Sunday, April 16, 2006

Teaching Tips

By: Jill Caton Johnson

Hello All--
Your next assignment is to read the teaching tips article, What Makes A "Good" Reader? Asking Students To Define "Good" Readers found in your packet.

Please do the following:

• Read the article and share any Ah Ha's
• Administer the questionnaire provided in your packet (modify to your grade level if needed)
• Reflect on what you learned and/or observed through this activity

Please click on comments the icon below to submit your thoughts.


Blogger Sam Fuchs said...

I actually did the activity backwards. I gave my students the surveys and then planned to read the article before reading them. I was curious though so I looked ahead of time. I think it made the article more relevent. My students are third graders and the article talked about questioning fourth graders about reading. What I found was that my students put down a lot of what the students in the article had put at the beginning of the year. They listed reading with expression, reading often, loving reading, and the ability to use word attack skills as signs of good readers. At the same time they listed skipping words, reading too fast, not knowing answers and signs of poor readers. I thought they had some good answers but after reading the article I noticed that they did not list a lot of strategies when describing good and poor readers. I think this may be an area for me to work on is getting them to know the names of the strategies. I think we use them in class but they have a hard time explaining them. I was happy to see that none of the students said they were a poor reader.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Rhonda Gillette said...

This article made me think about how I teach at the beginning of the year compared to how I am teaching now. I include a lot of work on vocabulary, fluency, writing, and comprehension in my reading program. I spend a lot of time modeling reading strategies at the beginning of the year. When I compare that to what I am doing now, I find that I am slacking. I guess I just assumed that students were using the strategies that I taught at the beginning of the year. After giving my students the "good reader's survey" I realize that I need to continue modeling and talking about strategies for the entire school year.

My fourth grade students were able to list to following comments for what good readers do when they are reading: read a lot, use good voice, read with expression, remember what they read, picture the story in their head, talk about the book in their head, decode words, and know the vocabulary. My students listed a lot of good strategies that readers use however, I will have to spend more time giving them the correct vocabulary that names the strategies.

I also noticed that 2 of my students that really struggle with reading had a hard time listing any of the things that good readers or poor readers do. These two also made the comment that they are not good readers. One boy even went as far as saying that "he stunk at it." I will have to be sure to spend extra time with these two students when reviewing the reading strategies.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

After giving my third grade students the questionnaire, I was anxious to see the results. When the kids listed who was a good reader, they got caught up on listing their friends. I encouraged them to write down other people besides the members of our class. The responses that they had for good readers are: reads alot, reads chapter books, reads loudly, practices, follows along, reads fast, doesn't make mistakes, pauses at punctuation, volunteers, not choppy, uses expression, and pacing. According to the article, my students did not list any of the reading strategies, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and writing, to make them or others good readers. I need to make sure we discuss and continue practicing the names of those strategies. No one in my class put down that they were poor readers!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Chrissy Krone said...

There is so much more involved in a Reading/Language Arts program than just reading the words on the page. What about the meaning of those words?

There are so many elements that make up a reading program. It is a multi-layered subject that must be taught slowing... each year adding another component. Finding the right balance between how much to teach in one area vs another can be difficult and every year this could change depending on the make-up of your classroom.

One thing I really like about our reading series is that each week a new story is introduced and with it there is a strategy focus- something the students concentrated on throughout the week. The strategies we focus on in second grade are Question, Predict, Monitor, Clarify, Summarize, and Evaluate. These are the very strategies this article is referring to.

Initially I had my reservations about administering the survey provided in our packet. I did not want the students to start analyzing how their classmates read...Who read well? Who did not?
However, after thinking about it further I did see the importance of discovering their view of what they felt a "good reader" does so I put less emphasis on the WHO part and stressed the WHY more. I told them to think of someone in their head who is a good reader rather than having them list a name on their survey. Next year I will leave the WHO off of question number one and just have them think in their mind of three people who they feel are good readers. I do not feel it is necessary to specifically list peoples' names on the survey.

Survey results:

My class consists of 18 students, 8 boys and 10 girls.

I instructed the students to not put their names on the survey.

13 felt they are good readers
3 felt they are slow readers
1 stated he/she was a bad reader
1 said he/she was both-sometimes good and sometimes poor

The reasons listed for being a good reader were:
~read a lot
~takes their time
~they do not read fast
~they do not read slow
~they use strategies (but they did not list any)
~uses expression
~they look back in the story if they need to,
~they reread
~they read so it flows together

The reasons listed for being a poor reader were:
~reads too slow
~messes up when reading
~makes too many mistakes

The first thing I noticed was that some of the students listed Uses Strategies but none of them listed them by name. This surprised me because we work with them every day. Perhaps I should have stressed for them to be specific. Now I know for next time.

