The readings for this week were a great insight into the upcoming semester in literacy education. They seemed to encompass it all. I think the educational community places too much emphasis on the particular programs in use and doesn’t recognize that it is the teacher that really makes the difference in a child’s literary growth. Effective teachers are those who take a real interest in their students’ learning and continually assess their progress along the way. The explicit instruction referred to in the articles relies heavily on good communication and teacher-student interactions in the classrooms. If a teacher doesn’t pay attention and take time for each individual student, some children can get lost in the movement and be left behind in their literacy development. I know this holds true not only for literacy, but in all subject areas. I was so glad to see that they included teacher expectations at the end of the article. I think it is so important for students to know that their teachers hold each of them to high standards and know that they can do their absolute best. Although Blair and his colleagues presented many helpful steps and conditions for being a truly effective teacher, I wish there had been more actual practice included. Many teachers could tell you what they need to be doing in the classrooms, but they have trouble actually making it happen with their students. I know that throughout this course we will see many real-world examples of this effective teaching in action.
The article about critically reading texts was quite interesting. I often focus so much on the technical aspects of my students’ reading that I forget the importance of really thinking about what they read. It is such an important aspect of literacy and it must be fostered from the very beginning.
The first chapter of Literate Lives made me somewhat apprehensive about my role as an educator. I have been realizing just how important my job is and how complicated true effective literary instruction can be. I know I must teach to meet the needs of my own particular students each year, not just repeat the same practices over and over again. Reading and writing in the 21st century is much different than before. I know that my personal vision will impact how I teach, but I must strike a balance between my views and those of the experts so that I can best suit the needs of my students. I can be quite stubborn when it comes to my beliefs, and this is definitely a skill I must work on as I become a teacher. As I entered into the teaching profession, I mainly wanted to focus on the English/Language Arts portion. I am an English minor and I have always loved language, but I realize that there is so much more to literacy than good books. After reading about No Child Left Behind and the other programs in place to help students, I have realized just how important my role as an educator is. Without a strong foundation in reading, students may never succeed later in school and in their lives. Although it can be daunting, it is also empowering to know that my profession will allow me to have such a large role in students’ lives.