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EDLA 204 VIP Statements

Through reviewing all the material we have covered thus far in the course, I have come up with a list of 5 critically important aspects of literacy education that are essential for teaching literacy to students. They are: Modelled reading, teaching in context, keeping running records, teaching graphophonic awareness and scaffolding books for students. The age group/ year level I am focusing on is grade prep to 2nd year. 1. Modelled reading Modelled reading is when a teacher reads a text aloud to the class, occasionally stopping to point out and explain text features currently being learnt. I believe teachers should model reading for their students at least once every day, particularly in the early years. Being read to lets young children observe and assimilate the appropriate behaviors exhibited by experienced readers. This includes basic book understandings such as where to start on a page, which direction to read in etc. It also demonstrates good syntax structure, as well as exposes children to a wide vocabulary they may not hear otherwise. This is important for beginning readers who may have little to no prior knowledge or experience of how books are read. From there, students begin to emulate good reading behaviors when they read in groups and independently. Having teachers read also shows students that literacy is a valued and respected skill to have in society, motivating them to improve their own reading ability. It is important that teachers read a variety of texts aloud to demonstrate language differences between different text types and it also allows students to engage with higher level texts than what the students are capable of reading themselves (Hill, 2000).

2. Teaching in context To make literacy engaging and interesting to students, it is necessary to teach the content within a situational context that makes the knowledge meaningful and therefore valuable to students. For example a lesson teaching children how to make a list could be put into the context of making a shopping list or Christmas wish list. The students would then be able to see the practical values that lists have and understand why it is important to learn about them. Forster (2000) said that contexts used in classrooms should be chosen for their potential interest to students even though the situations were mostly likely outside their experience (Pg 47). This means that I can use the interests that the students bring with themselves to school, to facilitate their literacy learning. Teaching in context also allows a great deal of flexibility in terms of the tasks that can be created. Role-play or play based learning can be a fun and effective way to teach literacy concepts. I plan to incorporate play-based learning into my classroom because as Hall and Robinson (2000) assert the real world is not compartmentalized into academic disciplines, but events which incorporate many different pieces of academic knowledge. Role-playing situations with multiple literacy skills required to participate will raise the value of literacy in the minds of students. 3. Running records Running records are from what Ive seen to be the best way to assess a childs literacy strengths and weaknesses. During one, a student reads a book out loud to a teacher that records their

correct and incorrect responses into the record. The records can then be analysed to find solutions for change and improvement (Outred, 2006). The information provided from this assessment cannot be underestimated. From it, teachers can determine the syntactic, visual and semantic techniques employed by students when they read independently. Another advantage to running records as Ulusoy (2007) states is that: The running record reading assessment technique is easy to implement because it requires little preparation from the teacher; simply the selection of an appropriate text and a blank piece of paper for recording reading behaviours. Texts can be selected based on student interests to maximise their interest and concentration when reading. It is crucial to select texts that contain language features you wish to assess them on. Having a collection of running record results also allows teachers to see how effective their own pedagogy is over time. As a teacher I will make it a priority to give running record tests to every one of my students throughout the year. 4. Teaching the 3 reading cues When children read, they use one of three cues to make meaning out of the words they read or use a combination of them. Semantic, Syntactic and Grapho-phonic abilities are all essential to reading and writing. Effective readers use information from many sources as they match their thinking to that of the authors (Hill, 2006 pg 142) Teachers therefore need to strengthen all three in their students and encourage the use of them in tandem. This greatly increases the ability of children to decipher words and sentences independently. Teachers should teach a process for children to follow when approaching a tough word or sentence. They could first sound out the word to see if they recognize it by sound (Graphophonics), then guess its meaning based on the word/sentences place in the text or using pictures (semantics) before finally checking if it the word sounds right structure-wise (syntax). Doing this will give students more confidence in their reading and writing and give them more options for deciphering words than they would have on their own. I have seen literacy lessons on my placement based on deciphering a text with students trying each of the strategies to great effect. 5. Scaffolding language and literature experience Scaffolding childrens language is vital for introducing new vocabulary and syntax. Teachers can use expansions, extension, repetition, parallel talk, self-talk vertical structuring and fill-ins to show students how they can add more information to their everyday speech and sentences. I plan to utilize these techniques myself, as I can see how it is a good example for students to follow. While teaching literacy through modelling is incredibly important, it is perhaps equally important to provide students with the opportunity to enjoy reading on their own. What a teacher has to ensure is that the texts students read in class have an element of challenge to them, without being too hard to enjoy. Once running records have established a childs reading level, a set of corresponding texts can then be selected for the child to read. Mariani (1997) as cited by Sharp (2005) explained that using scaffolding strategies, and gradually removing them, is a concrete example of challenge and support in action, and is at the core process of learning and teaching for autonomy. Total Word Count: 1060

References: Hill, S. (2006). Developing early literacy: Assessment and teaching. Prahan: Eleanor Curtain. (pages 73, 142 ) Forster, P. A. (2000). Teaching in context. Australian Senior Mathematics Journal; v.14 n.2 p.38-48 Hall, N. & Robinson, A. (2000). Play and literacy learning. Ch 4. (pp. 81-1-4). In C. BarrattPugh & M. Rohl, (Eds.) Literacy learning in the early years. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen and Unwin. Outred, V. Becoming a 'literacy facilitator': helping classroom teachers improve their l iteracy practice. [online]. Practically Primary; v.11 n.3 p.44-47; October 2006. Ulusoy, M. Help for Vlad : Reading Assessment and Improvement. [online]. Practically Primary; v.12 n.1 p.41-43; February 2007. Sharpe T. (2005). Practical strategies : scaffolding students' responses to picture books. [online]. Literacy Learning : the Middle Years; v.13 n.1