Do you use worksheets/workbooks in your reading instruction?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Tyler B., Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Mar 27, 2012

    http://www.ascd.org/publications/ed...mar12/vol69/num06/Every-Child,-Every-Day.aspx

    This article is about the six elements of effective reading instruction.

    This article talks about the most recent research regarding reading instruction. Some of the six elements include letting students choose some of their reading material, the importance of teaching students to read accurately, and letting students discuss their reading.

    The conclusion says not to use worksheets and workbooks with students. There's no evidence to support the idea that students improve their reading from their use.


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  3. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Great article! I shared it on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teacherstuff

    I was fortunate to teach in a school where this was the norm and we had adequate training to make it happen.

    I'm glad to see #4 on the list... I love writing and saw what a difference it made with my kids to just LET THEM WRITE! My kindergartners started writing on the very first day of school. I noticed that it fast-tracked their reading skills. :thumb:
     
  4. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I am going to look at the article right now.
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Ok, great article. So, here is a question. I have been using the Daily 5 (not having ever actually read the book, however), and I give my students a prompt during that writing time. Would it be better to just give a prompt to the group I work with during writing time, and let the others write whatever they want?? Here is what the article says:In our observations in schools across several states, we rarely see students writing anything more than fill-in-the-blank or short-answer responses during their reading block. Those who do have the opportunity to compose something longer than a few sentences are either responding to a teacher-selected prompt or writing within a strict structural formula that turns even paragraphs and essays into fill-in-the-blank exercises.

    As adults, we rarely if ever write to a prompt, and we almost never write about something we don't know about. Writing is called composition for a good reason: We actually compose (construct something unique) when we write. The opportunity to compose continuous text about something meaningful is not just something nice to have when there's free time after a test or at the end of the school year. Writing provides a different modality within which to practice the skills and strategies of reading for an authentic purpose.
     
  7. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I have a list of "Write About Reading" prompts that my students can choose from during our Daily 5 writing time. Per new state mandates, the only writing that can be done during our reading block is responding to reading, so I can't give them free choice. But, this list (from Beth Newingham's website) has tons of different option, many of them offering lots of creativity (write a letter to/from a character in the book, write a different ending for the story, etc.)

    I do occasionally use worksheets when working on certain skills. This week we are working on alphabetizing and dictionary skills. While we do a lot of actual practice in the dictionary, for some basic skills I don't think there's anything wrong with some rote practice.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The real question is how do I integrate the six elements of effective reading instruction and still appear to be following the Open Court script while at the same time, using the district mandated direct instruction techniques that really do not work with Open Court.
     
  9. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    For my Daily 5 work on writing, my students have goals to work on. We created these goals either during individual conferences or in small groups. Goals can be editting, adding details, adding more information, or researching.

    Most of the time they write non-fiction. Right now I am using the Frog and Toad fiction series to encourage nonfiction writing. Most are writing about frogs and toads, but I also have ponds and friendships as topics.

    When I read aloud the Boxcar Children, I had kids writing about trains, bakeries, "watch" dogs, and even one wrote a recipe for stew.

    I daily model my own writing for just a few minutes. That helps...and yes, some choose to copy me.
     
  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    So does this article constitute peer reviewed research? And if so, can it stomp the "research" that I'm told is the basis for the 10 year old scripted Open Court program that we all must follow to the letter because it is "research based."

    I've been looking for something along those lines - our "research based" program is 10 years old. There must be better research since then.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm a workshop classroom. Less than a worksheet a month.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Great article. I need to do more of #5 (sharing reading and writing with each other). On a side note, I wish I could see Richard Allington speak. I think of him as someone that knows everything there is to know about literacy instruction. His research is amazing!

    My Daily 5 work on writing is free writing time. The students have many options for writing, which I teach through mini-lessons. I get many of my ideas through resource books (Draw then Write, fill-in-the-blank comics, Cartoon Story Starters), and then have simple, basic ideas (make a card, write a letter, write a story, write in your journal). They are free to do any choices from our choice board. They keep everything in a folder, and I check it at the end of the week to hold them accountable.
     
  13. swtteacher

    swtteacher Rookie

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    Does anyone use Literacy First? It seems to be "the bible" at my school, but honestly I'm not sure it's what's best for my students.
     
