education

Offline Reading Comprehension: Developing Strategic and Engaged Readers

visual representations and mind maps

This is my reflection in response to week 2 assignment and readings of URI’s Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy, EDC 532: Seminar in Digital Literacy with Kara Clayton and Dr. Julie Coiro.

STRATEGIC AND ENGAGED READERS

Strategic readers know that the purpose of reading is to understand, and that there are a number of comprehension strategies that they can adopt in order to build knowledge from reading. Strategic readers are able to apply such strategies in “the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language,” as the Rand Reading Comprehension Study Group defines reading comprehension. Strategic readers process information by constantly monitoring their understanding. In that process, strategic readers, when faced with understanding challenges, engage in problem solving and self-correction.

Buehl (2007) provides insight into the seven cognitive processes of proficient readers, beginning with making connections to one’s prior knowledge – which is regarded as the one most critical strategy for learning to take place, since no new knowledge or understanding is constructed in a vacuum – to generating questions, creating mental sensory images, inferencing, prioritizing, and synthesizing the information being read. Add intrinsic motivation to that process and the result is a strategic and engaged reader. Importantly, the more one reads to understand, the more motivated one becomes, and the more social interaction ensues, for engaged readers are prone to sharing and socially connecting around what they are learning. The more one interacts, the more strategies are mobilized, and the more one’s knowledge base grows, leading to the desire to read more. That is the engagement cycle, as defined by Swan (2003).

Teachers and librarians not only can but indeed they must foster engagement and self-regulation as critical ingredients for strategic reading by means of a balanced comprehension instruction approach that encompasses a supportive classroom context and a model of comprehension instruction that models and supports the development of reading strategies for learners. (Duke & Pearson, 2002)

CONNECTIONS

The seven comprehension processes of proficient readers (Buehl, 2007) are mirrored in the six individual comprehension strategies that excellent reading teachers are intent at scaffolding and modelling for and with learners (Duke & Pearson, 2002). Think-alouds represent a strategy for activating schemata and generating questions. Inferencing and determining importance are engendered in text structure analysis. The ability to synthesize is exercised by means of summarization. The creation of visual and sensory representations is both a process and a strategy which boosts one’s synthesis capacity, also helping in the self-monitoring and self-correction process.

RAND (2002) provides us with the heuristic for thinking about reading comprehension, defining its components: the reader, the text, and the activity, all of which are nestled within a sociocultural dimension, which is by and large overlooked by NAEP (2015/2019). Indeed, how does a standardized assessment account for a virtually infinite sociocultural variance? If RAND gives us the reader, the text, and the activity, Duke & Pearson (2002) give us the teacher, and CORI (Swan, 2003) pulls in the sociocultural dimension by articulating skills and strategies, knowledge, motivation, and social collaboration.

Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction gives us the ‘how’ by leveraging the three basic needs for intrinsic motivation, namely competence, autonomy, and belonging. In other words, learners need a sense of self-efficacy, choice, and opportunities for social interaction and human connection. CORI then represents the supportive classroom context articulated by Duke & Pearson, one in which learners read a lot, read for real reasons, engage in high quality talk about text, and ultimately strive for the construction of conceptual knowledge.

I find that one of the greatest challenges in my own teaching context, as well as in the Brazilian educational system, is making instruction coherent as opposed to fragmented, as proposed in CORI. Such coherence and transdisciplinarity entails a whole set of very unique beliefs that have not necessarily been cultivated by teacher training programs, and certainly not in traditional and mainstream educational settings. The shift from a fragmented to a relational and systemic view of and approach to knowledge construction and instructional design (as opposed to lesson planning) requires major transformations in teacher education and school culture.

IMPLICATIONS/QUESTIONS/CRITIQUES

Fragmented teaching is not time productively spent, at least not for learners. It may make teaching and planning less complex for the teacher, but it is ultimately disengaging for all involved in the educational experience. I was particularly struck by the difference between lesson planning and instruction design: intention. Johnson (2014), referring to the implications of the TPACK framework, says:

“The framework supports and deepens literacy practices, allowing teachers to become thoughtful instructional designers. Washburn (2010) writes, ‘Instructional design differs from lesson planning, the term we traditionally use to describe a teacher’s pre-instruction preparation. Designers communicate by intentionally combining elements’ (pp.2-3)”

  • I wonder what a teacher development program that enables teachers to operate that shift from fragmented to systemic, from instructor to coach, from planner to designer, looks like?
  • I wonder what will it take for teachers of all subject areas to realize that they are, first and foremost, literacy teachers?

