Monday, September 24, 2007

Do You Understand What You're Reading?

Independent Reading is great, if you knew what you were reading! “Balanced literacy” has replaced old boring textbooks, but do kids actually understand what they are reading during their independent reading time? Inside Schools reported that it saw students just “flipping pages of books they weren’t ready to read”.
In 8% of the schools surveyed, children receive small group instruction in a
"guided reading group" only once or twice a week.
It is important for children at an early age to understand how to read into a book, and analyze parts of literature. When children get into high school and have to do “close reading” on a certain book, they are totally lost. When it’s time for a group discussion, they have nothing to say. This can lead to student apathy in school. Reading is also an essential part of growing up and school in general.

A guided instruction time also does not mean that, the teacher will dissect a book for a student, but instead teach the student by asking questions, about certain parts of the book. Learning terms such as imagery, symbolism, and figurative language, in junior high school, can be very beneficial to students as they enter into high school. Personally as a student who attended Louis Armstrong Middle School, I have learned that guided book talks with my English teacher helped me tremendously. When I entered high school, I had a higher level of understanding and appreciation for literature that many of my peers either discovered latter on, or never understood. For our “independent reading” time, we would be split in groups, in which we decided which book we would like to read, we kept logs, and wrote down symbols, and had group discussions or one with our teacher at least once a week.

Reading books of literature, helps build vocabulary, and writing skills. Reading also helps students and prepares them for the SAT’s or ACT’s that they may plan to take in the future.

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