Someone I know was just accepted into an 18 month long non-degree program that will result in a job in the medical field in which the starting pay could potentially be many thousands of dollars more than I make in a year.
Now, do I think it’s okay that someone who takes an 18 month course could end up making a really great salary? YES, of course.
Am I just a little bit bitter that all of the years of formal education and the blood, sweat, and tears teachers pour into their jobs doesn’t somehow equate to a similar salary? YES, duh.
I went to school for secondary education where I learned about creating novel units and selecting appropriate texts for classes (for exposure to authors, relationships to students’ lives and reading levels).
In graduate school, I took a class on literacy development, and I learned about all kinds of theories about reading (do we look at the middle of the word? scan the word shape? scan the whole word? scan past words we know like of and the?) and various methods for tracking reading development (like running records).
Somewhere between the two is middle school reading, where teachers don’t quite teach decoding but aren’t delving deep into themes and symbolism. Teachers need to express to students what readers do, what readers do to become better readers, and what readers do when they’re stuck on a word. That’s not really covered in literacy development OR secondary reading.
I definitely think that teaching reading is one of my weaknesses (regardless of what my students will say—I think they caught on more to reading enthusiasm more than reading strategies). Taking on this summer reading camp is a blessing in disguise because it’s making me use a critical eye to examine how I teach reading—and only reading (no grammar or writing).
Here are some topics I’ve selected to cover:
- What readers do
- How we make inferences
- How we know what to highlight
- Reading for purpose
- What we do when we get stuck reading/how to get unstuck
- Simple annotation strategies (end-of-chapter notes, margin notes, margin drawings and symbols)
- Reading letters (they write letters to me about what they’re reading, how they feel about it, thoughts on the book itself and I write back)—I was going to do conferences but they are silent during quiet reading time, so I thought this may work better.
Most of the students in the class/camp are reading different books for summer reading, so I’m using short stories to go over strategies and topics.
This week will be good for me.
Amen to all of this!
For those who don’t know, at my school our ELA classes are split in two. Writing/mechanics and reading. I teach the reading portion. Since I don’t know anything else (or any better, really) I’m sure it’s a little bit different for me but it’s true that middle school reading is a tough cookie. I felt some success this past spring with the close reading process and using comprehension strategies (which are a big district focus here). We did lots of annotating. And I did tons of modeling and think alouds. I wanted them to see and hear what I do when I’m reading. I’m hoping the literacy academy I’m attending at the end of this month will offer up some really great ideas I haven’t thought of yet that I can soon blog about.
Good luck, lhuddles. I’m looking forward to hearing more of how it goes for you and your students and what works. It’s awesome to hear how other middle school teachers approach reading instruction.
still relevant, after 19 years