Reading Recipe: Motivation

Motivation

Anti-motivation was looking for his next victim while walking thru Vocabulary City. A gust of wind picked up a page from the Daily Reader and smacked Anti-Motivation in the face. Anti-Motivation took the page off and read the headline, “Comprehension Achieved.” Well, we can’t have that,” said Anti-Motivation. He thought to himself, “I will need to double my efforts now.” As he walked passed a school an evil grin spread across his face. He took out technology toys and started to pass them out at recess. He figured if he could distract and corrupt the new generation of minds he could retire earlier. Teachers saw Anti-Motivation and called in a detective to help them. When the detective arrived he shared his plan. This is what the plan said about Motivation.

Motivation

Motivation for self-reading comes from within once a student learns how to read. Before self-reading occurs, motivation will manifest itself when the student connects with the text. The connection can come from personal interests or an outside source. Eric Jensen (2005) writes, “The best and most lasting way to motivate students involves creating long-term internal motivation through good parenting and through effective schooling that offers meaningful choices and appropriate curriculum” (p. 103). Students will want to read when it is relevant to their interests. Parents, educators, or the community at large can place pressure on students to read a certain text; however, the true connection for reading is not there in the student. For a true connection a student needs to be motivated to read.

Motivation is wanting to do something and then following through with it. Jensen (2005) writes, “Another way to think of motivations is that it consists of the willingness to be active (volition) combined with the actual behavior (meaningful participation)” (p. 102). For example, a person who has their pants on fire they will be motivated to put the fire out. Teachers need to create an environment where students want to read because they are on fire for books. There are several ways that teachers can inspire motivation in students. Debbie Miller (2002) writes about components of motivation, “… the value of student choice, the importance of creating literate environments that are purposeful, accessible, and organized, and the significance of teacher attitudes and expectations” (p. 42).By incorporating choice, attitudes, purposeful reading, and choice again motivation can be inspired in students.

For students to be intrinsically engaged the environment must be staged where students are able to choose. The role of the teacher is to create conditions for interest learning and then provide the activities and structure (Erwin, 2004). Jonathan C. Erwin (2004) describes two types of motivation internal and external. It is important that the teacher create an environment where the students have internal motivation. Erwin (2004) states, “…internal motivation, which depends on motivation to come from needs or drives within students” (p. 6). Motivation for students comes from being given a choice. The student established an ownership of their choice and is more engaged in something of their interest.


Along with choice students need to be involved in the process of choosing their learning process with reading. Gruwell (2007) writes, “The goal is to establish a collaborative an supportive academic environment that will draw your students into the learning process…” (p. 11). When students establish their own goals for reading they take ownership and become intrinsically motivated to see their learning though the process. Gruwell (2007) continues to say for engagement in a students a teacher needs to, “help them make connections between who they are as individuals and who they are as students, and encourage them to discover commonalities with their classmates” (p. 11). By encouraging students to make connection with one another they are establishing their own community for reading. Students then have an invested interest in their own reading. Erwin (2004) states, “When teachers provide a number of opportunities for students to gain power, these students will work harder on their assignments…” (p. 101). Students are more willing to read when it is something that they are interested in and have the power of choice for an assignment.

Erwin, J. (2004). The classroom of choice: Giving students what they need to and getting what you want. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Gruwell, E., The Freedom Writers Foundation. (2007). The freedom writers diary: Teacher’s guideNew York, NY: Broadway Books.

Jenson, E. (2005). Teaching with the brain in mind: 2nd edition revised and updated. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Miller, D. (2002). Reading with meaning: Teaching comprehension in the primary grades. Markham, CANADA: Pembroke Publishers Limited.

The teachers called in the super hero Motivation. Motivation arrived and empowered the students with choice and the teachers with knowledge. Anti-Motivation ran off to hide in an abandon arcade to plot his next move. As Motivation flew off, he exclaimed, “take ownership of your own learning and you will go far!”

Here ends the series: Reading Recipe. I hope you have enjoyed our little adventures and learned a bit about the different parts for reading. If you find that I have made an error or want to say something, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Recipe: Comprehension

Comprehension

“Comprehension Achieved,” was the headlines from the Daily Reader. “Hmmm,” thought the detective. “I wonder if it’s finally true. After years, of developing the scaffolding for comprehension and the amount of vocabulary that went into this,” the detective said aloud. A passerby said, “Sure is, they were able to decipher the code and then they built Fluency.” Another voice chimed in, “Don’t forget the visualization that went into the project.” “Ah, yes,” said the detective. I thought as much. I’m just not convinced it’s true. The newsboy piped in, “Read all about it in today’s paper.” The detective paid the paperboy and started to read….