 

References:

Duke, N.K. & Pearson, P. D. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction, 3rd edition. International Reading Association.

Swan (2003). Why is the North Pole Always Cold? In Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI): Engaging Classrooms, Lifelong Learners

Johnson, D. (2014) Reading, Writing and Literacy 2.0. Teaching with Online Texts, Tools, and Resources, K-8 (chapters 1 & 2)

Buehl, D. (2014). Fostering Comprehension of Complex Texts (Chapter 1 pages 3-11) in Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning (4th Edition). International Literacy Association.

RAND Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading for understanding: Toward an R&D program in reading comprehension. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] Abridged Reading Framework for the 2015/2019

On the Power of Inquiry and Language

#DigiURI Reflections (Part 1)

On ancestry and identity [Street art in Providence, RI]

The 2019 Summer Institute in Digital Literacy (#DigiURI) was a five-day, immersive workshop experience which took place in the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies, in the University of Rhode Island, Providence. The program is the brain child of Julie Coiro, who joined forces with her dyad partner Renee Hobbs to bring to life one of the most intense and insightful learning experiences I’ve had to date. And mind you, dear reader, I have had my fair share of deep learning experiences. Lucky me 🙂

There is certainly a lot to process still. And I must say that I was privileged to have been accompanied by a group of brilliant Brazilian educators, all engaged in the promising Educamídia program, set forth by the Instituto Palavra Aberta and supported by Google.org. Educamídia was created to empower educators and educational organizations, as well as to engage society in the process of youth media education by developing their communication potential in various media.

This week, my dyad partner Carla Arena and I had the chance of sharing some of our most powerful takeaways from our experience at the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy (video above). We chatted in Portuguese then (we are Brazilian), but I would like to begin sharing my most compelling insights with you in this post.

Inquiry at the Core

I had already been made aware of the fact that inquiry-based learning approaches are truly in the center of powerful learning experiences. My experience in DigiURI really drove that home for me. I found myself fully immersed in thinking, creating, communicating and building meaning, both on my own and collaboratively. The constant sharing among all participants was very powerful. The digital artifacts which we created as the outcome of our collaboration were purposefully designed because they were a natural result of the powerful process in which we engaged, in constant reflection and feedback loops from our dyad partners. Inquiry-based learning is the pedagogical pathway that naturally pulls in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. It also naturally elicits the meaningful use of technology. It’s the pathway to follow for ‘minds on – hands on’ learning.

Inquiry at center – the sketch I created and that served as inspiration for our DigiURI project

Use Language to Change the World

Inspired by Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, Kristin Ziemke struck a chord when she talked about literacy development in young learners, and how powerful it is when kids begin naming the world – their world. Kristin made us aware of the power of visual literacy, and also of the meaning making process that we engage in when learning to name our own worlds. Therefore, changing language is part of the process of changing the world. And that, my friends, is exactly what happens throughout the inquiry-based learning pathway. Language is used to empower, to set high expectations for students, to reflect, and to communicate learning to the world.

Kristin Ziemke in her keynote (photo by Carla Arena)

…to be continued soon

Still more on the power of images, how it connected to leadership for me, and digital empathy.

7 Ways in Which our VISION 2020 is Coming to Life

2018 has been an exciting first year in our Innovation Project – Vision 2020! Have a look at how much we have accomplished so far:

We began the year with our 1st Maker Summit during our In-Service. All our teachers engaged in it either as facilitators or as participants of a series of hands-on and maker learning experiences with the purpose of giving you guys a taste of what maker-centered learning could look like in our classrooms. The 1st Maker Summit was also the kick-off of Vision 2020. Over 2018, an important step was taken in the realization of our innovative Vision for 2020: Our team of Course Coordinators partnered up with our Innovation Mentors to design Maker Activities to be incorporated in our courses. Since then, many teachers have been exploring the creative possibilities of maker-centered language learning with our students. Our Facebook group is sizzling with new activities and projects being shared by teachers every day.

