Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Reading About Reading

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jan 12, 2017 3:23:00 PM

Your students are exposed to a multitude of texts every day—fairy tales, animal books, classroom signs, and more. Do your students ever read about reading? This “meta-reading” initially might not appear particularly helpful, but it can actually boost a reluctant reader’s confidence. When they read aloud, “I can read,” the textual content reinforces their accomplishment of reading that sentence. Sharing the following two books with a reluctant reader can also help you, as an educator, to identify ways to boost your student’s motivation.

The My World series focuses on providing emerging readers with real-world knowledge. Part of the Having Fun Theme, Reading is Fun explores the exciting world of reading.

MyWorld_ReadingIsFun.jpg

Leveled at Guided Reading Level E, the book repeats two sentence structures: “Reading is fun” and “You can read ___.” The word “books” is also repeated seven times throughout the text. With this structured style, your student will gain confidence to read on his or her own.

After reading:

  • What is your favorite book? Use Reading is Fun as a guide to identify if the book is a story, a fact book, a cookbook, a scary book, an exciting book, a funny book, or a songbook. Can it be more than one of these things?

Where Can I Read? from the Kaleidoscope Collection also offers an opportunity for students to read about reading. Leveled at Guided Reading Level D, the text also utilizes a repetitive sentence structure.

kaleidoscope-collection-where-can-i-read.jpg

After reading:

  • Why can’t we read in the shower? You can use this opportunity to conduct a science experiment examining which objects are resistant to water. Are plastics, crayons, and cotton balls resistant to water? Have them record their observations in a journal.
  • Ask the student where they enjoy reading the most. What do you like about that place? Is it cozy or quiet? Listen closely to the student’s answer so you can replicate this ideal reading environment in the classroom. For example, if your student likes reading at home because she can lie down on the couch, add some pillows to a corner of the classroom where she can read comfortably. A change in environment can greatly boost the motivation to read!

Reading about reading is beneficial for both the student and the teacher. Add a “meta-reading” title to your classroom library today!

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Click the images below to learn more about My World and the Kaleidoscope Collection, which include the books featured in this post.

My World Series Info Sheet  Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

 

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, My World, Struggling Readers, Reluctant Readers, Reading

Integrating Reading and Writing Instruction: Why Is It Important?

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Feb 19, 2015 8:00:00 AM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Dr. Geraldine Haggard who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

INTEGRATING READING AND WRITING INSTRUCTION

The idea of integrating the processes of reading and writing is not a new one. Marie Clay’s research preceding the Reading Recovery guidelines proved that the best teachers with the most successful students used the processes concurrently. Smith of Canada called the idea Readers and Writers Club. Barbara Watson of New Zealand stated that the linking of reading and writing improved both processes.

I spent two weeks in New Zealand visiting schools in Auckland in 1987. I saw children of all ages writing books and original compositions. They read books that they had written and used their word knowledge as they read and wrote. I would like to share my research findings, personal observations of teachers who are successful, what I found to be true in my work as a Reading Recovery teacher, and what I discovered as I tutored children in the primary grades after my retirement.

These are the reasons that I feel the integration of the two processes is of extreme importance:

