Matthew Lowell 002716011
ESPE 613 Fall 2011
3 Reading Reflections from: Guided Reading and Literacy Centers pages 2 – 54
And 7. Record of Oral Reading pages 137 & 138
Pg. 2 – “Students read a portion of the text orally during the guided reading sessions, and they read other portions independently.”
I teach a class of emotionally disturbed teenagers at Elsinore High School in Wildomar. I have eight students ranging from 9th grade to 12th grade and through varying cognitive levels. Students come and go to their various mainstreams throughout the day, and then return to my room as scheduled and appropriate.
During 3rd period we have a table group that focuses on driver’s education. I stumbled across a set of old texts as I was moving classrooms and decided to assume the use of them. Everyday my aid and I go through the text and highlight the essential reading and information as it connects to the review questions. We do this in three copies of the texts.
At the beginning of the group, all the students are given highlighters and they highlight the same material and passages in their book. This is the first time they browse the information. Then we begin the guided reading process as students read alternate highlighted passages. This is the second time they peruse the information. And finally they do the review questions. This can be done aurally (orally) for token economy points, or the students can right them out independently. In the end, the students have reviewed the information three times. So far, so good!
Pg. 13 – “Prepare an introduction to the story, keeping in mind the knowledge and current skill level of each student. Engage the students in a conversation about the story.”
When trying to read with a group or presenting a lecture, I find this step is the most important to remember. That is, it is helpful to tie the chosen topic into a personal experience of the presenter or the listener. This increases the interest overall and makes the whole experience more tangible to the participants.
It’s important to know the reading level of each student when assigning passages or checking for comprehension. The students appreciate this as well (even though they may not know it). No one wants to be embarrassed in front of a group.
Pg. 23 – “Smokie: The complex sentences in this text extend to a non-facing page.”
This structure and presentation of phrasing shows the young reader that a sentence is constructed of larger parts and begins to demonstrate the concept of ‘clause’ and ‘phrase’. It also teaches little guys how to keep reading onto the next page, that, the end of a page does not have to mean the end of a sentence.
Pg. 25 – “I Can Fly: In this basic riddle book, the students read five lines of text and need to use the clues in the text to find the answer to the riddle. They can still use pictures to help them read, but the illustrations are less supportive, as they contain more objects to consider.”
What I like about this design is that the text lines can be used to identify images, and the images can be used to identify the lines of text. However, they do not match up exactly, which leaves room for examination and inference on the part of the student. It also demonstrates that text and pictures are each full of information, and together, even more so. One can bring clarity to the other. In my room I often use exercises that include writing about or describing a picture. And I also do the advert, where an illustrated picture can help define some text.
Everyday my students are responsible for a journal entry. I have a prompt on the board or they can write about anything of their choosing, as long as it is appropriate for the classroom. Sometimes I ask for an accompanying drawing. And sometimes I ask only for a drawing. It creates variety to avoid boredom but also increases their ability to construct a summary.
Pg. 36 – “sophistication of the concepts presented, student familiarity with content, text layout and features, vocabulary, sentence length, complexity of language structures, text type, length of the text, probable student interest in the subject”
With my students, it’s all about interest level and content. Although in high school, most of my students are not strong readers. And most of my students have short attention spans, impulsive behaviors, and are certainly behind the academic curve, as it were. If left to read on their own, the stories need to be exciting and in clear language. Examples of this may be The Outsiders or Call of the Wild. The content in these types of books is such that my students with behavior problems can relate to things such as greasers, rich kids, and rumbles, as well as ‘the law of club and fang’. Our favorite read at current is East Side Dreams by Art Rodriguez. I choose to read this book aloud on a daily basis because it has a time line that is circular and Native American in nature. Every chapter is a story of its own, and is not necessarily dependent on the previous or following chapter for continuity. And the language is clear and not pretentious, nor is it ‘dumbed-down’ too much. The stories in this book talk of a Latino teen that grew up in the East Side of San Jose in the late sixties and early seventies, and his tales of streethood, and eventually, prison. The passages are full of all the violence and action that my students love, but does not glamorize such things, and rather, indirectly injects more positive morals.
Pg. 39 – “Generally, as the size of print decreases, and the density of text per page increases, the text becomes more difficult. The arrangement of text influences text difficulty. Adding features such as bolded print, columns, and captions makes a text more difficult. A greater number of such features in a text also makes it more difficult.”
With my students, I notice that the inclusion of these features does little to make things easier for them. I have to tell my teenagers again and again to ‘pay attention to the bold print or the blue-block letters. These are important points and topics. That’s why they are written this way, to guide you to the answer. The chapter is like an outline that follows the review questions!’ Sorry, deaf ears. They don’t seem to get it. They don’t seem to recognize why different headings have different fonts or colors. They don’t understand the basic outline design ‘I., A., 1., a.’ and so on. I think I need to work on this. I plea for them to pay special attention to the margin notes in a text, as well as the tables and figures. There is often so much pertinent information in these boxes and blips but, sadly, these things go unnoticed.
This passage on pg. 39 has inspired me to study the design of a chosen text rather than the content of it. I think studying the outlining structure of a book might be enlightening for them. I’m on it!
Pg. 47 – “The students are encouraged to share any background knowledge they have about either the contents or the text type…As the students share various ways of gathering information, the group will look at the table of contents and make predictions about the contents in the text.”
I like the idea of creating a foundation to read upon before beginning a book. In my class, this process has to be fast, and down and dirty. It is a great challenge to have my kids read a book, let alone get them to spend the time preparing to read the book. They would perceive this as simply more unnecessary work. However, I can depend on my effort to personalize the reason why we are reading this particular book. I can make a connection (either historically or otherwise) as to how this chosen work relates to me, and in turn, relates to them. Once it’s vested, it’s much easier to attack the reading.
Pg. 50 – Our goal is that the students are monitoring their reading in such a way that they are aware that their reading is either accurate or that they are at a point of difficulty and either know or don’t know what to do to solve the problem they have encountered.
If a student is at high school age and is still not a good reader, they are easily discouraged from correcting themselves in a patient matter. More often what I see is a shut down or defiance in order to avoid the task or embarrassment. I will have to build a technique to teach my guys how to know when they are at the point of shutdown and then to identify it. Rather than close down in frustration and avoidance, it would be so much more relieving if they could simply say, “Ok Mr. Lowell, this is where I need some help now.”