This semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students. They are able to understanding very complex material and have discussion that encompass a wide range of interpretations. I have been very impressed by the insights they have based on the readings as well as their ability to support their positions using evidence from the readings. For the most part, their analyses are thoughtful and well-developed.
However, they are not able to take responsibility for large chunks of reading without some sort of system to check for reading, such as reading quizzes. Unless they feel as though they will be tested in some way for their reading, many students simply do not read. This is not particularly surprising but it poses problems for class participation. Even still, while we randomly quiz students on reading, many still do not read the required sections. One strategy to help avoid this (which, unfortunately, I haven't been able to implement this semester) is to give students a choice over what novels they will read. Although the choices must be limited those on the approved reading list, students have shared with me that even having a choice between two books makes it feel less as though they are being forced to read one book. Next semester, I am eager to take this approach and offer students more control over what they want to read. Hopefully, giving them this responsibility will motivate them to take some more ownership over the readings.
Diary: September 30, 2013
My literacy rich classroom looks like one in which students may initially be skeptical of the reading process and may also have had negative experiences with reading in the past. It will be a learning process and one in which I am adjusting to their ability levels and figuring how to push them further.
My students are engaged in learning process of reading and use various strategies to help them with their comprehension.
They are reading excerpts that are culturally diverse and provide scaffolded readings to prepare them for much heavier readings later in the course.
December 15, 2013
My literacy rich classroom looks like one in which students are motivated to read, find the benefits and rewards in it and employ strategies to help them engage in it.
My students are engaged in the process of active reading.
They are reading dense novels yet they are using their strategies to help break down the concepts into more digestible pieces.
They are writing their thoughts, feelings, emotions and interpretations that go beyond the surface of the readings.
They are discussing what they are writing. They are discussing opinions, interpretations and feelings.
May 30, 2014
My literacy rich classroom looks like one in which students have confidence in their reading abilities. They have a wealth of strategies to use to help them with comprehension.
My students are engaged in the reading material they never thought they would appreciate or understand.
They are capable of independent learning in the following areas: reading, interpretation, argument, support, discussion, debate and critical thinking.