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Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now


Literacy Across the Curriculum Research Paper: Part 1
Katiana Cokinos
Principia College

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

Throughout elementary, middle, and especially high school, I had


an awful perspective on reading. I believed that reading was
unproductive and unimportant. I thought of reading as a consequence
and a chore. Whenever I was assigned summer reading, I
procrastinated it until the last minute, thinking that my summer fun
would be ruined once I began the assigned novels. I wasnt read to
much as a child, which I think greatly impacted my thoughts about
reading even today. I have figured out that I am not motivated when a
teacher forces me to read a book. Usually, I feel a little bit better about
reading when its my choice on what to read. However, I love reading
every day articles that pop up on Facebook, something I find
entertaining. Within these articles, I am always first searching for lists,
so I can get to the main point and the meat of the text. I have read
hundreds of JSH and Sentinel articles, because I know those readings
are productive and will help me.
The term literacy scared me. In high school, my English class
read novels like F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby and S.E. Hintons
The Outsiders, I didnt. I purposely didnt do the reading assignments
and went right to Sparknotes, a website that provides free chapter-bychapter summaries of almost any reading we had, and I even skimmed
through those because I didnt want to read them all the way through.
Was I being lazy? Yes, of course. This was not the only reason why I
failed so miserably in my English classes. My perception of reading as a

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

whole completely impacted the effort I put into it. Before learning more
about literacy in Ed Block, I thought that it was all about reading and
writing. During the literacy curriculum in my Mr. Michaels 12th grade
English class, we were assigned to read huge chapter books and write
10 page essays on them. As stated before, I wouldnt actually do the
reading, and I would even miss class often because I thought I wouldnt
have anything to contribute to the discussions and reflective work
anyways.
Reading is much more than being able to read words on a page.
To be a good reader, you first shop around for books that spark an
interest. To do this, you read the summary on the back. It is helpful to
even begin reading the first few pages to see if the author hooks you,
and to explore the language to see if its a good fit for you. Good
readers predict and inferthese terms are similar, but not the same. To
infer is to draw conclusions through using clues that the author
provides. Predicting is more like reading between the lines.
After learning much more about literacy, I realized that it is so
much more than just reading and writing. There are 6 key language
arts listed in the article, Balanced Literacy Essentials by Michelann
Parr and Terry Campbell. They include listening, speaking, reading,
writing, viewing, and representing. At the Whitfield School, I observed a
pottery class where the teacher posts a word of the day every
morning routine. I saw a math class that was solving many word

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

problems that required the students to comprehend what the question


was asking and also to write out the answer correctly.
Reading is about recognizing words, which leads to
comprehending what the text means. Learning how to read generally
ends around the 3rd grade, after that, we learn from reading. It is
important for parents to read to their children from a young age. My
parents didnt read to me often, and this greatly affected how I think
about reading.

What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now


Literacy Across the Curriculum Research Paper: Part 2
Katiana Cokinos
Principia College

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

"Adolescentsenteringtheadultworldinthe21stcenturywillreadandwritemore
thanatanyothertimeinhumanhistory.Theywillneedadvancedlevelsofliteracyto
performtheirjobs,runtheirhouseholds,actascitizens,andconducttheirpersonallives."
RichardVaca,authorofContentAreaReading:LiteracyandLearningAcrossthe
Curriculum.Itsnotenoughforteacherstofocusonthecontentandcoveringthe
material.WhetheritsanEnglish,Math,Science,orevenPhysicalEducation,literacy
mustbepartofthecurriculum.Literacyishowweteachthecontent.Thegoalistowork
oncommunicationskills,readingcomprehension,andwritingskillsthoughallsubjectsin
school.Howcanateacherstandinfrontoftheirclassroom,talkatthestudentsand
lectureallday,andexpectthestudentstobeliterate?
Socraticseminarsareanexcellentwaytoevaluateandassesseachstudents
learning.However,ateachercantjumpstraightintoaclasssocraticseminar;thiskindof
classroomactivityrequiresalotofscaffolding.Agoodwaytosetthestudentsupfor
successistoholdmanysmallgroupandpairdiscussions.Thismayincludethinkpair

