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Final project

  1. Final Project By Leo Cleary-Foeller
  2. Independent Reading • What I took away most from this class was the impact that independent reading can have on a young learner. I based my final project on how we as teachers can get our to students to not only read when they are required to, but also read in their free time. I used the experiences I had as a young student learning how to read. I also took the strategies and terms we learned in class and related them to each other, and also combined them to stress the importance of reading and encourage independent reading.
  3. Motivation • Being told as a young student that I was supposed to read just wasn’t enough for me. I needed that extra little push to get me going; some sort of added incentive. This is common among many young students, and why motivation is such an important part of a child’s reading process. Providing motivation that young readers can relate to can make the difference in them enjoying reading or not. No one strategy or lesson is going to motivate every student in your class, but the more you talk about and stress this in class the more likely you are to have an impact on your students.
  4. Reading Reasons • “9 Reading Reasons” by Kelly Gallagher was a text that motivated me to read more and really convinced me to do more reading in my own free time. This article shows kids nine practical reasons why they should read on their own. Including: “Reading is financially rewarding.” “Reading makes you smarter.” “Reading opens the door for college and beyond.” (Gallagher 2003). Gallagher delves into each of the nine reasons and the positive impact they can have. • I believe I enjoyed this piece so much is because it gives teachers an answer to smart alec kids like me who asked “why do we need to read this?” It gives legitimacy to the teacher who is on their students about how important reading really is. For many students hearing these reasons and hearing it from an outside source may truly sell them on the importance of reading.
  5. Print Rich Classrooms/Praise • It makes it a lot easier to stress the importance of reading and motivate your students to read if you have text for them to read. Not only just books and independent reading options, but all kinds of literature throughout the classroom. In our text book “Teaching Reading in the 21st Century” it says “Three kinds of print should fill your room, published material, print created by teacher, and print created by students.” (Graves 2011) • If all these are present and all there are an abundance of all three, students can’t help but to read. They look on the wall and they will see their own work, the work of their classmates, and even the work of their teacher. They will also have a variety of texts to choose from to read in silent selective reading time. • Seeing your own work hanging up for the whole class to see can serve as its own motivation, but praise can be as strong as a motivator as any. Having students set goals for reading and then accomplishing them can prove to be very effective. Especially when they are backed with praise. Telling a student they are doing a good job can be go miles for a students confidence. Young kids want to do things that they are good at, and if they are setting realistic reading goals and achieving them they will start to realize they can be good readers. This is the best type of motivation a teacher can ask for.
  6. Culture • “It is not all surprising that students are more engaged and motivated to learn if they feel what they are learning is related to their own out of school lives.” (Graves 2011) • This concept seems so simple, yet if as teachers we alter the texts assigned and lessons we teach to relate to our students, this can help keep students interested and motivate them to read more. Having a library full of options that can relate to all different types of cultures and interests is essential.
  7. Choice • Choice is a powerful thing to give a student. There is not one or even two books that will fill the interest of every student in your classroom. Giving kids the option to choose books that interest and relate to them makes reading much more appealing. A quote that I found to be very interesting in Donalyn Miller’s “Creating a Classroom Where Readers Flourish” is a students response when Miller asks her students if she should assign “The Hunger Games” because almost all the students have read and enjoyed the book on their own. “No, no, please don’t! When teachers tell us we have to read a book, we hate it. We like it that we get to choose what we read.” (Miller 2012) To me this quote just proves that students want to choose what they read if for no other reason than they just want freedom. • You can incorporate the choices your giving your students in their reading options and make it a group activity. Students will not only learn about their own culture but the different culture of their classmates. This will not only get students more interested in reading but in learning with their classmates and improving their social skills.
  8. Jordan In elementary school I was obsessed with Michael Jordan. I remember getting a book about his career as a basketball player. It was filled with tons of cool pictures and stories. Unfortunately I couldn’t fully grasp the concept in the book and I was essentially just able to look at pictures and read their captions. I remember always wanting to read this book. It served as great motivation for me to become a better reader so that eventually I would be able to be fluent enough to read it.
  9. Motivation and Culture • The greatest way I can think of to motivate your students to do any work is for them to be truly interested in the subject. As I stated earlier you can give your students this option by simply letting them choose what they read. If there is a type of book that your students are supposed to read such as a biography, you can give them the option of a plethora of books from just as many cultures, races, and socioeconomic status’. This way they will be interested and still learn the targeted material.
  10. To Kill A Mocking Bird This book played a large role in my independent reading as a child. I vividly remember as middle schooler given the option of reading a number of different books. One of which was Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I went home and asked my mom which one I would like. She told me to choose “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I enjoyed having the choice and being able to talk to my parents about the books I was reading. I also fell in love with this book, and it really had a big impact on me as a reader and made me want to read more books similar to this one. I felt as though I wanted to be just like Atticus Finch when I grew up. Not only was I enjoying reading, I was learning about different cultures without even realizing it.
  11. Fluency “Fluency is the ability to read rapidly, smoothly, without many errors, and with appropriate expression.” (Graves 2011) • My understanding is that fluency is the ability to read without having to think about what you’re reading. Being able to read without constantly pausing; almost as if it is automatic.
  12. Fluency Practice • There are many different tactics and strategies that we have learned in class about promoting fluency including: repeated reading, partner reading, radio reading and many others. All of these may be great ways to get students to be more fluent. The one thing all of these have in common is that they all involve reading. As simple as that sounds the more students read the better and better they will get. This is not to say these strategies are obsolete, they may be great for students who are struggling and I would encourage teachers to use them. Yet it appears to me no matter how you go about it, reading is the best way to become fluent.
  13. My Side of the Mountain The first chapter book I read in my own free time was “My Side of the Mountain”. I remember reading it on the way to Colorado on a family vacation. Although I do not recall most of the information from the story I do remember being overwhelmingly excited that I had the fluency to read it. I remember thinking I was flying through pages without having to go back and check to make sure I knew hardly any words. I felt I was becoming a better reader which just encouraged me to read more and more often.
  14. Fluency, Culture and Motivation • I picked these three terms to focus my project on because of how well they relate to each other. If teachers motivate their students to read more frequently they will become more fluent, and able to read a wider variety of books including some that may relate to them and their culture. Or you can look at these three in different ways where books on their culture can serve as motivation to read more which will lead to better fluency. No matter how you look at it, using bits and pieces from all three of these concepts will help promote independent reading, and eventually lead our students to becoming better readers. Which is the primary goal of every reading class.
  15. Summary • After going through fifteen weeks of class I tried to think of one main concept or message to take away from the class. The one that stuck out in my mind after numerous readings and activities was the importance of independent reading. I took this concept and tried to come up with the three terms that related best to my experience as kid growing up learning how to read, and related to how I will teach my own students when I get my own class. In my opinion the best way to promote independent reading and to eventually get your kids to be successful readers is to individualize teaching. Motivate your students in a ways that apply and work for them, present books in your class that relate to them and what they are interested. Then get them to read more and more and give them strategies that will help them as individualizes to improve their fluency. If all of these are done at the end of the day I believe that each and every one of my students will become fluent successful readers no matter what reading level they entered classroom at.
  16. References Gallagher, K. (2003). Reading reasons motivational mini lessons for middle and high school. (p. 17). Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. Retrieved From: 060&tId=5566090 Graves, M. (2011). Teaching reading in the 21st century. (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Miller, D. (2012). Creating a classroom where readers flourish. (Vol. 2, p. 91). Retrieved from: 060&tId=5312345