Thursday, September 6, 2007

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL). April 2006.

Some ideas on teaching literacy from the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL), a publication of the International Reading Association.

Scale of the value of each idea to me, RayS.
* Not much interest, either because the ideas are not new or the topic is uninteresting.
** I'll think about it.
*** Very much interested.

What can be learned from analyzing case studies of tutoring sessions?
Don't put too much effort into pre-tutoring instruction. Put more effort into providing support during the time that the sessions are taking place. A Belzer. JAAL (Apr. 06), 560-572. ***

How encourage college students to use their textbooks?
Author uses "open-book tests" at the beginning of each unit--15questions which students are asked to answer in 20 minutes using their text book. ***

How help students re-evaluate their initial responses to literary works?
Students answer initial questions about literary works after completing reading. They then discuss the questions with the rest of the class and their responses sometimes change significantly. BG Pace. JAAL (Apr. 06), 584-594. ***

What are low-frequency words in vocabulary?
"In general, low-frequency words have a high frequency of occurrence in standardized tests. "Adventure," "balloon" and "fool" are examples of high-frequency words on a third-grade list of vocabulary terms, whereas "abbey," "antiquities" and "blight" are low-frequency 12th-grade level words." AV Manzo, et al. JAAL (Apr. 06), 810-811. ** [RayS. In other words, low-frequency words are hard words. The low-frequency words are the ones that should be pre-taught before reading. ]

How well are U.S. college-bound 18-year-olds doing on standardized vocabulary tests?
Dropping sharply. "In 1940, these students typically knew the meanings of 80% of the words on a standardized reading test. By the mid-1990s, the typical students scored only 30%, which is little better than random guessing." AV Manzo, et al. JAAL (Apr. 06), 811. *** [RayS. If this finding is accurate, one of the effects of non-reading has been a tremendous loss of the knowledge of words.]

What are some indications that vocabulary knowledge is weaker today?
People shy away from newspapers like the NY Times and LA Times. Example of words in these papers? "Mot juste," "potentates," "febrile," "Plumping" and Armageddon." AV Manzo, et al. JAAL (Apr. 06), 813. *** [RayS. And the average local or city newspaper now has only five or so stories on a page with several large pictures. The average newspaper has become like the tabloid in format. The readability of the average newspaper has been significantly dumbed down. I can foresee that in the near future, the quantity and size of pictures will further replace text in the average newspaper.That's what people want to "read."]

Other topic: The importance of researching the needs of a globalized work force. * [RayS. A "no-brainer," but the author only asserts the need, does not talk about how the needs can and should be met.]

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