The reading and writing process is a crucial part of a students’ education. There are many aspects to each process. I was interested in reading about the percentage of time that students need to focus on prewriting activities. As a former language arts teacher, I am guilty of not allowing the 70% recommendation by Gail Tompkins. This was a big eye opener for me. I now realize that I should allow students to discuss the topic and read up on the issue presented in the prompt. I am a strong believer in activating prior knowledge, but I tend to focus on activating this knowledge during the reading process and not so much on the writing process. I do agree that we must teach our students to recognize the purpose for writing. Whether it is persuasive, informative, or entertainment writers must recognize the purpose before writing. I have used the six traits of writing throughout my career. I also believe that each trait must be taught separately, and students must be given model papers that stress each trait. Another area that I need to work on is the publishing phase of writing. I have not put much effort into this step. At the high school level, I can see how this step is crucial.
Furthermore, the reading process is what I am currently focusing on establishing throughout the classrooms. For activating prior knowledge, I have used anticipation guides. They are important for not only activating prior knowledge but also discussing any misconceptions that students might have. It is amazing what they are learning from the media and what they are being taught at home, especially with stereotypes. At the high school level, reading strategies are lacking in the students’ background. Whether
they forgot or they were never taught the reading strategies, I believe we need to continue to teach students how to make connection, to predict, to infer, to visualize, and how to generate questions while they read. This year I attempted to construct a balanced literacy program in the English classes. The problem was time. We only have our students for one hour a day. I need to work more on the framework for my balanced literacy program. During the last class that I took at CNM (Methods and Materials), I began this process, but it still needs further research.
Overall, the reading and writing process can sometimes become overwhelming for teachers, but we can not deviate from them because they are so important in educating our students.