Post by rachelgoodbar on Feb 23, 2016 11:53:34 GMT -5
So as you all know this week one of the things to research was literacy myths. There were a few things that kept appearing in my googlings, such as 1) Students in the U.S. are the worst readers in the world 2) Kids reading abilities have declined over the past few decades and 3) We used to do a better job at teaching students how to read. Obviously these are myths, but in what ways do you think they hold some validity? Also how would you go about changing these myths to have people believe that we are actually teaching students literacy skills?
Post by kcornelison93 on Feb 24, 2016 14:23:17 GMT -5
Sorry this is really long! I read an article titled “The Future of Literary Studies?” by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht on the JSTOR database. This article was about specifically the field of literary studies and its importance as an ambiguous and continued field. Even within the humanities, the article does not try to narrow the focus of “literature.” The article asks questions like “which texts can be regarded as ‘literary’...?” The author also mentions the term “deconstruction,” which means “[using] literary texts as evidence of the impossibility of any stable meaning-structure.” That is to say, the more we read and the more we participate in discourse, the less likely we are to be able to come to any kind of consensus as to the true meanings of any concepts being debated. “The systemic second-level observer who is doomed due to the inevitability of self-observation, constantly to perceive the relativity of his/her positions and insights, becomes a strange companion but nevertheless a functional equivalent of the deconstructive idea of différance.” From the Wikipedia page on différance, “In the essay ‘Différance’ [Jacques] Derrida indicates that différance gestures at a number of heterogeneous features that govern the production of textual meaning. The first (relating to deferral) is the notion that words and signs can never fully summon forth what they mean, but can only be defined through appeal to additional words, from which they differ. Thus, meaning is forever "deferred" or postponed through an endless chain of signifiers. The second (relating to difference, sometimes referred to as espacement or "spacing") concerns the force that differentiates elements from one another and, in so doing, engenders binary oppositions and hierarchies that underpin meaning itself.” I.e. People participating in a secondary discourses are never going to get it. And likely people who claim it to be their “primary” discourse may not even know what is going on.
Post by rachel1827 on Feb 24, 2016 17:26:31 GMT -5
I feel like with number three the easy argument is we "used" to teach students to read for fun not read for a test. With the way education is moving in the US, teachers are expected to have their students understand a test. It requires faster comphersion and ability to read between the lines. Students pick up books now to read for class, tests, or to meet a certain amount of AR points no more reading for fun. I feel like that why the myth is supported because in this generation we are expected to do so much and that leaves no time for reading for fun. When you read for fun you build a better vocabulary, more interests, and more memories because the students are invested. Teachers can utulize this skill and the passion that students have when they are invested in their own education.
Post by rachelgoodbar on Feb 24, 2016 18:28:25 GMT -5
Rachel, I agree that reading for fun builds vocabulary and interests and gives students more skills than they realize. So many teachers "teach to the test" and really only focus reading on where it is tested, but I know i've personally experienced teachers who have pushed reading for fun, even while using AR tests, yet this myth that teachers don't teach reading as well anymore is still around. Does it make a difference on how well we teach students to read compared to teaching them to read for fun or reading for tests? When we teach students to read for tests we also teach them how to analyze when they are reading, which is a great skill to have.
How would you address any of these myths in your own classroom?
I think a way to teach students literacy skills in terms of reading is to model it. I have recently learned about the teaching technique called "Think Aloud" where the teacher talks through what their brain does when they look at a text. I have a teacher right now who walks through his thought process when it comes to reading poetry and it has not only been so helpful to me and helped me understand how to look at poetry more, but also has grown my interest and motivation in reading poetry now that I understand how to look at it. Therefore, the "think aloud" strategy could help prove these myths wrong in my classroom.
Post by rachelgoodbar on Feb 24, 2016 18:42:52 GMT -5
Morgan, The "Think aloud" strategy sounds really interesting and I know i would personally like to hear something like that especially with poetry because I don't understand it. I feel like for high school and middle school students it would be really beneficial to see how their teacher does and thinks through things so that they know one way to process it. I feel like if more teachers did that it would really improve students ability to learn and help battle myths.
I think the idea that literacy is decreasing amongst today's youth results from kids not actually holding books when they read. However, just because kids aren't reading the things we want them to read does not mean that they are less competent readers. Children experience reading in the modern day in much larger volumes, but not in the traditional form that older generations are used to. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texting, are all examples of how students "do reading" in today's world. I think as teachers, if we can find ways to connect everyday readings to our subject area content will help break down this myth that students are becoming increasingly reading deficient.
Post by savannapoulson on Mar 2, 2016 10:03:23 GMT -5
In regards to students and reading, I think it's not necessarily that they don't know how to read in general, they just don't know how to read in an academic way. For example, a teacher can assign textbook reading for homework and a student can read the chapter, however when it comes to the next class and they have a quiz on the chapter the student doesn't do well because nothing they read actually stuck with them. This same thing occurs with novels and passages on standardized tests. I think teaching students to read in an academic way would be beneficial, even if it goes against the typical "read every single word" type of reading.
I think part of it also comes from a factor of motivation. We've been using a lot of the same required reading books for a long time. I'm sure if we asked our parents, a lot of them may have had some of the same required readings as we did. The old saying is "culture marches on," and so I think there's always the possibility that with each passing year, the same age group of students will be less and less connected and interested in what they're being given. I personally know plenty of students who enjoy reading for fun or reading within their interests, but would probably bore a hole in their brain instead of read The Scarlet Letter again. I think that people may see kids bemoaning this material that they feel disinterested in and viewing that as a sense of ingratitude or inability to read. It doesn't help when standardized testing gets kids up at 7 in the morning and forces them to read stories that some seem to think are purposefully bland and boring. The result of all of this is predictably that kids will seem less able to read, even if they can and love to within their own time and interests.
Post by lizziecassity on Mar 2, 2016 18:51:47 GMT -5
I actually talked about this in my midterm! The myth that children are becoming worse at reading stems from the fact that they are even LESS interested in reading because these days they honestly don't have to. With SparkNotes and Shmoop there is no need for them to read an entire book when those websites help them pass the test. There is no push for students to get better if they are just "getting by". In previous generations they may not have wanted to read, but they HAD to because they did not have the resources we do today. The only way to have students up their reading abilities is to get them to ACTUALLY read, and the only way to do that is to make it as interesting as their movies, apps, and social media sites. In my future classroom I plan on having free literature in all interest areas and free reading time. I hope I can get reading to appeal to all students in this way and make it an enjoyable experience and not something stressful to get done before a test.