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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Power of Reading

As I am sitting by the computer, planning my lessons for next week...first checking my scope and sequence, student expectations, and what I know they still need more practice working on...I find myself puzzled by what to do for creating a rich experience in Writer's Workshop. 
Before this year, I have been teaching children to read, I taught grades third and below, but now I am in 4th grade.  They are readers, most of them are pretty fluent, but there is a missing piece, a vital piece to their reading.  They are reading for speed, they are reading for "fluency," but they are not comprehending.  At the same time, 4th graders in Texas are now suppose to be writers.  They take their first writing state test, two day process and 4 hours long.  My babies write their composition, the "whole" writing process less than the four hours, not because they can but because they feel they are done. (I try to convay to them that I even have to write and rewrite and edit my emails, I send out to parents and my peers...and it could take me 30 minutes to get my thoughts together.)

But as you can see, I have a dilemma!  I need to know how to fill in the gaps of their writing/reading deficiencies in a mere 4 months.  My wheels are spinning very slowly to make sure I meticulously devise a plan on how to tackle these issues.
I want my kids to LOVE reading and really make connections and fall into the text. Not when they read for pleasure, but every piece of text.  If my goal before with my primary readers was for them to LEARN to read, my goal is for my 4th graders to LOVE to read.  When this goal is met, their writing will show more depth.
During my search for these authentic lessons, I found this awesome slide from my district's 8 day Balanced Literacy training, in the summer...(I really am a nerd and love to learn more about my craft.)

The Power of Reading and how if effects writing...
  • Writing Style does not come from actual writing experience, but from reading.
  • Actual writing can help us solve problems and make us smarter.
  • Formal Language is too complex to be learned one rule at a time.
  • We do NOT learn to write by writing.
  • People encounter more language in reading than in writing.
  • Numerous studies show that increasing writing quantity does not affect writing quality.
  • Language acquisition comes from input, not output, from comprehension, not production.
  • Well read people write well because they have subconsciously acquired good writing style.
  • The true path to higher test scores in writing is reading.
Wow!  Powerful right?  Now, I know where to begin in my journey for successful readers and writers.  On Monday, I am planning for my students to get their new Reader Writer Notebooks together.  I am a true believer that students should understand reading and writing go hand in hand.  I don't believe in doing Writer's Workshop before Reader's Workshop or separated from each other in the day.  They need to be side by side in the day. 

I hope this gives you inspiration for your goals and plans for your RW students!!!!

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