A Penny For Your Thoughts

A Penny For Your Thoughts
Something to contemplate as you study to be a teacher

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Teaching Children to Read

Response to Chapters 5, 6, &11:

Chapter 5 was an overview for me. I took a statistics and research class in undergraduate school for psychology and now I am in an educational research class. I also have taken the Assessment and Instruction class to that goes over the different assessments and ways of scoring them. It was a nice review of already learned material.
Chapter 6 was eye opening. I never really paid much attention to just how much assessment and tests are given to students until reading this chapter. Informally as a TSS my job is to observe my client in the classroom, and often times I find myself observing the other students and making mental notes of repeated occurrences. Even though I am not the teacher and it is not my job, it’s hard not to notice the other students. As a teacher I can see how important it is to have informal assessment as well as formal assessments to base decisions off of. The decisions made are life changing and shouldn't be taken lightly. This chapter gave me an overview of many assessments that I will one day use in my classroom such as IRA’s and cloze procedures as well as observations and surveys. I really enjoyed the part on interest inventories and creative ways they can be used in classrooms. Seeing real life examples of the techniques is what helps me to visualize uses these techniques one day.
Chapter 11 was a chapter that I really dove into. As a child I had skills lacking in reading comprehension so I could relate to a lot of the examples given in the book. One example that was given in the factors affecting comprehension was syntactics. After reading this section it reminded me so much of the issue that I had. I had a hard time related the information in order to answer questions based on context clues. I also had trouble with semantic knowledge that involves relating concepts and ideas in the story. I know that I am not alone on these difficulties and that I will encounter some of my own students one day struggling with these issues. This is a whole other reason to study about learning disabilities in order to be able to help my students that are struggling one day.

Response to Article:
I work in a kindergarten classroom everyday and never really thought about how each curriculum was taught until now. Since I have read this article I realize that the classroom I work in uses a balance between the two main approaches to teaching reading. She not only does works sheets and activities with letter sounds and combinations of letters, but she also gives them an opportunity to learn what words mean throughout the day, write their own stories and dictations to pictures, but free time to read as well. I like the combination of the two approaches, because not every child learns to read the same way and one way may work better for some than others.
I also think that early intervention is an important aspect in being a teacher. You are with the children in an academic setting the most and will most likely be the first to notice, when there are problems along with the parents. This is a great opportunity for early childhood education teachers and elementary teachers to get the ball rolling if there is a problem. With quick checks and other assessment tools problems in reading can be identified earlier and interventions can begin earlier. This gives the children that are struggling and opportunity to find ways to get up to speed earlier that may help them later if they encounter more problems as the progress through the grades. Good tools can be utilized to help these children prepare for strategies that can be used later as well.

Response to video:
Reading and the Brain: Rewiring the Brain
This video discusses research bring done using fMRI and MEG to measure activation in the brain while reading. They found that a little boy with dyslexia had a higher activation level on the right side of the brain than on the left side. Once an intervention began on teaching him reading by rewiring the brain to use the left side more, his reading skills increased. I think that this study is a great study and it gives us a medical view of a learning disability phenomenon. There is no absolute reason as to why a child has a learning disability, it could be contributed to many different things, but this is another tool that can be used along with other assessments given to diagnose LD. As the doctor said in the video, we don’t need to jump to conclusions and only use this imaging to diagnose dyslexia, but it is another tool that can be used. This article reminded me a lot of the article in the module that discussed fMRI. I think that further studies are needed to determine the best use for these practices in the aid of diagnosing dyslexia.


  1. Ashley! Wow!! Chapter 11 was a great chapter. I STILL struggle with reading and reading comprehension. I totally agree with guided reading- what I'm working on with my own students at St. Gregory's. I like that we can stop and talk about the reading we are doing and really get into it and understand the purpose behind it- not just read words on the page and answer questions to it.

    So much assessment is done for students in reading. Just today my principal and I did reading assessments for the students in one of the classrooms I work in. It took me 2 hours to do 11 students!! Now I can look at their reading levels and understand where they are and how to help them do better.

    For your kindergarten students do you have word wall? This would be a great way for them to see the words that they know. Sometimes I get the alphabet letters in soup noodles and have my students try to make words that they already know how to spell or are on the word wall. Students do well with boy phonetics and then building words. I have a bunch of lesson ideas I can give you in class.

  2. I agree with you that early interventions would be very beneficial for the students and I also liked what you said about how the testing of the brain's images are just another tool to use for earlier detection and not a simple cure all for diagnosis. I also have experienced using guided reading in the classroom and I really enjoyed using this approach versus the standard basal. Guided reading really gives you a chance to discuss wih students the stories that you are reading. I also appreciated the fact that students were reading at the appropriate reading level. This made it much more enjoyable for them.