  • child_writing_ED4A1110_Aga_JonesAs I trained to become a Reading Recovery teacher and studied Clay's guidelines for the Reading Recovery program, I saw for the first time that each of the two processes grew more quickly when both were a part of the child's instruction. As the children's writing skills improved, their reading skills improved.
  • Children’s writing samples reveal their strengths and weaknesses. These samples reveal the child's ability to combine ideas and letter knowledge. As I gather information to guide me in my tutoring, I use a writing sample and also ask the child to write words that he can. These samples help me determine his phonemic awareness, his phonetic skills, and his writing vocabulary, and a knowledge of which letters the child can write correctly. I now have a snapshot of the child's ability to put his thoughts on paper.
  • I can also use these samples to determine if he is transferring the skills demonstrated in his writing into his reading. Is the child reading words that he can write? Is he using his phonemic and phonetic skills as he meets unknown words?
  • child_reading_library_83204233_Dmitriy_ShironosovAs you study sentence length in the child's writing, you will find that it is very similar to the sentence length that the child can read. As the ability to write sentences grows, you will see the content of the leveled books that the child can read will become more sophisticated.
  • The time that is spent in the content areas can provide vocabulary development and the use of these new words in the child's writing. This transfers to the child's reading. Doing this also provides the teacher with the opportunity to spend time in content areas without neglecting the instruction time for reading and writing.
  • Using both processes within a common content area provides opportunities for the children to grow in their talking and listening skills. This is especially important for children who are learning the English language. Growth in the talking and listening areas of language arts facilitates growth in reading and writing. Comprehension improves. Reading aloud to the children can provide vocabulary that moves into the reading and writing areas.
  • Research shows us that 90% of young children who are entering the school believe that they can write. Only 15% believe that they can read. The act of writing allows these children in the 90% population a chance to demonstrate what they can do.
  • The child who reads what he writes will have practice in both skills. Multiple uses of a new vocabulary word help the child master the word in reading, writing, and oral language.
  • Writing is based on the scientific principles of hypothesis, experimenting, multi-trials, and drawing conclusions. The child who is using his syntax, phonetic, and meaning skills to compose his thoughts into writing is developing his independent language arts skills. Correctness in the early stages is not as important as the child's interaction with his reading and writing.
  • Research shows us that the better readers and writers better comprehend content areas as they enter intermediate and secondary grades. In these grades, the emphasis moves from learning to read to reading to learn.

One first grade teacher kept dated writing samples for each student. The two would revisit the last sample and compare it to the new sample. They talked about what the child had learned since the previous sample. All of the samples were shared at open house. The children took the parents through the samples and talked about what they had learned. The parents saw the growth in writing and reading, and so did the students!

