Teaching Reading

Reading Between The Lines

As a 2nd grader, I distinctly remember being told I really needed to get my reading speed faster in order to improve my reading skills for my tests. For me, little Jamie who, at the time, was loving soaking in every word from The Little House On The Prairie series felt slightly disappointing and frustrated with being told to practice my reading speed. It was not until recently that this memory came to mind again. I had honestly forgotten about ever having to improve my reading because for as long as I remember English/Language Arts has been my favorite subject, but as I am having the experience of working with struggling readers in my ESOL class, I am seeing the impact positivity can have on their motivation to read.

Taking my personal experience and being empathetical towards my student has proven to be helpful to them! This past week, my mentor teacher modeled good reading practices with our students by reading a few short chapters from The House on Mango Street and stopping throughout each chapter to access their comprehension by asking them questions about content and making sure they did not have any questions about the storyline. As Beers notes, “I’d like to suggest that it is more critical for dependent readers to talk about the texts during the reading experience than after it,” and I have seen how these methods help students monitor how they read independently if they are taught reading skills through modeling these methods. Modeling is included in Beers’ steps for teaching the importance of “rereading” for understanding – “model your thinking as you reread a text.”

Ultimately, providing our students with these tools to aid reading for struggling and dependent readers will help build their confidence for independent reading as well.


4 thoughts on “Reading Between The Lines

  1. It’s interesting how so many of the things we’re reading and experiencing in our placements are causing us to reflect on and remember parts of our own schooling experiences. I also found the idea of talking about a text while reading it instead of just after reading it to be very interesting. It makes a lot of sense because it can help the kids with reading strategies and it makes sure that they didn’t misunderstand or accidentally skip crucial parts of the text. I think it’s something that I’ll be implementing in my own classroom eventually.


  2. Jamie,
    I love that you point out the power that effective tools for comprehension can have on students who need to simply gain confidence in their reading. Positivity is so crucial, and this makes me think of Choice Words, where Johnston points out that our language is so important. Being brusquely told to simply “read faster” left an impact on you, and what we tell our students to do will leave an impact on them as well. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never really thought about the way that positivity can really impact students’ perspectives on their education before reading this blog or entering into this cohort. I never thought about my language and how the way I said things or brought up topics or offered criticism could affect them. However, as I’ve been growing and learning through the last month – and especially through my interactions with fellow cohort members, my mentor teachers, and my professors – I’m really finally beginning to understand how everything I say and do affects the students that I’m charged with. You’re a huge part of that, Jamie, and I appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebekah! I really appreciate that you are being critical of speed reading here. I feel like reading should not be viewed as some worksheet of times tables that you get in math and understanding words on a page is not at all indicative of understanding connections, content, and process of reading/writing. Really getting through a book and understanding it is a very intimate and at times private process that is so easily disrupted when teachers pressure students to simply get through it faster. I feel like when we teach speed reading, we are really just teaching test taking “skills” not comprehension. It sucks the enjoyment out of the characters when you’re forced to speed date them instead of gathering a whole understanding of why they function in a text the way they do. Loved reading your post, and it really left me thinking! Thank you πŸ™‚


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