This week’s blog is a revisit of a post I made in 2016. I read: 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 for me. 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. As I reflect on this post and think about my work with teachers. As a classroom teacher, 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 have been. 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. Not only could a teacher take literature (fiction or non-fiction) and make it a shared reading, educators can conduct repeated reading of the same text and target a new or routine skill. This would allow students to enjoy a story that is familiar and at the same time, the teacher can think aloud to show his or her students how to think their way through a comprehension skill. Our newly revised Texas State Standards (TEKS) are designed in a way that really makes it easy to design instruction this way.
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 both orally and in written form. This gives students the opportunity to experience reading in various different ways. Quoting Kathy 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 one’s 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. Student’s 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 students to engage with the literature we expose them to, make connections with that literature, and to think about it, speak about it, and write about it. .
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.
Thank you for reading,
Pearl Garden, Ed.D has completed her dissertation research involving understanding the vocabulary instruction practices of early grade teachers. She has a passion for the new and novice educator, and it is her goal to help educators tackle the achievement gap with her research findings. She will use this blog to share what she has learned in “pearls of literacy”. The ideas come from her dissertation titled “A Content Analysis of the Vocabulary Instruction Habits by Early Grade Teachers”.