This week, I was excited to read Kathy Collins’s “Growing Readers: Units of Study in the Primary Classroom.” My CT loves this book and has been using it in her own classroom. She even asked me to borrow it so she could see the revised version. This first chapter was more of an overview than actual teaching practices, but it was inspiring just the same. It made me realize how important it is for me to stay on top of new advances in learning issues and to communicate with my colleagues about how to best reach our students. I know that I must make my classroom a safe, consistent environment for my students, but I hadn’t realized how important that was for their literacy development.
The section about providing opportnities for indpendence really stood out to me. I have been confused as to how involved I need to be during Writing Workshop in my placement class. I know it is time for independent work, but it feels like students are always asking for help, suggestions, or advice on their writing. The text explained that the classroom doesn’t need to be a “sink or swim” environment, but that students should have just enough guidance to get them working independently for the most part. Teachers must also be available for questions and motivation, but to encourage students rather than instruct them on exactly what to do. I think that after reading this chapter, I am more aware of my role in the classroom during Writing Workshop and how I can best serve the needs of my students. Of course, I must also have very high expectations for my students so that they know I believe in their ability to write wonderful works. I look forward to reading about more literacy learning strategies in the rest of this book!
I also read Chapter 4 from Flint’s “Literate Lives” this week. I thought it was interesting how people can have such different takes on how children best learn to read. I learned about the bottom-up, top-down, transactional, and critical perspectives theories and how they differ from one another. Knowing the 4 different theoretical approaches to literacy development, I feel like a have a more complete understanding of the options available to me as a teacher.