Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students

Unit 1

The value of independent reading and reflecting on your teaching practices

Go to Film Clip:

Diane Snowball: Introduction to Literacy Professional Learning Course- Reading: Teaching, Conferring and Planning (P-9)

Watch this clip to listen to Diane's thoughts and advice about the teaching of reading, Independent Reading and reading conferences. During a second viewing record the important details in your folder Personal Notes and Records.

As an introductory film clip to this course go to:

Werribee PS: Brenda Leonard interviews a group of year six students

View this film clip and consider the effect of Independent Reading on Brenda Leonard's students in relation to their enjoyment of reading, their reading strategies, the way they can talk about their reading and the effect on their writing.

View the clip again and consider the following:

  • What knowledge about reading and writing do these students demonstrate?
  • What can you learn about these students that formal tests do not provide information about?
  • What can you infer about what may have been happening in Brenda's room apart from just giving the students time to independently read?
  • What role do you think Brenda has played in developing her students' knowledge about and attitudes to reading?
  • If you are a secondary teacher how could you find out about the literacy knowledge and attitudes of students who are transitioning to your school from primary schools? If this information is not currently being collected and shared with year 7 teachers how could you ensure that this occurs in the future?

As you view several film clips throughout this course continue to reflect on:

  • the role of the teachers
  • the teachers' uses of rich language to talk about reading processes and strategies
  • the obvious teaching that is taking place to support Independent Reading
  • the students' knowledge about reading processes and strategies as well as their attitude to reading.

Students need to become aware of themselves as readers, be able to talk about their reading and over time, develop their 'reading language'. This is an important aspect of your reading teaching.

Think about how you might encourage your students to talk about their reading and reflect on the language you use when you talk about reading. Your language is a model for your students and using specific reading terminology in context helps your students to understand and use this vocabulary. As you work through this unit you could record the reading vocabulary in the articles you read. Plan to include this vocabulary in your oral and written language as part of your classroom practices.

Think about and record what you want to learn about teaching reading and specifically about Independent Reading and reading conferences.

Consider the following:

  • Does your teaching practice reflect the importance of Independent Reading and reading conferences in order for students to become competent readers? Why or why not?
  • How much time each day are your students engaged in Independent Reading? (Include time in all domains and outside school hours.)
  • Is this amount of time sufficient, considering that even year 3 students are expected to sustain their reading and other literacy tasks for 45 minutes in standardised tests? More importantly, is it sufficient time for students to become engaged with their texts they are reading so that they enjoy reading?
  • What range of resources do your students have easy access to for Independent Reading? Are they attractively and suitably organised to support Independent Reading for all students? Do you have an attractive, well-stocked and changing Classroom Library?
  • Do you meet with individual students during Independent Reading times to confer with them about their reading – assessing, giving feedback and establishing goals? What is the format for your Independent Reading conferences?
  • Do you know how to assess your students' reading interests and their competence as readers? Do you know enough about the teaching of comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and decoding and the assessment of these while students are reading? Do you know how to help students establish reading goals and how to use your assessment to guide your teaching?
  • Do you have a suitable balance of time dedicated to the teaching of reading and time dedicated to Independent Reading by your students?
  • Do you understand the importance of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model and how to implement this in your teaching and learning experiences?
  • What specific aspect of Independent Reading and reading conferences do you want to learn more about?

These questions might prompt you to record several goals you want to achieve by the end of this course. Record these goals in your folder of Personal Notes and Records and refer to them during the course to reflect on your learning.

Secondary teachers: For specific guidelines and research about adolescent literacy and what adolescent readers need, refer to the website: www.ncte.org/positions/statements/adolescentliteracy

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Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students