Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel

Subject: Re: Question

From: Julie Hoffman (hoffmanj@basd.k12.pa.us)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 17:16:25 EST


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on 3/28/00 9:21 AM, ATHENAN418@aol.com at ATHENAN418@aol.com wrote:

> As I sit and read many of your responses to how your students are reading and
> responding, I start to get a little jealous. I work in a filled with students
> who come from a variety of school districts. All of my students and I do mean
> all of them come with the "I HATE ENGLISH ATTITUDE BECAUSE I HATE READING AND
> WRITING." I would love to have just one student come to school and not moan
> and groan about having to read. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming and
> frustrating when you have all of everyone else's reluctant readers in one
> group.
>
> I could see if these are kids who couldn't read, but they are not. These are
> kids who have already made up their minds that reading "these stupid boring
> books is dumb." With these types of kids, you are always recreating the
> curriculum. It is truly challenging and at times rewarding, but the sane part
> of me yearns for the group that may one day, at least once, (or twice) read a
> book without the daily tug of war or pulling of teeth.
>
> Shelia
Shelia, I too work with students with this attitude. Oddly enough, they are
very opinionated and love to discuss their opinions. I tell them early on
that opinions are great as along as there is evidence to support what you
have to say - it lends credibility to what you have to say. Since we do
read and we do discuss in English class we approach our reading with looking
for "hidden" evidence. One of the techniques we work on early in the school
year is substantiating opinions with evidence from our reading. When they
are looking for specific pieces of evidence to support an idea or opinion,
they are more apt to enjoy a piece of work. They seem to bond to a story if
they have to tear it apart to look for information. Another technique I
have used with my non-readers is to give them each some tiny post-it notes.
We draw a smiley face for character, a thunderbolt for conflict, a question
mark for any questions they have about a section, and any other markers you
can think about to demonstrate a literary term, etc. They use these in
their books as they read as a landmark for certain answers they must find or
to mark questions they have about the writing itself. I have found this
helps with discussion as the kids feel more confident sharing things they
have found in their reading.

We do do a lot of reading aloud in class, some audio stories too, just to
get them hooked on listening.

Julie


 

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