I would be interested to see how my class would have responded if I had been giving this survey every three months throughout the school year. This way I could see how their perceptions changed about not only their own reading ability but also their view of what strategies a "good reader" uses.

This is not a survey that can be given just once. For it to provide useful information it would need to be given three or four times throughout the school year. I plan on completed this survey next year. It will work in well with our reading series stressing and encouraging the students to focus more on the terms we use in class.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa Taylor said...

I have first graders, and to do this survey, I had to give a lot of hints to make them fully understand what the questions were asking. I never gave them ideas of what to write, but really just explained it better than the sheet did. My class also, got hooked on writing down names of their friends. One of my students even wrote down the name of the boy in my class who has cerebal paulsy! THen I stepped in and encouraged them to name people not in our class. They did. Most mentioned moms, dads, big sisters and brothers, other family members, and me. The second question I had to ask "when you hear them read, how do you know they are a good reader?" This seemed to help. Well, so I thought. Responses were, I hear them read, they read chapter books, Mrs. Taylor said they read good. We talk about reading strategies A LOT in first grade. So, for number 3 my students all knew what that was and they copied our chart of strategies. It was funny to see them all coping the same thing. That's good that they knew what the question meant and where to find their resource in the room! When they had to list what poor readers do, I pretty much had to ask them what did they do before they knew how to read. They all said they skipped words and would get scared or nervous b/c they didn't know what to do. They also said they would ask someone to tell them the words. They were all honest about what kind of reader they were. Some even said they were a little of both b/c they still had words to learn. We practice our strategies daily so they all wrote they use them and some picked out certain strategies that they always use.

I have done a similar survey in the past and it is interesting to do it at the beginning of the year and then again at the end and then compare answers. When I have done it at the beginning of the year, I have done it orally and written down answers b/c it's harder for little ones to write at the beginning of the year.

8:51 AM  
Blogger anne mortensen said...

I never actually thought about asking the kids what they thought about good/bad readers. It seems I spend a lot of time trying to not classify readers as good or bad. When choosing readers for plays, community circles or even Mass, I never pick according to reading abilities. Because of this, the information in the article peaked my interest.

The day I administered the survey, I had 21 students in attendance. Below is what they said.

-Eight students concentrated on oral reading abilities. They were not looking at reading as a whole. Since I gave no direction other than I was interested in their opinion and they would not get a grade on the survey, I found this interesting. I wish I could remember exactly what we were focusing on in reading class the day I gave the survey!
-Five students felt the students that read a lot were good readers. One girl classified herself as one of the readers that reads often which I was glad to see. She struggles with many other language type activities.
-Five of the students thought good readers were able to tell information about what they just read after reading it or that they would stop and focus on what they read.
-One student said they were good readers because they were her friends:(! She also said because they were in the high reading class.
-One person listed only one person as a good reader. (He doesn't necessarily like to write.) He thought the other student was a good reader because he got an "A" every quarter in Reading.
-The last student not accounted for above, listed two good readers and then stated what kind of books they were good at reading. (i.e. E.... is good at reading Narnia books.)

-None of the students classified themselves as a poor reader:). Some did state that they had room for improvement, but I was happy to see their confidence shine through!

This activity was interesting. It gave a base of information, but it certainly created more questions in my mind. I would like to give the survey orally and see what information I would get. I could do this individually and then question the students to clarify what they mean. This would probably not work well at the beginning of the school year before I gain the trust of the students, but at this point in the year it would work effectively in my case.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Interesting article. Seeing and understanding that confidence can increase reading comprehension is so importance. Children and adults need to always remember and believe, we have influence and/or control over an event. When we believe this, we can start to see an increase in comprehension.

I gave this questionnaire to a group of 6 while in a communication group. We were talking about books and reading at the time. This group had reader and non-reader in it and a wide range of ability levels (adults with disabilities). The results were:
1. Know any good readers? -Everyone was able to name at least one person as a good reader (many were parents, siblings, instructors).
2. How we know they are good readers? - they have a lot of books, they read a lot, they sound out words, and they read nice and slow so they can understand.
3. Name some things good readers do when they read?- (This question was difficult for the group. They did not really understand the question. One lady who is a very good reader stated, " Good readers sound out words and don't get frustrated when they don't know a word.")
4. Name some things poor readers do?- Don't like reading, read very quiet so no one can hear them, and get stuck on big words.
5. What kind of reader are you? - (1 great, 3 ok and 2 I can't read very good).
This was a very interesting survey to do with my group of adults. I will use it again at a later date.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Kris Schmidt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Kris Schmidt said...

The questionnaire proved to be too a bit difficult for my preschoolers. They thought their parents and myself were good readers, but had no clue as to why or what good readers do.

