Thursday, March 22, 2007

English Update. March 22, 2007. EJ Jan. 07.

English Journal. January 2007.
Curriculum….. Word Play….. Spend some time enjoying word play—puns, obscure words, oxymorons, names, product names, car/truck/SUV names; neologisms. RW Shanley. EJ (Jan. 07), 12-14.

Literature….. Selection….. To combat the depressing nature of many required readings, choose books, stories, poetry that have a range of outlooks on life. P. Thacker. EJ (Jan. 07), 17-18.

English as a Second Language….. Plays….. Engage ESL students in putting on plays to help them become more fluent uses of English. P Bernal. EJ (Jan. 07), 26-28.

Vocabulary….. Words….. “Because they don’t announce the study of language with a capital L, they draw students into an exploration of words, and before students know it, they realize that words are interesting, important, changing and even entertaining.” R Perrin. EJ (Jan. 07), 36.

Vocabulary…. Words….. “That these activities are fun does not undercut their serious purpose. Rather, they approach important curricular goals that relate to language—addressing word development, meaning, tone, connotation, specificity, language acquisition and social contexts for language use—in a serious but not solemn fashion. Most importantly, these activities help students discover the power and pleasure of words.” R Perrin. EJ (Jan. 07), 39.

Writing….. Publishing….. Have secondary students write books and publish them. E Gordon. EJ (Jan. 07), 63-67.

Curriculum….. Interdisciplinary….. Plan an interdisciplinary unit, involving reading and activities from all disciplines. A Burke and SS Peterson. EJ (Jan. 07), 74-79.

Reading….. Professional….. How do researchers and teachers differ in what they look for when they read research? Finds that researchers focus on issues of research validity while teachers [who read their articles] focus on clarity, personal style and applicability to teaching. N Bartels. RTE (Nov. 04), 199-200. (abs.)

Reading….. Readability….. What are some problems with readability formulas? “Even the best readability formulae are divorced from the influence of reader purpose and experience.” AV Manzo. “Readability: A Postscript,” 962-965.

Reading….. Readability….. How can grammar help to establish readability? Interesting method for measuring syntactic complexity for readability. 0-count structures, SVO, etc.; 1-count structures: prepositional phrases, etc.; 2-count structures: passives, infinitives as subject, etc.; 3-count structures: clauses used as subjects, etc. M Botel and A Granowsky, “A Formula for Measuring Syntactic Complexity: A Directional Effort.” 513-516. [File]

Reading….. Readability….. What is the assumption of people who believe in using readability formulas? “Few things are more educationally foolish than assigning textbooks which are beyond the students’ reading ability.” ML Janz & EH Smith. EE. 622-624.

Reading….. Remedial….. What are the characteristics of remedial reading students? Studied a “struggling reader.” Found that the student was a successful reader in some contexts and a struggling reader in others. We need to look more carefully at “struggling readers” and should not be too quick to label them. SF Triplett. JAAL (Nov. 04), 214-222.

Reading….. Remedial….. What are the characteristics of a successful tutor? “This study identifies the specific aspects of tutoring that contributed to Mitchell’s feelings of enjoyment and pride, such as having opportunities to make choices, participating in activities that were personally relevant, working within his instructional level and focusing on his successes.” SF Triplett. JAAL (Nov 04), 221.

Reading….. Research….. What are the characteristics of successful school reading programs? Characteristics of successful schools in developing high performing readers: goal is improved student learning; strong building leadership [redirecting people’s time and energy; developing a collective sense of responsibility for school improvement; securing resources and professional development for teachers; providing opportunities for teachers to collaborate; increasing instructional time; helping school staff persist despite difficulties]; strong staff collaboration; ongoing professional development; shared student assessment data; aligned to state or district standards and assessments; reach out to parents. BM Taylor, et al. RRQ (Jan/Feb/Mar 05), pp. 43-44. [Reactions: Each one of these concepts requires some thinking about what they mean and how to implement them.]

RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. EE = Elementary English. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English.

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