Friday, September 24, 2010

Making the Reading Experience Authentic

This morning my class had our monthly "Breakfast and the Paper." I started this several years ago, with the thought that, "Hey, I enjoy my coffee and oatmeal with the morning paper, that's a nice reading habit...why shouldn't my students learn that?"

We take our Weekly Readers, a nonfiction/newspaper style text, and have our breakfast in the classroom. Some choose to sit together and make their desks like a "breakfast table" and discuss things as they are reading. Some sit alone (as I would) to process their reading and enjoy their breakfast. I point out that this is, in fact, a preference they have as readers - sometimes you want to be social, sometimes not. Sometimes being with others helps the process of understanding what we are reading, sometimes we need to be alone.

After we read and enjoy, we get together as a whole group where I might focus on a specific text feature (headings, subheadings, captions, etc.) or I may want to talk about vocabulary, or I may want to talk about a certain current event.

Other times we just share our thoughts and new discoveries.

Today we did that, and it became a discussion on how prior knowledge and experiences (OUR SCHEMA) will affect how we read something.

One of my students, A, had previously visited a King Tut exhibit. In one of the articles, it talked about a relic that had been uncovered. He shared with me all the things he knew about Tut, and I pointed out how he used that schema to enhance and build his new knowledge from the article.

Of course I had to gush about that...and soon others were raising their hands and sharing the schema they had with that or other articles we read.

FUN? yes. AUTHENTIC? you bet. A GREAT READING MEMORY? I guarantee it -- what other teacher lets you have breakfast IN CLASS?????

1 comment:


    How To Raise Boys That Read - a Wall St. Journal article. You might be amused by this!