Improving Reading, Writing, and Content Learning for Students in Grades 4–12
Publication Year: 2007
“Fills a niche for content teachers who teach reading strategies, particularly in light of the standards movement.”
— Christene Alfonsi, Teacher, Fairfield High School, OH
“From a fairly concise book, teachers get an important overview about a ‘system’ approach to literacy. All teachers get specific tools and strategies and some very useful information that could change their paradigm along the way.”
— Allyson Burnett, Instructional Interventionist, Alief Hastings High School, Houston, TX
Put a strong literacy system in place to improve student achievement!
In contrast to the primary grades when children are learning to read, students in grades 4 through 12 are expected to learn content as they read, yet they may still struggle with reading basics. Improving Reading, Writing, and Content Learning for Students in Grades 4–12 provides a ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Fail-Safe Classroom: Improving Reading, Writing, and Content Learning
- Academically and Psychologically Safe to Learn
- Nonnegotiable Expectations of Daily Practice
- Nonnegotiable Expectations of Daily Practice and Writing
- Practical Tips for Creating Fail-Safe Classrooms for Literacy and Content Learning
- Chapter 2: Reading Components in Grades 4–12
- Phonemic Awareness
- Relationship of Nonnegotiables to Reading Components
- Relevant and Respectful Literacy for Below-Grade-Level Readers
- Reading Intervention and Phonemic Awareness
- Technology Solutions
- Practical Tips for Phonics and Phonemic Awareness Support
- Chapter 3: Owning Vocabulary
- Vocabulary Solvers
- Vocabulary in Context
- Word Questioning Target Word: Nylons
- Textbook Vocabulary Lists
- Word Walls
- Personal Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Journal
- Vocabulary Workbooks
- Spelling and Writing
- Practical Tips for Developing Student-Owned Vocabulary
- Chapter 4: Developing Fluency in Reading All Texts
- What Is Fluency and Why Is It So Important?
- Developing Fluency in Reading Intervention
- Developing Fluency in Reading Content Texts
- Accountable Independent Reading
- Practical Tips for Developing Fluency
- Chapter 5: Owning Comprehension Strategies
- Key Comprehension Strategies
- Teaching Strategies with Scaffolding
- To What Extent Should Strategies Be Incorporated?
- SMART Tasks
- Graphic Organizers
- Practical Tips for Owning Comprehension Strategies
- Chapter 6: Comprehending with Higher Levels of Thinking
- Higher Levels of Thinking
- Questioning Strategies
- More Questioning Techniques
- Higher Thinking with Graphic Organizers
- Align Instructional Resources
- Practical Tips for Higher-Level Thinking
- Chapter 7: Engaging Parents and Community in Literacy Learning
- Engaging Parents
- Educating Parents in Literacy Learning
- Engaging the Community
- Service Learning
- Reflection on Improving Reading, Writing, and Content Learning
- Practical Tips for Engaging Parents and Community in Literacy Learning
Copyright © 2007 by Corwin Press
All rights reserved. When forms and sample documents are included, their use is authorized only by educators, local school sites, and/or noncommercial or nonprofit entities that have purchased the book. Except for that usage, no part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Taylor, Rosemarye, 1950-
Improving reading, writing, and content learning for students in grades 4–12/Rosemarye T. Taylor.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 1-4129-4226-8 or 9-7814-1294-2263 (cloth) — ISBN 1-4129-4227-6 or 9-7814-1294-2270 (pbk.)
1. Language arts (Elementary)—United States. 2. Language arts (Secondary)—United States. I. Title.
LB1576.T354 2007 428.4′071—dc22
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
06 07 08 09 10 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
- Acquisitions Editor: Elizabeth Brenkus
- Editorial Assistant: Desirée Enayati
- Production Editor: Jenn Reese
- Copy Editor: Cheryl Rivard
- Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd.
- Proofreader: Caryne Brown
- Indexer: Nara Wood
- Cover Designer: Audrey Snodgrass
List of Figures[Page vii]
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
As I look back on my professional journey, it is easy to see that literacy has always been the first and foremost purpose of my work. As a naive first-year teacher, I was thrust into an environment in urban Atlanta where my sixth-grade reading and language-arts students read between first- and third-grade levels. This was my introduction to below-grade-level readers and the lifelong quest to find solutions. From that time forward, my number one focus has been to research, design, implement, and evaluate strategies and systems to improve reading, writing, and hence content learning. Although my work has been grounded in research, it is confirmed in action research in diverse schools with a wide range of teachers and students.
