I continue reading about skills and strategies educators can model while conducting a read-aloud. In my opinion, the read-aloud is something that needs to be revisited as a tool that can be used as a part of the gradual release model to help students see an exemplar of the skill you are teaching. There are so many ways that the read-aloud can be used to model lessons for children in a safe and engaging way. This time I will focus on interactive read-aloud with non-fiction text. More specifically, the think-aloud a teacher can do while conducted a read-aloud. The think-aloud used during modeling is a good way to help students learn how to think about their thinking (meta-cognition) when they are reading informational and narrative texts. For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on the informational text.
I read an article written by Erin L. McClure and Susan King Fullerton titled: "Instructional Interactions: Supporting Students' Reading Development Through Interactive Read-Aloud of Informational Texts. In this article I saw a pattern of what good teachers do consistently when conducting a read-aloud and how they are able to model their thinking and thus are able to teach their students how to think for themselves when reading an informational text. To paraphrase the authors, "the goals of an interactive read-aloud is to expose students to a variety of text, model fluent reading and meaning making strategies, encourage communication to facilitate understanding, lift the level of student thinking, and demonstrate behaviors students will be able to use independently in texts." In my reading I am finding that the interactive read-aloud is a good tool to use with students of varied age levels to model the thinking process of good readers in a safe way.
As I have stated before, when wanting to conduct a read-aloud there are some things to take into consideration for those read-aloud to have the maximum benefit for the students. You would want to...
During your read-aloud, you will model your thinking, focus on key ideas and vocabulary you want to highlight, and stop periodically for student to have the opportunity to interact with the text. (consider these stopping points when you are planning) It’s important to establish routines and have a structure to make your classroom a place where students feel comfortable enough to engage with the text, share their thoughts, and participate in conversations about the text. Your goal is to begin to allow your students to engage in whole group conversations about informational texts. Rosenblatt (2013) said: "textual interpretation is socially situated as readers transact with the text by relying on their unique experiences, which mediates the construction of meaning." Basically, each student can learn and share information when they spent time sharing (interacting) with the text. Students are developing their understanding by listening to you conduct a think-aloud, their classmate's thought and sharing their own.
The idea of the read-aloud/think-aloud is that you as the educator have the opportunity to co-construct meaning with your students by using the gradual release of responsibility. (model, shared practice, practice with a partner or small group, and sharing with the whole group and working independently) The read-aloud is a good scaffold for creating a safe place for students to apply their thoughts about the texts they are reading. Using the read-aloud is an aid to cultivate students independent reading.
Thanks for reading...
McClure, Erin L., and Susan King Fullerton. "Instructional Interactions: Supporting
Students’ Reading Development Through Interactive Read-Alouds of
Informational Texts". The Reading Teacher (2017): n. page. Web.
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,
As a literacy coach, I work with elementary teachers to enhance their literacy instruction. My goal is to build their self-efficacy, help them effectively teach children to think, read, write, listen, and speak, and improve these teacher’s classroom practice by equipping them with tools and resources they can use as needed. I do this both with one to one coaching and professional development of the whole group. I am fortunate to have a group of excellent educators in my cohort, so my job is always an awesome experience. I am blessed to see these teachers in action. It is inspiring to see the impact these teachers have on the future of our children. As I observe their classroom instruction, I look for ways to add what I have learned from reading research, observing other educators, my personal experience, and from conversations with colleagues to their everyday practice.
One of the biggest ideas (debates) in the reading research world is centered around reading comprehension and how best to teach it. Leading researchers are at odds. The debate is between whole language and phonics instruction. My stance is that children need both language comprehension and word recognition skills to become skilled readers. To me that means to be effective to teach children to read classroom instruction needs to have a healthy balance of systematic phonics instruction, for word recognition skills and vocabulary instruction for language comprehension. I also believe this needs to be done in authentic ways. According to A recent systematic review published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest explains why both methods are important: Phonics, for early readers and for learning to write, as well as whole language instruction, to help children understand complex meanings.
Fortunately, I believe that we can agree that reading comprehension is about making meaning as one reads texts, but just how to get this taught is where the differences come in. Those differences trickled down to the curriculum resources, and supplemental material that classroom teachers use to aid in their instruction. In my work, I do not suggest any changes to the curriculum resources that my teachers have access to as per their schools and school districts, that is not my locus of control, however, my feedback for teachers follows the lines of research and good teacher best practice. I most often give recommendations to help my teacher’s guided reading time and during their whole group instruction.