Right after our In-Service and Maker Summit, we began engaging in the CoDesign Labs. The name itself says it: the Labs were creative sessions designed and facilitated by our Innovation Specialist, Clarissa Bezerra, in which our school leaders, Asa Norte and Águas Claras teachers engaged in co-creating innovative ideas to be implemented in our school. The hottest ideas, as selected by the groups themselves, have been compiled in our Community’s Innovative Ideas Platform, which you can access HERE. In 2019, teachers from Asa Sul, Taguatinga, Sudoeste and Lago Sul will have the opportunity to create together in the CoDesign Labs.

We have just finished the third Digital Learning Lab Module on Google Slides! This year we offered three modules: Google DriveGoogle Docs, and Google Slides for teachers to learn the basics of these very useful tools for learning. We had around 35 teachers taking the modules and tweaking their Google skills in order to design and facilitate new and better learning experiences leveraged by these intuitive and friendly Google tools. The Lab modules were co-moderated by Clarissa Bezerra, Mariana Sucena, Ana Netto, Erika Oya, and Innovation Mentors José Antônio, Pedro Tapajós, Bárbara Duarte, and Flávia Franco. In 2019, we will offer a rerun of those modules, but we also intend to offer a module on Google Forms and Google Classroom.

The Shifting to a Maker Mindset mini course ran twice in 2018, with a group of around 15 teachers attending it in May, and a group of around 20 of our school leaders in August. The mini course was designed and facilitated by teachers Ivna Trevas and Leonardo Sampaio, both Lago Sul teachers working in the Bilingual Adventure course, where maker-centered learning plays a major role in the learning process. Teachers and leaders were able to experience the thrill of making as part of learning, and also understand and discuss the methodological and pedagogical implications of MCL (maker-centered learning) applied to language learning. Also in October, Erika Oya designed and facilitated a workshop on Bilingualism for teachers interested in diving into the bilingual teaching and learning universe, which has become increasingly more important for our school. In November, two sessions also on Bilingual teaching and learning will be offered and facilitated by Daniela Lyra, our Makerspace Instructional Designer, and Lago Sul Branch Manager Denise De Felice.

In July, during our In-Service, a group of around 20 teachers, including Course Coordinators Domingos Di Lello and Maria Da Luz Delfino, designed and presented posters in which they shared Maker activities that were successful in the classroom. Teachers engaged in discussion with poster presenters and were able to ask all types of questions about the activities. It was a highly energizing morning. The idea was to get everyone motivated and confident to try new approaches in their classrooms. In October, we ran a mini showcase again with the participation of teachers Bárbara Duarte, Alan Borges, Victor Hugo Andrade, Tatiana Faria, Ricardo Nardelli, Flávia Franco, Daniela França, Talita Lima and Hugo Lima during the 1st Maker Day Brasil in our Asa Norte branch. The larger community could see all the innovative activities that our teachers have been facilitating in our classrooms. Our 1st Maker Day Brasil was a huge success!

One of our goals within the Vision 2020 innovation project is to have all our teachers and academic staff become Google Certified Educators – Level 1. Last year, around 12 teachers became Google Certified, some of whom at Level 2, such as Paola Hanna, Leonardo Sampaio, and Ivna Trevas. This year, Branch Managers, Course Coordinators, Resource Center and Makerspace staff members will also engage in preparing for the certification at Level 1. We believe that the very learning process that takes place as a result of the Bootcamp training could be rather transformational, enabling the educator to find and design new opportunities leveraged by technology. In 2019, we will keep pushing towards that goal of certifying our educators.

In September, a group of approximately 30 early adopters entered our Vision 2020 Shared Learning Platform. They have begun engaging in a learning cycle which has been structured inside a Google Classroom. During their learning journeys, participants engage in the self-assessment of their educator digital competence levels. They will later engage in self-reflection and will establish an attainable goal to increase their digital competence and apply their learning to the classroom. The platform is running in beta mode, and soon the group of early adopters will be invited to take part in a face-to-face gathering that will help them take the next steps in their Vision 2020 learning journey. Invitations to join the platform will soon reopen, so stay tuned!

2018 has been a year to nurture a CLIMATE and a CULTURE that are welcoming of innovation. We are gradually learning to take more risks, to fail fast and apply our learnings in our everyday practice as a community. Our LEADERSHIP is also working on incorporating those values in their everyday practices and in changes that have been and will continue to be implemented from now on in order to drive innovation.

In 2019, we will continue this cultural work, which will help shape a new MINDSET. We will also keep encouraging PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT by offering a framework for learning via our Vision 2020 Shared Learning Platform, along with plenty other learning opportunities for all those who share an Innovator’s Mindset in our community.