Teaching Platform – Literacy

My children’s literature wishlist.

Literacy is an important part of every classroom. Teachers should incorporate read alouds, guided reading groups, shared reading, and independent reading throughout the curriculum. Teaching literacy allows teachers to model clear and acceptable oral and written communication (based on the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) Part 2: Learning Environment; Part E). The teacher should consistently model good reading strategies such as tracking your thinking, monitoring your comprehension when meaning breaks down and using fix-up strategies.

A teacher should aim to have at least one read aloud every day, and this read aloud should be interactive to get students involved in the learning process. Read alouds can be based on the interests of students as well as curriculum content, which can make read alouds interdisciplinary. The teacher should also grant the students as much reading time as possible because the more access the students have to text, the better readers they will be. Students should have time to perform independent reading, which allows them access to texts of their own choice and interests (or with the helping hand of a teacher). By allowing students this time, they can use the strategies that the teacher has modeled for them to foster comprehension and fluency. Although independent reading is important, some accountability should be included in order to help students focus their learning.

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            I have spent the most time observing and participating in read alouds and independent reading, which reflects my comfort with these areas of literacy; however, I know that I must also perform shared and guided reading in my classroom. Therefore, I am challenging myself to become familiar with these areas of literacy and begin implementing them myself in the classroom. I have begun to pull two guided reading groups in my classroom and I have become more comfortable in this area. I have also made a goal for myself based on the FEAPs to perform more read alouds in the classroom as well as create written response for a read aloud that I perform.  This goal is related to FEAP 1, “Instructional Design and Lesson PlanningApplying concepts from human development and learning theories, the effective educators consistently …” I have made the goal to “align instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level or rigor,” which is based on FEAP 1A. I am currently challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and participate in more areas of literacy in the classroom. I want to try out as many things as possible as an intern so I will be comfortable in my future classroom. I understand that this will not be easy and I may still face some difficulties in my future classroom, but I am always learning and growing as an individual so I am pushing myself to do more in the classroom just as I want to push my students to be successful.

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Before coming into the residency program, I had almost no experience with literacy education. In the previous semester I performed multiple read alouds and took on a literature circle. This semester I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone and participate in more areas of literacy in the classroom: shared reading, guided reading, and writing lessons. I also made a goal for myself to perform more read alouds in the classroom. I still get nervous when I am in the front of the classroom, but I was able to overcome my nervous and focus on my lessons. I met my FEAP 1A goal to “align instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level or rigor” on various occasions. I did a read-aloud of Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett and I wrote questions that aligned with the Common Core State Standards. These standards included:

  • LACC.K.SL.1.2 “Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood;” 
  • LACC.K.RL.3.7: With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts);”
  • LACC.K.RL.1.1 “With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text;” 
  • LACC.K.RL.1.1 “With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text;” 
  • LACC.K.RL.1.1 “With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story;” and
  • LACC.K.SL.1.1 “Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.”

I incorporated another standard into my instruction when I pulled small groups of students to work on handwriting. The standard that I aligned my instruction with was:

  •  LACC.K.RF.1.1 – “Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features or print.” 

This semester, I also pulled guided reading groups in my classroom. The groups are named based on the areas of need. My groups were “Letter Leopards” and “Sound Seals.” We did not have many opportunities to work together because of schedule changes and various interventions such as Waterford and iStation, but when we did meet, the students and I worked hard together. We worked on sounding out words, spelling common sight words, finding the main details of the text, etc. I also took over writing in my classroom over the past few weeks. During writing instruction, the students write sentences and I walk around the room to provide support. During the first few lessons, I struggled to remember what my students had written since their words did not always match up with their thoughts. To fix this, I began taking notes so I could record the information and pass it along to my collaborating teacher so we could determine if the students were meeting their goals for writing. I also tested the sight word knowledge of my students. My collaborating teachers asked me to do this test during my free time so I completely took over this assessment. It was great for me because I taught the Word Wizard sight word lesson plans [for a description of Word Wizard, please click the hyperlink on these words.]so I was able to see if my students were making progress with their sight words. For this assessment, the students are tested on a list of sight words and the students have to correctly read the words. Some students struggle but it is great to see the look of success on a student’s face when he or she realizes they passed the word list. Whenever I finish assessing a student, I make sure to help them learn how to read the words they missed. We spell out the word together and then say the word and I try to use it in a sentence to help the student make connections. I then “re-test” the student so I can determine if they have learned the word. I have made a lot of growth over this semester. I took on more responsibility in my classroom, especially in the literacy areas of writing instruction, read alouds, guided reading, and shared reading. I am excited to take over even more responsibility in my final year to prepare myself for my future classroom.

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