Check back soon for my next guest blog post, which will contain ideas for integrating the two processes.

~~~

Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below.  

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Geraldine Haggard

Strategies vs. Skills: Helping Struggling Readers

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Jan 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Dr. Geraldine Haggard who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

This blog post is an observation and analysis from Geraldine, conducted on a second grade student who is a struggling reader. 

Helping a Young Reader Move From Use of a Skill to Use of a Strategy 

(Based on a child with strong language skills)

In An Observation Survey for Reading Recovery teachers, Marie Clay cites her belief that readers develop strategies to cope with problems they meet as they read. She also felt that the text used with a child should be close to the natural language of the child.

Observation From Observing a Child With Strong Oral Language  Skills, But Who Is Not Using This Strength As A Strategy For Unlocking Unknown Words

Recently I began working with a second grader who is not successful in his classroom. I wondered “Why?”, so I did some screening and here are the results I found:

  • His running record indicates that overall he was reading at a second grade semester one level. This running record gave him a percentage of accuracy in word attack of 94%.  Four of the miscues were not meaningful. These key mistakes prevented his retelling of the story and answering some questions from the informal inventory selection I used. His errors included "little" instead of "lettuce", "men" instead of "mind", "there" instead of "early", and "garden" instead of "ground". "Lettuce" ended up being a key word to understanding the selection. He had no self-corrections.
  • The Gentry Spelling Tests indicated that he had a spelling level of 75% of second grade words. He wrote correct spellings of some words that he did not read or write in holistic reading and writing samples. Some of the words that he wrote in spelling activities were unknown as he read.
  • As I shared a large picture of people arriving at school, he quickly used complete sentences, including compound sentences and was able to tell me what he saw happening. Adjectives and adverbs were included. Several inferences were made without my prompting. His responses were shared quickly. Verbs were correctly used. Prefixes and suffixes were also correctly used in his oral responses.
  • His writing sample had one run-on sentence that should have been four sentences. There was a lack of correctly used capital letters. His words included confusions in the use of letters that he had previously named and used in spelling words on the spelling test.

I observed the following needs of this reader:

  • He was not using his strong language skills to predict and unlock unknown words. He approached the unknown words as words in isolation.
  • Visual skills did not reveal the use of word patterns or word parts. His oral language was so fluent that there was no integration of cues.  There were no self-corrections.
  • Comprehension rate was poor because key words needed to understanding the passage were not self -corrected. He did not seem to understand that meaning was not present.
  • Fluency disappeared when he did not use meaning and labored with unknown words.

Possible Ways to Accelerate the Growth of This Student:

His ability to cross-check for meaning and syntax as he attempts to read unknown words is a priority. This can be modeled by the teacher. It is not the time to teach isolated skills, but the time to use skills he has and help him make those language skills strategies. He needs to use his language skills to help determine meaning and understand that that the goal of reading is information. Helping this child read for a precise message is my goal. My reader has a bias for print detail. I can ask him to read with his finger or to confirm a prediction by attending to the initial and final sounds in words. The use of an analogy with a word that he can write and read can be prompted. He can then decide if his choice brings meaning to the text. Accelerated growth can be the result of teacher modeling and use of skills already observed in his performance in writing and reading.

Skill or Strategy?

P. David Pearson in Chapter 10, page 210 of What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction suggests the following four steps in helping a child move from the use of a skill to the use of a strategy:

  • Teacher Modeling
  • Guided Practice by Child
  • Shared Responsibility (teacher and child)
  • Primarily Student Use of Skill 

My goal with the child that I have described for you is to guide his strong oral language as he predicts unknown words and is checking for correct meaning and syntax. This is not a strategy until he is using the skill.  Pearson's steps can help me as I observe his use of strong language skills as he reads and writes.

All readers and writers can grow in vocabulary as the teacher uses an integrated approach to multiple exposure in reading and writing in content areas. Children may first meet these new words as the teacher reads to the class. As students hear a new word, read the word in a holistic setting, and write the word several times, until they grow in the use of new vocabulary. My books are examples of science and social studies texts that can be used in guided reading and independent reading. The teacher can then expect to see growth in the student's growth in the content area and writing. The books are: Seeds, Four Seasons, Helpers, and What Is A Friend.

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below.  

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Geraldine Haggard

Increasing Reading Comprehension with "Code-It"—with FREE Download!

Posted by Richard Giso on Mar 3, 2014 8:18:00 AM

Richard Giso 200This is a guest post by Richard Giso, an occasional contributor to our blog. Click here to see his earlier posts, and check back here on our Classroom Literacy blog frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, called Mr. Giso's Room to Read, in which he writes about fun classroom activities, behavior management, and classroom management.

Increase Reading Comprehension

