Reading and Writing Instructional Strategies
A competent reader (usually the teacher) reads aloud to children. To be most effective reading aloud is done daily in classrooms and goes across the curriculum. Reading aloud, which has been proven the most influential factor in children becoming readers, promotes story enjoyment and literature appreciation.
Shared reading is any enjoyable reading situation in which the student follows the text (with big book, on the overhead, chart paper, poster, or in personal copies) while observing an expert (usually the teacher) reading it with fluency and expression. Students are invited to read along. Shared reading is one way to immerse students in rich literature without worrying about reading level or performance. Learning occurs naturally as students/teacher observe, explore, and evaluate all aspects of the story and content.
Guided reading (whole group, small group, or individualized) is the core of the instructional reading program. Guided reading depends on the teacher to be the instructional leader in designing learning experiences built upon the needs of each child. Reading strategies are taught within the context of the literature. Guided reading is done in small heterogeneous groups with emphasis on discussion and personal response to literature. Small groups on the student’s instructional level meet regularly to develop and apply reading strategies and skills. These groups are dynamic and flexible and are not static.
Students self-select books and are in charge of their own reading. Independent reading occurs daily at school and at home. Monitoring may be done by the students, teacher and/or parent/s through the use of reading records (written records of books read) and conferences.
Writing on chart paper, the overhead projector, or the chalkboard, the teacher demonstrates by writing in front of the students. The teacher says out loud what she/he is doing – the actual thinking and rethinking that goes on mentally. The teacher is also demonstrating and talking about the format, spacing, handwriting, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary choices in the process of writing. These demonstrations go across the curriculum.
In a relaxed atmosphere the teacher and the students compose collaboratively, negotiating topics, meaning, and choice of words with the teacher acting as scribe. This strategy promotes the development of writing by encouraging all students to participate orally while the teacher is demonstrating the conventions of writing. The teacher’s questioning and direction allows the students to write what they might not be able to write independently. Shared writing may include brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing and final copy.
Guided writing (whole class, small group, or individualized) is the core of the writing program. The student holds the pen and does the writing while the teacher guides, responds, and extends the student’s ideas and skills. Students choose their own topics most of the time. Mini-lessons occur in response to students’ needs. Conferences, peer response, and sharing are essential. Writing pieces might include responses to literature, letters, poems and reports. Ideally, spelling and handwriting are taught within the context of guided writing.
Students select topics and are in charge of their own writing. Independent writing occurs daily and is monitored by the child and teacher through the use of draft books and writing across the curriculum.
From: Routman, Regie, 2000, from Conversations Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann