One particular research-based strategy, guided reading, is an important "best practice" associated with today's balanced literacy instruction. It has become one of the most important contemporary reading instructional practices in the U.S. (Fawson & Reutzel, 2000) and accepted as a particularly appropriate strategy for children who are moving toward fluency in the early years of literacy development (Mooney, 1990)
The Essential Elements
The goal of guided reading is to develop a self-extending system of reading that enables the reader to discover more about the process of reading while reading. As children develop these understandings they self-monitor, search for cues, discover new things about the text, check one source of information against another, confirm their reading, self-correct, and solve new words using multiple sources of information. Throughout this process, the central elements of accuracy, speed, and fluency increase and over time these systems become increasingly automatic. Therefore, the role of the teacher is essential to guided reading. Teachers must know how to prompt and guide students as they work to build this self-extending system.
Shared Reading is the reading teachers do along with students as they problem solve, think, and talk their way through a piece of text they are reading together. Shared reading provides social supports from the group and provides opportunities for children to participate and behave like a reader.
The role of the teacher in Shared Reading is to
When you model do the students always key in on your instructional focus? How do we ensure that they do? Tell them. Be explicit. Tell them again.
Kids enjoy classes like shop, gym, and band because there is a premium placed on doing the activity rather than talking about it. Writing workshop embraces that same premise. Lucy Caulkins, director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, has pointed out that the writing workshop is a "generative" time of the day, with kids actively involved in creating their own texts. This is important. Most kids experience school as a series of tasks, dittos, assignments, tests-things that are administered to them. Writing workshop turns the table and puts kids in charge. This requires us to engage in responsive teaching rather than relying on preset lesson plans.
If you observe a workshop you will watch a roomful of people struck by how much writing kids do. Teachers often begin by bringing students together for a short lesson, and often end the workshop with some kind of share time. But the core of a workshop-the heart-is kids putting words on paper. We need to create an environment where students of varying abilities can coexist side by side and learn from one another. Writing workshop does require a significant teaching shift. The writing workshop does not place the teacher on center stage. Rather, the teacher sets up the structure, allows students plenty of choice, and gets them writing. There are moments when the teacher intervenes to teach something, but the emphasis is more on what they are writing than on what you're teaching.
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