How a child will learn to read and what kind of reader they will become depends on what kind of models they have. Parents are their first models.
Children who read well probably come from homes in which there are plenty of books, magazines, and newspapers and in which they see their parents and siblings reading. Their parents encourage reading and make time for reading to their children and listening to their children read.
Teachers probably have the second greatest influence on the success of young readers.
Reading aloud is proabably the most important thing for children. It's especially important in the pre-school years to model good reading.
Pre-schoolers enjoy hearing the same story over and over again. Books that repeat phrases are favorites and give young children an opportunity to participate by reading the repetitive parts with you. Children love the simple texts where they feel they can really be a part of the reading. This lets children know that they can read and that reading can be fun. I reread books all the time. Many books we focus on for an entire week and by the end of that week, the children take it off the book shelf and can successfully read it to me! They gain a great deal of confidence this way!

I talk to the children about the stories we read. We talk about the meaning of words and what they think about the stories and why. I ask questions to check for understanding and to clarify if necessary.

We teach rhymes and alphabet songs to help the children learn the relationship between letters and sounds. Labels are everywhere in the classroom so the children learn the importance of words and how the sounds relate to the written words. We are beginning to sound out words, so they learn the traits of good readers.

I use flannel boards to retell the stories. I change my voice for different characters. We act out stories so the children can be involved. We read and reread and reread again to excite their growing minds. My goal is to make the stories come alive for the children.
The best thing I can do is model good reading by reading and rereading, asking good questions and checking for understanding.

8:25 AM  
Blogger jomarie said...

What Makes a “Good” Reader?

My “ah ha” is that I truly enjoy any kind of reflection or response from students about what they are doing or when they share their point of view. This class has really renewed the importance to continually review and talk about strategies towards being a better reader. I would like to come up with a questionnaire to send home for parents as a way of getting their perspective about what makes a “good” reader. A completion of a form like that could really help put together a plan for using reading strategies at home, too. Since I already introduce the reading strategies with definitions at parent/teacher conferences, I could easily incorporate a questionnaire prior to conferences. (I just read the article Helping Parents Help Us and this would dove-tail nicely with communication).

In my classroom, I have three reading groups. There is a group that reads grade 3+ reading material. Then there is a group that is instructional with second grade reading material. Another group of students receive reading resource assistance (RIPL- Reading Intervention at the Primary Level) for four days a week for 30 minutes. The RIPL group also receives instruction with the other students working on second grade material. I discovered some very astute comments from doing the questionnaire. All of my students (17) except for two felt that they were good readers. The one student commented that she was “poor and good” and the other student wrote “sorry, I can’t answer that”…

One exceptional response “I know ____ are good readers because just by listening to those people reading gives me a good idea that they are good readers. They pay attention to what they are reading”. A student that is in the RIPL resource group commented that a poor reader SHOULD “Look at the picture, sound out the word, or skip the word and come back to it”. I learned that the class identified with a variety of strategies that their classmates use to read. Many students identified that sounding out was key to being a good reader. One item I added to the check list of good readers was classmates being comfortable with reading to the class. This addition to the checklist is due to every Friday a student is special reader. That student can bring any book that they wish to read to the class for 10-15 minutes. I also want to add that doing this special reader each week has introduced new books to me that I have enjoyed and now I have incorporated those into lessons.
The questionnaire created a picture for me to acknowledge what the students have internalized and the things I need to address to redirect attitudes on what a good reader is and what one does to be a good reader. I had a lot of fun with this informal assessment. I look forward to including it with other informal assessments.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

One of the neatest things about the article was the change in findings from the survey. It was neat to see the childrens' ideas on good readers shift from August to January. The article stated that the teacher had stressed that everyone can be a good reader.

My 4 and 5 year olds complained a lot during the beginning of the year that they didn't know how to read. I really try to encourage them by letting them know that they can read any story by looking at the pictures and guessing what the story might be about. As the year has gone on, I have heard less complaining and more, "reading" as they have built confidence in their ability as "readers".

I tried asking some of my children a version of the questionnaire but all I received back were several blank stares and a few shrugs. My curiousity to hear what an older child felt about this caused me to question an eight year old in Barnes and Noble (with the permission of his mother of course). He felt that his 17 year old brother was a good reader because "he can read really fast and get through a really thick book in like 3 days". He said that good readers in his class "get into it" and that is how he can tell that they are good readers. He felt that poor readers read "younger books" or at a lower level. He saw himself as an average reader.

Questioning this child made me think about what I can do to help my young ones feel like they are good "readers". The biggest thing that I can do is to empower them so that they feel that they can be good readers. We read books that are easy to memorize so that the children see themselves as readers.

We sing a song that correlates letters to letter sounds and then gives a word that starts with that letter sound (example: A is apple /a/,/a/,/a/)The song starts with these words, "Do you know these letter sounds? They will help you learn to read." Every time we sing, I remind the children that learning the letter sounds is one way to become a better reader. They take initiative and responsiblity for their learning. If we haven't sung that song for a while, the children will request it saying, "we need to work on our letter sounds so that we can learn to read!" They motivate themselves.

