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ReadingReflections:TeachingReadinginMiddleSchoolbyLauraRobb

ChapterOne
Thischapterdiscussedindepththeattitudesandchangesmiddleschoolstudents
arefacingandwhatstrategiestoimplementwiththesechanges,inordertoimprove
studentreadingtolearn,andmotivationtoreadingeneral.Ireallylikedthischapter
becauseIfeltittrulytookintoconsiderationtheatmospherethatissurroundingamiddle
schoolstudent.Personally,whenIwasinthesixthgrade,Ididnotfeelasthoughteachers
weresympathetictothehugechangefromelementaryschoolIwasexperiencing.This
changemakesabigdifferenceintheattitudesandmotivationofstudents,becauseall
studentsrespondtothechangedifferently.Theideaofdifferentiationtrulycaterstothis.
Instructiontargetedtoindividualstrengthsandweaknesseswillallowforbetter
understandingandmotivation,aswellasmakestudentsfeeltheyarenotjustbeing
thrownintoanew,harderschoolwithnosupport.Ialsolikedthattheinstructional
methodsforadolescentsfocusedontheadolescentsneedtobesocialandmaketheir
ownchoices.Creatinginstructionalapproachesthatfocusonthegeneralattitudesofthis
agegroupmakeslearningmoreenjoyableforthestudent,andthusmoreeffective.Iwas
alsosurprisedbytheseven(ornine)keyreadingstrategies,asIrealizedthattheseare
thingsthatImyselfhavebeendoingsincemiddleorelementaryschool,andnever
noticed.Thesearestrategiesthatweonlyimproveonandcontinuetousethroughoutnot
onlyourcareerasstudents,butalsoourlivesingeneral.Implementingthestrategiesat
suchachangingtimecanaffectdramaticallytheoverallsuccessofthestudent.Inthe
finalsectionofthechapter,Iwasnotsurprisedbythefactthatwritingsocrucialto

readingcomprehension.InalmostallofmyliteratureorEnglishclassessinceIlearnedto
readandwrite,Ihavekeptsomeformofjournalorhadtocompleteareflectiononmy
reading.Thesetoolshavehelpedmetoretaintheinformation,aswellasactasanoutlet
formetoaskquestionsandmakecommentsonthereading.Ithinkformiddleschool
agedstudentsthisisagreatoutlettoconnectstudentstowhattheirlearningandkeep
theminvolvedandmotivated,andofcourseimprovethecomprehensionofwhattheyare
reading.
ChapterTwo
Thischapter,focusingonorganizingareadingworkshop,Ifoundtobeextremely
helpfulandeyeopening.IamrealizingthatIreallyenjoythistextbook,asIfeelthe
author,LauraRobb,usesherpersonalvoiceasanexperttoexplainconceptsandideas.I
likethisapproachinatextbook,becauseitfeelsmoreinteractiveandengagingtomeasa
reader.IalsolikedtheRobbposesquestionsthatreaders,asfutureteachers,mayask
lateronintheircareer.Inessence,thetextbookisnotmadetosimplyeducatefuture
teachers,butalsocontinuetheeducationofthosealreadyintheprofession.
Thischapterwasverysystematicinitsapproachtoorganizingreading
workshops.Theexpectationsoftheteacheraswellasthestudentswereveryclear,with
manyexamples.OnesectionIfoundreallyhelpfulwastheactualwrittenouttimelinesof
readingworkshopsin45minuteand90minuteclasses.Whileitwasclearthatthe90
minuteclassschedulewasmuchbetter,itwashelpfultoseethatthishelpfulofatoolcan
stillbeimplementedin45minutes.IalsolikedthatRobbfocusedonnotonlyintegrating
studentledactivitiesandindependentactivities,butalsostudentcontributionindefining

