• Thursday, September 21, 2017
  • Jennifer Adams

The more connections we can make across our literacy practices, the more coherent our instruction will be. As part of effective instruction, teachers select a text to read that is linked to our end goals. If we are asking students to write with descriptive language, we read a text that models descriptive language, we talk about this model during multiple read alouds, and identify the language that we want to target from the text. We guide students’ interaction with descriptive language in small, teacher-led groups. We build word wall, or language walls that capture the descriptive language we are practicing. We provide opportunities for students to hear the books read fluently several times in a listening center, so they can follow along while they are listening. We support students’ attempts at reading and writing texts independently. This approach implies that we have identified our instructional goal during planning time. And that we have matched the text with our purpose.

Build text sets

By investigating a theme or engaging in inquiry-based learning, LIREC teams identified sets of texts to introduce multiple genres and strengthen comprehension. Through review of data on the LOCI needs assessment with the principal and literacy coach, a team of K-6 teaches set goals to strengthen reading comprehension of students and identified read aloud to engage students in more rigorous talk about text. At one site, the first step that the primary teachers took on the inquiry “What is a Hero?” is to identify a set of concepts that was to be central to their investigation. These included words/ phrases such as: bravery, resilience, peer pressure, heroic. Doing so helped to create common goal across primary team to teach common vocabulary and shared concepts. The next step they took was to identify high-quality texts that fit within the identified theme.

Working with LOCI team, the schools selected biographies, historical fiction, fiction, that featured children as primary characters, based on the theme of social justice and heroism. These text sets included primary sources, multi-media texts such as newspaper articles, letters, videos based on the topic. LOCI has helped schools curate high-quality books that would accompany investigations of big ideas. Our partners in this task included curators from First Book (https://www.firstbook.org/) and Grace Education (http://www.graceed.com/). We used resources from Read Aloud Project (https://achievethecore.org/page/944/read-aloud-project) , as well as Book Worms (https://sites.google.com/a/udel.edu/revised-bookworms-lessons/general-information), both open source materials for educators.

Connecting students with texts that are culturally relevant, representative of their experiences, rich in language and images, and full of robust ideas to discuss is critical to engage students in meaningful discourse and enhance reading comprehension.

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