Monday, May 7, 2018

A change of direction in my inquiry..

I recently wrote about my hunch around Guided reading in my class and the impact this might have on the learning progress of my students. I've attended a couple of webinars about Guided Reading - one with Fountas & Pinnell here and one I wrote about here with Create-Abilities and I am slowly becoming more familiar with this as a teaching strategy. 

I have my station all set up with my Reading Progress booklets, my highlighters, my guided reading templates reference sheet and my levelled books and my super keen students who love the idea of taking books home. 

AND THEN...I saw this...and as any overworked, time deficient teacher does - I read through the comments, and read and read and read... 

I have to admit, I have lived in the 'whole language' camp for many years and have recently realised (after studying) that children actually require a balanced approach an either/or approach just won't cut it anymore. Unfortunately, this seems to be a political football in NZ, and the whole vs phonics approach has left teachers feeling disillusioned and confused. 

This article got me thinking about phonics, phonemic awareness and letter identification (which is an assessment used in the Observation Survey by Marie Clay/Reading Recovery work). Some of my children are reading, but the comments section of this post got me thinking. Are my learners guessing or reading? In my class, we have a lot to work on with regard to Letter Identification. For those of you who haven't seen this assessment (see below), to administer this assessment you ask the learner to read the letters on a line and then you gradually go down as they read across, obviously, the letters are not in alphabetical order rather they are jumbled. There are a total of 54 symbols and children are given a point if they can name the word, give the sound or give it in a word.  

The comments and related articles suggest that it is much more important for children to 'decode' texts. That is, understand letter sounds associations. So, with this in mind, it looks like my second inquiry might take on a new direction. My new sub-question will be:

Overarching inquiry
What strategies are most effective when supporting WRS learners with reading?" 

Sub-question Two:
Will regular phonemic awareness sessions improve students letter/sound identification? 

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