“Just simply teaching a child to read is not enough; we must provide them something that is worth reading. Material that will make their imaginations grow – materials that will help them to understand their own lives and push them towards interacting with others who’s lives are completely different than there own” (Paterson). As elementary educators it is our privilege and responsibility to expose young people to knowledge. By making this introduction a fun one, it allows for the child to have a positive attitude about school and learning that they will take with them through out their entire educational career.
Many children have a excited and happy attitude about starting school. Every student also feels like they are ready and prepared, no matter what their entry level literacy skills may be. It is common knowledge that not every child will enter the school system with the same levels of literacy. That is why it is up to us, as educators, to teach them how to read by using appropriately developed strategies and individualized instructions.
When I was a little girl growing up I was one of a family of sixteen children, so beginning from a very young age once the school days were done we were left with our older siblings while mom and dad worked hard to earn us a living. My mother would frequently read to me out of story books or simply stories she made up on her own.
Since there were so many of us, by the time i was born we had a pretty good assortment of books to choose from. My first memory I have of reading in the classroom setting was in the fourth grade. My teacher was Ms. Bartrum, she was such a lovely woman who was the first to instill in me the joys of reading through accelerated reading programs and book fairs.
I was a goal of mine to be the first one to finish one book and move on to another one on the list, this is a case where a little competition was a healthy thing. Mrs. Bartrum was really good at picking out books that would challenge us but also capture our interests which made reading them a lot less challenging. Cunningham and Allington research has shown that those children who learned to read and write with ease had a lot of different experiences in reading and writing, which allowed them to benefit from the literacy experiences they had in school (Cunningham & Allington).
Teaching students to read is not simply picking the right reading program, and one specific program will not work with for every single student. As a teacher I feel that it is my job to be the spark for the love to read, by using an effective and balanced learning approach. It is of the upmost importance that the curriculum is designed so that it engages the students in the content, while allowing the students to use their own learning styles and accompanying to their developmental needs. The teaching method called “Best Practice” uses the idea that by using teaching methods and strategies within the classroom will create an individualized environment for learning.
I continuously make an effort to use the best practices method in my everyday classroom instruction. Students learn based upon their own individual needs or interests. It is important to help students to gain their own craving for knowledge, it is critical to their academic success. By creating a learning environment that allows the students to feel safe, will in turn make it easier for them to trust you which will make the learning experience much easier. An environment that is encouraging, positive, actively engaging, and allows for social interactions will harbor the best practice learning method.
The way that a classroom is arranged can have an effect on the students and how they learn as well. My personal classroom is arranged so that they students’ desks are arranged in a U-shape with my desk in the middle, this allows me to have a view of each student and to be able to get to them easier. My classroom is also full to the gill with reading materials, every which way the students turn they are greeted by books. Our reading corner is focused around our interactive word board, it holds our library with is full of many different forms of reading materials from chart books to decoding books.
Also posted throughout the classroom is the alphabet, picture cards, and letter cards with a corresponding word being used in a sentence. Morning messages and charts are placed within easy access for the students so that they can review and practice whenever they want. Also made available within the classroom is environmental prints, these help the students with their writing, studies have shown that they are an effective way of aiding in emergent literacy (Jalongo, 2010). Each day there is an hour set aside to work on reading in small groups.
Even though throughout the day several books are read, this one hour period during the day is when individual reading levels are really focused on within each group. Groups are used during these lessons because studies have shown that students within the early grade levels learn more when a portion of their reading lessons are given in small groups, with regularly tested progress, and ample amount of time to understand the lesson is given (Taylor, 2005).
“Reading is fundamental”, this saying is used to demonstrate the how important reading is to our youth. Having the skills to read and write is not only fundamental in an individual’s success in the academic sense but also in life itself.
Reading and writing skills are a continued development throughout a person’s entire lifetime, however they early years, from birth to the age of eight, are the most crucial time frame for developing literacy skills (IRA and NAEYC, 2009). Reading has an undeniable importance because of the basic tools it provides an individual. It is the building block for the nation’s educational system. One must have adequate reading skills to be able to master any other subjects such as math or science, this is why it is the most crucial of all subjects to master. Despite it being such a simple concept, if it weren’t for reading our culture wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today.
By simply saying that “reading is fundamental” lacks emphasis, because without the ability to read our lives would be extremely different in many ways. References: Reading Rockets. Interview with Katherine Paterson. On-line. Accessed on December 5, 2014 at http:// www. readingrockets. org/books/interviews/paterson Hall, D. P. & Williams, E. (2000). Teachers Guide to Building Blocks: A Developmentally Appropriate, Multilevel Framework for Kindergarten. Greensboro, NC: Carlos-Dellosa Publishing Company Inc. International Reading Association (IRA) & National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2009).
Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. NAEYC: Washington, DC. Jalongo, M. R. (2007). Early Childhood Language Arts. (4th Ed). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Taylor, B. , Pearson, P. , Clark, K. , & Walpole, S. (2005). Beating the Odds in Teaching All Children to Read. CIERA Report #2-006. University of Michigan: Ann Arbor.