Standard 2: Respectful Educational Environments: Teacher leaders model leadership by establishing a positive and productive environment for a diverse population of students, their families, and the community.
Grade Level: K-6
Rotter, K. (2006). Creating instructional materials for all pupils: Try COLA. Intervention in School and Clinic, 41(5), pp. 273-282.
In the article “Creating Instructional Materials for all Pupils: Try COLA”, Kathleen Rotter suggests reading materials that could be easily followed by all of the classroom students, even those who may need special kinds of instructional help and guidance. She calls her model COLA which stands for contrast, orientation, lettering, and artwork. COLA represents qualities which help students maintain the attention span required for reading.
There are certain strategies that can be combined with the article’s suggestions to help students focus better. First of all, I would make sure that the artwork is not obscure and the students are familiar with the pictures. Either of these shortcomings would prevent the children from recognizing unfamiliar words. It is also important to make sure that the artwork is culturally sensitive so that students don’t feel uncomfortable. When students look at the paper, the artwork should not grab all of their attention and pictures do not take away the attention from written words. The artwork should assist them with reading instead of substituting the written portion. Even though artwork can enhance the learning process, it may also be a hindrance if it distracts the readers. This article suggests cautious use of artwork to facilitate the reading process.
According to Reading Standard Two, I am expected to establish a positive and productive environment for a diverse population of students, their families, and the community. In the past, I have had artwork that was not appropriate for my students either due to overuse of art or not being relevant to the written portion. When presenting printed information to students, we should make sure that the artwork is supportive and helps make the meaning of words clearer. Most children have some knowledge of various ethic art and hopefully this will help the students associate new words with the art they see and also help them better grasp the meanings of the words they read.
Standard 3: Reading teacher candidates understand and apply best instructional practices and techniques in the reading process for all learners: Reading teacher candidates know and are able to use a variety of tools to help diverse K-12 learners develop reading strategies and skills that promote contend comprehension.
Grade Level 7 – 12
St. Amour, M. J. (2003). Connecting children’s stories to children’s literature: Meeting diversity needs. Early Childhood Education Journal, 31(1), pp. 47-51.
In the article, “Connecting Children’s Stories to Children’s Literature: Meeting Diversity Needs”, Melissa J. St. Amour segregates storytelling into three unique categories: the Known, the Remembered, and the Imagined. The Known deals with issues which take place in a student’s family and are usually diverse in nature. These issues often take the form of special holidays and celebrations which are either household practices or are based on religion or ethnicity. The Remembered is generally recall items which may either be known or are based on occurrences that took place somewhere else such as at a relative’s home. They may not be actively practiced in the student’s home but they are practiced at a location with which the student is intimately familiar such as the home of a grandparent or other close relatives. Imagined occurrences may have no factual basis or they may have been taken from excerpts of fact and combined with the student’s imagination to create an entirely new belief based on how things should have been instead of how they are.
The known category can help educate students on different cultures and extend their cross-cultural knowledge. When I read aloud a book to the class, I read it at students’ level and ensure that the reading process fulfills the requirements of the curriculum. I want the students to personally relate to the stories read in the class. Whenever the students don’t understand something, I engage them in discussion to better grasp the issue at hand. I also ask students for examples from their personal lives to make sure they have understood the material. Reading aloud to students helps foster effective reading habits. When students are read to aloud, it helps enrich their vocabulary and makes difficult text understandable. A teacher can also use the opportunity to demonstrate how various genres are read differently. In addition, this also teaches students the importance of listening skills.
According to Reading Standard Three, I expect to develop reading strategies and skills that will promote content comprehension. In the past I have selected books at random to read aloud in class but from now onwards I will select autobiographies of inspirational people. Hopefully, the students will be able to personally relate to these biographies and are inspired from them to build personal character. I also hope these biographies will encourage students to think by putting themselves in the famous people’s shoes and apply the lessons to their own lives. I believe that stories to whom the students can relate to will also help students become more involved with the lessons. The information presented to the students will become more meaningful and will involve issues with which the students are familiar. The importance of oral language will be the most meaningful way to establish the love of literacy through books.