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Helpful Tips for Teaching Reading

Reading Moves: What Not to Do

By Richard Allingtion

In almost every early elementary classroom you'll see students reading aloud and answering questions about what they've read. It's time for a change.

Some instructional moves are so common that almost no one notices them anymore. That's true of two moves I observe teachers using for reading instruction in almost every elementary classroom I visit. Both moves--interrupting students to correct their mistakes during oral reading and, asking students low-level questions after they've finished reading--are widespread, despite the fact that no good evidence has ever supported them as effective. At best, both of these moves are unproductive; at worst, they undermine our children's literacy development.

In the end, students are more likely to learn what was taught than to learn what is never taught. To make literacy instruction more effective, we need to reconsider and fine-tune these common instructional moves.

To read this very interesting and informative article, click on the link below.

Tips of the Month: What to Do

Refining Oral Reading Practice

(Richard Allington)

  • Use oral reading selectively. By the middle of first grade, most reading should be done silently.
  • If you do elect to have students read a text aloud, consciously bite your tongue as they read. Wait until the student has completed at least a full sentence before you interrupt, and then interrupt with a comment that encourages the student to self-regulate. (See Fountas and Pinnell prompting guide)
  • Ensure that other students who might be following along or listening to the student read aloud also do not interrupt the reader.
  • If you are concerned that you cannot monitor the accuracy of students' reading when they read silently, remember that all you really need to do is ask them to retell what they've read. Misreadings become obvious during retellings.

Improving Classroom Discussions

  • Turn, pair and share--have students turn to a student sitting nearby and talk briefly about a text they have just read or listened to.
  • Model a conversation about a story. For example, by saying, "I disagree, and here's why"

For a list of conversation prompts, click on the link below:

Adult Swim...for those 16 years and over...

Dip your toe into the shallow end of the reading pool and try...

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1984 by George Orwell

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

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