I have often suggested that teachers choose a good mentor text. I have been trained by professionals who were a part of the Reading First Movement. As a result of that training my love for the use of the read-aloud as a mentor text was revived. As a classroom teacher I used the read-aloud because it is widely accepted as a means of developing vocabulary (Newton, Padak, & Rasinski, 2008). I have since learned that a good read aloud can be used as a mentor text that teachers can use to show students a strong model of how a skill they are learning is supposed to work. A good mentor text can be a supplement to a curriculum that may be lacking or can be an added benefit to your classroom instruction. Feedback to my teachers has included ideas that help them get started. Here are a couple of resources I have found. Mentor Text for Grades k-5 and Teaching with Mentor Texts . Mentor text serves as an important role in instruction, which needs to have a thoughtful and intentional selection process. A mentor text might be a poem, a newspaper article, song lyrics, comic strips, manuals, essays, almost anything (Baker, 2013).
Another of my recommendations centers around guided reading. Again, I don’t propose any one model or structure of guided reading, but I do believe that guided reading has some basic practices that make it meaningful. Readwritethink.org says guided reading gives teachers the opportunity to observe students as they read from texts at their instructional reading levels. Guided reading is subject to many interpretations, but Burkins & Croft (2010) identify these common elements:
Thank you for reading...
I have reached a milestone in my career and in my life. I have finished all my coursework and have taken and passed my comprehensive exams. “So, now what?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I am now a doctoral candidate, which means I have entered into the phase where I get to hone my skills as a researcher and a writer. I am working on my actual dissertation. “How long does that take?” Thanks, that’s another good question. That depends, to some extent on the college and to a larger extent me, myself, and I.
There are 5 chapters in a dissertation — depending on which college you go to. I will have to work on chapters one – three which introduce my topic, layout the research around my topic and state the methods I want to use to conduct research. I have to propose those to my committee (which I have not chosen yet) before I can do my study- another milestone. Then, I conduct my study and write chapters four and five which discuss the findings and conclusions. This is the final milestone. At this point I defend all 5 chapters and that same committee will tell me it is finished or it needs more work.
This whole process so far has been exhausting, exciting, excruciating, and engaging allllll at the same time. I have learned and am learning so much about myself. I am a self-diagnosed introvert and peopling is a task that at times is very daunting. In previous blog posts I have already stated how far out of my comfort zone I am in my new role as a Literacy Coach. I meet and hold conversations with new people almost every day. It is interesting how so many things in my life just work together.
I am learning to work independently and interdependently. It is a balancing act to say the least. I am fortunate to have a lot of highly skilled, super intelligent people around me at Region 10 Education Service Center. I will admit I don’t always think about and reach out to my “work village”. I am working on that and will do a much better job in the future. I have had an “if you ask for help, they may think you can’t do the job” mentality without even realizing it. Now, I am not saying that I need help, but what I am saying is that I have such a valuable resource in my “work village” that I forget to work with them because I am in autopilot. I have learned that I need to “people with a purpose” (that’s my term, but you can use it).
I have to mention my study group, which is another awesome group of super intellect women who have taught me a lot about myself. If it were not for them, I may not have done any prep for comps at all (and I truly mean that). These women encouraged me, shared their knowledge with me and prayed with me and for me as we prepared for this phase of our studies. I learned that a group that gets together for one cause can be powerful. We have created a new life long bond. They have also helped me learn that peopling is okay.
I have not updated this blog for a few months because so much has been going on. Now that I am back and am in a new phase of this journey, I think it’s time to change my focus. Since I am in the writing phase of my studies and I originally started this blog to write. This will be the last blog post that is titled #doctoralpursuit. Starting in November, I will focus on all things literacy. My new blog will be titled Literacy Pearls. It is my intent to share information that I gain from all the literacy research I will be reading for the next year.
Thank you for reading,
We are at the end of July. The summer is almost over. It has been a whirlwind of excitement, learning, and work. I have been totally out of my comfort zone and have loved every bit of it. As I transition into preparing for the 2019-2020 school year, I consider this a good time to stop and reflect on the pursuit so far.
I have finished my coursework, made it through with only one B, and have met with my advisor to set a plan for Comprehensive Exam preparations. I have made steps towards forming a study group and soon we will met to study. I have been on my new job for 3 months. These months have been a review and crash course in all things literacy kindergarten through 5th grade.
