Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reader's Theatre

Reader's Theatre is a great oral reading exercise. Put Reading First, a booklet published by the U.S. Department of Education et al (2001), states that "Reader's Theatre provides readers with a legitimate reason to reread text and to practice fluency. [RT] also promotes cooperative interaction with peers and makes the reading task appealing."
Reading Online provides a resource to help you get started. 
Here are more helpful links:
Reader's Theater Scripts and Plays
Reader’s Theater Editions
Stories To Grow By
Mandy Gregory
Have Fun Teaching
Literacy Connections
Education World
Scripts For Schools
Story Cart
Jan Brett
Suzy Kline

Monday, January 17, 2011


Wow!  I just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This nonfiction book is amazing!  She has a wonderful Website that explains the book in detail.
"On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War."

Don't miss this one!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vygotsky and Collaborative Model

Lev Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory states that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development.  Vygotsky’s theory promotes learning contexts in which students play an active role in learning.  The roles of the teacher and student shift into a more collaborative model.  Learning becomes a reciprocal experience for the students and the teacher. 
We need to ask ourselves how we convey information to our students.  Do we spend time lecturing and primarily using teacher-talk?  We need to make sure that we give students time to discover information on their own.  Content is what we are teaching, but how we are teaching content is of great importance.  Literacy instruction is at the heart of how we teach content.  Students should be reading, writing and speaking in every content area. 

Here are a few strategies you can use in your classroom:
Informal Conversation
Turn and talk, pair and share, elbow partner, and chunk and chew, are a few of the names used for informal student sharing.  Giving students the opportunity to talk about what they are learning is vital.  For every 5-10 minutes you talk, give your students 2-3 minutes (or more) to share.  
Wait Time and Think Time
Information processing involves multiple cognitive tasks that take time.  The proper use of Wait Time and Think Time, will increase your students understanding of content.  Students must have uninterrupted periods of time to process information.  This article explains the idea in depth.
Just like conversation, writing helps us process information.  Writing helps us make sense of what we are learning and connect it to our own lives or to other ideas.  The National Writing Project is a great source for information and ideas.  Teachers writing side-by-side with students and creating time for Writers Workshop, are two important ideas of the NWP.
The days of believing that reading is a separate subject are over.  We are all reading instructors.  We must use effective strategies to support our students.  This involves scaffolding the reading by using ideas like: previewing text, making predicitions and connections to prior knowledge, think alouds, and graphic organizers.  Reading Quest has many ideas for incorporating reading into content areas.
Here is a post that has great ideas for managing your classroom library.  We should all have books in our classrooms, even if we teach chemistry!  A literacy-rich environment equals literacy-rich students.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Word Analysis

Happy New Year 2011! I love a brand new year!  It is like a blank page, just waiting to be filled.  I hope your year is filled with many blessings.

I spent the morning administering the DRA2 Word Analysis.  After finishing, I pondered over how to work with these students.  What can I do to remediate a particular problem?  For example, I have had several students who just can't rhyme.  I needed a "go to" resource that would offer ideas.  I want to share one that I found.

The materials are published by the University of Texas Center of Reading and Language Arts (UTCRLA).

Reading Strategies and Resource Book
This resource book presents sets of instructional strategies for beginning reading and is specifically and carefully designed for classroom teachers to use with students who are at-risk for reading difficulties, including dyslexia. When students struggle with learning to read, they need additional instruction that is focused on the areas causing them difficulty. These areas, the “big ideas” of beginning reading and literacy, include the concepts and principles that facilitate the most efficient and broadest acquisition of knowledge (Carnine, 1994). The big ideas of reading and literacy are: phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness; alphabetic understanding; fluency; vocabulary; and comprehension [National Reading Panel (NRP), 2000].

Word Study for Students with Learning Disabilities and English Language Learners
This manual presents effective instructional techniques and lessons for teaching word study to all students with reading difficulties, including those who are English language learners. The first section provides an overview of effective word study instruction, including sample sequences for instruction and adaptations for English language learners. The second section provides lessons and activities to use in the area of word study.s

Supplemental Instruction for Struggling Readers, Grade 3
This manual provides lessons for supplemental reading instruction for third-grade students who experience persistent reading difficulties and are at-risk for failing high stakes assessments. Research has shown that these students benefit from instruction that includes all four instructional elements with particular emphasis on the explicit teaching of word analysis strategies. These lessons are not meant to be the primary reading instruction students receive; rather, they should supplement effective classroom reading instruction.

Visit the Website and you will find many more materials to help with Word Analysis and reading!