You are on page 1of 6

Josh George

Case Study EDU 340, Blevins

Part I
Reading is something that for over two thousand years has been a fundamental aspect
learning. However reading is not something that comes naturally, it is not something that humans
can just do instinctively. Despite the fact that we read things everywhere, everyday it has to be
something taught from a very young age to establish a good basis of vocabulary and reading
skills. The statement that All teachers are teachers of reading effectively portrays that
reading isnt just for language arts classes, but that for students to become good readers they
must have a wide range materials to read to establish that strong vocabulary and reading skills.
The statement also notes that teachers themselves cannot be one-dimensional and ignore the
importance of reading in all content areas for students. Reading is so fundamentally based in our
American society that it is not only essential for students to master it academically but more
importantly being able to use those skills to succeed in life as well as the workforce.
Nevertheless, because reading is a creation of man it difficulties can arise for certain
brains/minds. It is our duty as teachers to be able to try and facilitate readers that may need a
little boost or just a little help. This is because there are multiple factors that can make reading
difficult for students. Overall, all teachers must be teachers of reading because its a basic but
necessary tool to understand the world, be a productive member of society, as well as to create a
foundation to become a lifelong learner.
Reading and literacy are a major component of the modern humans development and
students specifically because as discussed in lecture students that have acquired this discipline
they know how to think and learn from texts. In Richard Vaccas chapter, in our Person Custom
Education textbook, on literacy he notes that readings whether, in print or non-print form, are
indispensable sources of information, meaning-making, and knowledge construction, (Vacca,

Josh George
Case Study EDU 340, Blevins

7). I was able to witness the construction of knowledge in my Lab course in which Mr. Cormia
presented a Directed Reading/Thinking Activity (DR/TA) on the topic of Latitude and Longitude.
I observed the class participating actively by answering Mr. Cormias question of what they
know and think they know. This application of prior knowledge allowed for students to display
and apply what they already knew. Following this, a popcorn reading was in place
inadvertently forcing students to pay attention and follow along in fear of embarrassment. Upon
finishing the reading, the students had to answer the question of what they learned or were still
unsure of. This effectively illustrated how reading can be used in my content area without
changing the lesson. It allowed students to do more of the learning and thinking themselves
versus a teacher just lecturing them on what they need to know. This further exemplifies the
advantages of teachers teaching through the medium of literacy. Furthermore, reading is a tool
students use to construct, clarify, and extend meaning in a given discipline, (Vacca, 19). Thus,
its a skill that has the power to create knowledge, make sense of that knowledge, and further
ones understanding of that knowledge. As it says it will provide this in a given discipline,
which correlates to the fact that not all reading is text based, in books, or only found in a
language arts class. In social studies, books can sometimes play a role but for the most part the
reading that is involved is in atlases and maps. I have personally helped many kids in Mr.
Cormias class to help improve their ability to read maps as well as help them to understand the
strategies behind reading a map. For instance, I helped a specific student to efficiently use
latitude and longitude to find things on maps and provide him and the others with techniques to
help interpret multiple kinds of maps.
Also in my experiences in Mr. Cormia class, I aided students in understanding currency in
foreign nations and how to translate them in terms of our US dollar. I worked with a kid one on

Josh George
Case Study EDU 340, Blevins

one who didnt quite understand how to translate and interpret the currency exchange. I was able
to provide this 7th grader with a useful way of reading and interpreting exchange rates as well as
an example of how it works in the real world. Reading is not limited to words and books but can
be accessed in all content areas as well as everywhere in one everyday life. Because reading is so
important to not only the students future as a scholar but also its significance among the
workplace teachers cannot ignore its essential nature. Thus, all teachers must be teachers of
reading or we may become illiterate in any number of subjects whether it is math, geography, or
even areas like chemistry.
Part II
I have learned many new ways to encourage and provide students with a way to
incorporate reading into my content area of History/Social Studies. I have also learned a great
number of strategies to facilitate readings with graphic organizers, writing activities, as well as
things like role-playing into the classroom. Reading, however, is especially important to the area
of history mainly because much of history is based of written texts and books in and from a
period (primary source) or written about the particular period (secondary source). A specific
method I could use in History to facilitate reading is the use of connection mapping. For
instance, I could have students read a primary source document from a soldiers diary that fought
in the Civil War and create a concept definition map. The overarching definition to be used
would be the Civil War and then branch out from there. From those branches, I would have
students draw on important vocabulary, examples of the actions of the Civil war, and how that
enhances the students concept of the Civil War. The use of a concept map when dealing with the
Civil War would allow student to accumulate the important ideas from the diary entry and