thebehaviorsoftheseworkshops.Allowingstudentstohelpformtheserulesmakesthem
muchlessoppressiveandmoreacceptabletostudents.Theideathattheserulesare
continuallyaddedtoobasedonthestudentsexperienceswasalsoimportanttome.This
forcesstudentstobemoreawareandconsciousofwhatthecorrectbehaviorisinthese
groups,insteadofsimplyawareoftherulestheymuchfollow.Robbgavemanygreat
examplesreferringtowarmupexercisesandresourcesforreadaloudsthatIfeelwill
definitelybebeneficialtomeinthefuture.Overall,Ifeelthatthistextbook,and
specificallythischapter,willbeagreatresourceformewhenmakinglessonplansand
schedulingareadingorwritingworkshop.Thedowntotheminuteplanexamplesand
extraresourceslistedwillbeagreatstartingpointformyownclassroomoneday!
ChapterThree
Chapter3wasfocusedongettingtoknowstudentsasreaders,andcontinually
monitoringimprovementoverthecourseoftheyear.Ilikedthisideaofgettingtoknow
thestudentsasreaders,becauseitalsohelpstheteachergettoknowthestudentasan
individual.Often,thereadingmaterial,orlackthereof,providesinsightintothepersonal
lifeofthestudent,whichissovaluableinaclassroomsetting.Robbprovidedmanygreat
ideasonstrategiesforgettingtoknowreadersaswellasstrategiesforstudentteacher
conferencesandobservation.Ireallylikedhergeneralreadingsurvey.Ifeellikethisis
thetypeofassessmentthatstudentswillbeveryhoneston,becauseitisshortandsimple.
Studentsdonotneedtowriteinfullsentences,orevenexplainthemselves.Thisstrategy
alsoallowsfortheteachertothenformgoodquestionsinaconferenceandgroundwork
forthingstolookoutforinobservation.IfoundtheWhatsEasy/WhatsHard

worksheetinteresting,butIfeelthatstudentswillnottakeitveryseriously,andthe
answersmightnotprovideasmuchinsight.However,ifstudentsarewillingtobroaden
theiranswersinaconference,itisaveryeffectivetool.
IthoughtheIUsedtobutNowICanorIUsedtoandIStill
worksheetwasagreattoolforcontinuallygettingtoknowstudents.Ialsolikedthatit
allowedstudentstoreflectonthemselves.Itforcesstudentstoseewheretheymightneed
totryabitharderorfocustheirattentiononadifferentpracticeiftheyhavemastered
another.Oftenstudentsdonotthinkaboutthesethings,andsimplyexpecttheteacherto
alwaystellthemwhattodoorwheretolook.Thistoolissimilartotheselfevaluationsin
readingidea,asthatalsoallowsforselfreflection.
ThelastaspectofthechapterIfoundveryusefulwastheexamplesof
observationalnotesonstudents,aswellastheideaofsharingthesenoteswithstudentsto
letthemknowthatyouareawareofthem,aswellasnotjudgingthem.Thisisanidea
thatIneverexperiencedasastudent,andIthinkIwouldhavelikedtoknowwhatmy
teacherwasthinkingaboutmyprogress.Observationalnotesareagreatwaytokeepthe
teacherawareofallstudents,andaconstantformofassessment.
ChapterFour
Thischapterbeganbydiscussingtheimportanceofhavingteachersreflecton
theirownreadinglife,andthestrategiesandskillstheyuseintheirpersonalreading.I
thoughtthiswasaveryinterestingideathatIhadntthoughtaboutbefore.Honestly,I
tendtoseparatetheconceptsthatIhearinmypracticumclassroom,suchasrecognizing
anAhaMomentfrommyownreading,becauseInolongerrecognizethatIamdoing