  14. stargirl

    stargirl Comrade

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    In theory, this sounds great (and I agree with a lot that the articles has to say), but in reality, not all of these will play out so well in every classroom. For example, my kids (fourth grade) come in to my class in the beginning of the year barely able to write a complete sentence (and in some cases, they can't even do that). They need a lot of guidance and structure to learn how to put ideas together to even just write two or three connected sentences. If I gave them time to just "free write" they'd sit there, completely stumped and honestly frustrated.

    Now, I do work up to a more structured sort of free write about half way through the year, where I'll give the students a topic or story idea but this is after a lot of guided practice in writing paragraphs, stories that have a beginning, middle, and end, etc.

    Also, I don't use tons of worksheets, but what's wrong with having students use them to practice a skill? The type of worksheet I use will typically have a short reading passage and then questions that require them to apply the skill we've been working on, such as sequencing or character analysis, etc. Class discussions are great, but at some point, the students need to do some reading and skill application (both as practice and independently for assessment.)
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I agree that kids definitely need some structure for writing time. My class has both free write (Daily 5 work on writing), and writer's workshop each day. Daily 5 writing time was definitely more difficult in the beginning of the year. We didn't start work on writing until October, because they needed the structure and mini-lessons first.
     
  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    One reason so many teachers are depending on worksheets is that the district mandates a certain reading program. Often the publisher makes the most money selling workbooks/worksheets to these districts.

    In order to get all this stuff sold, they break reading up into dozens or even hundreds of tiny skills which can fit on worksheets. In the blizzard of paper, teachers lose track of the things we truly know will work: lots of reading, great stories and books, and writing assignments related to literature.


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  17. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    I think it is important to realize, too, that structured lessons and meaningful topics are not mutually exclusive.

    Stargirl- wow! It sounds like you mmy need to go back to square one with some kids. I taught K so virtually no one came in writing but we started that first day. I modeled writing with pictures, letters, or words and everyone could do something. Even the lowest struggling kids could write simple sentences by the end if the year. It is sad that kids have slipped through the cracks that way.

    Tyler - I totally agree.

    (Please excuse any errors... I'm on a tablet!)
     
  18. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    I use worksheets as a behavior management tool. It's a way to keep some kids out of my hair while I work with others.
     
  19. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    I use direct instruction, scripted lessons. Workbooks are used every day in every subject. This is in a learning support classroom. The rest of the school is using Daily 5.
     
  20. stargirl

    stargirl Comrade

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    Oh, it's not that they haven't been exposed to it...it's just that they really struggle academically-- some due to learning disabilities, some are ELL, and some are just, well...slow. They need a lot of direct instruction and guided practice--which is why I take exception to the statements made in the article linked by Tyler (though I do agree with a lot of the ideas)--simply not practical for every single classroom.
     
  21. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I also think writing should be done daily, from day one. I look at writing as part of literacy. It is not something to be overlooked, but done in order to communicate effectively in different ways, and the more our students write, the better they become.
     
  22. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    How true. A great writing activity is to follow a reading time with an effort to try and write in the style of the author. This brings an excuse to reread the novel, come up with elements of the author's writing that can be imitated, then have the students give it a try.

    This is direct instruction and meaningful to the students.


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  23. appleaday180

    appleaday180 Rookie

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    I may occasionally steal a few ideas from workbooks, but for the most part I brainstorm ideas with other first grade teachers in my school. Great article, thank you for posting!
     
  24. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    That's the way to use workbooks.

    I was talking with a kindergarten teacher in another school this morning. She started crying when I asked her about her reading program. Her principal is making her use the basal and all the workbooks. She even gave him research that showed a negative correlation between fidelity to a basal program and reading progress, but it didn't help.

    She's close to retirement so she's just hanging on.


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  25. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    We use reader's/writer's workshop so no, we don't use worksheets or workbooks (except for test prep which unfortunately this year took over the workshop model- cannot wait for the tests to be over!) During reading and writing I create a lot of graphic organizers, especially for lower students to use during independent practice.
     
  26. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Why not have your students write like the author of the piece you are reading together? For example, if you are reading a Beverly Cleary book, ask your students to write 100 words that seem like Cleary wrote them?

    We read a book by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and our project was to figure out how she started a typical chapter. After enjoying the book and several practice starts, we embarked on an effort to write like Laura. I posted these on the wall before parent conferences along with 100 words actually written by LIW, and few parents could pick out the real one.


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    favorite blogs: http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/
     

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