Do All Teachers Teach Reading?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Jame, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2007

    Discussion on another thread has raised a question in my mind...:) Do all teachers, regardless of level or content, teach reading?

    Guess, my take on this is yes, they do. Reading is a basis for all subjects. Of course, more formalized instruction takes place in the lower grades, but there are opportunities and the need to incorporate reading skills and strategies and most importantly, a love of reading and real life connections within every subject matter. We do not learn to read to mastery in any one grade; it is an on-going process. I know that I am still learning to be a better reader, and I hope that I never stop challenging myself and growing in that respect.

    We cannot think that it is only the job of K-3 or even K-5. It is the job of all teachers, within the content of their classes, to help their students grow as readers. It is just as vitally important that teachers in the middle grades are well versed in and committed to reading instruction in all content areas as teachers in the lower grades, as this is the time when the transition to reading for information takes place. But, it cannot stop there, either; it needs to continue to be reinforced and fine tuned throughout their high school years, as well.

    Okay....my two cents worth. :D What are everyone else's thoughts? :)
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I do not.

    Students have at least 9 years of formal instruction before they enter my Latin classroom. My standards and curriculum assume that they know how to read (and all that goes along with it: comprehension, blocking, etc.) by that time. There simply isn't enough room in my schedule to allow me to add in additional instruction in reading when I also have to add it in for English grammar, logic and reasoning, and basic manners and etiquette--all of which should have been introduced and reinforced in elementary and middle school years.

    The common complaint that secondary teachers in my district have, regardless of their subject area, is that most students did not learn what they should have learned in the lower grades. Period.

    I don't mean to suggest that the elementary teachers have been slacking off intentionally. On the contrary, I think that their jobs are even more hectic now with NCLB. Unfortunately, it seems--to me and all the secondary teachers I know--students have never been held accountable for learning certain new information beyond learning it for a test. After that, there seems to have been no reinforcement or reteaching going on. And in my students that's evidenced by a complete and utter lack of understanding about certain key concepts.

    So I do what I can do, but it stops there. My job is to teach Latin. I can't spend forever fixing someone else's mistakes. If students struggle with reading at my school, they become part of the special education program where the problem is addressed.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jame, I'm blithely assuming in what follows that I got your point. If I show signs of having missed, please correct.

    Cassie, I gently beg to differ: you do teach reading - by which I don't mean that you should and don't, but on the contrary that elements of what you teach students to know and do are critical to the reading process on the level at which your students are or should be. Similarly, Brendan, his protestations aside, teaches reading. Here I mean the sense that I believe Jame intended: "how to unpack and apprehend material, primarily written, in a discipline". Reading for content, and understanding the tools and approaches of the discipline in question, are crucial tools. Those deeper skills are also more crucial in elementary school than they're sometimes given credit for being. I quite agree that that kind of reading is not getting sufficient reinforcement.

    As to testing, well... In my view one of the reasons for dismal test scores is precisely that teachers are being required to teach to the test. In some cases, to be brutally blunt, it is a service to the teacher to require scripting, and you don't want to launch me on that screed. In other cases, teachers who could do better are being obliged to toe a particular set of lines because their superiors never really learned how to take tests, let alone how to think both rigorously and creatively (and education is about both of those, not just one or the other)... and said superiors are, at bottom, terrified.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think I get what you're saying, TG.

    I think the thing here is that I don't get a chance to teach any of the higher level thinking processes related to reading because my students are not prepared for it. Theoretically and on paper, yes, I'm sure that I do deal with it. But in reality things are much different.

    Imagine a 10th grade algebra classroom. Now imagine that students coming in don't know what numbers are. Obviously they haven't learned to add or subtract, because they don't even recognize the tools of the trade, so to speak. How on earth are they prepared to learn all the things set forth in the curriculum? The teacher is stuck having to teach something other than his or her preferred subject in favor of something at a much lower level simply because the previous 10 teachers didn't accomplish what they should have.

    That's how I feel in my classroom.
     
  6. born2teach84

    born2teach84 Comrade

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    I agree with the Jame, every grade level all the way through school in some way shape or form teaches reading. My college professors showed me the joy of reading by challenging me to read outside of my normal reading selection as well as asked me about the books.

