My Bookshelf

Monday, September 1, 2014

5 Literacy Practices to Abandon This School Year


  1. Round Robin Reading.  Sitting children in a circle and asking them to read aloud one at a time is ineffective and unhealthy.  Let kids read silently or whisper read as you make the rounds and listen to their reading
  2. Popcorn Reading.  This teacher centered practice should be outlawed in classrooms.  It creates anxiety for students and negates comprehension.  Let kids read silently or with partners.  
  3. Garbage Apps and Online Reading "Games".  All apps kids use should be based in what we know to foster literacy learning.  Having kids read a book in an app or online and then requiring them to answer low level literal questions after reading is not developing their comprehension; its assessing their low level comprehension. Language builds comprehension, not cartoon quizzes.
  4. Too Much Teacher Talk.  Yes, we are extremely important for fostering learning but sometimes we get in our own way.  Vygotsky noted that "Language is the tool of tools" as he argued social interaction enriches understanding.  Let students talk, create, collaborate, and think together.  
  5. Responding to Reading Only Through Writing:  Don't get me wrong, students need to learn how analyze text and craft a written response.  However, if the only way we allow students to demonstrate critical analysis is through the writing, then we are missing out on the multiple modalities that deepen students' comprehension.  Look beyond the almighty Readers Notebook and allow students to discuss their ideas orally; record their thoughts digitally; engage in wiki responses; represent their comprehension creatively through the use of smart technology.  

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