Teachers Pay Teachers

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10 thoughts on “Teachers Pay Teachers”

  1. Greg I put this on FB – the CI Liftoff site – also. The future of these readers, in my view, is the simpler, the lower the level of complexity in the text, the better. There is a sweet spot above Reading A-Z but below current level 1 readers that we need to explore. I say this bc I feel that in FCR we need for all the kids in the class to be able to grab texts as they come into the room that they can read like a movie in their mind (Susan Gross) and they can only do that with simpler texts bc many readers’ texts are new to them and so they will be less familiar w the free reading vocabulary in texts they didn’t make up themselves in class. Hope that makes sense. If we can’t simplify our readers to what may seem to us a ridiculous degree, then, and this has been my message to the TPRS community for many years now, we shouldn’t read anything (except our own stories) in level 1 and instead start in level 2 with what Gaab and others call level 1 readers.

  2. Alisa Shapiro

    Easy-enough-to-enjoy readers are in high demand for young novices at the elementary level.
    I agree that there’s a misconception about readers – many Ts think that an ‘easy’ topic with clear illustrations makes for an ace level 1 reader. Martina did a nice blog post on recognizing text features and how they help characterize different levels:
    My posse (Carla Tarini, Su Pesa) and I presented on Adapting & Creating Comprehensible Texts for level 1, and this summer my presi at iFLT is on literacy for the youngest novices….
    We need to wayyyyyy simplify these texts. They are often a tedious struggle and therefore do not align with SLA/ CI.
    Last year some colleagues wrote a very entertaining book on La Tomatina with our 4th graders in mind, but it turned out to be wayyy too hard, so I re-wrote it. With their permission I’m going to use some chapters of the re-write to explain the simplification process… I hope to highlight common pitfalls and show some similar “Before & Afters” for Hebrew, too (with English translations).
    I have seen many ambitious novice-level readers which contain gratuitous semantic-set language (i.e. rooms in the house). We must work to STRIP DOWN our texts… shorten sentences; use simple syntax; eliminate extraneous details, and keep the reader feeling capable, successful and entertained throughout.
    We need to take off the teacher hat and instead don a party hat.

    1. YES!!! In my French classes, I only did CCR/SSR with class created stories. Then in 4th quarter I said, there are readers here too that you can read if you wish. I only had a few students pick them and they never continued. Either interest was there or it was not comprehensible for them. Tina’s Story book project was much more successful. Finally, your description up above reminds us to go DEEP and NARROW with reading.

  3. And why hasn’t this been a priority in discussion about readers for the past 25 years? Now we are finally talking about it? I honestly think it has to do with our lack of awareness that there are different reading level abilities in our classes. We have always rewarded the few and played “Gotcha!” with the many. Thanks for being a part of bringing this change Alisa. The main thing, the main message I’ve been sending for years now has been to do away with class sets and go to Free Choice Reading, because it aligns with the research.

  4. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    For elementary there is still definitely a place for guided reading and therefore using set books, because we are still laying in decoding skills. (Though if budget constraints, the teacher can guide onscreen – not necessary that e/kid have a copy, really….)
    But I do wonder if modeling reading, which seems seldom done past 6th grade in the WL classroom, isn’t the best treatment for set books/leveled novels. That is to say, we give the chapter or the story or the novel a full CI treatment – discussion, retell, questions, dramatization etc BEFORE the Ss ever have the task of reading independently; then when they do, we find reasons to plop the text under the doc cam and model the reading for the kids – either all or most or some – so that they aren’t on the hook for connecting the sound to sight alone. So many of my Ss still need this; some can read accurately but many do not. But they love to try and they love to have a book in their hands and do feel successful when we convert & condense the dense text into a Readers’ Theater or cartoon style story board…
    The more I’m in this line of work the more it seems like the early /elementary novice practices are good for older students. I mean, when I did 16 hours of Mandarin w/a group of teachers w/Linda Li, the cold character reading was a rebus style write-up – words and pictographs combined – just like for K-2!!

  5. I was talking to Señor Jordan at CSCTFL and he brought up a good point, and I´ve seen it with my students- comprehensibility trumps plot for students.
    It could be the dumbest story but if they understand it they enjoy it. Also I have noticed that the more variety you have in your FCR library the more kids feel like they are actually in control of their own reading.
    I think the answer too is CHEAP FCR materials. Teachers just can’t afford to be buying Fluency Matters & TPRS Books novels at $6 a piece (Then students destroy those books by the end of the year and you have to do so much maintenance.)
    For me it’s all about the printed out stories in binders and plastics- they survive the school year.

  6. Yes – the TPRS people can’t figure out why I don’t use class sets of novels anymore when there is a litany of reasons. I agree with you Greg and I like that you are supporting my FCR idea vs. class novels.
    I like your simple stories. I like what Mike is doing. I like what Tina and I are doing with the few authors we have found who can produce edgy novels that are – key word supporting your point above – comprehensible above all.
    The entire TPRS movement is based on comprehensible input, but they really only guaranteed the second of those two words. It was a mistake and has resulted in a lot of failures at the method.

    1. At the elementary level I see eye to eye with Alisa’s point of view bc they need guided reading but with an easy book with a really interesting story so that most students want to read it.
      In my grade six I started with FCR and quite a few kids chose the Garfield comics which as you know are not always that simple. But fun and interest can go along way to wanting to figure out the meaning and those comic strips are so short; it doesn’t matter to them if they don’t clearly undestand everything. I’m so glad I took off my teacher’s hat and that’s due to you and all the others here.

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