Comprehension

When a student understands the meaning of a text, that student has reached comprehension. Comprehension is a cumulative process for a reader. David Sousa (2006), defines comprehension as, “… a complex interactive process that begins with identifying words by using knowledge outside of the text, accessing word meaning in context, recognizing grammatical structures, drawing inferences, and monitoring oneself to ensure that the text is making sense” (p. 187). For a student to understand a text, several needs need to be met:

  • background knowledge to build upon the scaffolding
  • distinguish the meaning of words or phrases in different contexts using vocabulary skills
  • Print concepts to distinguish structures in text
  • sense of fluency (created from phonics and phonemic awareness)
  • skill of visualization.

All of these components build towards comprehension of text.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

A wide smile grew across the detective’s face as he finished. He neatly folding and tucked the newspaper under his arm as he walked away.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Recipe: Fluency

Fluency

Once upon a time there was a race car driver and he needed speed for his reading car. He often would run out of gas and he couldn’t figure out why. He was able to decode the words as he was running down the race track. So he asked his pit boss, “Why am I not able to finish on time and understand what I have read?” His pit boss told him he needed to know lots of site words, be able to decode unknown words, and to know why you are reading. The pit boss handed him a brochure with information on fluency. The race car drive sat down and started to read.

Fluency

When text is uninterrupted by decoding, the reading of the text is fluid, and expressive fluency is achieved. David Sousa (2006), states, “Fluency is the ability to read a text orally with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Children who lack fluency read slowly and laboriously, often making it difficult for them to remember what has been read…” (p. 187). Readers need three things to be fluent, large cache of sight words, be able to analyze unfamiliar words, and understand that the purpose of reading is comprehension (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009).

Students with a large cache of words known by sight and do not need to decode are better able to read with speed (Braunger and Lewis, 2006). Braunger and Lewis (2006) describes why fluency is important to comprehension, “…Automaticity in word recognition is important because it frees up the reader’s attention to the meaning…” (p. 137). They are not stumbling to decode each and every word. Braunger and Lewis (2006) caution, “Automatic word processing does not guarantee comprehension any more than lack of oral fluency signals a lack of comprehension” (p. 137).

Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe where literacy is from, “All literacy learning, including the development of fluent reading, is grounded in oral language” (p. 75). When a student reads aloud fluently, the sound is smooth and pleasant. A non-fluent reader could show the following:

  • sounds like a reading of unconnected words
  • tends to repeat words or phrases
  • loses his or her place
  • little variation in tone or expression
  • ignores punctuation and sentence brakes (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009).

A fluent reader that is able uses skills to decode and analyze unfamiliar words while reading (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009). Caldwell and Leslie (2009) point out that, “Appropriate reading rate is usually a signal that the reader is automatically identifying words either from memory or as a result of efficient letter-sound matching” (p. 96). Fluency can also occur when a student has experience with other texts that are similar (Fountas and Pinnell, 2006).

Finally, when a student understands what they are reading they are able to read with expression (Caldwell and Leslie, 2009). Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe what fluent readers do, “As they read, they notice dialogue and differentiate it from other parts of the text. The attention is on the meaning of the text” (p. 64). Fluency is also depended upon the student performance in different areas:

  • familiarity with concepts in the text
  • familiarity with genre or type
  • accessibility of language structures
  • personal vocabulary
  • number of recognized words in the text
  • number of words that are easy to solve (Fountas and Pinnell 2006).

Caldwell and Leslie (2009) stress the importance of why fluency is important, “Because they do not have to analyze every word, they can direct their attention to meaning, and because they understand what they read, they enjoy and appreciate reading and are motivate to read more” (p. 96).

Braunger, J., Lewis, J. (2006). Building a knowledge base in reading: Second edition. Newark DE:

International Reading Association, Urbana, IL: The National Council of Teachers of English.

Caldwell, S., Leslie, L. (2009). Intervention strategies to follow informal reading inventory assessment: So what do I do now?. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Fountas, I., Pinnell, G. (2006). Teaching comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking,and writing about reading, k-8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

A couple of months later…

The race car driver was able to run down the reading tack with speed and fluency.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Recipe: Phonics

 

Phonics

There once was a man from Nantucket.
He liked to put words in his bucket.
He found some tonics for his phonics
that lay near the sea shore.
While he was there he asked for more
from a lady selling sea shells by the sea shore.
It turns out that she was related to a fellow
all dressing in yellow and mellow.
For he was picking and pecking peppers.
Now this young man sold the tonics for phonics
for you need phonic tonic to pickle peppers.
If you do not believe this tale is true
please read below or until you turn blue.
 

