Tag Archives: Reading

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Reading!

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Spooky Ship: Possible short text?

Wuthering Heights: Before Reading

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In books such as I Read It, But I Don’t Get It, Cris Tovani lists reading behaviours of successful or proficient readers.

These behaviours are:

  1. Activating background knowledge
  2. Self-questioning the text while reading.
  3. Drawing inferences.
  4. Determining importance
  5. Employing Fix-Up Strategies when meaning breaks down.
  6. Using sensory images to visualize
  7. Synthesizing and extending meaning

Here, I will begin at the beginning. I have often, if not always employed, deliberately asking students to brainstorm any preconceptions they have about a text before we begin. To put a shape to that pre-text brainstorming, I have used an Advance Organizer, brainstorming on a word web as a class, or a Value Line.

For this activity, I decided to use a K-W-L chart, with the “K” meaning that students write everything they already know — or think they know — about a topic or text.

Here are my K preconceptions:

  • Gothic text (but what that means exactly I confess to not knowing)
  • Considered one of the greatest texts ever written
  • Considered one of the greatest love stories ever written
  • Turn of the century time period
  • Overly flowery language.
  • Unnecessarily long descriptions.

Up next: Activating Background Knowledge, Framing a Text and Providing a Purpose

Wuthering Heights 1: This is going to be rough…

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I have a confession to make: I am not a fan of Gothic Literature. In fact, I deliberately avoided taking courses involving Jane Eyre and books of that ilk when in university. I have dabbled in reading them… and, heretofore, those books don’t ‘do it’ for me.

But… in the short time I have bee in my new position as Learning Coordinator for Literacy & English and Student Success, I have had the amazing opportunity to learn by reading, by attending workshops, by having amazing conversations, by observing powerful presenters and teachers. And I have been exposed to ideas I haven’t really considered before.

In particular, the idea that explicit reading and comprehension instruction should, according to some authors I have read, continue throughout high school gives me pause.  And these are ideas propounded by high school teachers — albeit American high school teachers — but they still have elements in them that have gotten me… pondering.

So, since I am the type of person who can only learn when I actually do something — as opposed to simply reading about it or watching it — , I thought I would put some of this reading theory to the test — on myself.

After reading two texts each of  Cris Tovani and Kelly Gallagher , here are some of their ideas that are fueling my ‘thesis’ or my hypothesis or simply my plan:

  • “Reading is hard — and hard is good” says Kelly Gallagher, and from this I take that we can’t altogether jettison the so-called classics outright simply because the language, context, story or ideas are ‘too hard’. There is value in facing and conquering a difficult text — even if we don’t like it. Gallagher goes on to say “There is a difference between liking a text and valuing a text.”
  • There are behaviours or habits that successful readers perform when reading, often without being aware of them, as outlined in Tovani’s book, I Read It But I Don’t Get It. But I want to hold out hope that these behaviours can be modelled, explicit taught, learned and ultimately internalized by struggling or reluctant learners.
  • In addition, there are strategies successful readers use when they run into trouble while reading (“when meaning breaks down”). And again, these strategies can be learned by our students.
  • Lastly, as a teacher, there are activities that I can and really must employ to increase the chances that most of my learners will get through a difficult text.

So, my plan is to try to read a text that, from this vantage point, I don’t want to read / I am not intrinsically drawn to. But I am going to try to read this text following the ideas and frameworks of these two reading instruction gurus to see if it has some merit. And I am going to attempt to chronicle this reading excursion here….

Here goes.

Now THOSE are Libraries…

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Library has geometric shelving and carpeted surfaces to encourage play and learning.

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Stockholm’s Tio Tretton Library Gives Tweens a Space of Their Own

tiotretton5 600x399 Stockholm’s Tio Tretton Library Gives Tweens a Space of Their Own

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F. Scott: You Belong

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Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman

“It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members’ interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I’m an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living though my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So I’m biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

And I’m here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Which supports literacy programs, and libraries and individuals and nakedly and wantonly encourages the act of reading. Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read.

And it’s that change, and that act of reading that I’m here to talk about tonight. I want to talk about what reading does. What it’s good for.

I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its…”

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