Recommended Journal Articles and Books
Resources for Parents
Todd and his friends love heroes. But in school, Todd doesn’t feel heroic. Reading is hard for him, and he gets scolded for asking too many questions. How will he ever become the kind of hero he admires? Featuring stunning illustrations that celebrate the diversity of the Little Free Library movement, here is the story of how its founder, Todd Bol, became a literacy superhero. Thanks to Todd and thousands of volunteers—many of whom are kids—millions of books have been enjoyed around the world. This creative movement inspires a love of reading, strengthens communities, and provides meeting places where new friendships, ideas—and heroes!— spring to life.
From the Illinois Reading Council Journal, Fall 2019
Recently, at our Summer Reading Clinic open house, a parent asked if we “ever had success with a student who doesn’t like to read?” As we were thinking of a response, her son, who is just going into 1st grade in the fall, was telling us how much he likes “bones and skulls.” He took out an object from his pocket and showed us a small dinosaur skeleton that he had put together. Collectively, we responded with positive thoughts about how all of these interests would be an important factor for the first day of the clinic and moving forward with him as a reader. On opening day, we had an abundance of books awaiting him about skeletons, bones, dinosaurs, and skulls. We were eager to see how he would respond. Indeed, within minutes of surrounding him with these books, he was totally engaged, curious, and captivated by the informational texts with which he was encircled. The photo in Figure 1 captures the essence of what happens when you match books to students’ interests. In this instance, the student going into 1st grade had access to books that had pictures, diagrams, and illustrations for him to comprehend. One pop-out book dis- played dinosaur skeletons. Since that first day, we noticed how his interest in these topics is both dense and deep—a knowledge base of information far greater than most of his peers.
A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society’s top designers. Having made dresses for Jackie Kennedy and Olivia de Havilland, Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them. Source: simonandschuster.com.
A resource from our Summer Reading Clinic
Students need to know that reading does not stop because school is out for the summer. Give these sheets to your students before the end of the year. Tell them they will be posted when they return in the fall. Have a cornucopia of books for them to access over the summer. Make arrangements with your local library to have a stack of the logs available.
William, (2011) defines formative feedback with the following: Feedback functions formatively only if the information fed back to the learner is used by the learner in improving performance. If the information fed back to the learner is intended to be helpful but cannot be used by the learner in improving performance, it is not formative. Feedback must embody a model of progression whereby a series of activities must be designed to move the learner from current state to goal state. We need to ensure that feedback causes a cognitive rather than an emotional reaction. (It is not a compliment or a criticism). The purpose of feedback should be to increase the extent to which students are owners of their own learning.
Student to student feedback is important. Teach your students how to comment constructive about their peers work. Teacher must model, demonstrate, and explain student to student feedback and provide examples. Be explicit about what is allowed on the feedback and what is not appropriate. Have students read their feedback and discuss if they agree or not and why. Ask if they would change anything after reading feedback.
Formative assessment and feedback needs to be ongoing and continuous if you are measuring the developmental level of a student with fidelity. These pads can be used to include anecdotal information, quick assessment checks, observations, concerns, etc. You may want to send one home to a
parent (make and keep a copy for your files) acknowledging a student’s fine contribution or perhaps a friendly note to have them work on a particular skill with their child.
These forms guide students in documenting and becoming more aware of their close reading skills. Forms are available in three levels: Primary (Dark Blue), Intermediate (Green) & Upper Grades (Light Blue). In response to the need to shift instructional strategies to highlight close reading, we have developed a close reading kit which includes the three levels of reading forms. This kit grew out of concern about how to document students’ close reading and is meant to be an active tool that students use during guided reading, independent reading and writing, and in the language and literacy centers.
Teachers have commented, “These pads have saved my time management problems”, “I feel secure in knowing I am accomplishing my literacy goals for the day and the week”; “I could have used these years ago.” These pads are to be used to help you plan your literacy block and make your teaching transparent. Fill out one each day and you will immediately notice that your planning has become intentional. Choose and pre-read your Read Aloud , prepare your questions in a scaffolding manner and require students to journal every day. The very young ones can draw and label what their thoughts are. Post these slips where they can be seen by your administrators.