theseskillswhilereading.Ialsolikedthatthetextbookconnectedtoourotherbookon
50InstructionalRoutinestoDevelopContentLiteracy,inthattheybothfocusedon
Before,During,andAfterreadingstrategies.Separatingthesestrategiesisimportantin
beingabletocorrectlyimplementthem,andhavingthesetwosourceswillbevery
helpfulinaclassroom.Thefourkindsofminilessonswasinterestingtome,becauseit
remindedmethatalessondoesntnecessarilyhavetobeplanned,andthatlessonscan
alwaysberetaughtandreviewed.IthinksometimesIgetablackandwhiteviewof
teaching,andthinkofitasveryplannedandexecutedsequentially,butIneedto
rememberthatthecurriculumandlessonsmustbestudentbased.However,Ilikethat
Robbincludedsomeminilessonstoconsiderteachingannually.Havingthisbackboneof
lessonswillbehelpfultodrawmorelessonsfrom,aswellaskeepstudentsontrackand
learningavarietyoflessons.Robblistedmanybenefitsofthinkingaloudinminilessons
fornotonlythestudent,butalsotheteachers.Itisimportanttorememberthatmodeling
forstudentsisagreatwaytoshowthemtoolsandskillsusedinreading.Ithinkstudents
oftenwonderwhatateacheristhinkingorhowtheteacherwoulddoanactivity,sothe
ideaofthinkingaloudandmodelingwouldbeveryhelpfultostudents.Ialsolikethatshe
includedthatthisthinkingaloudisaselfmonitoringtoolforstudents.Thiskeeps
studentsresponsiblefortheirlearningaswell.Thinkingaloudencouragesstudentstostay
focusedandontask,andpromptsamoreindepththinkingaboutthetext.Idefinitely
thinkthatIwillbereferringbacktothischapterfortheresourcesforguidedpractice
materials,whichwillbeveryhelpful!
Chapter5

Thischapterfocusedonbuildingpriorknowledgeandvocabularyinstudents
beforereading.Ifoundthischapterveryhelpfulinthatitincludedmanyofthestrategies
wehavepresentedaboutinclass,andmorespecificallytheBeforeReadingRoutines.
Robbconnectedthiswellwiththepreviouschapter,whichalsodiscussedsomeofthese
routines.Thechapterbeginswiththefocusonhowimportantdevelopingprior
knowledgeandanunderstandingofvocabularyonasubjectistocomprehendand
recallitemsfromthetext(Robb129).ItwasalsoexplainedwithaquotefromaJMU
professor,JoanKindig,thatvocabularyandpriorknowledgewereinterconnectedand
dependentoneachother.Ithoughtthiswascrucialtounderstandforteacherstoseehow
importantvocabandpriorknowledgeare.
Chapter5hadabigsectionfocusingonlessonstobuildknowledgeand
vocabularypriortoreading.Ifoundthissectionveryhelpfulbecauseitpresentedsome
newideasthatIhavenotheardbefore,aswellasprovidedadifferentviewofsome
strategiesIhavereadbefore.Forexample,theConceptMapwasanideaIhaveheard
beforeandevendoneinmyowneducation,butRobbwasabletoprovidegreat
suggestionsandexplanationsforeffectivelyimplementingthisstrategy.Ireallyliked
howsheincludedFollowUpSuggestions,becauseIthinkitisalwaysimportantto
followupalessonorstrategytobesureitwaseffective,andifitwasnt,tofindanew
conceptoridea.
Inconclusion,Ialsothoughtthattheendofthechapterwasreallygreat.Robb
providesquestionforpersonalteacherreflection,aswellasprofessionalstudy
suggestions.Ideaslikethesearefoundattheendofallofthechapters,andprovidethe

teacherwithachancetoreflectonwhattheylearned,andresourcestolearnmore.Ireally
lovethatthiswasincluded,asIfeellikeRobbgivesgreatadviceandsuggestionsto
learningandgrowingteachers.
Chapter6
Thischapterismainlycenteredonimprovingrecallandcomprehension,aswell
asstrategiesforhelpingselfmonitoring.Oneideatalkedaboutfairlyearlyinthechapter
isthatofmetacognition,ortheabilitytoselfmonitorwhilereading.Thesection
discussesthatthisisaslowprocesswhichteachermustdevelopinstudentsovermany
years,notjustone.Thisisimportantforteacherstoremember,asitisveryeasytoget
discouragedwhenastudentdoesnotseemtocatchonafteranentireyear.Thebook
pointsoutthattheprimarypurposeofmetacognitionistoshowstudentshowtheycan
pinpointandthensolvereadingchallengesinordertolearnandrecallcontent(Robb
161).Ithinktheideaofmetacognition,andthestrategiespresentedinthebookare
importanttoalwayskeepinmindandstrivefor,nomatterwhatgradeorreadinglevel,
becausetheycanalwaysbeimprovedupon.Anotherkeyideainthischapterisfor
teacherstoprovidestudentswithfixupstrategies.Thebookmentionsthatitisimportant
tomodelafixupstrategywheneverintroducingstudentstoaselfmonitoringstrategy,
thuslinkingthesetwotogether.Thebasicideabehindafixupstrategyistofixupfaulty
comprehensionandconstructmeaning,afteridentifyingtheconfusingparts.Onestrategy
thatIlikedinthissectionwastohavestudentskeeptrackofdifferentwords.Having
studentsgobackandfigureoutthecorrectdefinitionwhichfitsinthepassageofaword
helpswiththecomprehensionoftheoverallstory,andalsotorememberthisparticular