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

shares,projects,andpresentations.Theseoralskillsmustbebuiltintoeverylessonthe
teachergivestothestudents.
Studentsshouldbewritingeverydayintheclassroom.Itdoesnthavetobe35
pageessayseverytime;instead,studentscanwritereflections,exitcards,oneminute
essays,orstopandjots.Teachersshouldconsistentlyholdwritingworkshops,towork
withstudentsonphonicsandphonemicawareness.Modeledwritingisagreatwayfor
theclasstoworktogethertocompleteawritingactivity.
Allteachers,nomatterthesubject,arereadinginstructorswhethertheyrealizeit
ornot.EDUtopiastates,Scaffoldingthereadingbyusingeffectivestrategiesforpre,
during,andafterreading,suchas:previewingtext,readingforapurpose,making
predictionsandconnections,thinkalouds,andusinggraphicorganizerswillsupportall
ourstudents,andnotjuststrugglingreadersandEnglishlearners.Nomatterwhatage
thestudentsare,everyonecanbenefitfromareadaloud.Teachersshouldhostsmall
groupguidedreading,toworkwithstudentsmorecloselyontheirreading
comprehension,decoding,andfluency.
Textbooksareagreatresourcetocollectdataandlearnbackgroundinformation
onasubject,butthisshouldnotbetheonlythingthatstudentsread.Therearesomany
options.Mostteacherstendtosticktothetextbook,constantlyreferringtoitfor
homeworkandclasswork.Studentsshouldbereadingthenewspaper,TimesMagazine,
andscholarlyarticles.
TheDaily5isaliteracystructurethatallowsstudentstochoosefromfive
differentreadingandwritingopportunities,sothattheycanworktowardstheir

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

individualizedgoals.Thesechoicesinclude:readtoself,workonwriting,readto
someone,wordwork,listentoreading.TheideabehindtheDaily5istodifferentiate
literacylearning,andreacheachstudentinawaythatsuitsthem,andgivethemalove
forreadingandwriting.TheDaily5providesavarietyofwaystohostaproductiveand
highlyengaginglearningenvironment.Studentswillpracticetheirindependenceand
accountability,andmoretimewillbespentoninstructionandlessonclassroom
management.
TheCafsystemisasetofspecificgoalsthataredeliveredthroughtheDaily5
structure.These4keycomponentsofsuccessfulreadingincludecomprehension,
accuracy,fluency,andexpandingvocab.TeachersuseTheCAFESystemtoassess,
instruct,andmonitorstudentprogress(TheDailyCafe).

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

Literacy Research Part 3


Katiana Cokinos
Principia College

Running Head: What I Knew About Literacy Then/What I Know Now

Part of the Alton School District, North Elementary is a public


school located in Godfrey, Illinois. Its mission states, North Elementary
accepts responsibility that students will develop essential skills for
their grade level by mastering district curriculum. Highly qualified staff
will determine the level of mastery through analysis of various
assessments. Appropriate research-based interventions and
enrichment will be provided to ensure student success. It is a diverse
school serving grades 2 to 5 of students from many unique
backgrounds and home lives
I am impressed with the literacy implemented in the curriculum
of Ms. Drostes second grade class. Ms. Droste incorporates literacy in
her classroom by following the concepts of the Daily 5: readtoself,work
onwriting,readtosomeone,wordwork,listentoreading.Studentsrotatethroughthe

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stationsthroughouteachweek,everyday.Theenvironmentintheclassroomishighly
productiveduringthistime.Sincethisisroutinelyforthestudents,theyknowwhatis
expectedofthem.Theyknowtokeeptheirvoicesdownandtobefocusedontheirwork
withoutdistractingothers,andtheyhavebeenveryobedienttotheserules.
Myrole,duringthislearningtime,istoleadthewordworkstation.The
studentssitaroundmyhorseshoetable,andeverybodyhastheirowndryeraseboardand
marker,includingme.Ichooseaspellingwordfromthatweekslist,outoftheorderthe
studentsareusedtoabidingby.Toengagethestudents,Ithoughttohavethemdrawlines
ontheirboardstocreatethreesections:theword,thewordusedinasentence,anda
drawing.Thisallowsthemtonotonlyhavetoknowhowtospelltheword,buthowto
applyitthroughvisualsandscenarios.Ialsotestthemonusingthepluralwordsofthose
spellingwords.Forexample,Ihadthechildrenspellthewordknife,drawapictureof
aknife,andcreateasentence,suchas,Iuseaknifetocutmysteak.Then,Iaskedthem
todothesamething,exceptthistime,theyaretalkingaboutmultipleknives.Every
studentspelleditasknifes.Icorrectedthem,andmadesuretomakeitclearwhywe
changetheftoav.
Thestudentshavedifferentspellingwordseveryweek,includingaspellingtest
everyFriday.Ms.Drostesaysthewordoutloud,usesitinasentence,andthestudents
writethewordsontheirlinedsheetsofpaper.Theyhavetimeattheendofeachschool
daytoreadabookoftheirchoicetothemselves.Thealsousuallylistentoanaudiobook
asaclassandfollowalongwiththehardcopiesattheirdesksneartheendoftheday.
TheyhaveareadingcomprehensiontesteveryFridaytotesttheirunderstandingofa

