Sunday, April 02, 2006

School Reading Philosophy

Please tell me about your school/district's reading philosophy. In your response, include what you feel are the strengths and areas that need improvement.

This information will be beneficial to me so I can tailor this class to your individual needs.

Please click on the comments icon to submit your response.

18 Comments:

Blogger Rhonda Gillette said...

My school's reading philosophy:
We believe that if children love to read, they will read. Thematic, integrated, motivating teaching is the heart of our English Language arts program. Objectives include listening, speaking, literature and reading, and writing to meet the goals identified in Wisconsin’s Learning Standards. Reading instruction includes a balance of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Our instructional methodology is based on the philosophy that children must construct their own knowledge. This means that the program must be individualized as the children move through the continuum at their own pace. It means providing stories that are meaningful to children. Singing and chanting become important. It means understanding and following directions. Humor must be recognized. The literacy curriculum recognizes the recursiveness of literacy skills. Thus, the curriculum provides increasingly sophisticated content and fosters increased independence of the learner.
We believe that children should be immersed in print: high interest children’s literature, magazines, newspapers, student developed books, and books from different genres and reading levels. The K-12 curriculum encourages students to become knowledgeable, reflective citizens who possess a life-long passion for learning.

I have been working on individualizing my reading program for the past 2 years by using Guided reading. I need help with finding appropriate books for 4th graders to read that are at the 1,000 lexile level. Most books that i find have innapropriate content for my age group. I would also like suggestions for good read-aloud books as I am getting bored with the same old books year after year.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Sam Fuchs said...

Here is my district's reading philosophy:

We believe that if children love to read, they will read. Thematic, integrated, motivating teaching is the heart of our English Language arts program. Objectives include listening, speaking, literature and reading, and writing to meet the goals identified in Wisconsin’s Learning Standards. Reading instruction includes a balance of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.



Our instructional methodology is based on the philosophy that children must construct their own knowledge. This means that the program must be individualized as the children move through the continuum at their own pace. It means providing stories that are meaningful to children. Singing and chanting become important. It means understanding and following directions. Humor must be recognized. The literacy curriculum recognizes the recursiveness of literacy skills. Thus, the curriculum provides increasingly sophisticated content and fosters increased independence of the learner.

We believe that children should be immersed in print: high interest children’s literature, magazines, newspapers, student developed books, and books from different genres and reading levels. The K-12 curriculum encourages students to become knowledgeable, reflective citizens who possess a life-long passion for learning.


I think the number one thing that I hoped to gain fromthis class was I wanted to get some ideas for some new stories to use as trade books and read alouds. The one I use now are getting a little stale. I also would like to find ways to make my current stories more exciting as I teach them. I want the unmotivated reader to enjoy reading more.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

My School District's Reading Philosophy

We believe that if children love to read, they will read. Thematic, integrated, motivating teaching is the heart of our English Language arts program. Objectives include listening, speaking, literature and reading, and writing to meet the goals identified in Wisconsin’s Learning Standards. Reading instruction includes a balance of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Our instructional methodology is based on the philosophy that children must construct their own knowledge. This means that the program must be individualized as the children move through the continuum at their own pace. It means providing stories that are meaningful to children. Singing and chanting become important. It means understanding and following directions. Humor must be recognized. The literacy curriculum recognizes the recursiveness of literacy skills. Thus, the curriculum provides increasingly sophisticated content and fosters increased independence of the learner.

We believe that children should be immersed in print: high interest children’s literature, magazines, newspapers, student developed books, and books from different genres and reading levels. The K-12 curriculum encourages students to become knowledgeable, reflective citizens who possess a life-long passion for learning.

I currently use several different strategies for reading. I use the Basal, which has many wonderful stories and trade books. I am working on incorporating literature circles into my classroom. I have done them in the past but don’t feel comfortable enough with them. I am also working on incorporating guided reading. I have also done these but do NOT know what to do with the students when they finish. I could use some ideas on this.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Chrissy Krone said...

The mission of the Hurley School District is to provide challenging educational opportunities to prepare our students and enrich our community because we believe that knowledge, education, and community support are essential for success.

