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Merryman 1

Informal Reading Response


Dr. T. Donaldson

Chapters 9, 15, 6 & 7


I.

Statement or Idea: Above all, I was struck by how complicated and


demanding these kids young lives were. It is a tough job being a person,
whoever you are. Even though I was only four or five years older than most of
them, I had somehow lost touch with the quotidian realities of teenage and
school life. What happened? Did I get amnesia along with my teaching
certificate? In order to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be, I needed to stay
connected to kids and their reality. Chapter 9 pg. 130, Harvey Daniels.
a) Reaction: This was a powerful statement to me because we know as teachers
our job includes being a part of our students lives. We have to know our
students and find a way to connect with them to be able to break through.
That being said it seems too easy for us to lose that sense of what it was like to
be a kid or teenager and how important our social endeavors were at the time.
Finding a way to keep up with them is just as important as the lessons we
teach them.
b) Connection(s): I found myself connected to this because working with
younger children makes you dig down deep and figure out how to connect
with these kids. Obviously I havent sat in front of the TV and watched hours
of cartoons or spent my weekends playing Minecraft. So I had to find other
ways of connecting. To me it was as easy as asking them what they liked or
disliked. Just plain getting to know them gave me their respect and attention.
For an older group of kids I think the dialogue journals are an excellent idea

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to help stay connected with their students. Free writing is a great way to let
loose and be you.
II.

Statement or Idea: Csikszentmihalyi argues that we are most fully engaged


and happy when we are in the flow, in other words, when we are experiencing
something so intensely that nothing else seems to matter. He identifies eight
characteristics of flow experiences that we think can be usefully collapsed into
four main principles. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow experiences occur
when they provide a sense of control and competence, a challenge that
requires an appropriate level of skill, clear goals and feedback, and a focus on
the immediate experience. Chapter 15 pg. 231, Jeffery D. Wilhelm, Michael W.
Smith.
a) Reaction: This was a great idea to read about along with the different
characteristics that complimented the idea a being in the flow. With boys
being already misunderstood in the classroom the more information on them
the better. Using these types of characteristics such as competence and
control or appropriate challenge, I can find new ways to help boys become
more interested in literacy content.
b) Connection(s): I have enjoyed learning more about boys and the way they
learn since my classroom management course. It opened my eyes to why boys
act a certain way, why they are misunderstood when it comes to preforming
academically, and how to make the classroom more boy-friendly. All things
that help us become better teachers and the boys better students. I love the
different characteristics I read about because they went hand in hand with
what I had learned previously. Theres a science to the way we act and react

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and its all about educating ourselves as well as possible so we can teach
accordingly.
III.

Statement or Idea: In addition to negotiating a range of multiliteracy


demands with ease, adolescents are also entering puberty at a younger age,
rushing them to wonder about issues of sex and identity when some of us wish
they were still riding bikes and playing tag. This need to find answers sooner
also has an effect on their reading interests. These days, Judy Blumes Are
You There, God? Its Me, Margaret is likely to be read by a fourth grader than
a middle school student and The Outsiders (Hinton) is more likely read in
middle school than in high school. Chapter 6 pg. 62, Teri S. Lesesne.
a) Reaction: The statement gave me something to think about. At first I was
confused because I read it in a negative light. It sounded like it was a bad
thing that younger students were trying to read books meant for older kids.
Then I read on to find that the shift in maturity in our students just calls for
different material. Its what is being published and presented to them based
on their interests. To me it seems like we should it embrace this in a positive
light. Not necessarily give them books that may not be appropriate yet, but
possibly teach them how to read upper level books like this if they are so
interested.
b) Connection(s): I was actually in fourth grade I think, or it might have been
fifth, when I read Are You There, God? Its Me, Margaret and The Outsiders
was definitely read in middle school so I was a little confused about why this
was such a big deal. Then I looked at the published date and it made more
sense. Since I was a strong reader all throughout school I never struggled with

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more advanced texts and often read outside of my age level. But for those who
arent reading like this through grade school, for a teacher to step in and show
them how would be pretty incredible.
IV.

Statement or Idea: Crawford (2004) notes that the addition of graphic


novels to a library collection can play an important role in motivating readers.
Reluctant readerswhether reluctant because of lack of interest or limited
skillsoften find the visual scaffolds are the hook they need to enjoy the
reading experience. The scaffold in the form of illustrations helps the reader
draw inferences from text by literally providing visual representations of
literacy elements, such as mood, character development, flashbacks, and
foreshadowing. Chapter 6 pg. 67, Teri S. Lesesne.
a) Reaction: Obviously for primary graphic novels are a great idea but I never
thought of using graphic novels in the secondary schools. This makes a lot of
sense though and could be helpful. It might be an issue of not wanting to look
bad in front of their peers because they are reading books with pictures in
them, but maybe using the correct graphic novels like the comics or manga
might work.
b) Connection(s): I never saw graphic novels being used during high school
but I do remember my teachers pulling up images that went along with the
books. We would search the web to find pictures artists had created that went
along with book we were covering. This got our minds going because of the
imagery and tone the pictures would set. It was a great tool to get our writing
going.

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V.

Statement or Idea: Instruction that makes words meaningful, memorable,


and useful begins with rich shared experiences. While those experiences can
come from discussion and viewing, the most common shared experience in
classrooms usually comes from texts that are chosen for common reading.
These rich readings provide contexts for words that students might never
encounter. This is why I have always been such an advocate of audio-assisted
reading. Students are able to read well beyond their independent reading
levels with the audio support and, in doing so, encounter words they would
never encounter in texts they could read independently. But is it enough just
to read the words?
a) Reaction: This statement made me think about a class full of kids who all
had access to audio-assisted reading devices. Take an iPad or Kindle for
example. When reading an audio book on one of these tablets kids are able to
highlight words and do web searches on anything they have read. Combine
this knowledge with class discussions and our students could get a lot more
out of their text. I think its a good idea for the more difficult books high
school students have to read but not all the time.
b) Connection(s): Building off of my reaction, I have listened to multiple audio
books during long road trips or while I do chores around the house. Its not
my first choice when it comes to reading but it gets the job done when I cant
physically sit down and read a book. But the few times I have read off my iPad
and came across a word I didnt know, I was amazed at how easy it was to
highlight a word to find out its meaning. It literally popped up and gave me
links that used it in a sentence or explained it more in depth. For someone

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who reads a lot and doesnt really take the time to look up the unfamiliar
words, this tool was very helpful, and can be for students struggling with
vocabulary in their text.

Source(s):