A Healthy Disrespect

A Healthy Disrespect

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sophiadphotography/8060451224/Adult literacy and GED students have enormous respect for text–too much respect, I think.

They may fear text, or be confused by it. They may loathe the printed word, and/or ignore it. They may have a hundred different coping skills to get around the fact that they do not read well, but they respect text. Continue reading

Reading from Life

Reading from Life

“What reading materials are appropriate for adult literacy students?”

reader MKat posted this question on my blog the other day, and went on to say, “I’m teaching my first teenage reading student now, and forcing ‘See Spot Run’ down his throat is not sitting well with me.”

My first, general answer would be “anything that the student is interested and you can stomach.” I would draw the line at porn and hate, but other teachers will have other boundaries.

Notice I said “anything you can stomach,” meaning that there is lots of reading material suitable for adult students that is not uplifting or useful, that has language and subject matter not usually considered appropriate for school use. If you can stomach it, and the student likes it, you are ready to proceed. Continue reading

Reading on Your Feet

Reading on Your Feet

The other day I talked about Human Digits, and today I’ll talk about a similar kind of activity for reading class, a sequencing exercise taken off the page into the middle of the room.

I often do this activity with groups of ABE instructors or literacy tutors; for them I choose a scene from Pride and Prejudice. I prepare by typing up the scene I have chosen, with lots of space between the paragraphs, and cut between the paragraphs. For every seven people in the session I’m planning, I need one set of paragraphs (see picture).

I divide them into groups of seven, give them the paragraphs, face down, and ask each person to choose one. I ask them to hang on to their paragraph and never give it to anyone else, and never lay it on the table. Continue reading

Getting Out of My Own Way

Getting Out of My Own Way

Reading a book

Some moments just stick with you–the flash of insight that marks a big change. A pivotal moment.

I am teaching Level 2 reading, and have passed out an interesting article from the West Coast Reader. Like many mornings, like many teachers, I start by introducing some words from the story that I think people may have trouble with. I write one of the words on the board, and as a group we read it, talk about its meaning, its pronunciation, its relationship to other words we know–you know the drill.

Continue reading

Read a Book a Week

Read a Book a Week

“Read a book a week” is the assignment I finally came to for all my literacy and ABE classes. It was Debbie who got me there. I don’t know about you, but when I started teaching, I used the same  ways of doing things that my teachers had used. I had watched teachers for 12 years in school, and then for four years at university. Talk about on-the-job training! A year in the Faculty of Education did very little to dull the impressions made by watching teachers teach, year-in, year-out. Continue reading