Hi again! It’s Rich Giso from Mr. Giso’s Room to Read, pleased to be sharing another comprehension-boosting idea for you to try with your readers. With the popularity of the Reader’s Workshop model, there have been a lot of anchor charts out there to assist students in what is called “text coding.” The whole idea is to give students a hands-on approach (which always works well) to monitor the manner in which they interact with text, thus increasing their comprehension and awareness about the importance of metacognition while reading.

code it 300During guided reading, we prompt for understanding in order to boost our readers’ comprehension. This scaffolding is necessary in order to successfully introduce more complex texts one level at a time. I’ll often ask “Did you know this before?” or “Can you make a connection here?” By doing this, I am selecting the points in the reading in which I feel will trigger a connection. This guided way of interacting with text is great, but does it transfer to my students’ independent reading when I am unavailable to facilitate their understanding? I’m sure it does to an extent, but I’d like more. I’m worried that many of my readers read too passively without either my support or some sort of written response or record sheet that forces them to pay close attention. 

I’ve devised a way to keep reader engaged in the text while reading; it's called a “Code-It!” card. Here is how it works. First, I copy the “Code-It!” cards onto colored cardstock, trim them, and laminate them for durability. Next, I use a black permanent marker and sticky tabs to draw each coding symbol on the non-clear side. The tabs are placed in their corresponding row. I’ve picked easy-to-remember symbols such as a question mark to mean “I don’t get it,” or an eye to mean, “I can see that (visualize).”

code tab 1 300code tab 2 300

As my readers read independently or whisper-read in guided reading, they remove the sticky tab and place it in the part of the text for which they want to code their thinking. In this manner, they have the visual of the sticky to scaffold them to interact in parts of the text that make sense to them—not parts I have picked out beforehand. After reading, I can bring students together and have a book talk about their thinking throughout the text navigated by the sticky tabs. The sticky tabs can then be returned to the “Code It!” card; they stay sticky for a pretty long time. I’ve shared the directions and the “Code It!” card template, so grab some sticky tabs and give this a try! You can download the card template at the bottom of this page!

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I'm a proud teacher with over 15 years of teaching experience. I began my teaching career as a fourth grade teacher at the Bates Elementary School in Salem, Massachusetts. Since then, I have taught fourth grade for eight years. From there, I moved to a job as a reading coach under the Reading First grant. Having missed my true passion—having a classroom of my own—I returned to teaching as a first grade teacher for the next five years.

Now I've moved to the Carlton Innovation School, also in Salem, Massachusetts, where I am ready to begin my first year as a member of a team of four teachers that teach grades one and two. In addition, I teach undergraduate and graduate students at Salem State University. My courses involve literacy, children's literature, and elementary education. My educational interests include early literacy, effective reading interventions, and positive classroom climates.

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To download the card template, click the image to the left below. To learn more about the Download series of books (from which images from the book Predators were shown in today's post), click the image to the right below to download an information sheet with series highlights. Or you can click here to visit our website!

Code-It Card Template Download Download Series Highlights

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Topics: Richard Giso, K-2 Literacy, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Reading Comprehension

Tutoring Older Students: 12 Tips for Success

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Feb 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis is part two of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? To see her other posts, click here!

12 Tips for Tutoring Older Students

1) Use independent level reading material to help student focus on the comprehension strategy.

2) Always include vocabulary modeling and released responsibility activity (context clues, base/root word, affixes, multi-meaning word, figurative language, etc.). Use a dictionary and/or thesaurus when needed. Teach the student how to use these tools.

3) Before reading nonfiction, ask the child to share what he knows about the topic. Remind him that he may have to use some of that knowledge to understand the text and make inferences.

4) Begin the session's reading by asking the child to read the first and last paragraphs, scan the sub-headings, and study any graphics. The child can then predict what he or she will probably learn from the story or nonfiction selection. This will help the student monitor his or her reading.

5) Include some oral and some silent reading. This will help you define any special needs of the student—fluency, rate, structural analysis, syntax, etc.

6) Emphasize only one or two comprehension strategies per session. Modeling by you and then released responsibility to the student are keys to success. You talk through the strategy, telling the child how to use the strategy. The child then uses what you modeled as he or she reads further.

7) Include fiction and nonfiction. Poetry and plays can also be included. The last two genres are now part of many states' testing programs.

8) Use subtopics to model and help student search for answers and work with sequence, details, and main idea.

9) Rereading parts of the text to check comprehension and/or look for special information is important. Help the student see when this is important and how to scan.

10) As you conclude the session, select one strategy that you modeled and then use it to guide the student later in the session. Ask the student to put into his or her own words how the strategy was used.

11) Gradually increase the reading level of the passages as the student demonstrates an ability to successfully use the strategies of comprehension.

12) Massive amounts of private reading by the child at the independent level are still needed. This time spent with reading can increase the rate and fluency of the student's reading. Both are essential to success as a successful reader.