We Believe That:

~students should be the focus of our school

~parents and community are an integral part of the education process

and

~education is a way of life

Our curriculum for second grade states that in the area of Reading/Language Arts second grade students continue to refine strategies to become independent readers. Through direct teaching children utilize a multi-sensory approach to phonics. A literature-rich environment is provided through a variety of literature, developing an appreciation and enjoyment of reading. Speaking and writing skills are developed using systematic strategies of practicing correct grammer and expression of written words, sentences, and messages.

Every year I find it difficult to find a balance with our Reading/Language Arts curriculum. The balance with phonemic awareness, phonics skills, decoding strategies, fluency, understanding, and lastly comprehension. One year we score high in one area and low in another, the next year we score high in the previous year's low area and low in another. Finding that balance is difficult especially because each new class has different needs.

Two years ago we received new updated textbooks K-6 in every subject. How??? Unfortunately this was due to a fire in the elementary wing of our building. Prior to this we had one company for one subject and one company for another. Because of this I feel we had gaps in our curriculum. We now have Houghton Mifflin for every subject. Now we have the consistany throughout subject areas and grade levels.

With our new reading series we also have leveled readers for almost every subject area. These we never had before. They have proved to be a wonderful addition to our reading program. The leveled readers allow the students to read at the level they are at.

Every April our district administers the Terra Nova test. The test is for our use. At the end of every year we can analyze the results and see where we were lacking, what we can improve on, and what areas we did well on.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Robes said...

My school district uses a balanced literacy approach to reading. Beginning with 4K, each class has end of the year goals that students are to meet. In the lower grades there is a heavy emphasis on phonemic awareness and listening skills. As our students progress, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are added.

The district has recently put on increased emphasis on comprehension, as some of our fluent readers were not comprehending at a level commensurate with their ability to decode.

My district is aligned with the state of Wisconsin's Standards and benchmarks. As a district we have have scored well on tests mandated by the state of Wisconsin.

1:48 PM  
Blogger anne mortensen said...

St. Maria Goretti School has no published reading philosophy. In the general school philosophy we state that we want to take students from where they are at and move them forward. It is understood that reading is one of the cornerstones to a great education and a successful and happy life. Although all teachers in the building have thier own unique style and strengths, they strive for that mission in all subject areas.

We as a staff encourage reading of all types of literature. The staff provides opportunities to hear and read great literature. We strive to provide high quality reading options. The students get exposed to numerous trade books, leveled readers for younger students and many novels. They have access to fiction, news articles, nonfiction, poetry, and more.

Our reading and language programs are integrated with all subjects at various times. We like to collaborate with each other to provide connections between subject areas and topics. For example, this year in reading class, the fifth grade students performed plays based on historical events in American history. The students made the props in Art class, gained an understanding of the events in Social Studies, practiced their oral speaking skills for Language and read and practiced their lines as part of Reading class. Each teacher integrates as applicable to his/her class and all teachers focus on strengthening the students' vocabulary and comprehension as they teach.

We are currently involved in a self study of all facets of our school. It has been determined that reading/language will be our next curriculum to address. Any input from the class/instructor would be truly helpful.

5:19 PM  
Blogger jomarie said...

Levi Leonard Elementary in Evansville does not have a specific reading "philosophy", but as part of our mission statement goal we list that we will continue to integrate Six Traits Writing and reading across the curriculum.

Ways that our school has worked towards this goal:

•We are a SAGE school. We have set goals that specifically address state standards to increase reading fluency, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, reading a variety of literature, exploring genre's that will be of high interest, and reading material across content areas.

•Our district purchased Houghton Mifflin 2005 reading series about two year ago which includes leveled readers and a ton of other resources. It has been wonderful, yet overwhelming because of all the material available.

•RIPL-Reading Intervention at the Primary Level-based on DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) scores, students receive 30 minutes of small group instruction with reading specialists 4 times a week.

•We are piloting MAP testing (sorry, I don’t have what the acronym stands for) which is done entirely on the computer. This test replaces the Stanford. Third grade will possibly be piloting this test next year, too.
With SAGE, RIPL services, and MAP testing it is our hope to identify strengths and areas that need improvement to meet our school needs and satisfy state requirements. MAP testing results offer an incredible listing of books according to the range of scores each child received.

