interactive read aloud
"Your ultimate goal is to help students become inquiring, inquisitve, and indepedendent readers who seek to understand through their own agency."
-Vicki Vinton, Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading p. 155
This post is a week 3 of 4 in the #cyberPD community conversation hosted here: #cyberPD Google Community. Stop by and join the conversation.
The Author in the Room
It's not uncommon, as a teacher of writers, to think about the authors that surround our students. We search for books that help learners envision the possibilities of writing. We pay attention to organization, structure, and crafting techniques that will grow our writers. In reading, the author is equally important, but I'm not sure I have spent as much time being intentional in helping students to see how the moves the author made help us to understand the intended message.
One of the pieces that struck me in this third section of reading was often Vinton refers to the author. On page 113 she reminds, "As teachers, our goal should be to help students to develop coherent interpretations that are personally meaningful and supported by the text." It seems a fine line, but Vinton has me thinking about reading to determine the author's message instead of understanding the story. In this thinking, more attention is given to the decisions the author made to help strengthen their message for the reader. What are the patterns the author used? When those patterns were broken, what did that mean?
Thoughts to Grow
As Vinton demonstrates her work in fiction and nonfiction with readers to help them understand how to develop and understanding of the whole (synthesizing) while noting patterns and details (determining importance), she utilizes the interactive read aloud. Teaching through the interactive read aloud provides a high level of support as readers (including the teacher) work together to create an understanding of the author's message. Vinton takes careful steps in determining student need, selecting a text, planning her language and determining the level of support needed in this shared experience.
A few takeaways:
Considerations, Cautions, Concerns
1. Make the Task Expansive (p. 127): Vinton reminds us to teach into what students are doing instead of teaching them what to do. She makes an analogy to the "rich tasks" presented in mathematics. These tasks allow for different entry, a variety of possibilities for solving, and more than one response.
2. Develop Reader Thinking Around Author's Purpose (p. 130): Young readers often have a simplistic view of the author's purpose, often thinking the author is "recording something that happened or making something up to entertain her readers (Vinton, p. 130)." Vinton reminds us of the importance of helping readers to understand the author's intentional decision-making.
3. Readers Need to Interpret Before They Can Analyze (p. 131): Readers need an understanding of the whole before they can start looking at the small pieces.
For the Toolbox
1. Help Readers Learn to Attend to Patterns: "Notice and question patterns, then keep reading with those questions in mind, using them, in effect, as lines of inquiry that lead to the deeper layers of a text (p. 115)."
2. Value the "MAYBE" Statements: "In addition to deliberately using the word maybe to help students stay in that 'Yes and...' creative-thinking mode, try to also use words like could and might when talking about students' ideas (p. 130)."
3. Value Confusion: "Invite the students to see if they notice any places where we might need to figure something out that the writer hasn't fully explained (p. 151)." (Vinton charts "confused/understand," reminds that being confused helps the reader to see there is something to puzzle out.)
4. Use Text-Specific Questions: "Text-specific questions are more oriented toward process than products - that is, they're ot intended as comprehension checks as much as gauges of understanding - and the answers they invite are often not found in the text, which is why I call them text-specific versus text-dependent (p. 156)."
As we near the end of this book, I'm finding I am wrestling over a few questions:
- How does this work impact independence? (Most of what we have seen our interactive read aloud examples. What are students taking away that helps them to deepen their understanding of self-selected texts with independence?)
- How does this work look different for emergent, beginning, transitional and fluent readers?
- If this is a grade 3-8 way to think about supporting readers, what is essential in grades K-2?