Archive for January, 2010

Text Talk

Some important points in this article are to make sure that children are challenged during read alouds. It is very important that during a read aloud, the child is introduced to words that they may not be familiar with so that the teacher can use that opportunity to help the child expand their literacy. Another important piece of information is that when you challenge the child’s literacy, you introduce them to decontextualized language. Using decontextualized language allows the child to think about situations outside of the here and now. This allows children to think about what can be which then leads to mature literacy skills in both written and spoken language. It is also incredibly important to get the children talking about what is going on in the story. When talking about the story, it is important to make sure that they are talking about what has happened in the story already, what the child thinks might happen, and also encouraging more than just one word answers to questions. When asking questions to children about what is going on in the story, make sure to ask questions that invoke thought and more than just one word answers so that child has to think about what has happened as well as where the story might take them. When it all boils down to it, using text talk as a teaching strategy, the point of it is to promote comprehension of what has been read.

These are specific points that need to be thought about when planning a Text Talk lesson:

1-Select texts that have some complexity to them for children that stretch their ideas, events, and beyond.

2-Create some initial questions that are open to the child’s imagination and creativity that also avoid fact based answers.

3- Create follow up questions that allow the teacher to scaffold the child’s thoughts to aid in discovery of the text and allow for elaboration on the child’s part.

4-Present the pictures of the book to the children after the discussion has fizzled so that the children don’t just use the information from the pictures to tell the the story. This allows the children to draw information from the text instead of just the pictures.

5-Aid the children in using their background knowledge to construct ideas about how the story may play out, how the story may apply to them, and how their experiences may be similar to the story.

6-Help the children in understanding unfamiliar vocabulary so they can increase their knowledge of literacy.


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Flanigan (2005)

What role does fingerpointing play in developing concept of word and phonemic awareness?

Fingerpointing is important in developing the concept of a word because children realize when their spoken words do not match up with the ending of a familiar book or poem. It is important for children to learn the beginning letter of words in familiar poems and stories so that they can begin to differentiate one word from another as well as recognizing that there are spaces in written language, but not in spoken language.

Describe the 4-stage model of early literacy.

Stage 1 of this model is recognizing the beginning consonant of words (eg. cxx). Stage 2 of this model is concept of word in text which means that the first and last letter of the word is recognized by the child (eg.cxt). Stage 3 of the model is phoneme segmentation ability which is when the child begins to recognize spaces and s/he uses memory  to support the knowledge already learned (eg. cat). Stage 4 of this model is complete word recognition.

Describe what this means: “It is not in the telling, but it is in the very act of reading that Jack will actually learn how to read.” p. 10

This quote means that as children learn  the concept of a “word.” When this child understands what a “word” is, then they are able to learn better through experience rather than someone handing to them the definition and spelling of new vocabulary.

What instruction helps develop beginning readers’ awareness of words and phonemes?

There are many forms of instruction that aid in a reader’s awareness of words and phonemes, some of which are read aloud, model finger pointing, and echo reading. There are more ways to allow the children to practice these skills as well. For instance, choral reading, partner reading, buddy reading, text copies, etc. which all aid in the growth of the child’s knowledge and vocabulary.

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How do children increase their vocabularies?

Children learn new words through incidental contact with words through people around them. They learn words by hearing people in their life use them in the correct context and pick up on the meaning of the word from other people’s use. Incidental learning also includes storytelling and reading to the child. Another way children learn new words is by direct contact with them. This means that someone has taken the time to explicitly explain what a specific word means.

What evidence is there that reading aloud to children can increase their vocabularies?

There is the possibility that there is a ceiling for children who have been exposed to lots of vocabulary words and information at a young age. This is called the ceiling effect that may have suppressed gains in children with larger vocabularies. In this case, the adult should read books that are more age appropriate for the child with greater vocabulary abilities. Because children learn from incidental vocabulary exposure, the children will come into contact with words that they are unfamiliar with and are then able to learn the vocabulary. A form of incidental exposure is by reading to children.

Does it matter what teachers read to students? In other words, if you are reading aloud to students in your kindergarten class, should you care about the richness in the language that a book does or does not have? What kinds of books are best to read aloud to students if we want to build their vocabularies?

Yes, it is important to consider the books that teachers read to their students because this is an avenue for students to be introduced to new vocabulary. When a student reads for themselves, it is rare that they will come into contact with new vocabulary because at this point they are only learning to put the verbal word with the written word. When the teachers reads to students, this is an opportunity for the students to be exposed to vocabulary to that they can expand their knowledge base because verbal vocabulary is much more vast than written vocabulary at this age. If the teacher is reading a book to students that contains words that they know verbally then this will aid in expanding the student’s written knowledge.

Why do you think you should focus on emphasizing vocabulary in your lessons with students? Does this apply to read aloud activities?

I think it is important to stress vocabulary in lessons with students because you never know what kind of vocabulary exposure the children are getting at home and it is possible that there is no one reading to the student at home. It is important that the students understand that by learning about vocabulary, they are better able to communicate with other people in all sorts of ways. This applies to read aloud activities too because these types of activities allow students expand their vocabulary skills without even realizing that they are expanding their vocabulary knowledge.

What role will reading to students play in your teaching?

Students will be the main role in my teaching because I feel that students are the reason I am teaching in the first place. It is important to take into account the demographic of the students in my classroom and take into account what their strengths and weaknesses are so that I can tailor the direction of my teaching to each class I have. I feel that I will take into account their interests as well as what each child needs to work on so that I can decide what types of structure I need to give my classroom.

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I know…it has been a long time since I last posted. It sure has been a busy season and I have been so covered up with Christmas stuff and New Years stuff and moving stuff. Oh my. Yes, I have been moving again. This is the second time I have moved (everything I own) in about 6 months. I am about worn out of packing, moving, settling and finally making somewhere new feel like home. It is a miracle I found a place…correction, a wonderful place, perfect even…for as cheep as I did. I am living with a family who I am already beginning to call my own. She is a single mother with two girls and I absolutely LOVE them. We are having a little bit of “family” bonding time today at the App Ski Mountain where there are ski slopes and an ice skating rink. But, guess what I’m doing…take a look-see…

Yep, I’m sitting in the lodge, by the fire, just waitin’ to warm either one of the two youngsters up if they need some warmin’ up. As I write this post, I have watching all sorts of people stroll around me from all walks of life. There is a wide range of folks here. Some young, some old, some right in the middle, some snowboarders, some skiiers, and some, like me, who are here for moral support. I’m afraid of tumbling on the slopes and hurting myself in this incredibly important semester of school. Instead of taking the risk, I decided I would be the keeper of the belongings and save them some extra cash. It is not that I don’t want to try skiing, but right now is not the right time. It is, however, the right time for the two girls and their mom to have family time where they get to have fun, get cold, and learn together.

As for me?

I’m staying inside, warm, next to the fire with all of the other sensible people! Plus, I get to chat with you! I think that is a pretty good deal!

Anyway, I have some international news to share with you…I have learned of my school placement an my home placement in Ireland. That makes me SUPER excited about the trip. While I am at the ski lodge today, I am going to send an e-mail to my host family to introduce myself and say a grand, “Hello!” from the states. I am unbelievably excited! Anyway, until later!


Ireland Dreamer


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