Post for the week of June 10, 2013
It's time for #8 on the What's In/What's Out document: emphasis on reading and re-reading vs. emphasis on pre-reading.
In the past, teachers would spend time preparing students for a "first read" of a text. They pre-loaded a set of information: maps, presentations on time periods, anticipation guides to establish the major themes of the text. All this time, the books sit unopened.
All of this information was helpful, but it doesn't reflect real-life reading experiences. It takes up a lot of instructional time, it can be teacher-centered, and it does not necessarily align with building the independence students need in college and career.
When I am given a piece of unfamiliar text, I read it, making connections to what I can. Then I read it again. And maybe again.
As I read, I am building my resilience, and I am building my ability to comprehend what I am reading. I take notes, and I highlight passages that are important.
In the past, I would spend a day preparing students to start, say, "The Crucible." Now, instead of talking about some facts about the Puritans, I may show a quick video clip and start an activity where students use evidence from the video to support their answers. I may give a text about the Puritans and write some text-dependent questions for the students to discuss as they read and reread.
Building background knowledge before students read is important, but the more time students can spend "in text," the better!