what purposes do you give students for reading?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by mikemack42, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Following the suggestion of a poster on this forum, I started reading I Read It But I Don't Get It by Cris Tovain Really good book, full of helpful suggestions. One thing she says is that purpose is everything, which I agree with, but I often have a hard time finding purposes that motivate students. So what purposes do you suggest for your students? Here's some I've tried:

    Immediate purposes
    1. Get ready for assessment based on reading
    2. Get ready for next school year/university
    3. Be more informed about the world to make better decisions

    Long term purposes
    1. Reading at their jobs
    2. Reading contracts/apt leases/tax forms (though my students, at an expensive private school in Bogotá, will almost certainly have someone do that for them)

    Vaguer purposes
    1. The pleasure of reading/satisfaction of finishing a book (find these reasons only really work with students who already enjoy reading, though hopefully using some of those techniques in the book will help change that)

    Other purposes? Or certain techniques you have for selling the above purposes?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Apr 3, 2012

  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Apr 4, 2012

    I tend to think of specific examples, and these are what come to mind:
    -ordering food... you need to be able to read the menu to know what you can order
    -talking with friends... you need to be able to read to text or email your friends
    -travel... you need to be able to read your plane/train ticket, as well as street names or subway stops to know where you are going
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 4, 2012

    I tend to tie it into the Big Question in each unit and show how the reading answers it. Canterbury Tales gives a cultural catalog, so it may answer questions about understanding other people. Reading poetry is about using tools and context clues to gain understanding. I'd love to be able to give reading assignments simply because it's good stuff, but that doesn't work very often.
     
  6. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2012

    Reading so that children can learn about anything they want like dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, Space, weird things in the Guinness World Records and anything else interesting children want to find out about. How to bake yummy cookies, how to make things...whatever!

    Another reason to read is just to find out what happens at the end of the book or to laugh at a really funny story. (Paul Jennings springs to mind) :lol:
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 4, 2012

    I think "purpose" can and should be construed both very generally and much more specifically: purpose drives how one reads. For instance, I'm researching a particular word in the history of English. My overall purpose is to explicate the history of that word. Hand me a text to look that word up in, and I'm going to be skimming for that word or for related terms; I'd be an idiot to read closely (though sometimes the text seduces me anyway). When I find the word or the related words, however, I'm going to slow down radically, though I'm still not necessarily reading for sense till I've established the boundaries of the passage I want to consider. At that point I'll start reading closely, and I may even take notes - unless I establish that the current passage doesn't in fact contain anything of interest, at which point I'm off skimming again. Note that I'm switching between strategies very fluidly. And that, I think, is what young readers may have trouble learning.
     
  8. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Apr 5, 2012

    I always start out talking about the "life skill" of reading and focus importance around that. Then I get into the specifics of learning about a specific topic, etc. It is tough though, when some just do not like to read, boys in particular.
     
  9. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2012

    I had a boy in my class who did not like to read, in fact he didn't really like to do anything except for create things using the items in his pencil case!

    Then one day he brought a choose-your-own-adventure book, in the book he had to make choices and keep track of his gold and health. He was completely engrossed in this book and kept coming up and telling me what was happening. He even read it when he was meant to be doing other things!

    Teaching students the purpose of reading is important but if you give them a topic or book that they love to read you won't need to tell them it's important.
     

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