Personal Reading Philosophy
Reading is the foundation of all learning. Therefore, I deem reading instruction the most important task of an elementary school teacher. I believe in the concept of universal grammar by Noam Chomsky: that we are born with a set of language rules that are innate to humans; it is our experiences thereafter that shape our linguistic abilities and, subsequently, our reading abilities. I also believe that all children have the ability to read through the provision of effective literacy instruction. In order to provide effective literacy instruction, I intend to incorporate reading, writing, and word work in a Reading Workshop literacy block.
Reading Workshop begins with a 20 minute teacher-led read aloud. The subject matter for this read aloud may shift from fiction to nonfiction, alternate genres, or include poetry. I will discuss and demonstrate relevant reading strategies during the read aloud that students will take note of and later apply in their own reading. Strategies include rereading text, activating prior knowledge, using context clues, think aloud, summarizing, locating key words, using graphic organizers, and much more.
The next 20 minutes will be spent on guided reading and independent reading. Independent readers will read their selected texts chosen from a selective offering of materials, dependent on the theme for the week (i.e. fiction, non-fiction, and etc.). This is the time for application of the strategies learned from the teacher-led read aloud session. Students will journal in their Reflection Journals as they read and use sticky notes to track their observations and reflections in their texts. Throughout the week, students will alternate meeting with me to show me their reflections so that I may assess and document their understanding.
Meanwhile, guided reading will be conducted with rotating small groups. Students are grouped by instructional needs and/or by level. Students will alternate reading their texts aloud within the small group, concluding with a discussion or Q and A of the text.
In the final 10 minutes of Reading Workshop, we will meet as a class to share what we have read and what we have learned during independent reading. We will revisit the reading strategies discussed earlier and students will share how they were able to apply the strategy, what they discovered, and any other relevant connections that can be drawn.
Daily Word Work is used to supplement Reading Workshop. Spelling lists and sight words are studied weekly and tested on Fridays. Word Work consists of a variety of activities and worksheets such as games, personal dictionary, word tracing worksheets, word sorts, word banks, and worksheets.
Content area reading will extend from the reading strategies discussed each day. These strategies will be applied as we approach other subjects and drawn upon as applicable. This method will help students to quickly memorize strategies as they consistently revisit them throughout the day. We will discuss as a class how to best tackle subject learning (for example, a social studies lesson on branches of government) and which strategies to use (for example, a graphic organizer).
To continue learning, I will utilize the Raz-Kids website and application. Raz-Kids is an interactive tool for literacy instruction which includes thousands of books for every reading level. Each book can be read via the website, app, or can be printed. Students must complete three levels in order to earn points for each book read: first, the book is read aloud to the student; then, the student reads the book to themselves; last, the student completes a reflective quiz on the book. Points accumulate as students complete their quizzes in order to advance to the next reading level. Teachers, students, and parents each have their own gateway to monitor progress and provide feedback.
Reading Workshop requires several imperative materials:
- A large “meeting carpet” for students to sit upon when we meet as a class.
- An extensive library of books varying in levels and genre.
- A Raz-Kids subscription.
- Devices and/or netbooks/laptops to access Raz-Kids.
- A printer to print worksheets and Raz-Kids books.
These materials, combined with the methods elaborated above, will provide a comprehensive literacy block to foster reading and reading strategies that can be applied to all learning.