Josh George
Case Study EDU 340, Blevins

determine its significance or lack thereof to the war. In addition, noting and writing down new
vocabulary words allows you to achieve a greater understanding of the era.
Another example of how I could use reading within History is have them read from their
textbooks concerning the American Revolution. Once the passage had been read, the student
would then create a timeline of the important events before, during, and after the war. This would
be extremely helpful for students that are visual because by creating a timeline of the events it
provides their minds a visual of what they were reading. Thus, this allowed them to make a
greater connection mentally to the chronology of the events. By creating these mental images,
students will be able to know the series of events correctly in order and use that to facilitate
future exams or classes they may have. For example, a students ability to know that the Boston
Tea Party was before the war ever began as well as being able to make distinctions that it was a
factor in the causes of the war. In addition, strategies like a $2.00 summary are useful in
incorporating reading and writing into History. For instance, I could have students read John F.
Kennedys inaugural speech when covering the Civil Rights Movement and the see what the
students chooses as the most important material found within the text. Not only does it allow
them to actively see how a summary is extremely helpful after reading but also the fact that it
forces students to really rely on their intuition and choose the most important information. Just
like our brain is constantly pruning out information that it doesnt necessary need, students must
learn how to do distinguish the useful information from the filler or interesting facts. Also by
consolidating the information into a short summary, it permits a greater retention of the essential
concepts and strides toward long-term memory.
Among the strategies, Ive learned it has become apparent that the best strategies include
some form of both prior knowledge coupled with writing. This is because when a student uses

Josh George
Case Study EDU 340, Blevins

what they know, read about, or learned in some form of writing and reiterating those concepts it
enables a student to take their knowledge from working memory (short-term memory) to longterm memory. I know this to be true from my own experiences, what Ive learned from education
classes, as well as seeing it first hand with the students Ive worked with at Blevins Middle
School. In fact, a strategy like a KWL organizer is a perfect example of prior knowledge (the K
of KWL) facilitated with writing creating an outcome of long-term memory once the students
filled out the learnt or L portion of the organizer. I could easily incorporate this into history by
covering a topic like the Cold War specifically the Vietnam War, starting with K the know
portion. In class, I could have students brainstorm ideas of the prior knowledge in groups or as a
whole class to help students hear a variety of answers. Additionally, as the teacher I would write
down, on the whiteboard, all the different ideas the students came up with and have a little
discussion about why and the significance behind some of the ideas. Following that, I would
have the students take 5-10 minutes to write down their questions (W) and what they want to
know while I set up the documentary regarding the Vietnam War. Next during the film, students
would be required to try to answer those questions they had as well as write down any
facts/concepts they felt noteworthy to be placed in the learned section. The repetition and
organizer would help serve as useful tools for studying too.
There is also a strategy much like a KWL forces student to use what they know in writing
to help facilitate and practice the material into creating long-term memory. The writing strategy
known as RAFT can be helpful for students because it forces them to think about the subject in a
fun sort of way. The RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, and Topic) writing strategy is effective
because it expects students to create a scenario that encompasses the lesson and use what they
know to write about it. However, there are little parameters in terms of format and topic so it

Josh George
Case Study EDU 340, Blevins

leaves options open for students. While they are limited to certain choices for the role of the
author and the audience, it ultimately enables fun to occur while still learning. This strategy has
now boundaries in terms of content area and thus it correlates well with History or Social
Studies. For instance, in Social Studies you could give students the role as Latitude and the
audience as Longitude. This would create a focus while still giving them the option to write in
any format like a letter, poem, etc. as well as choose the focus of the particular writing, all while
still using their prior knowledge. This strategy would allow students to review their knowledge
of latitude and longitude without dull worksheets or coping information out of a book, it would
force students to think critically about the concepts and formulate a connections into long-term
memory.