Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Reading Teacher. April 2006.

Some ideas on teaching English from The Reading Teacher, April 2006, a publication of the International Reading Association. This particular issue is a gold mine of ideas.

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

How do students have to adapt their reading skills to doing research on the Internet?
Students need to search efficiently, to organize the information they find and to present it effectively. LA Henry. RT (Apr. 06), 614-627. *** [RayS: A new concern is the need to search the Internet efficiently, although that problem is not new either because students have always had to learn how to find information efficiently. Only the medium is new. Organizing and presenting the information has always been a part of instruction in the research paper.]

What are some problems in learning to read?
"...even though most primary-grade reading teachers focus on both phonics and meaning, some children negotiate this transition more easily than others." *** KB Cartwright. RT (Apr. 06), 628. [RayS: In other words some students view reading as sounding out words and ignoring meaning or focus on meaning and don't learn how to sound out the words they already know in their speaking and listening vocabulary. Students need to sound out words for the purpose of gaining meaning. Seems like common sense, but we have all encountered "word-callers," students who can sound out the words they encounter, but have no idea what the meaning is. That's the problem.]

What are some problems in improving comprehension skills?
Thre is a link between oral reading fluency and comprehension. J Hasbrouck and GA Tindal. RT (Apr. 06), 636. *** [RayS: The point is that students need to be trained in reading fluently, but fluent reading does not necessarily increase comprehension; fluency is one of many elements that go into comprehension. The advice, I think, should be that improved fluency probably indicates, but not necessarily, good comprehension. Again, "word callers" can be quite fluent but understand little of what they have read.]

What are some methods for creating interesting research projects?
Use real historical artifacts to motivate research on the artifacts. CJ Fuhler, et al. RT (Apr. 06), 646-659. ***

What are some problems in 6th-grade students' learning to write?
Failure to teach them the differences in organization between expository and narrative writing. T Engel and R Streich. RT (Apr. 06), 662. *** [RayS: Narrative writing consists of a series of paragraphs that tell about an incident. The incident is usually told chronologically. These paragraphs may or may not have topic sentences. Expository writing is organized around the following formula: "Tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them." Or "Introduce it. Say it. Sum it up." Expository writing can include narrative writing, but narrative writing rarely contains expository writing.]

How do students feel about teachers' practices in their teaching?
Ask them. You might be surprised by what they say. AB Pachtman and KA Wilson. RT (Apr. 06), 680-684. *** [RayS: At the least, you will probably learn what works and what doesn't from the students' point of view.]

What are the advantages of having students participate in drama?
"My fifth-grade class eagerly looks forward to drama time each day when they participate in theater games, improvised scenes from books,assume the role of a literary character, and much more." S Fennessey. RT (Apr. 06), 688. *** [RayS. "Much more" can be found on the Internet. Type "Theater games for kids" into Google and you will find 26,600,000 Web sites. One way to improve your teaching: before you teach anything, check the topic on the Internet.]

How can students practice working with a skill involved in reading?
It's a gimmick, but organize a sheet with tic-tac-toe. Put activities in each of the nine spaces. Students choose three to complete tic-tac-toe and carry them out. **

What can an illiterate mother do to help her children become ready to learn to read?
Talk. Make up stories from picture books. Show and tell. Speak in long sentences. Use complex or uncommon words. Tell family stories. Point to objects as she tells about them. Teach her that just by talking and listenng, she can help her child to be a reader. KS Cooter. RT (Apr. 06), 701. ***

In teaching students to improve reading fluency, what is the technique of repeated reading?
Students practice reading orally. Poetry, song lyrics, rhymes, plays, monologues, dialogues and letters. The purpose is to read for performance. *** T. Rasinski. RT (Apr. 06), 704-706. [RayS: Put "Improving Reading Fluency" in Google and you will find 999,000 Web sites. Some will try to sell you something, but many will offer some good ideas.]

How improve vocabulary?
Never let a word go by without learning its meaning. Point to objects. Dramatize words. Use Internet pictures. Read-alouds. Go over the pictures before you read the book. Put sticky notes on sentence with word you don't know and then try to figure its meaning from contest. Roots, prefixes, suffixes. Check dictionary, but don't copy long meanings. P Cunningham. RT (Apr. 06), 708-711. *** [RayS: Checking Internet pictures for meaning of vocabulary words is a new idea for me. I have long urged students to extract key words from the dictionary definition; try to reduce the meaning to one or two words, if possible. Easier to remember. I also recommend pre-teaching unfamiliar vocabulary before reading selections.]

How provide background information when reading literature?
Check related topics on the Internet. J Castek, et al. RT (Apr. 06), 717. ***

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