word.Thestrategyintroducesstudentstothepossibilitythatawordhasmanydifferent
definitions,butoneinparticularfitsthestoryorsection.Inthisstrategy,theteacheralso
chosetoallowstudentstoworkinpairsorgroups,thushelpingthemdiscussthevarious
situationsthatthewordcouldbeusedin.Overall,Ifoundthischapterveryhelpfulin
strategiesforrecallandcomprehension.
Chapter7
Thischapterfocusedonactivitiestakingplaceafterreadingtoaidein
comprehensionandunderstanding,aswellasmakingconnectionstothereading.The
ideaofauthenticreading,orthinkingaboutbooksatschoolissimilartothewayadults
thinkaboutbooksintheirlives,wasveryinterestingtome.Icandefinitelyrelateto
studentswhofeelthatthebookstheyarereadingforclassarenotasthoughtinducingor
interesting,mostlybecausestudentsaresimplytestedontheplotandbasicideas.The
ideaofgoingintomoredetaileddiscussionaboutthesebooksinsteadsupportsthis
authenticreading.Itallowsstudentstoformulatetheirownideasandopinions,insteadof
simplyrecallingpartsofatext.
Thischaptergaveinstructionalideasandformatsforinferring,visualizing,
understandingtheme,synthesizing,settingpurpose,makingconnections,andbuilding
vocabularyafterreading.OnesectionthatIfoundmostinterestingdiscussedusing
picturebookstomodelallofthesereadingstrategies.Robbexplainsthatthesebooksare
greatbecausetheyareshortandcanbecompletedinoneortwosessions.Usingthemto
modelstrategieswillbesimpleandeffectiveforstudentstounderstand.IlovethatRobb
literallylistedpicturebooksthatshehasusedagainandagain,andmentionedwhat

strategytheyaregoodatmodeling.Thisisagreatresourceforfutureteachers,andIwill
bereturningtothissectionlaterinmycareer.Thisisalsoanewconceptformetothink
about,asIhaveneverseenateacheruseapicturebookinamiddleschoolclassroom.
Thefinalsectionlistedmanydifferentcollaborativeprojectsforstudentsafterreading,
andIthoughtthislistwasveryhelpfulinconsideringnewideasandincorporating
technologyintotheclassroom.

Chapter8
Ireallyfeltconnectedtothischapter,asIalsolearnedsomeofthelessonsRobb
learnedafterteachingareadingclasstostudents35yearsbelowgradelevel.WhileIdid
notteachaclass,duringmypracticumexperienceIwasforcedtolearntheselessons
fromonestudentwhowasthreeyearsbehindhergradelevelinherreadinglevel.This
experiencewasextremelyfrustrating,asIfeltIwasnotmakingprogress,justasRobb
explainedaswell.However,Ifeltthatthelessonslearnedwereveryimportantforall
teacherstograsp.Ireallylikedthatsheincludedthemhere,aswellashersuggestionsfor
helpingthesetoughissues.
Overall,thechapterfocusedonorganizingstrategicreadinggroupstodevelop
studentsmentalmodelsofcomprehension.Robbmentionsthatthesegroupsneedtobe
organizedaroundtheneedsandprogressofthestudents,andnotthecurriculum.
Responsivegrouping,orworkingwithstudentswhohavecommonneeds,isgreat
becauseitisdynamicandconstantlychangingasstudentsarelearning.Ilikethatthis
conceptallowsstudentstoexperienceothergroupsandperspectives.However,the

