Characteristics Of Effective Literacy Teachers

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According to Richard Allington, a professor of education at the University of Tennessee and one of the country’s most recognized experts on early literacy, highly effective teachers use six practices which make a difference in elementary reading instruction. They engage students in reading and writing authentic passages instead of wasting time on filling out many worksheets. Effective teachers provide students with texts they find interesting and they are able to read successfully. Also, teachers are involved in active instruction; they demonstrate, model and teach strategies explicitly. The exemplary teachers encourage students to ask questions and discuss their ideas with classmates; they also pose open-ended, higher-level thinking questions. Another characteristics of effective literacy teachers is giving students the choice of tasks which integrate various skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking. Finally, teachers grade students’ work based not only on achievement but first and foremost based on effort, improvement and through the use of rubrics.
If you walked into my classroom during the guided reading block, you would notice Arlington’s six features of effective elementary literacy instruction exhibited in various types of activities. Students would be divided into five groups according to their reading level, similar reading processes, needs and interests.
In order to develop student reading fluency, understanding and independence, I would work with students at the guided reading table. I would start teaching by introducing the book and walking through the pictures. If it were a group who need to focus on vocabulary building instruction, you would see me point to vocabulary words, give definitions and s...

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... or they would use computer software to complete their written or graphic responses. The purpose of this activity would be to help students become better readers by connecting reading and writing, engaging in critical thinking and learning about how to interpret a text and formulating thoughtful personal responses to what they read, help learn decoding and fluency skills as well as learn new vocabulary words.
Finally, the last group of students would be engaged in practicing phonics, which is a way of teaching reading and spelling that stresses symbol-sound relationships. You could see students play phonics games on PBSKids.org, or work on a particular phonics, rhyme and other literacy skill on the website called ReadWriteThink.org. and/or Lexia. Computer-assisted instruction would be an engaging activity, which would benefit and develop students’ reading skills.

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