Phonics

Linnea Ehri (2001) defines phonic instruction as, “Phonics instruction teaches beginning readers the alphabetic code and how to use this knowledge to read words (p. 394). Students receiving phonics instruction are practicing sounds for each letter and their blends with other letters. Hall and Moats describe what a strong phonics program looks like in the classroom, “… the letter-sound correspondence is taught early in the reading curriculum and applied to simple stories with those patterns; literature is read aloud to the children until they can sound words out” (p. 84). Debbie Miller writes about why she uses phonics in her classroom,“When children recite and read nursery rhymes, play with tongue twisters, and read snippets of text I’ve retyped from favorite read-alouds, they develop a sense of the predictability of language, the receptive nature of words, and the relationships between letters and sounds” (p. 50).

There is much debate about the place of phonics in education. Hall and Moats (2006) give an example of what a person might argue against phonic instruction, “… that it can replace or supplant good literature in the classroom, and children will not be motivated to read” (p. 85). Hall and Moats go on to say, ” If a code-emphasis program shortchanges literature or teaches skills in a disconnect way, the program is not well designed” (p. 86). Braunger and Lewis (2006) chime in on this debate and state, “At least it appears that phonemic awareness and phonic knowledge develop simultaneously as children have many varied experiences with print, supported by guided by a knowledgeable other” (p. 80). Phonics could be taught separately; however, phonics grows right alongside phonemic awareness.

Burns, Griffin, and Snow (1999) write on the topic of phonics, “Children who are first learning to read need appropriate help in understanding, learning, and using the spelling-sound conventions of the writing system, as well as opportunities to appreciate the information and pleasures offered by print” (p. 6). Burns, Griffin, and Snow (1999) give characteristics of a good reader:

  • understanding of the alphabetic system to identify text
  • use background knowledge to gain meaning from print
  • can read fluently.

When these goals are addressed and well integrated, readers gain proficiency in all of them (Burns, Griffin, and Snow, 1999)

Braunger, J., Lewis, J. (2006). Building a knowledge base in reading: Second edition. Newark DE:

International Reading Association, Urbana, IL: The National Council of Teachers of English.

Burns, S., Griffin, P., Snow, C. (1999). Starting out right: a guide to promoting children’s reading success. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Erwin, J. (2004). The classroom of choice: Giving students what they need to and getting what you want. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Hall, S., Moats, L. (2006). Straight talk about reading: How parents can make a difference during the early years. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Miller, D. (2002). Reading with meaning: Teaching comprehension in the primary grades. Markham, CANADA: Pembroke Publishers Limited.

I hope you haven’t turned blue with our little tale about tonics for phonics.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Recipe: Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness

The once was a historian trying to understand an lost city’s writing. At least that was her hypothesis when she came across several symbols and didn’t know the meaning. There were several books that held the symbols. The first book she held showed the symbols ◊&”, ‹&”, and ›&”. The historian took out her reading guide for assistance and this is what she found about phonemic awareness:

Phonemic Awareness

Gayle Gregory and Lin Kuzmich (2005) define phonemic awareness as, “…the process of translating sounds into symbols and learning to recognize those symbols and their combinations in words as a beginning step to reading and writing. The stages of phonemic awareness include rhymes, rhythms, symbols, and patterns” (p. 64). When students are using rhymes such as dog, bog, and fog they are demonstrating phonemic awareness. Gregory and Kuzmich (2005) go on to say, “Using stories, chants, and rhyme gives children the opportunity to recognize rhyming words and create other scenarios and verses of their own once the pattern has been established” (p. 65). By using basic rhythms students start to develop their phonemic awareness. Students start out using symbols and start placing sound with these symbols. Finally, students become phonemically aware when they can recognize patterns in stories; such as “There once was…” (Gregory and Kuzmich (2005).

Part of being phonemically aware is the knowledge that printed words are made up of individual sounds and these can become new words (Sousa, 2006). David Sousa Ed.D (2006) writes that phonemic awareness, “includes the ability to isolate a phoneme (first, middle, or last) from the rest of the word, to segment words into their components phonemes, and to delete a specific phoneme from a word” (p. 186). For example, students with phonemic awareness are able to distinguish between hat and cat and between hat and hot.