•About three years ago our building created a book room that has books categorized according to various reading levels. A group of teachers spent a summer collecting multiple copies of books, putting books into reading categories, and shelving them with a check out system for all teachers. It has been a great resource.

•Grade levels have worked on unit plans in all academic areas. The second grade reading plans have been revised due to the new reading series, but we need to add to the bibliography for more book choices.

•6+1 Traits of Writing training and inservice has provided another resource of books that have been added to our library. As a school, we got real serious with 6 Traits about 3 years ago.

•Our district implemented Learning Teams about 2 year ago. Learning Teams meet once a month to work on various grade level needs. The second grade team has concentrated on the new reading series and getting books that address curriculum needs in the areas of science and social studies. This has been a wise move by our administrators. We finally have a meeting that we enjoy attending!

•Cluster groups for students who demonstrate high ability in reading/language arts.

Our school/grade level has made major steps in the past 2 years. We have been faced with a lot of new material and requirements. I am thrilled with the resources we have, but I am still trying to find what works for the students and overall our grade level.

My hopes of taking Author’s Studies are that I can focus on more resources for reading in the content area, character education, and open my eyes to books that I don’t know.

7:21 PM  
Blogger jomarie said...

Julie - I have held literature circles in my classroom for many years. I have a nice user friendly packet that I use for the various jobs. If you are interested, I would be happy to send to you. Sometimes I include the whole class in lit circles or I may have two groups going depending on the reading levels of the children.

JoMarie

7:31 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I do not teach in a school district so I will comment on my reading philosophy.
I believe reading needs to be fun and child need to know that is it everywhere. Children learn to read in many different ways so reading needs to be approached in various ways. As I stated in another comment, I work at a community rehabiliation center with people who are mentally, physically and emotional handicapped. I(or my assistants) read out loud at least once a day. There are some individuals that will also read to others once they are able to read a certain book.
Smiles are always happening when reading is being done. (Either by the reader, the listener or both)
Reading is so important to everyone. Reading can never start to early or late. A teacher once told me "Reading is a gift that lasts a lifetime." I believe this statement is so true. I refer to it often.
So everyone (young or old) pick up a book, magazine, newspaper, anything and read!!!!

6:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa Taylor said...

After much digging around, I have come to find that my school district doesn't have a reading philosophy eihter! My goal is to keep moving the children up. I want to take them from where they are and hopefully get them to grade level. I like to keep my kids excited and enthused about reading. I share some of my favorite books and our author studies are usually authors that I really enjoy. This shows the kids how important reading is and that it can be fun! We use guided reading, so it is nice to work in small groups and be able to meet the needs a little closer of each child. We work on vocab, fluency, comp, and phonics. I like to give my kids a variety of different books to choose from. I allow kids to pick their own books to take home each night, that are of course in their reading level. I also let them pick their own books to keep in their desk for independent reading time. I only control guided reading books. Reading and writing are across the curriculum. They are starting to realize how hand in hand the two go. We work on reading skills all day, not just during our reading time. We do chunks every week, a new poem each week, and word wall. We also have lessons that we work on every day that help us work on all the different reading strategies. Keep it fun, fresh, and consistant.

2:50 PM  
Blogger JB said...

Edgerton's Literacy Philosophy
Our goal is to provide students with an understanding of the reading process and instill in them a desire to read; to read for pleasure and information from a variety of materials. Our literacy program is child-centered; i.e., instructional practices and materials are meaningful, purposeful, and based on students interests. One way in which this is accomplished is through the integration of the language processes (reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, thinking) during language arts instruction. Another way is through emphasizing the language processes in all content areas. Comprehension is the heart of our literacy program with special emphasis given to thinking about the reading and writing processes;i.e., comprehension monitoring. Skills and strategies are taught and reinforced within the context of meaningful language.

