Term Paper: Learning to Read and Write

Pages: 5 (1445 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] This would represent a skill of "active note-taking," where the student knew why he was reading selected material and was able to pull out the information he needed without missing important facts. This study included details about instructional method, which included a period of modeling for the students, a period of teacher-led instruction, followed by independent work. The research demonstrates that for instruction in specific critical reading skills to develop, students will benefit from direct instruction. It should not be assumed that students can just be told what to do and then do it independently in a successful way. While their study did not extend the process to writing, it is a given that students cannot write well about information they did not comprehend well.

Authors Wood and Harmon (2002) have noted this. Their book complies an extensive selection of strategies that can be used with middle and high school students to effectively combine reading and writing instruction with content instruction. Their approach begins with an assessment of the students' literacy. Since content area reading requires special reading skills such as the ability to pull out important information from the surrounding text, the ability to critically analyze the content, the mastery of new vocabulary while reading complex material and the ability to draw accurate conclusions from what has been read, it is important to establish the students' reading and writing skills related to content instruction first.

Then the book gives a variety of approaches for improving both reading comprehension and writing skills. The authors include opportunities to incorporate the arts into content learning. Each chapter contains multiple strategies and sample lesson plans. Such books may be of great value not only to new teachers but to more experienced teachers new to including literacy skills in their content area instruction.

Foley (2001) researched the effectiveness of teaching specific reading and writing skills to teens being held in juvenile correctional detention centers. They found that effective instructional techniques in this difficult instructional group included the types of skills fostered in curriculum-based reading and writing instruction: guided note-taking, cooperative group assignments, as well as other innovative approaches. When strategies were employed that required the students to be more active participants, achievement rates rose.

The instructional methods used with our parents and grandparents, where the teacher gave information and made assignments, and students completed their work in an isolated and largely unguided way, will not work in an era when society expects teachers to teach all students. Fifty years ago there was no special education within mainstream education. Students who did not learn well with that approach, or whose reading and writing skills were weak, were more likely to be graded down than retaught. Content area teachers were expert in their subject - history, chemistry, or biology - and were hired for their love and mastery of their subject, not for their ability to reach all students.

However, in 1950, students could drop out of high school and still find a job, perhaps in construction or a factory that allowed them to support a family and be a productive member of society. In the last fifty years, our expectations as a country have increased. We expect that all students will graduate from high school, and that they will graduate having mastered the basic skills of reading and writing. It is thus the responsibility of all teachers to understand how they can enhance and help develop their students' reading and writing skills. It is crucial that content area teachers constantly analyze their class material to capitalize on opportunities to promote critical reading skills and the ability to organize and present information in written form.

Bibliography

Erickson, Lawrence.Jan. 11, 1998. "Informational literacy in the middle grades." The Clearing House.

Foley, Regina M. Winter, 2001. "Academic Charateristics of incarcerated youth and correctional educational programs: a literature review." Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.

Gardill, M. Cathleen, and Jitendra, Asha K.April 15, 1999. "Advanced Story Map Instruction: Effects on the Reading Comprehension of Students with Learning Disabilities." Journal of Special Education: Vol.33.

Nourie, Barbara; Livingston, Lenski, and Davis, Susan.July 17, 1998. "The (in)effectiveness of content area literacy instruction for secondary preservice teachers." The Clearing House: 71: 372-375.

Wood, Karen D., and Harmon, Janis M. Strategies for Integrating Reading & Writing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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