~~~

Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

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To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

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Topics: Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Tutoring, Geraldine Haggard

Tutoring Young Readers

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Jan 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis is part two of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? To see her other posts, click here!

Tutoring Young Readers

SELECTING WHAT TO READ

The first selection should be something the child has already read with some success. There should be no more than five errors out of a hundred words for this reading. This can help motivate the child and let you see how the child approaches the task. The new reading comes last. Study the book being considered, and ask yourself the following questions:

* What is the readability level of the book?

* Is there a core of sight words in the book that the child has read in other books and recognizes?

* Are there words with phonetic patterns that the child knows from other book?

* Does the book provide opportunities for the child to practice a needed phonetic pattern?

* Are there opportunities to practice, on his level, phonetic patterns used in previous books?

* What verb forms are used in the book? Be sure you introduce the book using the verb tense from the book.

* Determine the readability level of the book.

* Study the language of the book. Are there words you feel the child is not able to use in his expressive language? (Nonsense words, etc.)

child adult school Monkey Business Images 200INTRODUCING A NEW BOOK

Suggest that the child look through the book and ask questions. Invite him to predict what may happen. Plant new vocabulary word in his mind and ask him to find and frame the word. Use correct tense of verbs in book.

HINTS FOR LISTENING TO THE READING

Always wait before giving the child an unknown word. The child needs to accept the responsibility for a new word. The following questions may help:

* What do you know about that word?

* What is the beginning sound? Move your finger across the word and give it a try.

* Use the beginning sound and try something. Did what you tried make sense?

* Can you cover part of the word that you recognize? (Saying that word part may help the child read the word.)

Make a note of words that you give the child or that are read unsuccessfully; these are possible teaching points.

WHAT IF READING IS UNSUCCESSFUL?

Ask the child to read with you, or to follow as you read. The book is probably at the wrong level. Use the book again later, but do not use as a familiar book for rereading. If reading is word by word, read a page showing the child how to read with expression. Ask the child to read the page in that way.

If there are characters who speak, you can read the story as a play and work on fluency and expression. If the child has trouble reading a word that he has read in another book, use the other book to point to that word and then ask him to read the phrase or sentence containing the word.

WAYS TO USE THE CHILD'S ORAL READING TO HELP CHILD AS HE OR SHE READS

You can read a page or paragraph and he or she reads the rest. Whoever reads answers a question asked by the one being tutored. Use the pictures to give clues about what the story will be about. Encourage the child to start a sentence again and try an unknown word using meaning, what sounds right, and what looks right. Work with fluency by modeling fluency and read a story as a play.

HINTS FOR WRITING SESSION

Ask the child to write a sentence/sentences about something the child would like to write about. Ask the child to orally rehearse one sentence at a time. If a child writes about a story he or she read, show him or her how to use the book to check spellings. Ask the child to read what he or she wrote. Invite child to share what he or she feels is not correct.

Use a practice page to practice letter formations, sound boxes, and sight words. Date each writing sample and study the samples to look for growth and special needs. Use special writing techniques such as language experience and shared writing. Using two colors of pens can show the child the difference between what the child wrote and what the tutor wrote.

Asking the child what he or she learned during a session can help you and the child evaluate a session.

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Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

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To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

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Topics: Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Tutoring, Geraldine Haggard

Keys To Successful Tutoring

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Dec 9, 2013 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis is Part One of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? Check back soon for the later posts in the series!

Keys To Successful Tutoring

A good tutor has the following characteristics:

* a positive attitude
* a desire to help others
* empathy
* patience and gentleness
* an open mind
* enthusiasm
* the ability to recognize and solve problems
* willingness to talk less than the tutee
* the ability to communicate with the student
* reliability (time, study, preparing)

tutorEach tutoring session should build on the previous one. The purpose of tutoring is to help the student help him- or herself. A student being tutored reaps many benefits:

* improved performance and personal growth
* improved attitude toward the subject matter
* improved questioning and thinking strategies
* improved self-respect, esteem and self-directed learning
* opportunities for intensive practice of skills


Tutoring is a two-way learning experience. To prepare for the first tutoring session with a student, you should do these things:

* learn about the student (home, school contacts)
* prepare a basket or tote tray of materials
* collect record keeping materials, writing materials, plastic letters, etc.
* study the list of essential elements for the child's previous grade level
* collect a group of books on at least three levels

