Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 3-5
Workshop
Home

About This Workshop

Asking Questions: An Interactive Guide
1. Foundations

2. Looking at Literature

Introduction »

Key Points

Learning Objectives »

Background Reading »

Homework »

Classroom Connection »

Teacher Reflection »

Ongoing Activity »

Additional Reading »

3. Starting Classroom Conversations

4. Classroom Dialogues

5. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations

6. Beginning the Year

7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities

8. Reacting to Students' Work

9. The Professional Teacher

Site Map


Workshop 2. Looking at Literature

Popular novels can entice students to explore other texts on the same topics.Key Points

Literature offers readers opportunities to:
  • gain personal insights and knowledge,
  • broaden their global understandings,
  • appreciate and value differences,
  • explore personal options, develop social awareness, and learn to read and write better.
When choosing texts for students, teachers consider:
  • richness of language
  • thematic significance
  • the interests and needs of their specific student populations
  • the potential for powerful student engagement and rich conversation
  • their own passions for an author or title
  • a particular pedagogical purpose.
Other key points include:
  • A teacher's passion for literature provides a model for students that opens the way for their own literary enthusiasms.
  • Students often follow the lead of their peers when choosing something to read and are even willing to struggle with difficult texts to experience literature recommended by classmates.
  • It is important for students to have choices and a sense of ownership about what they read.
  • Some students choose thin books because they know they can finish them.
  • Picture books can remain positive choices for students at many reading levels, although less proficient readers are often reluctant to choose them.
  • Teachers often make picture book reading a whole class activity in order to acknowledge their literary value publicly.
  • Effective envisionment-building classrooms offer students a wide range of literature selections that vary in subjects and levels of difficulty.
  • Read-alouds and buddy reading are ways teachers can support less proficient readers who are having difficulty with a particular selection.
  • Teachers can gather many texts on a single topic and make them available for students reading at different levels.
  • Teachers can demonstrate to students the factors that influence their own text selections as they help students become aware of their text selections.
  • Literature helps students learn to make personal connections with fictional characters and themes, enabling their own growth and enriching their understandings of the world.
  • Envisionment-building teachers find creative ways such as second-hand sales, discount stores, and book clubs to enrich their classroom libraries.
  • Professional organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association provide annotated listings of literature titles to help teachers find appropriate selections for students.
  • Librarians can be extremely helpful when teachers are seeking titles on a particular topic or to suit a particular group of students.
  • The Internet is an excellent source of materials and suggestions for both students and teachers.
  • The appreciation of story—both their own and those they encounter in literature—is a central factor in students' literary development.
  • Basal texts can be used effectively in envisionment—building classrooms.
  • Read-alouds allow teachers to share their own passions about literature while introducing particular themes or new authors as a background for classroom conversations.
  • Read-alouds also help teachers engage reluctant readers and create a community of readers.
  • Teachers can help students value reading a book more than once.
  • Helping students learn to love literature may be the most important goal in an envisionment-building classroom.


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