Daily Archives: October 14, 2007

Reading Next- The Basics

Hey Everyone,

I’ve just finished reading through the “Reading Next” packet. I found it EXTREMELY useful. It is a great overview of the instructional and infrastructural necessities It has some good methods that we have talked about in this class, as well as in Professor Kennedy’s class (modeling, scaffolding).

Did anyone else find the list of Recommendations very basic? They seem so obvious, yet I’m sure in many schools the elements are forgotten. Most of the elements on the list seem so simple. How can they not exist in some schools?

Here are a few that I found particularly useful:

#2 “Effective instructional principles embedded in content.”  I really liked this one because it seems that English studies will be even more useful to all students if they can apply it to other subjects or areas of interest. This relates to the turtle idea- letting them find a passion then using the ELA skills to research and decode.

#3 “Motivation and Self-Directed Learning.” Wow, one of the most difficult things to accomplish with high school students. I think the element of choice is essential here. This reminded me of Atwell’s reading zone, where choice is essential. With all of the information available in our society, there is no reason why students should not be able to investigate their own interests. We just need to guide them as teachers, and as the study states “teachers need to ‘tune in’ to their students’ lives in order to understand what they find relevant and why.”

So these were two of my favorite points in this reading. What did everyone else think?


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Tuesday Thought

Mandy, Ray & Jessica:

I’ll be getting coffee at McDonald’s just before I arrive at school on Tuesday morning to leave for our fieldtrip.  If anyone would like something there, please put your orders in now & I’ll get that for you.  Otherwise, I am packing granola bars and orange juice in the car for everyone to share.  🙂  -Sofia


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Wise Words from a Parent re: Making Readers

I thought this was a timely NYTIMES essay by a parent who is asking some of the same questions we are in 541. Here is an excerpt from his essay:

“Several years ago, just as New York’s testing program was being implemented, my twins were in seventh grade and came home with letters saying that a new reading course was being added. I was delighted to see some innovation. I assumed they’d spend the year making their way through the rich selection of middle school and young adult novels and nonfiction books out there. Not until back-to-school night did I realize what was actually going on. The “reading” teacher had a stack of workbooks. They were going to be reading short essays and answering questions: a full year of test prep.”

I am left asking the same old question–what don’t we get about this reading thing? I don’t think it takes a genius IQ or years in the classroom or multiple degrees after our names to get this. Why are we still engaging in this debate? We KNOW what makes readers.

Somehow we all learned to love to read and to make reading an integral part of our day to day lives.

If we did that because of worksheets, workbooks, and/or test preparation “materials,” I’d sure like to know that!! KES


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As many of you know, the Friends of the Tompkins Public Library book sale in Ithaca on Esty St. is going strong this weekend and next. This now famous sale even has its own Wikipedia entry.

I encourage you to check out the remaining dates. A number of students have spoken to me about the finds they have picked up at the sale this month. As the sale progresses, the books are marked down more and more so that by the end you can buy bags of books for a few dollars. Last week one of our current student teachers picked up a dozen titles for her classroom (surprisingly contemporary titles) for a pittance.

I encourage you to go! If you’ve never been, it’s also a happening. Lots of pics of the sale appear on flickr. KES

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