It is important to practice careful record-keeping of your tutoring sessions. Here are some examples of the kinds of data you may need to record:

* dates and lists of books read previously and teaching follow-ups
* dated writing samples from sessions and reactions of you and student
* running records
* examples of child's successes and demonstrated needs
* notes of what to revisit in next session

Writing is an important part of the tutoring process. Including writing allows the student to practice reading and spelling high-frequency words. It also helps the student learn syntax and the flow of language, and aids in understanding that words the child writes can be read. You can use writing exercises to show how the text can be used to check spelling of a word, and to give your students practice using complete sentences and mechanics of writing. Writing can be used to demonstrate the understanding of a comprehension strategy (replacing black-line sheets). You can use graphic organizers to support comprehension strategies.

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Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

~~~

To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

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Topics: Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Tutoring, Geraldine Haggard

Helping Striving Readers: Q & A with Alan Trussell-Cullen, Pt. 2 of 2

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 21, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Welcome to our second installation of videos in which teacher educator and author Alan Trussell-Cullen answers questions about struggling and striving readers in the upper grades and how to best help them take an interest in and achieve proficiency in reading. You can read the first installation here.

Click on the videos to watch. Transcripts, if preferred, are available below each of the videos.

Q: Can technology be helpful for instruction when teaching students with reading difficulties?

A: Technology can be tremendously helpful, because it’s really a part of their world. Young people today grow up with technology. It’s cool for them. It’s something that they understand, that they’ve got facility with, and they don’t feel threatened by.

The Download series also comes with a CD, which means that there are all sorts of additional material that you can use with the students. You can use it on a PC with the students, or you can use it on whiteboard, the interactive whiteboard which I think is a great resource and we’ll see more of it.

So technology can be tremendously helpful, and there is such a range of things that are being developed that we can use in our classroom. And also the things that go with technology. We can use color, we can use images. We can use things in large, in terms of putting them on big screens. We can use things that are small that we can put on PCs. We can use sound and music.

Basically there is a tremendous range of resources coming on-stream. Basically I think as teachers we’re just on the tip of a very huge iceberg as far as technology and its application in education.

 

Q: Can you make some suggestions for the kind of play resources that would be helpful for striving readers?

 A: All three Hameray series [Download series, The Extraordinary Files, and SuperScripts] come with very strong teacher guide material with ideas and suggestions for student activities, opportunities for student writing, for discussion, opportunities for research, and for using other media, using the internet, opportunities for the student to compare and to use the resources in their own thinking about the world.

Q: How confident are you about teachers being able to get their striving readers to become component readers and learners.



A: I’m very confident. I can see such wonderful things happening out there. I can see some teachers doing very exciting things; trying out new approaches, using new materials. I love all the materials that are being developed, for example the Hameray materials are really exciting. They’re really supportive. I think there is tremendous value for how these are going to be used.

These series not only address reading needs, they also address writing needs. They provide opportunities for discussion and all sorts of language extension and activities. They’re not just a series of readers. They’re really a part of a comprehensive language enrichment program. Really exciting stuff for kids to work with.

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The book series mentioned in this interview, Download series is part of Hameray's High Interest / Low Vocabulary genre, intended to encourage struggling readers to read through presenting compelling topics that they want to read about. Download offers facts about the exciting world of extreme sports and hot contemporary subjects such as technology and natural disasters. 

Flip through a sample from these series to see how it appeals to readers who have trouble taking an interest in reading.

If you're interested in learning more about this series, you can click on the images below to download an information sheet with highlights and key features.

- Tara Rodriquez

Download Series Highlights

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Topics: Videos, Alan Trussell-Cullen, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers

Helping Striving Readers: Q & A with Alan Trussell-Cullen, Pt. 1 of 2

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 19, 2013 8:00:00 AM

