Monday, September 5, 2016

Celebrating : Readers

"There is so much to do in our Balanced Literacy Block," she sighed, "what is most important for all my students"? How can I help the ones who are below grade level readers?"  

During "back to school" season, there are lots of teachers who find themselves with shortened/split/overprogrammed/RTI filled/writing intense/reader response filled/busy ELA blocks.  So much to little time.  There are also many teachers working outside their comfort zone. Sometimes it is a new grade level or sometimes it is a particularly challenging group, academically or behaviorally.  Most of us have been there at some point. I suspect Heinemann was thinking of that often asked question when they write this post.  The suggestions are certainly based on research based teaching practices.  No matter where readers are on the journey, we need to focus on MEANING.  Without meaning, there really isn't any real reading!  We need to value "read alouds" which serve as reading models and motivators, especially when they allow readers to "stretch"where they cannot yet go independently. Encourage, motivate, and value the reading experiences of your students.  Talk about books and encourage readers to talk about what they are reading.  Embrace whatever they will read! Remember, phonics is the key to understanding the code of print; however, it is not focused on reading as a meaning making process.  Writing, however, is the inverse meaning making process and activates the same centers of the brain, the meaning making. Check out the Heinemann page for the full article.  

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