Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
10-second review: Subtitling is available for the hearing impaired. It has proved to be good practice for reading in general to “catch an interesting phrase” or “settle an idea in the mind.”
Title: “Norwegian TV—A Continuing
Comment: A good idea for practicing English for ELLs (English Language Learners). RayS.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
10-second review: The responsibility for vocabulary development rests with all school disciplines. “Creating the conditions for vocabulary development is a total school obligation.”
Title: “Learnin’ Words: Evaluating Vocabulary Development Efforts.” RA Bruland. Journal of Reading (December 1974), 212-214. The secondary school publication of the International Reading Association (IRA), since replaced by the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.
Comment; Every content area must take responsibility for two aspects of vocabulary development. First is teaching specialized words in the subject. Second, is pre-teaching words that are likely to be unfamiliar to students in assigned material to be read. The two steps will undoubtedly overlap. If you want suggestions for techniques to use in pre-teaching vocabulary from reading assignments, write to RayS. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
10-second review: Teachers pass the buck when Johnny does not learn to read and Johnny? He knows he’s dumb and not college material anyway.
Summary: Johnny can’t read because….
First-grade teacher: Johnny can’t read. He lacks the proper background of language experience necessary for reading readiness. He should have received these experiences at home.
Second-grade teacher: He doesn’t know the basic sight words. He should have learned those in first grade.
Third-grade teacher: The vocabulary in the basal is too hard for him. He can’t attack words properly.
Fourth-grade teacher: He might have a severe emotional problem. He bites his finger nails. He needs a special education program for exceptionally slow learners. Then he could progress at his own rate.
Fifth-grade teacher: He should have been retained in the lower grades. I can’t go back and teach all the skills that he should have already learned. I have thirty-two other children to teach. He lacks comprehension skills, reading rate, word attack, study skills, everything!
Sixth-grade teacher: If a child has reached the sixth grade and has not learned to read, there is absolutely nothing anybody can do to help him learn to read. There is no need to waste time on Johnny. He will never be able to read.
Seventh-grade teacher: What in the world can I do to help him?
Eighth-grade teacher: The school can’t afford to buy special materials. I’ll let him color pictures.
Ninth-grade teacher: How in the world did Johnny ever get to high school? I’m not a reading teacher.
Counselor: I recommend vocational school for Johnny.
Comment: Stop me if you’ve heard all of this before. Olive Niles, a reading expert, once said, (paraphrased)“If every teacher in every grade in every subject used the directed reading assignment, there would be no reading problems in the
Monday, December 7, 2009
10-second review: Activities before reading, during reading and after reading.
Title: “Developing a Participation Guide for a Play.” Dan Donlan. Journal of Reading (January 1975), 316-319. The secondary school publication of the International Reading Association (IRA), since replaced by the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.
Summary: The sample play is Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.
Quote: “Specifically, plays were meant to be seen and heard, not read; therefore, the conventions of dramatic writing are foreign to students’ ‘reared’ on narration and exposition.”
Quote: “The Before You Read section provides motivation and preparation for reading. The Read section provides questions to guide the student’s reading. The After You Read section provides assessment activities which allow the student 1) to react to what he has read and 2) to apply what he has read to given creative activities.”
Quote: “Discussion on how to read a play: 1) What are some obvious differences between a play and a novel or short story? 2) Glance through the first five pages of the play. What is the purpose of the material that appears in italics? Explain how you can keep track of who is speaking. 3) Are plays meant to be seen or read? Explain your answer.”
Comment: Another question. What are the values of seeing a play and the values of reading a play? RayS.
Friday, December 4, 2009
10-second review: The two sides of the issue of response to literature: the New Critics vs. subjective and affective response (Rosenblatt). Focus on the rhetorical techniques vs. focus on the use of the reader’s experience in interpreting literature.
Title: “Reading Literature: Two Schools of Thought.” AC Yoder. Journal of Reading (January 1975), 312-315. The secondary school publication of the International Reading Association (IRA), since replaced by the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.
Quote: “There are two popular approaches to reading [literature] which are at odds in the literary world. The first is the residuum of the older New Criticism and the second is more contemporary, subjective or affective.” p. 312.
Quote: “Using the first approach, one evaluates literature in formalistic terms, free from extra-textual biases which might distort it. The reader’s first task is a close reading of the text, with a great deal of attention paid to formal elements such as narrative technique, diction and the various other devices of rhetoric and style. This approach tends to be impersonal, rational, scientific, objective, rigorously formal, text-centered and detached.” p. 312.
Quote: “Those using the second approach believe that reading and education consist of more than knowing objective rational truths. Another kind of education to be gained from reading is self-knowledge, understanding one’s own experiences, becoming aware of what one thinks, feels and values; in other words, of who one is.
Solution/Quote: “This method of reading requires the student to persistently keep in touch with his personal reactions to the work while at the same time forcing him back to an analysis of the rhetoric. It also provides a cure for the excesses of both approaches. The reader neither becomes trapped in his subjective reactions at the expense of the text nor does he become trapped in the text at the expense of his own personal response.”
Comment: You can’t have one without the other. You need to focus on the text and to relate your experiences to the text in order to learn both the skills of reading and to grow in personal knowledge which is the purpose of literature in the first place. Another of those annoying either/or issues in English education. RayS.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
10-second review: If you can guess the answers without reading the passage for a test item, the item is not passage-dependent. In reviewing a reading test for adoption, make sure the items are passage dependent.
Title: “Passage-Dependence of Reading Comprehension Questions: Examples.” Fred Pyrczak. Journal of Reading (January 1975), 308-311. The secondary school publication of the International Reading Association (IRA), since replaced by the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.
Comment: I wonder if the SAT and the State
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Title: “Reading As An Existential Act.” RT Geenland and
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
10-second review: Students read a passage. Turn it face-down when completed. Told that their goal is to remember everything. Class then brainstorms everything they remember. Teacher uses key words to record the ideas.
Comment: Helpful in stretching students’ recall. RayS.