This weeks blog will be a quick reflection of some of this weeks reading. I am reading: Reading Literature in Elementary Classrooms by Kathy Short. Kathy argues that: ' it is possible to create practices of literary reading that support children's interests in reading processes, enjoyment in personal reading, and engagement in critical inquiry about the representations and themes literature presents." I do agree with her but it will take a lot of work to make this wide stream knowledge,
I remember reading in school as having two parts; reading for a grade and reading for fun and both of those did not happen at the same time. I enjoyed reading (still do) but still managed to get into trouble in the 5th grade for daydreaming while watching a bird in a tree outside of the window. Short suggests ways of bringing all aspects of reading together to engage the whole child. I do believe that would have helped me cut down some of my lack of focus. I think about my classroom instruction now and ways that I can work with the teachers I work with and after this reading I have a different point of view especially about how I completed read alouds. I would complete a read aloud with my students, reinforce a reading skill and put the book out for them to enjoy on their own. Often times most of the students could only enjoy the pictures which is fine but not as effective as it could be. I read of one teacher who took his read alouds, made shared readings out of them and taught spelling patterns with the books before releasing them for his students to enjoy. I like the idea, it's rigorous, it's engaging, and a fun way to step away from the Basel driven normal classroom structure. This idea also increases reading volume and Richard Allington states that is a contributing factor to improved reading in students.
My reading also lead me to find out more about having students read and respond to literature as well as ask and answer questions of each other. This gives students the opportunity to experience reading in various different ways. Quoting Short again: Reading and responding to literature as problem-posing as well as problem solving, provides a critical frame through which multiple voices and perspectives can contribute to inquiry about ones self and the world." (Short page 50) When considering children and their reading backpacks (the skills they come to us with) some students, especially those who come from poorer backgrounds with limited experiences, we have to know that they may have oral language related to situations that they deal with daily, like family letters, games on cell phones, bills and bill collector conversations as well as environmental print which is as good of a place to start as any. Students responses to literature may begin with picture representations but again they are able to respond to reading and share their thoughts with others.
The idea is that we find places in the curriculum that invite children to make meaning of the texts we read to them and text they read for themselves. We want them to engage with the literature we expose them to, make them make connections with thinking about it and sharing it with others.
Reading Literature In the Elementary Classrooms is an article in the Handbook of Research on Children's and Young Adult Literature written by Kathy Short.
Pearl Garden is a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M- Commerce. Follow along as she drops "pearls' of literacy and chronicles her pursuit of her Ed. D in Supervision-Curriculum and Instruction- Elementary Education. Just know that these are the ramblings of a doc student and a lot of what you read is a first draft and will go through some rewrites.