 Welcome to our first installation of videos in which teacher educator and author Alan Trussell-Cullen answers questions about struggling and striving readers in the upper grades and how to best help them take an interest in and achieve proficiency in reading.

Click on the videos to watch. Transcripts, if preferred, are available below each of the videos.

Q: What kinds of difficulties does a striving reader have in the upper grades?

A: I think the difficulties that striving readers have in the upper grades tend to be two-fold. On one hand, there are technical issues. Obviously they’re going to have gaps in terms of their reading skills and their reading strategies. Because they’ve got those gaps they’re probably also going to have difficulties with comprehension.


Because a lot of learning that takes place in the upper grades is very closely tied in with reading, there is a lot of reading involved, then they’re going to have difficulties probably in other subject areas; the content areas like science and social studies, even mathematics and so on.


But the main difficulties that they tend to have tend to be attitudinal. It’s how they feel about themselves as readers and that so often tends to be rather negative and generally a lack of self-esteem that comes from the consistent problems they’ve been having with reading.

 

Q: What kinds of materials would be useful to support teachers and striving readers?

 A: I think there are two things that reading materials have to do. First of all they’ve got to provide success for these striving readers. Secondary, they’ve got to provide acceleration.
When we’re looking for good reading materials for striving readers, we need to look at the interest level or the content. It is tremendously important that the content is pitched at the age level that the student have when they’re reading this material. It has to be about the kind of things that students their age are interested in and want to know about and want to read about and get involved in.


That’s where materials like Hameray’s Download series and the The Extraordinary Files series are so valuable. Just have a look at the content; skateboarding, BMX riding, mountain bikes, pop groups, that’s really cool for kids of this age.


The language is very important. It’s important that not only that do characters do the kind of things they like doing, and think about the kind of things that they’d like to be able to be able to do and so on, they also need to talk like them too.

 

Q: What do you think about using plays for striving readers in the upper grades?

 A: I really like the Hameray’s SuperScript Series. Plays are using all the language written down, they’ve same things people say when they talk. Talk is one of those things which striving readers can do. So when they are reading that material they’re also able to refer to back to their own knowledge and experience in terms of oral vocabulary, in terms of the kind of language constructions we use when we talk.


When you’re reading a play, you’re reading with a group of other students, you’re reading together with other people. That’s very supportive. It’s also fun. It’s also fun to be able to do something with your peers, so that’s great.  While the reading age is more appropriate for Grade 2, Grade 3, the interest level is very much pitched to Grade 4 to 8.


If I was reading the play script, one of the things I would be supported by is the color coding, but also the big spaces between the lines. Basically, this is a very supportive text for a striving reader.  The context is really spot on for the readers of this age. Just look at the titles, Time Warriors, Alien Attack. They’re really just exciting materials. I also like the fact the speeches are short, the cast is small so everybody gets a turn. I like the fact that the action moves along quickly and also they’re supported nicely by some illustration here.


They have also have some other clever things that come with them. The cast names are in colored code. So that you just have to know well I'm the green one, or so I'm reading the yellow part. That actually helps you. Because so often when kids are doing a play, they get so engrossed in the play they forget ah, it’s my turn next. So that’s a useful tip as well.  So it’s all very helpful from a reading point of view, from a language point of view, from a social point of view, and also I think from a literacy point of view as well, because those are wonderful tradition in terms of drama and theater.


I think it might also encourage them in their writing as well. They might want to write a story about the kind of experience they have read here. They might want to write their own script, who knows. They might want to write their own little video play, lots of exciting possibilities.
Maybe one other point, when you’re on a play, particularly some of the characters in these plays, these characters have got attitude. They do things. They say things. They make things happen, and that’s very empowering for them as people too.

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The book series mentioned in this interview, Download series, The Extraordinary Files, and SuperScripts are part of Hameray's High Interest / Low Vocabulary genre, intended to encourage struggling readers to read through presenting compelling topics that they want to read about. Download offers facts about the exciting world of extreme sports and hot contemporary subjects such as technology and natural disasters. The Extraordinary Files is a mystery-fiction series that follows the adventures of two sleuths as they work to solve cases, often of a supernatural bent. SuperScripts are action-packed, easy-to-follow plays in such genres as sci-fi, drama, and sports. They combine reading with social interaction, making it fun for even the most reluctant reader.

