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Applying Literacy Research To Instruction In Your Content Area

1639 words - 7 pages

Researching literacy strategies is something vital to our future teaching careers. Though we may not all be English teachers, all content areas have their own specific type of literacy, and it is our duty to uncover that information and learn it fluently. In the first portion of this paper I will dive into how teachers respond and teach students perceived to be high achievers and students perceived to be low achievers and how I will respond to struggling readers in my content areas. In the second portion of this paper I will show the approach I will take in researching literacy in my content area, and share several different instructional strategies for Social Studies and Communication Arts and Literature.
In our textbook, Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12: Reinforcing the Threads of Reading by Karen Tankersley, we are given some tips on how teachers view high and low achievers. In classrooms where students were perceived as high performers, she found that teachers “talked less and encouraged more interactions among students, allowed for more creative and generative approaches to learning, offered opportunities for independent work, had warmer and more personal relationships with students, and spent little time on behavior or classroom management issues” (Tankersley, 2005). On the other hand, she also talks about how teachers work with perceived low performers. With these students teachers “prepared more structured lessons, allowed fewer opportunities for student creativity, covered less content, rewarded students for trying hard rather than for good thinking, spent a significant amount of time on behavior and management issues, and had less congenial relationships with student due to heavy emphasis on discipline (Tankersley, 2005).
In regards to how I will treat readers, who are struggling, in my content areas, Social Studies and Communication Arts and Literature, I hope to fall more into the category of teachers who have high expectations for high and lower achievers. Before diving into what this type of teacher looks like, we must look at what motivates struggling readers. Tankersley says, “Motivation is strongly affected by two variables: whether we expect to be successful at a task, and how much value we place on that success” (Tankersley, 2005). We usually categorize success into one of three reasons, ability, effort, or luck. Poorly motivated people tent to attribute success “to luck and failure to a lack of ability instead of lack of effort” (Tankersley, 2005). With this in mind, we must begin to train our minds to continually reinforce in our students that there is an important connection between effort and achievement, especially with struggling readers. We were presented with several motivational strategies in our textbook that are especially geared towards struggling readers. First, we must present students with varied texts. “The best classroom environment for struggling readers is one where they can think and talk aloud with...

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