Gregory, G., Kuzmich, L. (2005). Differentiated literacy strategies for student growth and achievement in grades 7-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

The historian started to crack the code and was able to distinguish the difference between the symbols.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry


Reading Recipe: Vocabulary

Vocabulary

An architect was walking thru Vocabulary City one day and was fascinated by the buildings. Each of the buildings were designed using words. As the architect looked around he saw tall colorful skyscrapers built with many words. Fantastic fancy buildings were built with expressive words. As the architect kept walking he was saddened by some of the buildings. There were missing pieces and holes throughout the buildings. These buildings were not as colorful, or tall, or expressive. The architect had wondered why in this city full of words why there was a difference. He came to a sign and it read:

Vocabulary

A reader’s vocabulary is knowledge of words already known by that reader. Caldwell and Leslie (2009) describe what is involved in knowing a word, At the lowest level, it involves being able to provide a definition. At a higher level, it involves understanding how that word fits into a variety of contexts” (p. 128). If a reader can provide a definition of a word then the reader is able to attach a basic meaning to the word. Gale Gregory and Lin Kuzmich (2005) describe what will happen if students do not have, “…excellent vocabulary acquisitions strategies, students will not progress as fast and some students will not be able to access the content they must learn…” (p. 96).

In Kindergarten Literacy (2006), McGill-Franzen mentions a study on children’s language development. The study looked at the difference between children from professional families and children from families on welfare. McGill-Franzen (2006) commented, “Sadly for children in poor families, preschool vocabulary predicted later language achievement, even reading comprehension, in third grade” (p. 19). Being able to understand individual word meaning affects the comprehension of text. McGill-Franzen (2009) goes on to say that a child’s use of language by the age of three can predict their language development, listening, speaking, word meaning and syntax. For students who start with a limited vocabulary, the study of vocabulary is an important aspect to help develop reading comprehension.

Caldwell, S., Leslie, L. (2009). Intervention strategies to follow informal reading inventory assessment:

Gregory, G., Kuzmich, L. (2005). Differentiated literacy strategies for student growth and achievement in grades 7-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

McGill-Franzen, A. (2006). Kindergarten literacy: Matching assessment and instruction in

kindergarten. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Finally, he understood. Readers had built this city. There was a difference in vocabulary knowledge among the citizens.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Recipe: Background Knowledge

Background Knowledge

Once upon a time there was an author who was baking up a reading story. The next ingredient was background knowledge. Now, this particular author wasn’t sure exactly what background knowledge was so she looked it up in her ingredient catalog. And this is what she found.

Background Knowledge

Before reading with understanding occurs, there needs to be a scaffolding of knowledge to build upon. Jeffrey Wilhelm PH.D. (2004) explains that background knowledge is necessary for students to be successful in reading. Wilhelm (2004) describes background knowledge as something that new meanings are built upon. Future learnings of more complex concepts are dependent on the foundations of the original background knowledge. Wilhelm (2004) goes on to explain that by building a foundation students are able to have their curiosity triggered by the reading. When their curiosity is triggered they connect to knowledge they already have and that builds up the information that will be needed to comprehend the text. Wilhelm (2004) stresses, “The most important time to teach reading is before kids read a text that presents them with a new challenge” (p. 76).

Each student carries their own scaffolding of experiences and expectations from their quality world. William Glasser (2006) explains that a quality world is a perception of what is important to an individual. Quality worlds are made up experiences and culture of an individual’s background. When text is read by an individual the information passes through several “filters” of relevancy. If the text that the student is reading has no connection to any of the filters in place, the information does not pass through and is reflected. A connection is not made and the student will not comprehend the text. If there is background knowledge or experience the information is allowed to pass through and become part of the scaffolding. The student will be able to comprehend the text.

Background knowledge is important for students as well as teachers. Teachers need to know the background knowledge and print experiences students possess. Elizabeth Birr Moje, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, was asked why identity mattered. Elizabeth responded, “My immediate response is that identity matters because it, whatever it is, shapes or is an aspect of how humans make sense of the world and their experiences in it, including their experiences with texts” (McCarthey, 2002). When designing reading instruction it is vital to know the students’ identity, quality world, and print scaffolding. By using the background knowledge of students, teachers can begin to tailor instruction that can build upon that foundation.

Glasser, W. (1998). Choice theory: A new psychology of personal freedom. New York, NY:HarperCollins Publishers.

McCarthey, S., Moje, E. (2002). Identity matters. Reading Research Quarterly. 37(2). 228-238.

Wilhelm, J. (2004). Reading is seeing: Learning to visualize scenes, characters, ideas, and text worlds to improve comprehension and reflective reading. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

So now our author knows what background knowledge means and she added a cup to the receipe.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry


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