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booktheclasshasreadtogethereachweek.Thereadingtestsaremultiplechoice,andthe
teachersusuallyaccepttwodifferentanswersifthequestionisgeneral.Iworked
individuallywithAddison,mycasestudy,duringthistest.Becauseofherlearning
disabilities,theteachermodifiedthetestforherbycrossingoffoneoftheresponsesin
eachmultiplechoicequestion,sothatshehaslesstochoosefrom.
InoticedayoungboynamedNesterwhohadhisheaddownonhisdeskasthe
restoftheclasswasreadingsilently.Icalledhimovertoaskwhyhewasntreading.I
hatereading,hesaid.Icouldntgetadefiniteansweroutofhimastowhyhedoesnt
enjoyreading,untilIaskedhimifthebookisofinteresttohim.Hethensaid,Itisway
toohardformethisbookwasrequiredfortheclasstoread.Iaskedhimifitwouldbe
morefuntoreaditoutloudtome,andhesaidYes.Hereadbegantoreadoutloud,and
hewasmuchmoreengaged.Iassistedhimwiththewordshedidntknowandthewords
hecouldntpronounce.Ihavequestionedbeforewhetherthisboyhasdyslexiabefore,
becauseInoticedmanywordsonhisspellingtestthathadmixedupletters,letterswritten
backwards,andwordswrittenthatwerentevenbeingtestedon.Inthisclassroom,his
needsarenotbeingmet,probablybecausetheMs.Drostedoesntrealizeheisdyslexic.
Thisismostlikelybecauseshejustdoesnothavethetimetopaycloseattentiontoevery
singlestudent.Or,maybeshedoesnthavetheresourcestohelpthischild.Thereare4
IEPstudentsinherclass,andabout5studentswhodonotqualifyforIEPbutdealwith
learningchallenges.However,asaninternwhoisonlythereforonlyafewweeks,Iam
doingmybesttogivethesestudentstheindividualhelptheyneed.

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Mostoftheotherchildrenintheclassseemtoreallyenjoyreading.Thereisa
carpetareaintheclassthatisavailableforstudentstoliedownonwhiletheyarereading.
Addison,whoisonthespectrumandhassevereanxietyandADHDabsolutelylovesto
read.WhiletheclasswaswatchingScoobyDoo,shepulledoutherbook.Shesbeen
dyingtoreadallday,saysMs.Droste.Ibelievethattheamountofliteracytheteacher
incorporatesinhereverydaylessonshasanimpactonthechildrensloveforreading.
Beforemyinternship,Ihadverylittleunderstandingandwasintimidatedabout
howliteracycouldbeincorporatedineverydaycurriculums.Ididntevenunderstand
whatliteracywas,asIthoughtitwasonlyreadingandwriting.Inowunderstandthe
importanceofliteracy.

LiteracyAcrosstheCurriculumResearchPaper:Part4
KatianaCokinos
PrincipiaCollege

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IamwellpleasedwiththeliteracyIwitnessedimbeddedintothedailyroutinein
Ms.Drostessecondgradeclassroom.Evenifthemorningworkpresentedonthe
studentsdesksupontheirarrivaleverydaywasamathworksheet,literacywassomehow
apartofit.Forexample,acommonmorningworkpracticewouldconsistofcompleting
mathproblemsandcoloringthespacewheretheanswersappearedtothecorresponding
colors.Aboxontheleftsideofthesheetofferedthewordproblems.Thisactivatedtheir

