Sunday, February 20, 2011

Supporting Our Readers

"Reading Is Thinking" is a key message we talk about with students from K-8, and even beyond!  Reading can be a difficult subject to teach and monitor with students as so much of what happens while we read is inside our head.  How do we share what is going on while we read and the things we do to problem solve while reading, and furthermore, how do we assess the thoughts of our students?  Thinking aloud is an essential instructional strategy to use with students, so that we share what is going on in our head while reading.  In the early years, it is important to teach, monitor and facilitate many different strategies with and for students so that they can decode words to deepen their understanding of a text.  

At the beginning of the year, Wendy and Donna introduced the key message that "reading is thinking."  From there, they explicitly taught students the strategies to use to support them as readers, to help them decode words independently.  They have threaded in this work in their mini-lessons, and during guided reading and reading conferences, so students self-monitor themselves and find ways to become fluent readers and make meaning while reading.  These posters are ones that can be found around their classroom as reminders to students when they are stuck and need help.
The Report of the Expert Panel on Early Reading in Ontario, K-3, lays out the goals, knowledge and skills, teaching practices, instructional approaches and assessment components that need to be in place to lay a strong foundation for early reading instruction. Below are two diagrams that outline an effective framework and the instruction and assessment strategies in reading:

The entire document can be found at: Early Reading Strategy: The Report of the Expert Panel on Early Reading in Ontario

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