Thursday, August 23, 2012

Expectations for Readers

One of the lessons from Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor that I really enjoyed doing was the one on fake reading. So many times children know words and can "read" through a piece with no mistakes.  They feel like they are readers! I actually remember doing this in Sunday School. I would volunteer to read a scripture and read those long words with no mistakes. Everyone praised me and thought I was wonderful. However, I really had no idea what I read. That is fake reading.

Students that do fake reading are not focusing on making meaning and interrogating the texts. They really do not understand the reading process.  That is why I would start off the year by letting students see me as a reader. I would talk to them about what I was reading. I would share with them the fact that I actually read many books at the same time. I might read a book for enjoyment, another book to learn more about teaching and also a newspaper to find out the latest news. I read at different times for different purposes and so will they!

Over the first week of school I would read a series of picture books. I liked to start with the book Wolf by Becky Bloom. This is a story about a wolf that comes across a farm for educated animals while he is searching for some food. He quickly develops the desire to become a reader and spends time and effort to develop his reading ability in order to become friends with other animals. The discussion after we read it together would focus on what the characters do as readers.

After reading and discussing, it is time to start a chart about what we think being a reader means to us. The children are then sent out to read in pairs selections of books the teacher has provided about readers and reading. They will then bring their ideas back for share time to share and discuss. As the week goes on the class will listen to more Read Alouds and add to their chart of what readers do.

Other books that can also be used for this purpose are:
  • The Library by Sarah Stewart
  • Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
  • Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland
  • Souperchicken by Mary Jane and Herm Auch
  • The Librarian of Basra-A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
Remember, reading is about making sense of texts and making sense of our world! Ideas for today's blog came from Lessons in Comprehension - Explicit Instruction in the Reading Workshop by Frank Serafini

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