In the past 3 months, I have been able to meld the old job and my experience from that with the new job in the places that fit and have learned new skills that will take me even further. I am learning to work with a team and not in isolation, and at the same time I am responsible for my own group of teachers. There are places where my experiences and studies have been a real benefit and there are places that I have had to take a step back and learn something new.
My summer has been busy with my studies for work and for school and with preparations for facilitating the training of the teachers in my cohort and other teachers that are a part of the READ Grant Reading Academies. Here is what I have learned this summer.
Thank you for reading...
I am typing this as I look out of my hotel room window. The electricity went out in my apartment building, the funny thing about that is that it is out in my building only and not the whole complex. Anyway, I decided to update you today.
I am nearing the end of the first phase of the process of my doctoral pursuit and I must say that this last stretch has been extremely challenging. I started a new and exciting position. It is wonderful, and challenging, and exciting all at the same time. I have stepped into new territory and am totally out of my comfort zone. I have been introduced to business travel, expense reports and mileage reports along with having to get used to having an administrative assistant to do them for me (everyone should have a Kelly). I can truly say that I love my job and all of the exposure that it brings me. This year (the 15 months of this grant) will definitely be shaping me and getting me ready for the next phase in my life.
I am also taking my last two doc courses this semester (a feat in itself). I go from work (leaving home at 6:30 am) to school every week day (getting home around 9:00 pm) except Friday (on the past two Fridays I attended a study group with my project partners so it may as well have been Monday-Friday). I can say that I have found my groove and have been able to balance everything and have turned in all assignments (except one) on time. I had to miss class one week to travel for work so, last week my life kind of did an overlap. It has been tough overall, but I see the light.
I have entered my 49th year of life and I see it — in the hot flashes and the 10 pounds I have gained — and the fuzzy memory. I know that these side effects are a combination of me being more sedentary in my new job, slower metabolism, and eating more combined with just being exhausted. I am monitoring and adjusting to prepare for my next phase mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I called this blog Cultivating Pearls because of what I know about the process of making Pearls. According to https://willhaniganpearls.com/blogs/news/pearl-cultivation Natural Pearls form when an irritant works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam until a lustrous pearl is formed. I believe that everything, and I do mean everything that has happened and is going to happen (the irritants and growing pains) in the next year to 18 months is a will be making me the leader that I am called to be.
I am still toying with what will be the future topic of this blog and when I will transition to that new topic. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for reading.
It's time for an update. I have been in my new role for about a month now. I am learning a lot. It is encouraging and empowering to be around people who are considered to experts in their field. I have already been on my first business trip and my next trip is schedule for the end of next month. In my role as literacy coach I will be able to share my expertise in all things literacy with educators from two of our local school districts. This is ideal, because it brings practice and study to life for me. It helps me further connect what I am learning and studying with what I do daily. I get to live in my passion for teacher education with a much broader audience. Everything I have been doing and learning in the last 3 years has prepared me for this opportunity.
I have already told you that my last two courses are in June. I am trying to mentally prepare for balancing that, my new role, and business travel. This is a very welcomed challenge. I am looking forward to working though all of that plus June is my birthday month, so I am also looking forward to seeing what year 49 has in store for me. I believe big things are going to be happening. July will be equally as challenging because I will prepare for my comprehensive exams and will be looking at that very rough first draft of chapters 1, 2, &, 3 of my dissertations. (I misspelled dissertation the first time, should I be worried? Lol)
When I began working on my doctorate, I made the choice to join organizations that would put me around people who love, live, and study literacy. I joined and began doing presentations and volunteering to peer review papers for publication in their journal and even joined one of their committees. I have attempted to have a paper published in their journal as well (My first rejection). Last year, I ran for one of the organization’s At-Large Board of Director positions at the prompting of one of the board members, but did not win. That same board member encouraged me to try again this year. I am excited to share with you that I won this time. For the next two years I will serve as one of the At-Large Directors on the Board of TALE (Texas Association for Literacy Education) in this role I plan to advocate for my passion for teachers and teacher education.
I have been thinking about what the next stage in my life will look like. I know what I originally set out to do with this degree, but God has moved mightily in my life since I began this pursuit. The possibilities are endless and much further reaching than I could even imaging. God has shown me that my thinking was too small. He has more in store for me. I have been strategically doing things that lead to the goals I have set for myself and as a result, big things truly are happening.
