When it comes to student centered reading practices, Andrea Haas is the go-to guide to getting started. Let's empower our students to be great readers!
What is student centered reading instruction?
When you think of student centered instruction, you are thinking of the whole child. You are also thinking of how to encourage executive functioning and student agency within the classroom. How can you place ownership of the learning onto the kids?
For reading specifically, you want to create a reading-scape, much like a landscape. This means to think of the student as a whole reader - what are their reading beliefs, what are their reading habits (are they struggling or succeeding).
There is a big push now back onto foundational literacy skills and thinking about fluency and comprehension. Some of the most recent research has shown that we need to have self-regulation.
Kids have to have some executive functioning skills to manage all that has to happen to be a proficient reader. They also need to have engagement and motivation. None of the commercial reading programs Andrea Haas has seen can measure engagement and motivation.
The Teacher’s Role with the Students
Teachers should think about figuring out who these students are and where they are coming from. For engagement it can be easy as watching your class as they do silent reading or independent reading.
Notice and take data - who is in a text, who is staring out a window, who is talking to their neighbors, who is picking up books and putting them down and then picking up another book, who looks like they are reading but is only turning pages. What is the engagement of the student in interacting with the text?
Spend 10 minutes observing these reader habits around your room. There is a lot of data that can be collected in this short amount of time.
Getting Students to Take Ownership
Explaining to students why they need to read, or why we are doing this can help students take ownership in their learning. Showing students the skills they are working on, or the skills they have, whether from a self-assessment or the unit being studied can get students to take ownership.
Students Should Set an Intention for Learning
Rather than setting a goal, reframe it for students to set an intention for their learning. Often when we have students set goals, we don’t come back to them. Andrea Haas recommends teachers not only set an intention but have an action plan.
When setting intentions ask:
Who else needs to know?
Who else is needed to help with the intention?
How will you progress monitor meeting the intention?
Keeping Track of Intentions
Student centered reading instruction doesn’t have to be hard. When keeping track of reading intentions, or goals, keep a portfolio whether digital or paper for your students. Students can hold onto the sheets or you could have a student binder with everyone’s intentions. Find what works best for you - there is no right or wrong way to keep track.
Students Refuse to Engage in Reading
What happens when students refuse to engage in student centered reading? I’m sure it has happened to all of us at one time when a student refuses to read or professes his or her hatred for reading.
When you’ve taken the time to learn a student’s interests and created a readerscape portfolio, solving this problem becomes easier. Focus on a strengths-based mindset and look at what a student IS doing versus what they are not doing.
Ask the student, “What does it look like when you are reading at home?” or “What kinds of books do you like to read?” or “What do you like to do after school?” Finding the answers to these questions, or similar ones, can help unlock a change towards wanting to read.
Fitting It All In
We all know the biggest challenge with teaching is trying to fit everything in. How does student centered reading practices fit in with a reading curriculum or your reading block?
Andrea Haas suggests just give it a try and then make it your own. Some of the things to consider are setting up your classroom for student centered reading. Where should students sit when reading? How can they access their materials? Do they know where to put things away?Where will the student intentions be kept so they are reminded what they are working on?
Depending on what students are working on is going to determine what you need prepared. If students are focused on a particular phonics skill, you may need a set of worksheets to help practice that. However, if they are working on a readers theater to perform, they would only need their text.
It’s being responsive to your students and being flexible, and also kind of letting go. Students may pick an intention to work on that might not be the one you’d pick for them. Give them some wins and some success and then you can push up the rigor after that.
Connect with Andrea Haas
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