domain knowledge. When students are fluent, their minds can focus on making connections and comprehension. Vocabulary is integral to comprehension and we must help students build word knowledge from the earliest opportunities. Domain knowledge enables readers to make sense of word combinations, determine word meanings, make inferences based on knowledge, and understand literary devices (Hirsch, 2003). With domain knowledge being such a vital part of comprehension, we must determine the best ways to increase student’s knowledge. Text-to-text connections will increase domain knowledge. Alternatives to single texts include : companion texts (from a series or collection), complementary texts (explore similar topic or theme), synoptic texts (explore different versions of a single story), and conflicting texts (alternative perspectives on the same topic or theme) (Lupo, Strong, Lewis, Walpole, & Mckenna, 2017). Lupo, et. al. also suggests a Quad Text set framework. This framework includes a challenging on or above grade level target text and three texts that build students’ knowledge and motivation. The three supporting texts can be in the form of visual texts or videos, informational texts, or accessible fiction, nonfiction articles or texts from popular culture. The supporting texts should be read between readings of the target text. These text connections increase the time students spend reading and motivate them to understand the target text. Classroom discussions are an important part of instruction. When students are involved in discussions, their literal and inferential comprehension grows, and they are more likely to use critical thinking and reasoning skills. In guided reading the teacher helps direct students’ thinking and understanding using graphic organizers, collaborative learning groups, moment-to-moment verbal support, and modeling (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). Teachers can also implement student guided discussions which develop comprehension just as effectively as (if not better then) teacher led discussions. Students tend to ask more questions, their responses are more elaborate, and they generate more interpretations of the texts during student guided discussions (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). But guided reading cannot be implemented without planning. The text must contribute to the content goal of the lesson, be at the students’ instructional and comprehension levels, and provide the students with a cognitive challenge. Teachers must read the text closely and decide when and how often to stop for discussions. Teachers should plan for students to summarize, answer questions with evidence from the text, and make inferences to fill in blanks left by text. Using these frameworks and instructional methods, teachers will be able to increase their students’ knowledge of both words and world and therefore increase their comprehension.
References Brown, R., & Dewitz, P. (2014).Building comprehension in every classroom. instruction with literature, informational texts, and BASAL programs. New York: Guilford Press.
Hirsch, E., Jr. (2003). Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge - of Words and the World. American Educator,(Spring), 10-29. Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Hirsch.pdf
Lupo, S. M., Strong, J. Z., Lewis, W., Walpole, S., & Mckenna, M. C. (2017). Building Background Knowledge Through Reading: Rethinking Text Sets. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy,61(4), 433-444. doi:10.1002/jaal.701
Learning Log 2: How do we teach children to comprehend what they are reading? Comprehension depends on being able to connect meaning between words and between sentences. Successful reading comprehension strategies (RCS) vary according to the content of the text. It’s not as simple as teaching the strategy; RCS instruction must teach students what to think about as they try to understand a text (Willingham & Lovette, 2014). According to Brown & Dewitz, teachers must instruct students to understand the strategy, to know how to perform the strategy, and to know when and why to use the strategy. Teachers can use guided discovery to instruct strategies. They can start by asking students to identify a strategy and discuss why it is crucial. Then explain and model the thinking involved when using the strategy. Finally, the teacher should ask the students when they would use the strategy.
RCS instruction should be explicit and brief because extended practice doesn’t result in any advantage (Willingham & Lovette, 2014). Therefore, instead of focusing on RCS, teachers should focus more on vocabulary instruction, content area knowledge, and reading across genres and content areas. Building background knowledge is vital to comprehension and has no limitations. The more knowledge students have, the better they can understand a diverse range of texts. Vocabulary knowledge is also an essential part of comprehension. According to Brown & Dewitz, 50-70% of our comprehension ability is based on our word knowledge. In addition to explicit vocabulary instruction, teachers should explain figurative language, how it is used, and show examples in texts. Teachers must also teach students how to link pronouns and indefinite adjectives to nouns (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). Confusion about who or what pronouns and indefinite adjectives are referring to is a severe obstacle to comprehension.
