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Review Of Language Arts Programs

Teacher Roles In Motivating Students To Learn A LanguageThere are many kinds of models and programs for the teaching of language arts. Depending upon the class, the level and many other factors, a teacher must pick and choose what works best.

One such method is a literature circle. In a literature circles, small temporary groups are formed to discuss different books. Groups meet and roles are given out such as timekeeper and discussion leader. Students may come up with the actual discussion topes on their own. The teacher's role is that of facilitator, not an active member of the group.

Another method is thematic learning environments. A theme can be effective in motivating some students. However, focal points seem more effective. A focal point would be a popular topic that can be interdisciplinary. The focal point should be a shared experience, something that everyone has read or seen or done. These focal points become a springboard the unit if the teacher wants to take it that far. Something else that should be mentioned here is theme-based literature units. It is very important to find a theme that promotes some deeper thinking, such as Justice or Peace.

Guided reading is where the teachers guide the entire class through stories, supporting them to understand the text. they may give students visual or structural cues to help them learn. they may take students through the book showing pictures first so that students can make predictions. Guided reading is almost the same as shared except that in shared reading, there are a lesser number of students and learning is focused more on the individual needs of each student. The goal with both of these methods is to support the student through so many books that the student becomes proficient and able to guide himself through the story eventually. The teacher can keep running records in order to understand better what cues are being used. They can also use leveled books to make sure the reading level is appropriate. Shared or guided reading in the lower levels could take many forms, such as echo reading (students say words after teachers), choral reading (everyone reads together), or fill in the gap reading (teacher pauses for students to say certain predictable words).

Writer's workshop or Think Aloud is basically a point where the teachers model a technique. The teacher thinks aloud about possibilities for writing or reading and models the self-talk that a critical student might go though. This involves asking questions, responding to the text, discussing prior knowledge. With writing, it may involve asking questions about why a word was used or what something means or whether technique was right. Writing workshop is used in letter formation or how pictures and print both contain messages or punctuation or many others topics.

A basal reading program is a set of textbooks that promote all the skills a district wants to see when students learn to read. A teacher can use other materials with the basal text as a part of an entire literacy program, but the basal text should be the primary text.

To discuss just a few reading programs, let's begin with Success for All (SFA). This one is designed for both English and Spanish speaking people and includes individualized tutoring, small teacher-student ratios, assessment and regrouping, a facilitator on-site, and a comprehensive reading program. When students attain a second grade reading level, the use CIRC or Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition. This includes more emphasis on comprehension and vocabulary, decoding, and writing. This program has been studied extensively and has proven effective.

By Julie Moore - I am a high school English teacher of 15 years who has recently moved to the field of Educational Adminstration. I am a Curriculum Coordinator and a Gifted and Talented Coordinator. I am highly literate a...  

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