    Cassie your complaint that children aren't coming to highschool ready with all the skills is a complaint I think ALL teachers have. As a third grade teacher I spend up to Christmas re teaching second grade skills, which means by the time I start teaching mastery of third grade skills time has run out. I think part of the reason is there are to many standards for these children to learn. I went to a workshop in my county and they said that if one child mastered all the third grade standards in NC it would take 12 years. Not sure how true, but it does open your eyes to the fact that there is alot of pressure on these eight year olds. Also, if the children came to kinder with some sort of basic skills the cycle could be skewed a little. We have children coming in not knowing their name. Some of our parent's have no idea what their children need to know before coming into school which means kinder teachers are behind and the cycle never ends. The children with a supportive background tend to get to highschool ready. I know by far this is not the only reason but it is a great one at our school and district.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm secondary math. I don't teach reading per se, but I do expect my kids to be able to read... to analyze a problem and see what's being asked.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree that all teachers are, on some level, teaching some reading skills. While in the younger grades it is taught much more explicitly, even in high school, I expect that teachers: discuss main ideas in readings; help students to be able to summarize what they have read; work to help students understand what is being asked in essay questions and problem-solving situations; provide activities in which students analyze and synthesize new information--all important reading skills.
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Hey Alice: Do you teach trigonometry? (All those theorems.... groan!)

    I agree that reading (in some form) is an integral part of almost every instruction disciplines. I believe Cassie when she says that her students are often coming to her unprepared. So how do we fix it? The curriculums and testing decisions are made by administrators, not active teachers. In my opinion, people with little or no experience in the classroom (or recent experience) have no business making decisions about content and assessment. In Louisiana, kindergarten is not mandatory. That means that first grade teachers have a range of students that is incredibly broad. They have students who don't know their name, those with the basics we expect for beginning kindergarten (numbers to 10, colors, shapes, etc.), a few on grade level and quite often a few above grade level. For those that are below grade level, reaching the required level of compentency is an uphill battle. Sadly, for most of those students, it is a 12 year battle (if they stay in school that long). A hundred years ago, when I was in school, we managed to learn and process data without all the differentiation of instruction that is the fashion now. US student test scores were, back then, much higher (compared to other countries) than they are now. Somehow, in the same length school day, we covered reading and LA, math, science, and social studies. We had PE 3 days a week, library one day and music one day. We didn't have computer classes because at that time the only computers were the size of the school building, lol. Why are we not producing quality students? I know that many teachers are, because I have met and read the postings of some incredible teachers. Are they really in the minority? I'm gonna stop now, sorry for the rambling. Hope it made some kind of sense.
     
  10. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Well, I also went to school 100 years ago HAHA....but in my classroom, all the students looked alike. Well, pretty much, anyway. There was no need for differentiation because no one spoke another language....no one was transient....most parents were active someway in the classroom or school. We were held to homework policies, and every student came to school with school supplies. Anything else was provided by the school.

    NONE of that applies to the school I work in now. There is SO MUCH more diversity (which is my favorite thing--I'm the ELD instructor!), and not just in ethnicities, but in socio-economic standards as well. We are just a different country than we were in the 50s, 60s, etc. THAT is how teachers were able to accomplish so much "back then." But also, there were NOT the same level of standards that we are held to today. It is comparing apples to oranges. I told a professor of mine that I would love to dig into the 60s, when I went to elementary school, to do a comparison to "standards" then. It was much looser and teachers had so much more freedom and so much less difficulty in getting a lesson across to students. It is HARDER to teach now, at least in my opinion! (Sorry, I rambled too!)
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I would love to see that research, srh! It would be fascinating, at least to me, so when you get it done, shoot a copy my way, lol. I agree about less diversity, sort of. There were kids from every socioeconomic background in most of my schools (I moved around a lot -- 18 schools in 12 years), and by 3rd grade (oh boy, gonna really date myself here), the schools were integrated. In south Louisiana, there was a large Asian (mostly Vietnamese) contingent, as well as the Cajun, Native American, Slavic, Irish, German, French, Black, and Yankee populations. True, that was close to New Orleans, and port cities always have greater diversity of populations, so maybe the point is moot. It is also entirely possible that I am remembering that time period with rose colored glasses!
     
  12. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Yeah, I think some states have probably always been a little more diversified, at least socio-economically. I grew up in the Bay Area of California (think San Francisco), and while my family was more on the poor side, most of my classmates were not. There were fewer neighborhood schools then, so whether you lived "up the Hill" or at the bottom, you went to the same school. So I guess we had our issues too. But the only classmate I EVER had, from Kinder through eighth grade, who spoke another language, was a girl whose family moved here from Russia when I was in fifth grade. Unbelievable, huh?! (And do you remember singing folk songs like, "Supper on the Ground," "Home on the Range"?????? We had a piano in our class.) Those were the days!!
     
  13. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Oh, yeah, absolutely! I'm gonna date myself again, but my teacher (I don't remember what grade) brought her own (huge) black and white tv to the classroom so that we could watch the Apollo splashdown -- it was soooo cool! The same teacher rented (?) Bambi and The Jungle Book (different times) for us to watch! I walked 3/4 of a mile to school by myself -- no problem. Would I have allowed my daughter to do that in today's climate? Absolutely not!
     