The learning environment in which literacy instruction takes place is very important. Teachers use flexible group, changing the status and size of groups according to lesson objectives. Thus, there may be whole group instruction for a skill lesson, small groups based on interest for story discussion, as well as individual conferences during which the teacher is able to assess student progress. The elementary literacy program establishes high expectations for all students while ensuring a safe environment the encourages students to take risks. A variety of authentic assessment tools and strategies are utilized with are aligned with the curriculum and that demonstrated student performance.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Head Start has a philosophy that children learn to read and write the same way that they learn to speak - naturally and slowly, using increasingly accurate approximations of adults. All of the components of language and literacy integrate multiple skills. Some guiding principles are:
*Reflect families' home languages and cultures in all aspects
*Having books in all childrens home languages
*Read books, teach stories and fingerplays
*Model reading
*Build an awareness of the functions of print
*Provide print-rich environments with functional print everywhere
*Draw children's attention to letters and sounds in context
*Read high-quality books in small groups
*Ask predictive adn analytic questions
*Develop phonemic awareness through songs, fingerplays, games, and poems
*Provide books to explore both at school and at home
*Use icons and words in computer games

As far as our district's philosophy, we have a strategy in place. It is as follows: We will implement a pre-kgn.-12 reading program which includes an annual assessment that measures individual progress toward reading proficiency. The district has measurable goals as well.

Basically, we do all we can in Head Start to familiarize children with phonemic and print awareness, learning the names of letters, and helping them appreciate print. Our curriculum gives us several performance activities that support the developmental continuum for the standards and benchmarks.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I forgot to mention strengths and weaknesses. Because of the diversity of our students, I think a strength is that we offer an environment that is comfortable to learning for ALL. We try as hard as we can to have print translated for all languages. As a new teacher, a weakness is a lack of experience. The more ideas I can get the better! I am hoping to get as many ideas as I can to help my students start their foundation for becoming future readers.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Kris Schmidt said...

The Green Bay Public School District's Reading Philosophy states that student will attain literacy proficiency by the end of grade three and will continue to meet proficiency benchmarks through a quality pre-kindergarten - 12 literacy program. There are many objectives and action steps which follow to attain proficiency.
With that said, Head Start is kind of it's own entity within the district and we have many Standards and Benchmarks we follow about Language and Literacy Development.
All of the components of language and literacy integrate multiple skills. These standards and benchmarks reflect the belief that children learn to read and write the same way they learn to speak - naturally and slowly, using increasingly accurate approximations of adults.
Head Start believes that early childhood years are an optimal time to aquire beginning fluency in a second language. We have two Bilingual prechool classrooms to service children who have English as their second language. My classroom has a bilingual paraprofessional to help with the needs of my second language learners.
Some of our Guiding Principles are as follows:
* Cultural diversity reflects in the classroom (reflecting families' home language and culture in all aspects of program)
*Model reading and writing
*Build an awareness of the functions of print
*Provide print-rich environments with functional print everywhere
*Draw children's attention to letters and sounds in context
*Read high-quality books in small groups
*develop phonemic awareness through songs, fingerplays, games, and poems
*provide books to explore, at school and home

One standard we really stress in our curriculum is that Students understand and apply concepts of balanced literacy and the benchmarks we assess follow:
*develops phonemic and print awareness
*Knows that letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named and
*develops and demonstrates an appreciation of print
We hope our children can name at least 10 letters of the alphabet before going to Kindergarten - so I do many activities daily to support ABC learning. I really encourage the families to do the same.
We also hope for our students to be able to discuss and predict events of a story. A personal goal of mine is to read the same story at least twice in a week, maybe three or four times to really get my students involoved in discussing, asking questions, retelling and responding through pictures of their favorite parts of the book.
I usually try to choose one book that we've been studying to place in the listening center the following week in hopes that the students will revisit favorite books and also I try to put props out so they can retell familiar stories. I think many students gain a lot of confidence when they remember stories well enough to retell them to a classmate or to me.
As a preschool teacher, my goal is to begin laying the foundation for future success in reading.

5:34 PM  
Blogger kris said...

