e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu

9/26/2007

the teaching of reading

In the Advanced Exposition course I'm teaching this term, I give quick reading quizzes on most days. Like quick freewrites, quizzes can jump-start discussions, especially if one or more of the quiz questions provides an intriguing place to begin the conversation. Mostly, I want the quizzes to foster the habits of active reading that I always talk about in classes: commenting in the margins, summing up the gist right after reading, talking back to the text, re-reading tough passages, and even developing "talking points" when you know you're prepping for a class discussion.

Yesterday, a creative, intellectually curious student who I've had in other courses asked me for further tips on how to retain details. She's a language arts education major and wants not only to ace my quizzes but also to know more about close reading for herself and her students. We had a good discussion about our own practices/habits, but I realized afterward that I wish I had a more sophisticated understanding of the teaching of reading. Despite the literacy and education courses I took in graduate school and despite the years I spent teaching "developmental" writing courses (not to mention developmental writing being one of my exam areas back in grad school) which often involves extra attention to reading, I need to learn a lot more.

2 comments:

Michael Faris said...

When I taught middle school, we often focused on holding metacognition discussions about the cognitive skills we used while reading, so that my students were consciously aware of the activities they use while reading: predicting, making connections to other texts (intertextuality), making connections to one's own life, visualizing, knowing when one is confused so one can re-read, etc.

Of course, there is always annotation and summary (stopping to summarize what one has read in the margins), which I've found particularly helpful in my own reading.

I have a few books I used as resources at home, though it's been a few years, so I can't remember their titles. If she is looking for resources, feel free to email me (michael.faris at oregonstate dot edu), or she might find who teaches a teaching reading course at your university and getting in contact with him/her/them for resources or to take their class (if they have it).

bdegenaro said...

Michael: Sounds good. We do versions of the meta thing, too, and it's very helpful. I always wonder, though, if I ought to be more systematic about it, or if we should go beyond "these are our habits" mode. Good idea about recommending she take a reading specialist course--not sure if that's a requirement for our language arts ed folks.