Changing Attitudes

Do any of your students have negative views about reading or writing? Likely someone, admittedly or not.

My fundamental goal as a teacher of language arts is to change these attitudes. How?

First, take time to discuss illiteracy. I tell students about my encounter with an illiterate adult, a parent of two former students, in fact. We brainstorm all the things this adult would not be able to do in her daily life. We also consider the feelings associated with illiteracy.

Then we discuss the opposite! How empowering to be able to read menus, field trip forms, ingredients, prescription labels, and job applications. How empowering to communicate through emails, letters, poetry, stories, or social media. How empowering to learn about the world and the experiences of others, to find comfort and connections, through books. How empowering to participate in the literate world.

Second, it is essential that we make the teaching of reading and writing strategies explicit and accessible for our students. We cannot merely tell them to be better readers and writers. (Oh, if only it were so simple!) We must empower them to become better readers and writers through the strategies we teach: one by one… step by step… day by day…

Flip your students’ negative attitudes. Open their eyes to the wonder of words!

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