Linking pronouns and indefinite adjectives to nouns is an integral part of making inferences. In fiction, authors often omit a large part of what they mean, and they expect their readers to have the background knowledge to figure it out. Teachers should instruct students on how to make connections between different texts, text and the world, and text and their own lives (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). Making connections is a fundamental part of inferential thinking. Being able to connect sentences and infer meaning that authors leave out, is essential to developing a cohesive model of the text. Another critical facet of comprehension is motivation. When students can select what they read, they are more likely to read, which builds background knowledge and vocabulary. Students also need to understand that reading has goals beyond just finishing the book. The goals of reading are understanding, enjoyment, and learning. Student-led discussion groups can improve motivation and comprehension. Teachers provide students with a selection of books to choose from. Those who read the same text (or the same author, or subject) can then discuss the book in literature circles or book clubs. To make these student-led discussion groups successful, teachers should model the process, coach the students, and help them evaluate their success (Brown & Dewitz, 2014). Whatever method the teacher uses, careful planning is critical to the success of any reading program.
References Brown, R., & Dewitz, P. (2014).Building comprehension in every classroom. instruction with literature, informational texts, and BASAL programs. New York: Guilford Press.
Willingham, D. (2014, April 9). Evaluating readability measures. Retrieved June 16, 2019, from http://www.danielwillingham.com/daniel-willingham-science-and-education-blog/evaluating-readability-measures
Willingham, D. T., & Lovette, G. (2014, September 26). Can Reading Comprehension Be Taught? Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://slidelegend.com/can-reading-comprehension-be-taught-daniel-willingham_59de48781723dda5617cad5a.html
Learning Log 1 As teachers, we must ask ourselves not only what skills and strategies students need for comprehension, but how we can teach and ensure students use them. We cannot teach strategies in isolation because students might not actually use them. It’s important to remember that skills are used automatically but strategies must be used purposefully. In addition, we must teach more than just strategies. Whether a reader successfully understands a text depends upon many factors including personal experiences, vocabulary & conceptual knowledge, interest and motivation. Success in school and beyond requires exposure to and comprehension of a wide range of literature and informational texts. Comprehension requires the use strategies which can be cognitive or metacognitive depending on how they’re used. Strategies are cognitive when used to construct or retain meaning and metacognitive when used to eliminate comprehension problems or assess whether reading goals are being met. Strategies good readers use include predicting, questioning, visualizing, inferring, summarizing, and making connections. Metacognition gives students awareness of their capabilities and control over their cognitive actions during reading. When teaching comprehension, teachers should employ a gradual release of responsibility. Teachers will first describe and model the strategy they are teaching. Then work with the whole class or in groups to use the strategy with an appropriate text. The next step is additional group practice or individual guided practice. Finally, students can attempt to use the strategy on their own. Another way to encourage students to use strategies involves discussing a shared text. After reading a difficult class-assigned text, students describe their strategic thinking and actions they used to improve their comprehension. This shows students that comprehension is not automatic and even the best readers use strategies. It also encourages students to reflect on their own reading and introduces new strategies for them to try. Comprehension involves four elements that influence the construction of meaning: the reader, the text, the purpose, task or activity involved, and the context in which the reading occurs. Teachers must carefully select texts for use in the classroom. Factors to consider include genre, level of conceptual abstraction, transparency of the text’s organization, clarity of sentence structure and syntax, difficulty of vocabulary, and readability of the text. There are programs and methods that will assist teachers in evaluating the quantitative and qualitative measures of difficulty. In addition to selecting texts, teachers must help students to develop prior knowledge that will help them understand the reading. Teachers can also instruct students in methods of making inferences and finding answers to questions. It is important for teachers to know that comprehension strategies must be taught, modeled, and practiced. Strategies can be used successfully by all students including novice and struggling readers. Students must be taught to coordinate strategies and adjust until meaning is created. And finally, it is vital to remember that motivation is an essential part of comprehension. Students are able to read texts at higher levels and comprehend them better when they are motivated and interested in the material. Comprehension is a vital skill that students will continue to use throughout their lives and should be taught to all students at all grade levels.