Help me understand...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by **Mrs.A**, May 16, 2010.

  1. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

    Jan 23, 2009
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    May 16, 2010

    I like to read and as a new teacher I've been reading a lot of books on reading...I've read such books as Mosaic Of Thought (Not completely, but plan to finish it over the summer), Reading Essentials, Daily Five, Comprehension Connections and Reading Power.

    It's the end of the year and I'm already thinking about next year and what I want to change in my classroom. I know I want to teach reading differently, but I'm required to use our basal (Harcourt Trophies). 80% of our reading instruction is supposed to come from the basal.

    I'm confused about what the research says on reading...Harcourt is research based and we are supposed to be teaching the following skills:

    author's purpose
    cause and effect
    draw conclusions
    elements of nonfiction
    fact and opinion
    follow written directions
    main idea and details
    make inferences

    We are supposed to do centers and guided reading with harcourt, which is somthing I struggle with.

    Now, what I'm getting from the other books I have read, which are research based is kids learn to read by READING. The skills that should be taught are:

    Teaching kids what metacognition is all about
    determing Importance

    It seems doing reader's workshop is the way to go, so you can have time to sit and confer with your students. Have them reading books that are at their level.

    My mind is spinning!! I've read that schools use basals, so that they know what teachers are teaching and everyone is on the same page, but is it really effective??? How do companies like Harcourt do their research?? Is is really research based?? I'll be hones with you, I'm not good at reading research and being able to sort it all out. This is something I need to work on.

    I just want to do what's best for my students and I wish I had someone at my school to talk to...Someone I can bounce ideas off of. :(

    Can someone help me sort this out or give me ideas on what to do???

    Thank you!!
  3. COMrs.S

    COMrs.S Rookie

    Apr 28, 2008
    Likes Received:

    May 20, 2010

    Mrs. A,

    I think you need to mesh the Harcourt Basal with Research Based Methods. I use the MacMillan-McGraw Hill Treasures reading series and the same skills are listed. The Research Based Skills you listed are Strategies and then the skills fall under those strategies. For Example with the Research Based Method Strategy of Inferring you could work on the skills of Drawing Conclusions and Making Inferences.

    I hope this helps in some way! :)
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
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    May 21, 2010

    Some schools will give you the freedom to adapt materials and basically design your curriculum. Others will not.

    I never believed in the basal, but used it some of the time. The problem might be that I'm not fond of short stories. I usually used a modified literature circles format with novels. I had my own classroom library with plenty of books, so it was convenient. Sometimes we read a novel as whole group and I've posted on here many times how we studied, recorded, discussed, journaled with the novels.

    It is mind boggling when you consider all the different approaches, the strong opinions on all sides. It has gotten so complicated. Some of it is just to sell textbooks, though, in my opinion.

    The fact is that we want kids to enjoy reading for pleasure and information, we want them to comprehend what they read, and to communicate about what they read. That's it.
  5. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Jun 18, 2007
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    May 21, 2010

    I use Daily 5 & CAFE with Treasures.
    When I am not doing CAFE during Daily 5, I am teaching a small group Treasures.
    Many of my short, whole group lessons come from Treasures.
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Jul 13, 2008
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    May 21, 2010

    I went to a state-wide reading convention, and all of the experts that I went to said that basals are not the answer. (The "experts" that I'm referring to are "The Sisters", Richard Allington, and Ellin Keene-the best in the field.) I understand the need to make sure all teachers are teaching the same thing, but no 2 classrooms are alike. They have different kids with different needs, and they should not be teaching things the exact same way.

    My district uses a basal, but they are a little more laid-back about it. We have to teach the same topics, but we don't have to follow the basal verbatim. I also stray from the basal often to teach other things that are not covered in the basal (such as making inferences, making connections, etc.).

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