Thank you for reading,
Woooooooooow! 2019 has been a year. I have so much to tell you. Things are really falling into place. I have TWO MORE classes, that’s right; just two more. Both will be in the summer I session—so June will be tough— but nothing I cannot handle. I am soooo encouraged right now. The things I am learning are connecting and so practical. God is so good. I still have lots of work left to do, but I can see the light! I have completed a VERY rough draft of chapters 1,2, & 3 of my dissertation. I will revisit them often between now and August to see how I can make them publish worthy. I may even solicit reviewers to read them for specific and candid feedback. I will dedicate July to organize and study all coursework to prepare for comprehensive exams in the fall semester. After comprehensive exams I will be an Ed.D candidate and officially in the writing phase. My goal is to complete the writing phase in 12 to 18 months. The next steps will be to plan graduation activities.
Guess what? Who am I kidding? I couldn’t keep this a secret if I tried. After 20 years of teaching in Dallas ISD, I am leaving. Starting tomorrow— May 1, 2019— I will be an employee of Region 10 Educational Service Center. This is a move I am very excited about. It is the beginning of my next steps. I love professionally developing and teaching educators and now I can do it for a broader audience (and in conjunction with TEA- Texas Education Agency). In my new role I will be responsible for a caseload of 60 educators and administrators. I will be conducting professional development with them and providing targeted support that is directly aligned with that professional development. This new role gives me the opportunity to live what I have been studying while studying what I am living. Instead of only working with one ISD (Independent School District) I will be working with school districts in the region. I can see how various school districts conduct the business of educating children. I will have access to more teachers in those districts which in turn gives me the opportunity to reach more students and positively impact student academic achievement.
Thank you for reading, I will be in touch soon.
As an instructional specialist, I work with teachers daily. I synthesize what I am learning in coursework to use in daily practice, I continually think of my research topic and how I can make my work and course work meld together. I want to tell the story of educators while being educated myself. I choose to research teacher practices when they are teaching vocabulary because of the demographic of students I work with. I am interested in vocabulary instruction because as a classroom teacher even my best students struggled with vocabulary. I honestly believe that what I see the "highly-effective" educators do quite effortlessly when they teach vocabulary can help every teacher. As a result, I am always watching what the highly effective teacher does.
So, I become teacher-researcher-coach as I work with my teachers. I am observed a few “highly Effective educators. I have trained my teachers on research-based best practices in vocabulary instruction and given them a few suggestions on how to incorporate vocabulary instruction in their school day. I presented them with this question: What would happen if you were intentional with your vocabulary instruction? Since that training, they have answered that question with things like:
Thank you for reading,
I have not spoken to you this year. Happy New Year to you, lol I have had a lot going on this year and since the last time I updated you. This has been the longest break I have taken since I began this blog in June of 2016. I feel bad about it, but life kinda "got in the way" of my timeline for a bit. Classes got more rigorous as I am getting near the end of my course work. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a long, long, long tunnel, but I see it. I am in two course this semester and have two more to complete which puts me on target to finish summer II which is July. By the end of my coursework, I will have a working draft of chapters 1, 2, & 3 of my dissertation. Then on to comprehensive exams and defending those chapters. Once the "powers that be" (my graduate advisor and a team of professionals from the graduate school) say yes, it's on to my actual research. I then write chapters 4 and 5 and move to where I defend everything (final defense). and finally to the goal, the title Dr. (Ed.D). I am excited and overwhelmed all at the same time- if that is even possible. My goal (which is just that) is completion December 2020.
I have grown and am growing, living, and making connections that will help me with future success. I still feel the inner nudging of the need to make a move and spread my wings career-wise, but have not found that open door, yet. Still I trudge on. I am open and ready once the door is open and am also seeking opportunities for the growth of my leadership skills. I am setting myself up to be the literacy leader I am supposed to be. My words for the next 5 years are "Clear Vision".
Stay tuned for an announcement in the near future.
I am in love with being an adjunct professor. It is fulfilling and rewarding but is also extra which takes a bit more of my time than just being an instructional specialists and doc student. It is not something I am willing to give up. It is pivotal to my future success. I tell people when they ask me: "If I could quit my job and do this full time, I would." As long as I am afforded the opportunity to do this work, I will. I look forward to future opportunities to come from working with pre-service teachers.
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”.