Monday, March 10, 2008

Successful Literacy Practices

Success in Developing Literacy

In this article, the authors describe two common features of successful school practices in developing literacy: teachers who expect students to succeed and who collaborate with one another, their students and students’ families. In short: expect success and collaborate. D Walker-Dalhouse and VJ Risko. The Reading Teacher (Feb. 08), 422.

RayS: I think perhaps the most underrated “strategy” for helping students learn is that teachers want them to learn. Most people, I know, assume that teachers want their students to learn. I think this is true, especially in elementary schools. Elementary teachers, in general do all they can to help struggling students. But as soon as students arrive at middle school or junior high school, a not-so subtle change takes place. The teacher begins to present the material and the student is expected to learn it, and if the student does not learn it, the responsibility is the student’s. Often teachers will label students who don’t learn, who don’t know how to learn the material, as “lazy.”

I think that teachers, especially at the secondary level, need to try to understand why students are not learning successfully. They have to want all their students to learn.

And that brings up the second point by these authors: collaboration with other teachers, with the students and their parents. I think teachers can learn a great deal by discussing problem students with other teachers, working to help the student who is having the problem and discussing the problem with the parents of that student and offering suggestions for how parents can reinforce at home what is being taught at school.

Makes sense to me. RayS.

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