As you consider the ideas and suggestions within this text, keep in mind that about 55% of elementary students read on grade level, about 45% of middle school students read on grade level, and only about 35% of high school students read on grade level. Much of this can be attributed to the differences in the expectations of the assessments from elementary to middle to high school, which are related to the amount of nonfiction (science and social studies) reading and levels of questions on the middle and high school assessments. This trend in reading scores will be addressed and corrected only with consistent implementation of research-based instructional strategies in all classes in all grade levels. In a recent meeting of executive administrators in a diverse district of 80,000 students, the executive director for high schools attributed the gains in the district's high school reading to the consultation and support provided by the concepts and strategies in this book. I hope that readers will find success with the practical suggestions within.[Page x]
Antoinette (Toni) Worsham, supervisor of English/language arts/reading and foreign language in the Mobile County Public School System in Alabama, had encouraged me for years to write a teachers' book on developing readers, writers, and content learners in Grades 4 and up. Toni's leadership in a very diverse and challenging district is a model for pushing the higher achievers even higher and pulling up everyone else! Thank you, Toni, for being a role model and for your encouragement.
There are many others to be acknowledged who have assisted teachers in improving literacy across schools in kindergarten through twelfth grade. These exemplars have implemented consistency in reading, writing, and content learning across grades and academic areas. Listed here are those who invited me into their schools and districts, and from whom I gratefully borrowed examples of excellence included herein.
- Brennan Asplen and faculty, Millennium Middle School, Sanford, FL
- Darvin Boothe and faculty, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, FL
- Frank Casillo and faculty, Lyman High School, Longwood, FL
- Nancy Fuleihan, reading specialist, Southwest Middle School, Orlando, FL
- Debbie Graves, principal of alternative schools, Orlando, FL
- Carlotta Iglesias, former principal, Stonewall Jackson Middle School, Orlando, FL
- Althea Jackson, Lillian Gividen, and faculty, Hiawassee Elementary School, Orlando, FL
- Peggy Jones and faculty, Sebastian River High School, Indian River, FL
- Marshall Kemp, administrators, and faculty, Logan County Schools, Russellville, KY [Page xii]
- Deborah Peterson, visiting teacher/school social worker, Cobb County Schools, Marietta, GA
- Shaune Storch and faculty, Lake Howell High School, Winter Park, FL
- Bill Vogel, administrators, and faculty, Seminole County Schools, Sanford, FL
- John Wright and faculty, Timber Creek High School, Orlando, FL
Corwin Press gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following individuals:
- Christene Alfonsi, Teacher
- Fairfield Senior High School
- Fairfield, OH
- Allyson Burnett, Instructional Interventionist
- Alief Hastings High School
- Houston, TX
- Janet Hurt, Associate Superintendent
- Logan County Schools
- Russellville, KY
- Raymond Lowery, Associate Principal of Instruction
- Alief Hastings High School
- Houston, TX
- Martha Jan Mickler, Independent Literacy Consultant
- Strategic Literacy Consulting
- Bellair Beach, FL
- Cathy Puett Miller, Independent Literacy Consultant
- Huntsville, AL
About the Author
Resource A: Teacher Reflection Guide[Page 96][Page 97]Teacher Reflection Guide
Part 1. Reading Components
- What did students do to develop vocabulary today?
- What did students do to improve fluency?
- How did students strategize to comprehend the text?
- What will I do differently next time?
Part 2. Framing Print Instruction With Before-, During-, and After-Reading Strategies
- What strategies did I use today?
- Before reading
- During reading
- After reading
- Which ones worked really well?
- Before reading
- During reading
- After reading
- What will I try next time?
- Before reading
- During reading
- After reading
Part 3. High Levels of Thinking
- What levels of thinking did students work on today?
- Which questions were at levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation?[Page 98]
- Which levels of thinking will students work on tomorrow?
- Who developed the questions today—teacher or students?
Part 4. Questioning
- What questioning strategies did I use today?
- Which questioning strategies worked well?
- Which ones will I work on tomorrow?
- Did I call on every student?
- Did I validate every student?
- Were incorrect responses corrected and confirmed, clarifying meaning?
- Were questions asked on all levels, low to high?
Part 5. Writing
- How was writing used to develop vocabulary?
- How was writing used for students to show comprehension?
- How was writing used before, during, and after reading?
- Did students write down their questions before we answered them?
- Did students peer-review writing and provide feedback?
- Do students have the rubric for grading? Is it always consistent?
Copyright © 2007 by Corwin Press. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Improving Reading, Writing, and Content Learning for Students in Grades 4–12, by Rosemarye T. Taylor. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, http://www.corwinpress.com. Reproduction authorized only for the local school site or nonprofit organization that has purchased this book.
Resource B: Accountable Independent Reading Log[Page 99]
[Page 100]Accountable Independent Reading Log
Student: _____Book: _____Author: _____Genre: _____
Resource C: Book Talk Checklist[Page 101]
Book Talk Checklist
[Page 102]Student: _____Book: _____Author: _____Genre: _____
Directions: Please assign up to 5 points for each of the five categories on the checklist. Sign your name after totaling up the points you are awarding the student. Each student will give the book talk 4 times, one time to each of 4 different adults, earning a possible total of 100 points.
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The Corwin Press logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin Press is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK–12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin Press continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”