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readingcomprehensionskills,requiringthemtoanalyzethetexttofigureoutwhatthe
problemwasaskingandhavingtofigureouthowtosolveit.
Duringtheweek,thestudentshavebecomeaccustomedtoatimeforcenters,
wherestudentsaredesignatedtoaspecificcentereachday,rotatingthroughouttheweek
toreacheachone.ThecentersfollowedtheDaily5,aliteracystructurewhichincludes
differentiatedliteracytaskswhichallowstudentstopracticetheirindependence.The
stationswere:readtoself,workonwriting,readtosomeone,wordwork,andlistento
reading.Thestudentslookedforwardtothistime.Becausetheyaresousedtothisdaily
regime,theysuccessfullyworkedontheirownwithoutdistraction,andbarelyinterrupted
Ms.Drosteasshecaughtuponherwork.
Thatwasntallforliteracy.Everydayafterlunchtime,studentswouldgrabtheir
bucketofbooksandreadsilentlytothemselves.Thebooksthatwereintheirbucketwere
booksspecificallyuniquetoeachstudentsreadinglevelandskills,assessedeachweek
bytheteacher.Attheendofeachweek,studentswouldcomeuptoMs.Drostesdesk,
onebyone,andreadtoherassheevaluatedtheirreadinesstomoveuptothenextlevel,
oradjusttheirbookstoalowerlevel.Studentsintheclasswerealloverthespectrumof
readinglevels,andIadmiredthattheirneedsweremetinthisway.
Usuallyattheendofeveryday,studentswouldeithergatherattherugandthe
assistantteacherwouldreadabooktothem,ortheywouldstayattheirdesksandfollow
alongwhilelisteningtoanaudiobook.Somuchreadingwashappeningthroughoutthe
day,andliteracywasimplementedwellintothecurriculumindifferentformsinorderto
meeteachstudentwheretheyare.

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SpellingtestsaregiveneveryFriday,andMs.Drostewellpreparesherclassfor
it.Studentsaregiventhelistatthebeginningofeveryweek,andtheclassreviewseach
wordtogetherthroughdiscussingthespellingofthewordandhowtouseitinasentence.
Thespellingwordsarepracticedthroughthedifferentcenters,games,morningwork,and
homework.
Throughmyobservationoftheimportanceofliteracyinthedailyroutineofthe
secondgradeclassroom,IwantedtoaddtoitthroughthelessonsIcreated.Ms.Droste
encouragedmetocreatemyownlessonsinsteadofhandingmeaboring,premade
lessontoteachtheclass.IdecidedtoplanmyfirstlessononNovember10th,soIcould
planmylessonaroundthetopicofVeteransDay.Ibeganmylessonwithchoosinga
studenttoreadmyagendaandobjectives.Theclassobjectivewas,Tolearnmoreabout
VeteransDayandwhywecelebrateit.Then,Ihadthestudentswriteonanindexcard
anythingtheyalreadyknowaboutVeteransDay,withaguidedquestionontheboard,
WhatisVeteransDayandwhydowecelebrateit?Thiswarmupwassolelyforthe
purposeofactivatingschemaandfindingoutwhatthestudentsalreadyknow.Isoon
foundoutthatthisdidntworkfortheclass.Manystudentshadnoideawhattowrite,or
whatIwasasking.InowlookbackandwishIhadledaclassdiscussioninsteadof
immediateindependentworkon,forsome,aforeigntopic.ThebiggestliteracypieceI
addedintomylessonwasthereadingcomprehensionworksheet,whichprovidedafew
briefparagraphsofgeneralinformationaboutVeteransDay,withquestionsaboutthe
reading.Iinstructedthestudentstoreadthetexttwicebeforeansweringthequestions.I
nowwishwereaditasaclassbeforedoingindependentwork;Ididntanticipatethe

