Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Best Practices

Remember when we were kids and loved to hear the same book read to us over and over again?  

Best Practices? I'm talking educationally here.  I've been in 3 different schools the past few months and seen 2 different reading programs in the elementary schools, each a little different with one big similarity.  That sameness is in reading the same passage or story over and over and over again.

With "read naturally", student are hooked up to a computer with ear phones and read as fast as they can a short passage about someone or something.  They have vocabulary they look at before and need to know afterwords with a test.  The kids are motivated by it, because it's on a computer and they get to pick the story.  The room is full of noise with kids reading out loud, each a different story.   It's about fluency, phonics and vocab, but what I saw with the girl I watched was speeding through it so fast, she missed words.  This is my only experience with it, so I may not be the best judge and I didn't really do much with the other kids in the room.

The school I'm in now uses a text book and they read one story a week.  Every day they read it.  The first day the teacher reads it to them, the second day in groups, they read paragraphs, the next day maybe sentences, etc.  They are taught the vocabulary before they read it and the words are highlighted in the book.  For second graders it's only 5 to 6 words.  Time is spend each day orally with the vocab, acting it out, coming up with sentences, defining it, etc.  A worksheet with a reading theme- cause and effect, summarizing, etc is used daily on a small scale.

I prefer the second method.  It's not about how fast you go, but it is about fluency. 

This second school that I mentioned, also does AR or Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math. A lot of schools all over the country and world do these computer programs.  G, who I'm working with now who hated math last year loves filling in those pink college bubble sheets, putting it through the scanner and seeing the results.  

Best practices also say that words are learned best in context, not randomly.  Both programs do this.

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