Transcript for the presentation, Principles for Fostering Literacy Development. Make Literacy an Integral Part of Your Course

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1 <Slide 1 Title> Transcript for the presentation, Principles for Fostering Literacy Development <Slide 2 Title> What can Social Studies teachers do to foster Social Studies literacy? <Slide 3> Principle #1 Make Literacy an Integral Part of Your Course Make sure every lesson involves at least a few minutes of silent reading & writing. One way to guarantee that students do some reading and writing in every one of your classes is to create routines or times for reading in each lesson. For example, you can require that students search through a text to find the answer to a written drill or warm up at the start of each lesson. And, instead of checking their comprehension of your lecture the usual way, by having them raise their hands and answer questions orally, consider having them write the answer in their notes. You could also make them answer a question in writing at the end of each lesson and give it to you before leaving your room. This is what many teachers call an exit slip. Many of these routines can be put into their notes through a system called interactive notebooks. <Slide 4> Principle #2 Make literacy purposeful, active, creative, and social. In order to successfully make literacy and integral part of your class, you must do more than just ask students to read. You must give students some reason to read. The most common way of doing this is to provide a set of questions students must answer while reading. But, why not ask the students to make the reading questions sometime? You can even use their questions for the homework or quizzes. Another way to make reading purposeful is to have students use it to prepare for or engage in some activity such as a cloze reading, role playing activity, debate, or game. <Slide 5> Reading shouldn t always be about sitting quietly in our seats staring at a text, however. Reading can be active, fun, and interactive. Students who are physical may enjoy taking information from a text and turning it into a foldable for example. You can also take a text and cut it into strips of sentences or paragraphs. Students may enjoy trying to put it together in the right order and will have to use some reading skills to do it. A similar activity can be done with the text in very large print. Students can physically move around holding their cards to put the text in order. Students can also act out a text using theatrics

2 or mime. You can even turn your classroom into a giant multiple choice test. Students who choose A can go to one corner, B to another. <Slide 6> Reading should also be a creative activity. There are many creative ways a teacher can make reading more purposeful. For example, teachers can ask their students to turn text into a poem or a rap. Students can also make comic books. Many school computers already have programs such as comic life through which students can quickly and easily make their own comics without being skilled artists. Some students might also enjoy participating in role playing activities. Activities such as these will make literacy- building fun while making the content more memorable. <Slide 7> Reading and writing needn t be quiet or anti- social. There are many cooperative learning activities that involve literacy. For example, students can work in teams to complete work or compete against other teams. Students can be paired up for reading activities such as having them dictate parts of a text to each other. Reading groups that use activities such as Reciprocal Teaching or ReQuest also make reading social and engaging. <Slide 8> Principle #3 Focus on the reading process, not the reading product. Allow time for silent reading. Students cannot easily apply top- down reading processes while reading aloud or following another person reading aloud. <Slide 9> To build literacy skills, classes must set aside time to discuss and practice reading strategies. Examples of these strategies are guessing meaning from context, using textbook features to find information, breaking long sentences into shorter ones, and using knowledge of organizational patterns to get information out of text more efficiently. <Slide 10> One of the most important features of a class that focuses on the reading process is including activities that help students build metacognition. Metacognition is awareness of one s own thinking processes. Activities such as smart, in which students must highlight what they don t know or don t understand while reading, help with metacognition. You can also build metacognition by asking students to talk about how they read during think alouds.

3 <Slide 11> Principle #4 Make homework reading readable Many secondary school social studies texts are written at high reading levels. For this reason many students cannot or will not do outside reading assignments. In turn, many teachers eventually stop expecting their students to do outside reading assignments. A better solution would be to differentiate reading assignments. Students don t all have to be reading the same text. The teacher can offer students texts at different reading levels and let them choose. Students who are English language learners could especially benefit from being offered a text written in their first language. Typically, teachers will give students a reading assignment and then help them make sense of it after they have failed to read it independently. Students would experience more success with reading, however, if teachers would reverse this order and help students make sense of the content before reading the text. The more you prepare students before reading, the more their reading will be successful. <Slide 12> Consider teaching the lesson before giving the reading assignment. Or, activate their background knowledge before they read. Preteaching the concepts and vocabulary from the text can also help. Always, give students the background knowledge they need to understand the text before they read it. Teachers can also support students while they re reading at home by giving them tasks to complete while reading. These tasks direct students to look for the most important information while reading. They also let them see whether they are reading successfully or not. Common examples of tasks students can complete while reading are focus questions, graphic organizers, or sequencing activities. <Slide 13> Principle #5 Provide direct instruction or support for literacy in class. One way of doing this is through modeling. Sometimes students need to hear a model of what reading fluency sounds like. This happens when the teacher reads out loud, but the model can also come from peers who are fluent readers. More important than reading out loud is direct instruction in the skills and strategies of effective reading. Examples of this are teaching the pronunciation of new words or teaching students how to guess the meaning of words based on their prefixes, affixes, and suffixes. Students also need to learn how to break long sentences into smaller ones so they

4 can make sense of them. Other strategies such as identifying organizational patterns help students get information out of text more efficiently and can support English language learners comprehension when the text they are reading has many unknown words. Perhaps most important of all is supporting students to read a text above their reading level in class. To do so, a teacher needs to systematically guide the readers through a reading process. This process involves a pre- reading, a while- reading, and an after- reading stage. Ideally, if students learn to do this on their own, then they will become better readers. <Slide 14> While students are reading a challenging text in your class, you should support their comprehension tasks and activities. These include asking and answering guiding questions, explaining, paraphrasing, summarizing, or translating, completing graphic organizers, or Cornell notes, and identifying narrative elements or organizational patterns. <Slide 15> Once students are finished reading, it is time to check or reinforce their comprehension. These activities are similar to the activities used while- reading. Examples are having students illustrate the text, complete graphic organizers, or answer comprehension checking questions. Classes for English language learners and other struggling readers should not be dumbed down or lack opportunities for higher- order thinking, responsibility, and creativity, however. Be sure to include some after- reading activities that allow for this level of functioning. <Slide 16> Last but not least, don t forget to support students with their writing. Show students how to read prompts for paragraph and essay questions. Model writing answers to questions on an overhead or LCD projection so they can see how a person forms a high- quality response. <Slide 17> Keeping the five principles in mind when planning instruction will strengthen literacy and content knowledge for your students!

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