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frustrationanddifficultythestudentshadwiththisworksheet.Itwasanonlevelsecond
gradeworksheet,verysimilartoreadingcomprehensionworksheetsoftengivenbyMs.
Droste.Manystudentshaddifficultyfindingtheanswers.OnceIpointeditouttothem,
thelightbulbcameon.Somestudentshadtroublecomprehendingthequestionsaboutthe
reading,resultinginwritingananswerthatdidntcorrespondtothereading.Thisactivity
openedmyeyestotheskillsetofeachstudent.Becauseofthefactthattheyareallon
differentlevelsofreading,Ihadsomestudentswhobreezedthroughandmanystudents
whoconstantlywerebeggingformyhelp.Ilearnedabiglessonbecauseofthisactivity,
andknewhowtoadjustformysecondlessonlater.Ibroughtthestudentstotherugto
watchafun,MadagascarthemedvideoaboutVeteransDay,whichwasasafeandfun
activityIdidnthaveanydoubtsabout.Theyabsolutelylovedthevideo.Understanding
thatliteracyisntallaboutreading,Iincorporatedawritingactivityintothelatterportion
ofmylesson.Wewroteletterstorealveterans,wishingthemahappyholidayand
thankingthemfortheirservice.Imodeledthesetupfortheletterontheboard,
discussingwiththeclasswherethedategoes,howtobegintheletter,andhowtoclose.
AlthoughIwasdisappointedwiththeoutcomeofmyfirstlesson,Ihadaclearideaand
wasexcitedaboutthechangesIwasplanningtomakeformysecondlesson.
TherewasaboutaweekstimeinbetweenthetwolessonsItaught.Aftermyfirst
lesson,IobservedMs.Drostesclassroommanagementstylemoreclosely,andnoticed
hermethodstosetherstudentsupforsuccess.Ifiguredoutwhatworksforherclass,and
modifiedthewayIwishedtoteachtogettheoutcomeIwanted.Ms.Drostepreviously
explainedthatholidaysalwayscreepuponher,andsheusuallyforgetstosqueezein

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lessonsaboutthecurrentholidays.Ithoughtitwasagreatopportunitytofocusmy
secondlessonaroundtheThanksgivingholiday.
Ibeginwithcallingonstudentstoreadtheagendaandobjectives.Theobjective
forthelessonwas,TousewhatwealreadyknowaboutThanksgivingtocompletesome
funactivities.Thefirstactivitywasareadaloudstorytotheclass:APlumpandPerky
TurkeybyTeresaBateman.Ikeptacloseeyeonthestudents;especiallythosewhochose
tositatthedesks,tomakesuretheywereengagedandpayingattention.Imovedsome
studentsaroundandmadesureeveryonecouldseethepictures.Ireadthebookinaloud
andnarrativetone,readingsidewaysandshowingthepicturesbeforeturningtothenext
pages.Iaskedafewquestionstotheclassasthestoryprogressedtokeepthemengaged.
Iinstructedtheclasstoraisetheirhands,tositontheirbottoms,tositeup,andtosave
theirideasfortheend.Thisreadaloudwasahit.Theclasslovedthebook,theywere
entertained,anditwasafunwaytoincorporateliteracyintomylesson.
Whenwefinished,theclassturnedtheirattentiontotheboard,whereIplayeda
shortThanksgivingcartoon.Becauseshowingavideoinmyfirstlessonwassuccessful,I
knewitwouldhaveasimilaroutcomeforthisone.Theyenjoyedthevideosomuchthat
theyclappedattheend.
Thelastpartofmylessonwasthebestpart:wedisguisedturkeys.Ishowedthem
amodelturkeythatIdisguisedintoadoctor.IshowedthemwhatelementsIdrewin
ordertoeffectivelydisguiseit.Asaclass,wecameupwithmanydifferentwayswe
coulddisguiseourturkeys.TheclassshoutedoutideasasIwroteontheboard:afootball
player,aballerina,aspy,abasketballplayer,ateacher,aprincess,ect.Manystudents

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endedupthinkingoftheirowndisguise,whichissomethingIencouragedthemtodo.
TheygotstartedontheircoloringandIassessedtheirbehaviortofigureoutagoodtime
toturnonsomeChristmasmusic,songsthattheyhavebeenpracticingfortheirmusic
concert.Iheldoffforabitoftimebeforeturningiton,butoncethenoiselevelwasdown
Iputiton.Allofthestudentsweresinginganddancingwhiledoingtheirwork.Iwasso
relieved.
Attheend,thosewhowishedtopresenttheirturkeysdidsoinfrontoftheclass.
Speakingisabigpartinliteracy.Itisimportantforthechildrentobeabletoorganize
theirideasandlearningandbeabletoputitintowords.Mostofthestudentscameupto
thefront,andtheclassapplaudedeachone.
Studentsshouldlovetoread.Literacymustbeapartoftheeverydayroutineof
everyclassroomofeverygradelevel.Itmustbedifferentiatedintodifferentmediumsin
ordertoreachtheneedsofeachdiverselearner.LiteracyisnotjustanEnglishlessonto
begivenonceaweek.Itisalifestylethatneedstobepracticedthroughallactivities.My
internshipexperienceopenedmyeyestothisrealizationandconvincedmethatifIam
goingtobeateacher,thisiswhatneedstohappeninmyclassroom.