In my last “Exploring Resources” blog post, I looked at “Media Literacy”. This week, I will examine resources for the “Reading” strand of language arts and, like the previous post, it will have strong connections to the Ontario curriculum.
ReadWriteThink is a resource founded by the NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English) an American professional association for educators of English studies, literacy and language arts. ReadWriteThink resources can be sorted by the learning objective that educators or parents are looking to find. Reading Fluency and Vocabulary are two of many “reading” related objectives that can be found.
I discovered an amazing lesson support tool called the K-W-LCreator. A KWL chart is a tool that helps activate a student’s prior knowledge before a reading as well as consolidate information after reading. Students list what they already know (K), what they want to learn (W), and then summarize and reflect what they actually learned (L). This chart is something that is typically completed on paper or chart paper in the classroom. The advantage to this online tool is that students can embed links inside the K-W-L chart, giving it another dimension of interaction that is very useful.
The tool could be used by individual students, by teachers to model on the projector for the class, or both. It is really easy to use and students can also save their work after the “K” and “W” sections so they can complete the “L” section after reading. I highly recommend you check it out!
To further illustrate the usefulness of ReadWriteThink I want to share a very detailed lesson plan that involves reading and reading strategies. This lesson is called, “A Prereading Strategy: Using the Vocabulary, Language, Prediction (VLP) Approach” and is targeted towards middle school students. This five class, 45-minute period lesson plan uses a nonfiction reading about forces of nature to cover vocabulary, prediction and summary skills. The lesson plan explains the goal of each session and gives the educator an extreme amount of detail and all the necessary resources to execute it. The plan also highlights points for assessment and student reflections. I really like this lesson plan because of it complexity and extensive resource availability. Even if an educator didn’t want to use the whole plan, reading the objectives and activities are excellent anchors for a lesson that may be more specific to prior events in that teacher’s classroom.
The Ontario Context
The NCTE is an American resource, but the contents can still have very strong Ontario curriculum connections. Each lesson plan resource, like the one discussed above, has a “Standards” section that shows the curriculum connections across each state in the USA and also the NCTE’s National Standards for the English Language Arts. These expectations can be easily matched to the Ontario Curriculum K-8 Language. For example, the VLP lesson I discussed above has key reading standard for informational text that conform to the Grade 7 common core standards for New York state. Such standards include:
- Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
- Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events)
(NTCE, 2015. ReadWriteThink – Common Core Standards. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1Rwk7yH)
If we compare to some of the Grade 7 Ontario standards for reading, we can see common standards. Such connections include:
- Comprehension Strategies (pg127)
- Demonstrating Understanding (pg127)
- Extending Understanding (pg128)
(Ministry of Education, 2008. The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8 Language. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1Lep545)
There are many resources that can help educators and parents with their child’s reading. It is important to remember that any step towards helping our students is an important step, but for educators in Ontario it is important to crucially evaluate our resources for their connections to our curriculum objectives.
Extended Resources for The Ontario Context
The Ministry of Education in Ontario heavily supports the reading strand of the Ontario Curriculum for Language. Here are a few resources that are Ontario connected:
- E-workshop is an Ontario online teaching resource that contains many learning modules for reading that are aimed at junior level students (grades 4-6). The example above is a learning module for shared reading, which is a very useful reading instructional approach to use with students. Head on over and watch the videos to gain some tips for shared reading.
- EduGains has a list of documents and webpages that are connected to the Ontario curriculum and are useful for educators. Topics include, “Inferring During Reading”, “Literacy Assessment” and “Reading Fluency”. There is also a specific reading section that is for Classroom Learning Grade K-6 which would be useful for junior level educators.
- The Ontario Teacher’s Federation website has a lesson plan resources section. This specific lesson plan document I linked to has 48 lesson plans for various grades that are based on the book “Reading With Meaning” by Debbie Miller. It covers all grade levels. I think this is valuable to educators who are getting familiar with Miller’s technique.