Friday, October 29, 2010

Topic: Reading in the Summer

Question: How much reading over the summer led to gains in reading scores?

Answer: Quote: “One study that treats these questions has recently been published by Barbara Heyns in a book titled Summer Learning and the Effects of Schooling. A sociologist at Berkeley, Heyns conducted a study of about 3,000 sixth and seventh grade children in Atlanta in 1972.”

Quote: “The amount of reading influenced reading achievement in this investigation; children who read six or more books gained an average of .2 grade equivalent over the summer. In contrast, children who read fewer than six books did not change in reading grade equivalent over the summer. The increment in reading achievement reported here seems small. A gain of .2 of a year seems hardly noticeable. Of course, many children who read six or more books gained dramatically more reading achievement, and some children gained substantially less. There was also wide variation for those who read fewer than six books.”

Title: “How Much to Read.” JT Guthrie. Reading Teacher (October 1979), 110-111.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Topic: Imitative Reading

10-second review: Children can learn to read partly by listening to taped books and reading along with them.

Title: “The Clip Sheet: Imitative Reading.” P. Cunningham. Reading Teacher (October 1979), 81-83.

Quote: “Imitative reading requires a book and accompanying read-along record or tape (commercially or teacher-produced). The teacher may select the book or let the child select it, but the book (especially in the beginning) should be fairly easy to read. The teacher sets up a listening area and tells the reader to ‘listen to the taped book and try to read along. When you can read the whole book (or chapter) to me, I will let you start on another book.’ In the beginning, many teachers require that the reader listen to the book at least twice a day. As the reader realizes that s/he can indeed learn to read the book, s/he is generally anxious to listen and often chooses to spend all free time listening and practicing.

“When the reader comes to the teacher and declares, ‘I can read this book,’ the teacher, without looking at a copy of the book, listens to the child read. It is important that the teacher not follow along as the child reads because, by not knowing what the exact words are, the teacher will correct only for ‘dumb’ errors, those which disrupt the flow or change the meaning of the story. ‘Smart’ errors (can’t for cannot, big for large) are made by all fluent readers as their eyes move ahead of their voices. By not knowing what the exact words are, the teacher will be listening only for meaning  and fluency and will encourage fluent reading. If the child reads the book fluently, another book is selected and the process begins again.” P. 81.

Comment: Children learn a lot from imitating. I learned to shoot jump shots by watching Paul Arizin playing basketball for Villanova on television. And I became pretty good at it, too. Sounds like a promising practice in reading. Except that the method reminds me, uncomfortably, of the “Think System,” in which the young boys learn to play instruments by memorizing the sounds of the Minuet in G. in The Music Man.” RayS.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Topic:Outline for Summarizing

10-second review: How to teach young children to summarize

Title: “Story Structure and Comprehension.” B Feinerman. Reading Teacher (October 1979), 64-65.

Summary: The four steps to summarizing a story read by the teacher to young students:
. Where and when the story takes place, the main characters
. The problem
.How the problem is solved
. How the story ends

Example of a summary composed by children of a story read by the teacher:

“Long ago there lived three hungry goats named Gruff who had no grass left on their hill. They wanted to cross a bridge to get to grazing grass, but a mean old troll who wanted to eat them lived under the bridge. One by one the goats trip—trapped over the bridge until finally Big Billy and the troll came face to face in a terrible fight. The goat won the match and the brothers ate their fill of that fat, juicy grass.”

Comment: Might be a good outline for a summary by older students of stories and novels they have read. It’s also a good outline for writing short stories in creative writing. RayS.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Topic: English Majors

Question: What should the academic program of English majors consist of?

Answer: “Responding teachers recommended that English majors’ programs in colleges decrease the proportion of course work devoted to literature and increase the proportion devoted to grammar, composition, speech and reading.” JE Boyle, 1983, 218.

Comment: If students are training to be English teachers in secondary schools, a more balanced program might be of more practical help. Teaching English in secondary schools is not just literature. Grammar, composition, speech and reading are difficult to teach, and they are the responsibility of the secondary English teacher. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of Literature and the Teaching of Writing.” DJ Dieterich and RH Behm. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1984), 201-218.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Topic: Good Teaching

Question: What are the characteristics of good teaching?

Answer: “All groups surveyed agreed in their perceptions that ‘likes to teach,’ ‘knowledge of subject matter’ and ‘likes children’ are the most important elements of good teaching. “ BBB Adams, 1983, 218.

Comment: I’m not sure what “likes children” means. If it means, as many secondary teachers act toward children, that they “must get it,” the content, unaided by the teacher, then, it’s not a genuine feeling of “liking children.” To like children is to want to help them to succeed. Simply presenting the content is not enough. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of Literature and the Teaching of Writing.” DJ Dieterich and RH Behm. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1984), 201-218.