Although learning letter sounds is only a small part of becoming a good reader, it is something that my 4 and 5 year olds can accomplish and feel good about.

12:58 PM  
Blogger KristinS. said...

Teaching Tips
Article Ah-ha’s:
There were two points in the article that I found to be most helpful. One, the article states that students need to know that good readers use strategies. Often times students tend to forget the importance of strategies when they read as they are in a hurry to be ‘done’ with the reading task. Two, students need to know that extensive reading can contribute to their reading proficiency. I do believe that students who think they are average or poor readers give up on their reading proficiency. Obviously this is not in the students’ best interest.

Questionnaire Reflections:
I was very surprised to see the amount of adults students listed as ‘good’ readers. The thought never even crossed my mind that they would name anyone other than their peers. The other big surprises were found in what students feel characteristics of ‘bad’ readers are. Students believe that ‘bad’ readers skip words. I have tried to emphasize the importance of context clues to determine meanings of words, but this seems to be a skill that is still unfamiliar to the students. Students need to know that skipping words temporarily is a strategy used to compensate for difficult definitions. Other students felt that slow readers were ‘bad’ readers. Another student felt that ‘bad’ readers read things over more than once. Again, depending upon how these strategies are implemented, they may actually help students to develop into good readers. Based upon these survey results, I have created my Action Plan.

5:59 AM  
Blogger JB said...

This article was very interesting. I did adminster the survey to my small group. My students all qualify for special education programming in the literacy area.
While we discuss and work with the strategies on a daily basis- the students did not identify them by their proper names. I have visuals around the room and these were not used either. They chose other friends as good readers (not other adults or teachers). For good readers they know good readers because their teacher has them read aloud in science class, they can read fast, they can read more difficult books, they can read longer books quickly, and they read every night. Some things good readers do when they read identified were- use expression, read fluently, find a good spot to read, sound out words, read ahead, go back and find something that can help them with the words, read really fast and like to read so they read every single day. Poor readers skip a lot of words, don't read, read and don't try to figure out the words, go to a busy spot so they are distracted, and read slowly. All of my students felt they are good readers except one which stated medium. I feel good about this since they all are delayed and struggle. I want them to feel good about themselves as a reader. I'm glad they know reading practice at school and outside of school is important. I will need to work harder on the strategies and their names. I feel they are using the strategies yet are not connecting the term with the strategy. I would also like to share this article with others in my building and have some of the regular educatiuon classrooms administer the survey several times throughout the year.

8:42 AM  
Blogger kris said...

I look forward to using this questionnaire with my third grade students next year. I am planning on giving it out at the beginning of each quarter and then at the end of the year. It will offer valuable information on the way my kids are thinking about reading.

An idea that stood out while reading this was the increase in the number of responses for things good readers do while reading. I was pleasantly surprised at how aware the students were at how they need to actively participate while reading. It was interesting to see and think about their changes in thinking. I also see the questionnaire as being beneficial as a teaching tool. If students are not recognizing strategies being taught, maybe more attention needs to be paid to those strategies. Vocabulary was an area mentioned in the article and had I given the questionnaire to my classes in previous years, that probably would have happened to me. It will be a useful tool in pointing out areas that need to be emphasized more.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Mr. Bretzmann said...

My high school students seemed to have two different ways of looking at the questions. On one hand they decided that the people who read a lot were the people who were good readers. They figure they read a lot because they are good readers, and they are good readers because they read a lot. On the other hand, those people who are good speakers are good readers. A lot of students had comments about hearing people read and that they were good readers because they didn't mumble. In total, it seems like they SEE people read books for enjoyment and assume that they are good readers because they see them reading. They HEAR people read in class and conclude that they are good readers because they enunciate and can be heard. My students didn't mention a lot of strategies that are listed in the article. They tended to think that poor readers aren't so good because they are distracted. Having noises nearby, watching t.v., or eating are things that make people bad readers.
I like the way the author of the article states, "...when you believe you have influence or control over an event, you can feel more confident in your abilities." I think that is important information for all students in all situations. If you believe you can impact something, you don't feel helpless, you feel confident that you can change it for the better.

6:28 AM  
Blogger crk said...

This article made a lot of sense to me. It is so important to teach children what a good reader is. Without this awareness, students will have a difficult time learning how to make themselves better readers. It helps give them some control. After giving this survey to my students, I realized that our district needs to teach other strategies besides knowing your sounds and blending sounds. The overwhelming response from my students as to what good readers are were those two answers. Reading is much more than that! It's interesting to me because without reading being about meaning and comprehension, I would think that reading would not be very much fun at all! I also gave this survey to my soon to be step-children. I found it very interesting that they saw good readers as someone who thought about what made sense.

5:32 PM  

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