After teaching Integrated Language Arts for two years, I realized that I had more and more questions about literacy and how I could best help my students. In 2016, I earned a Master’s in Reading Education from Texas Woman’s University. This portfolio is a cumulative look at my work and research while at TWU and my personal beliefs about literacy learning.
Literacy is a social venture in which students engage in authentic reading and writing experiences. Effective literacy instruction engages students in authentic ways that facilitate independent and community-constructed meaning.
Developing adaptive expertise is essential to becoming an effective literacy leader. There are two dimensions to being an adaptive expert. An adaptive expert must maintain a balance of efficiency and innovation (Darling-Hammond, 2005).
Efficiency is the ability to “perform particular tasks without having to devote too may attentional resources to achieve them,” while innovation, “involves moving past existing routines” in addition to the ability to, “rethink key ideas, practices, [and] values” in an effort to complete tasks in new ways (Darling-Hammond, 2005, pg 361). The value of an adaptive expert, someone who effectively and creatively facilitates learning in their classroom, is high.
As a literacy leader, I understand that effective literacy instruction and experiences must be authentic. Reading and writing require a purpose, and learning is done best using authentic experiences (Tompkins, 1998). By incorporating authentic purposes for reading and realistic audiences for writing, teachers help students construct meaning (Tompkins, 1998). When students are presented with meaningful and relevant literacy instruction, students are able to “transfer new learning to other settings, such as homes and communities” (Barone & Xu, 2008).
My understanding is that, while reading and writing can be an incredibly personal experience, language and conversation helps us make sense of our thinking and learning. (Tompkins, 1998). Students’ understandings are a result of their membership in certain social and cultural groups (Au, 2011). Learners must be given time to discuss their reading and writing, in order to facilitate their literacy learning. When students participate in discussions and purposeful talk about their reading and writing, “their learning is not confined to knowledge constructed as a product in such a context, but also includes a developing understanding of and ability to use the processes by which such knowledge is constructed” (Kucan & beck, 1997, p. 290. As cited in Almasi, 2012, pp. 54).
Almasi, J. F. (2012). Teaching strategic processes in reading. New York: The Guilford Press.
Au, K. H. (2011). Literacy achievement and diversity: Keys to success for students, teachers, and schools. New York: Teachers College Press.
Barone, D., & Xu, S. H. (2008). Literacy instruction for English language learners PreK-2. In Vogt, M. E., & Shearer, B. A. (2011). Reading specialists and literacy coaches in the real world. New York: Pearson.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,. (2015). About Chimamanda | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Retrieved 5 August 2015, from http://chimamanda.com/about-chimamanda/
Hammerness, K., Darling-Hammond,L. & Bransford, J. (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Handsfield, L. J., Dean, T. R. and Cielocha, K. M. (2009), Becoming Critical Consumers and Producers of Text: Teaching Literacy with Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. The Reading Teacher, 63: 40–50. doi: 10.1598/RT.63.1.4
Kucer, S. B. (2001). Dimensions of literacy: A conceptual base for teaching reading and writing in school settings. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.
Leslie, L., & Caldwell, J. (2010). Qualitative reading inventory-5. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Tompkins, G. E. (2006). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Merrill/Prentice Hall.