  14. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Okay, pw, we're gonna get in trouble for hijacking--but one more question! WHERE WERE YOU WHEN JFK WAS ASSASSINATED??? :-D
     
  15. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Ummm, I was 15 months old! To answer your question, I was on the floor in the living room, where my mom was nursing my baby sister, and we were watching the parade coverage. I actually remember it.

    And you? :D
     
  16. meatball77

    meatball77 Comrade

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    I don't teach reading, I reinforce reading skills though my content area.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I was 5. My older sister was in 1st grade. Dad explained it to us both at dinner.

    PW: I haven't taught trig in a while, but I love teaching it. Speaking of old: at this point, I've taught just about everything from adding integers(to 7th graders) to Integration by parts(in Calculus)
     
  18. TulipsGirl

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    I have not read all the replys to this thread but the title and the little bit I skimmed reminded me of this book:
    I Read It But I Don't Get IT by Cris Tovani.
    It was suggested by someone on a completely different thread where I asked a comprehension question. This book has completely opened my eyes. Whether or not you believe that you should or should not have to teach reading at your grade level; whether you do or do not teach reading, most of you are probably using a textbook of some kind that requires your students to understand what they are reading. And you may or may not be frustrated by their level of comprehension. The book I mentioned takes you into the mind of a "good reader" and spells out for you what good readers are thinking as they read. You will be better able to model this for your students. I hope it is helpful to you! :)
     
  19. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    TulipsGirl, I have heard that that book is WONDERFUL! I've been meaning to order it, but keep forgetting. Thanks for the timely reminder!
     
  20. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    I do, too. :) Teach, reinforce...to me seems to be a matter of semantics. I am sorry, but I am not seeing the difference. At various age levels, the approach, formatt, whatever you would call it, is different, but it is all about helping children to better understand themselves and their world through the written word, isn't it? :)

    Main Entry: reinforce
    Part of Speech: verb
    Definition: strengthen
    Synonyms: add to, augment, back up, beef up*, bolster, boost, build up, buttress, carry, emphasize, energize, enlarge, fortify, harden, heat up, hop up, hot up, hype, increase, juice up, multiply, pick up, pillar, prop, prop up, punch up, shore up, soup up*, stiffen, stress, stroke, supplement, support, sustain, toughen, underline
     
  21. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Thanks for the book suggestion! :) I am going to see if I can find a copy of it.
     
  22. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    My pleasure. :)I found it to be incredibly helpful. I loved to read as a child and adult, but I found if VERY difficult to explain/teach reading comprehension. The concepts were so abstract until the author (Cris Tovani) broke it down so clearly.
    Enjoy!
     
  23. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I teach my kids how to comprhened what they are reading, how to pay attention to words, find words by context, how to read and take notes on what they are reading, how to pick out thie important parts, how to highlight key information, how to easily find answers to questions. That is the extent to which I teach kids how to read.
     
  24. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    But Brendan, those are some of the major reading strategies. I'm guessing you also teach your kids to read like HISTORIANS, meaning looking for causes and effects (because history is full of these) and THINKING like historians while they read.

    I'm also guessing that Alice teaches her kids to read like mathematicians, how to interpret the language of math and how to read the textbook. I know that I am not a good math student, partly because I never understood the language of math. If a teacher had taught me how to "read" math, I might have had a better experience.

    Earlier, someone mentioned one of the Tovani books.... I Read It But I Don't Get It. For people who are middle school and secondary teachers, her book Do I Really Have to Teach Reading is a great, quick, easy read on how subject area experts NEED to teach the kids to read their subjects -- not how to decode or things like that, but how to read and think like scientists, mathematicians, historians, etc.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Exactly, Mrs. R.
     
  26. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Teachers, without even realizing it, are covering reading strategies and instructing their students to try them all the time. In Latin and other language classes, for example, the students are making connections between languages. They are also looking at the roots of words that have shaped the English language. In math, they are encouraged to choose important information (when initially reading word problems) and utilize skills of inference (in interpreting the problems). In science, the students are still summarizing, making connections, utilizing schema, and using context clues. They are taking their learning a step higher by taking what they know from the text to completing experiments. In history, students make connections between the past and present as well as find the main idea of a period in history and see what supports that period. They are sequencing with timelines and looking at many causes and effects (as mentioned in another post). In acting (and chorus/band) classes, the students are still practicing fluency, tone, rate, and many other vocal skills. The students have to interpret what they read to put on a good performance. In auto shop, students have to follow directions.

    I could go on and on, but I don't need the duct tape to come at me today. ;)
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    What Mrs. R and Ms.Jasztal said was perfectly worded examples of how every teacher actually does teach some form of reading. Oh, and students who learn to read music are actually learning another language, which stimulates their intellect and ability to connect ideas more quickly~
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I do that is the main thing I am trying to teach them and has alot to do with their essays.
     

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