Flip through samples of books from these series to see how they appeal to readers who have trouble taking an interest in reading.

If you're interested in learning more about these series, you can click on the images below to download an information sheet with highlights and key features. Check back on Friday for the second part of this Q & A!

- Tara Rodriquez

Download Series Highlights Extraordinary Files Sales sheet SuperScripts Sales Sheet

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Topics: Videos, Alan Trussell-Cullen, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, SuperScripts, Download, Extraordinary Files

Helping Striving Readers: Q & A with Dr. Adria Klein (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on May 7, 2013 6:00:00 AM

Welcome to our second installation of videos in which professor emerita and literacy expert Dr. Adria Klein answers questions about struggling and striving readers in the upper grades and how to best help them take an interest in and achieve proficiency in reading. If you missed part one of the interview, you can read it here.

Click on the videos to watch. Transcripts, if preferred, are available below each of the videos.

Q: Can technology be helpful for instruction with students that have reading difficulties?

A: Absolutely. Technology is essential. Students today know media often better than they know books. They need access to software, to interact with whiteboards to instructional techniques that are current and move at a pace and allow the student to interact in a way that interests them all the time.

When you think about older students in the secondary schools who are struggling readers, Paul Blum talks about the kinds of things that will capture their interest. And that is the opportunity to interact and responding to text. Software allows that to happen. It allows them to keep a record of their work and helps the teacher know how the students are progressing. It is also is helpful to have the technology where writing is an opportunity and not just the fact that we are playing a media game.

Q: How do you interest and motivate a striving reader to want to read?

A: All the ideas we’ve been talking about today have to do with reaching a striving reader. They have to want to try. They have to be interested in the books. And they have to be willing to put out their best effort. Stamina is a real issue with an older reader. They can't keep going as long as they need to keep reading in order to improve their comprehension and their vocabulary.

When we look at material with proper laying on the page, we have to think about picture support, we have to think about the size of the print, and we have to think about how many words they’re reading on a page. The idea that a text is too large a print size or has too few words on a page will put an older reader off.

Another factor would be the kinds of supports—are there side notes in the book, is there a glossary? Is there an opportunity for the student to find resources so they don’t have to stop and go get a dictionary?

Q: Are there other types of materials that support older struggling readers?

A: Another type of material that really supports comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency is the use of stories that are in play form. One of these materials, Superscripts is new from Hameray and gives the opportunity for students to read character parts as if they were talking. To do it like a play, and it supports how kids learn to read more fluently. That gives a wonderful opportunity for small group interaction in a highly supportive environment.

The characters are near the age of the readers that we are talking about, and the characters are of interest and in conflicts that upper grade, elementary, and junior high students would encounter in their own social and personal lives.

A lot of research has been done about what appeals to upper grade readers and play form, for scripts, for both independent reading and for small group reading is one of the most highly recognized forms of encouraging a struggling older reader.

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The book series mentioned in this interview, SuperScripts, is part of Hameray's High Interest / Low Vocabulary genre, intended to encourage struggling readers to read through presenting compelling topics that they want to read about. SuperScripts are action-packed, easy-to-follow plays in such genres as sci-fi, drama, and sports. They combine reading with social interaction, making it fun for even the most reluctant reader.

Flip through a sample book from this series to see how these books appeal to readers who have trouble taking an interest in reading.

 

To see a wider variety of titles from this series, take a look at our catalog. We have more of these books and other series that will appeal to the same age-group and reading level.

Hameray 2016 Catalog Request

We hope you have enjoyed this Q & A with reading expert Dr. Adria Klein! Take a look at Part 1 of 2 if you haven't already seen it.

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: Videos, Interview, Adria Klein, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, SuperScripts, Upper Grades

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