conceptrequiresverymeticulousobservationfromtheteacher,whichcanbeatough
task.
Oneofthemosthelpfulpartsofthischapterformewasthesectiononprompts
andreadingquestionstousewhileleadingreadinggroups.Ithinkthissectioncanbe
helpfultonotonlyteachers,butstudentsaswell,whocanleadtheirownreadinggroups
anddiscussions.Theseexamplesofleadingquestionshelptheteachermovestudentsin
therightdirectionthatthediscussionshouldbefollowing,butalsocouldhelpstudentsin
theirownthinkingaboutthenovel.Ithinkitwouldbeagreatideatoprovidestudents
withsomeexamplesofthesequestionstohelpthemintheirpersonaldiscovery,and
eventuallytofostertheirownindependentgroupdiscussions.
Chapter9
Thischapterfocusedmainlyonconferencesandindividualreadingtohelp
studentssucceedinreading.ThemainthingthatIwilltakeawayfromthechapteristhe
suggestionsonreadingconferences,andthestagesinthem.Ithinkthisissoimportant
becauseitprovidestheguidelinestohavesuccessfulconferences,versusconferencesthat
willcontinuetobethesameweekafterweek.Iwillalsotakeawaythemanyreasonsto
conferwithstudents.Forexample,conferringtoapplyareadingstrategyortomonitor
comprehension.Eachconferenceshouldhaveaspecificgoalorreason,thusensuringthat
theconferencesdonotbecomepointlessormundane.Ialsoreallylikedtheideaofpeer
conferencesinrelationtothis.Ithinkitsagreatwayforstudentstobesocialandhave
thatinteractionwiththeirpeers,whichmaybelessscaryforthem.Ialsolikethatthe
bookencouragesstudentstowritenotesbeforetheseconferences.Thisreallyforces

studentstogobackintotheirbookandthinkaboutwhattheirreading,andthenhavethe
opportunitytoreteachtoanotherstudent,orbringnewideastothetable.
Overall,theideaofkeepingtrackofstudentsindependentreadingversusonly
theirreadingforschoolwasnewtome,butmakesalotofsense.Ialsothinkthistiesin
withgettingtoknowstudentsasreaders,asdiscussedinapreviouschapter.Ateacher
whoisinvolvedinwhatthestudentisreadingoutsideoftheclassroom,andmonitoring
thatprogressfostersagreatersenseofcommunity,andpromoteseducationinboththe
classroomandathome,Ilovethat!

Chapter10
Thischapterfocusedonassessmentandevaluation.Intheverybeginningofthe
chapter,thedifferencebetweenthesetwoconceptsisdiscussed.Irealizedthat
assessmentisanynumberofdatacollectedonastudent,intheformoftests,logs,writing
samples,conferences,etc.Evaluation,however,istransformingthatassessmentinto
possibleinterventionstoimprovedlearning.Inshort,assessmentistheinformationyou
learnaboutastudent,andevaluationishowateacherusesthatinformationtohelpthe
studentimprove.Ifoundthistobeveryclarifyinginunderstandingthebasicsof
improvingteachingreading.Robbgoesontoexplainmanyusefulmeansofassessing
students,allofwhichIfoundveryhelpful.However,Ireallylikedthesectionof
supportingstrugglingreaders,becauseIfeltthatitreallyresonatedwithmypracticum
experience.IfoundthatmanyofherideaswereonesthatIhadunknowinglyusedinmy
experiencewithastrugglingreader.Forexample,continuingtostaypositivewiththe

student,eventhoughhertestscoreswerenotimproving.Also,helpingmystruggling
studenttoseeherprogress,inaskingherhowshefeltsheimprovedandwhatshestill
needstoworkoninawritingassignment.Ithinkbothofthesethingsreallyfostered
improvementinher,andshewasabletogrowfromtheexperience.
AnotherconnectionIsawwiththechapterandmypracticumstudentwasthe
importanceofselfevaluation.Robboffersmanyexamplesofwhenstudentsshouldself
evaluate.HerexamplesofthreebenefitsofselfevaluationIfoundtobeverytrue,asmy
studentexemplifiedsomeofthesesamebenefitsinherself.Ifoundthatherself
evaluationsreallymotivatedhertoimprovebysettingrealisticgoalsforustoreach
together.