We are another school and district that does not have a reading philosophy. I talked with our reading specialist and she said our school believes in a balanced literacy approach to reading. These are the things the kids will be working on in grade four according to information given to parents at orientation:

Listening: manners, directions, main idea and detalils, summarize, critical skills, voice quality, organization, conversations
Speaking: poise, usage, expression, sentences, organization, directions, discussion techniques and manners
Study Skills: comprehension, topic sentences, phrases, dictionary, book parts, gather and process information
Comprehension and Literacy
Decoding/Phonics
Reading for Information and Enjoyment

The teachers in my building do their own thing for reading. We all have different opinions about what is best for our kids and focus our teaching on what we believe would be best for them to make them better readers. Some use strictly basal, strictly trade books, guided reading, whole language, and combinations of everything they know. The strength of this is that we are doing what we believe is right for our kids. The weakness is that there is no continuity between teachers in a grade level or between grade levels. This is an area I believe our district will be working on next year.

9:05 AM  
Blogger KristinS. said...

Philosophy

Balanced literacy is the foundation of the Waterford Graded Schools’ educational program. This program encompasses the four communicative arts: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It strives to instill a life-long interest in reading for personal enjoyment, self-improvement, the expansion of experiences, and an appreciation of literature. Recognizing that the skills and strategies involved in the communicative arts are highly complex and are developed throughout one’s lifetime, our program involves a cooperative commitment by the school board, administrators, teachers, students, and parents.

Guiding Principles of Communicative Arts:

• Reading is the construction of meaning (comprehension) from the written word involving interaction among reader, text, and the situation (context) in which the reading occurs.
• Instruction, based on the development of the strategic reader, should provide continuing growth in: phonemic awareness, concepts of print, phonics, sight vocabulary, word analysis, vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, critical thinking, writing, and study skills. (Strategic readers have a conscious, in-the-head plan for comprehending, are flexible in their use of many strategies, and become more and more aware of their reasoning process as they make sense out of print.)
• To be good decoders and spellers, children need to quickly separate words into their parts (prefixes, suffixes, onsets and rimes), think of sounds associated with the patterns, and recombine them. Phonics and Word Study instruction will teach students to look for those patterns and then use those patterns to read and spell unknown words.
• In order for instruction to be developmentally appropriate, reading texts must be chosen to fit each student’s abilities and instructional needs.

My viewpoints:
Overall, I think our philosphy is a good one. However, in the upper grades our district relies heavily on guided reading to meet its goals. With longer chapter books it is difficult to effectively meet in guided reading groups. I tend to do more literature circle books and teach the strategies in that manner. The end result is the same.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Mr. Bretzmann said...

It took me awhile because I didn't know our reading philosophy. I contacted the district and two administrators collaborated to send me an elevan page document called "Philosophy of Muskego-Norway's Literacy Program." It's interesting reading, but I'll give you the high points.
The following are the 7 principles of best practice that guide teachers: 1. Learning is meaning making 2. Prior Knowledge guides learning 3. The gradual release of responsibility model and scaffolded instruction facilitates learning 4. Social Collaboration enhances learning 5. Learners learn best when they are interested and involved 6. the goal of best practice is to develop high-level, strategic readers and writers who think, reason and problem solve 7. Best practices are a result of informed decision-making. I'm not sure I understand all the buzz words, but I'll read it again to try to figure out what ZAD's, Vygotskian Teaching, and ZPD's are. I think these confusing terms are drawbacks from the policy and I think it's a weakness that I never knew it existed.

6:23 PM  
Blogger crk said...

Like I said previously, this district is new to me. My past job was as a speech pathologist in a school for kids with severe autism. So, needless to say, I didn't have much to do with reading! Most of what I know of reading is through my sister who is a reading specialist and reading recover teacher. My current district does mostly Direct Instruction reading. This program focus primarily on sounds and sounding out words. In my opinion, it does not foster the belief that reading is about thinking. I know this from personal experience. My fiance has two children, a kindergartener and first grader. The kindergartener was really struggling with the Direct Instruction program. He was not using any strategies but sound out words when reading. This made reading very inefficient and difficult for him. Luckily for us, my sister helped us work on reading at home. We began giving books to him at his level and teaching him strategies such as using picture cues and drawing from meaning (in Direct Instruction looking at the pictures to help figure out a word is a no no). What we have done at home has helped him greatly!! He loves reading now and his confidence is so much better!!

5:14 PM  

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