The frustration and lack of interest that I often feel for reading nowadays says a lot about what my experiences with literature have been since I graduated from High School. In College and University, I find there to be far more reading than I am able to handle, always making me feel like I am behind and need to spend every spare second I have catching up on a vital chapter or bit of information that I have not yet read. It is incredibly stressful and has drastically decreased my confidence in my reading abilities, even though I know I am a good reader. These experiences have really shown me that I do not ever want my students to feel this way about reading. I will do everything that I can, and implement all of the ideas and strategies I have learned, to ensure that my experience does not happen to students in my classroom. I hope that my deep passion and love for reading will shine through in my teaching and encourage students to love it just as much as I do. I will always give students time to read, never rushing them or making them feel like they are behind. I know how awful this feels and I do not want to put them in that situation. I know that this mindfulness and my personal experiences with reading difficulties will encourage me to foster a love for reading in all of my students.
Reading The Giver was such a fun and foreign experience for me, as I cannot remember the last time that I enjoyed reading a book so much. Reading the novel for fun was something I had not done for far too long, making it both a refreshing and comforting experience for me. I also really enjoyed reading a book from the perspective of a teacher and looking for different ways that I can engage my students with the text, what themes and ideas I can pull from it, and how I can use my student's understanding of the text to assess them in a variety of ways. I have not read a novel from this perspective and while it did require extra thought, inquiry, and analysis, it did not feel like work. This makes me think that even though I am incredibly nervous for this practicum, I think I am really going to enjoy being a Language Arts teacher.
Through this assignment, I have learned many things about teaching reading, but most importantly, I have learned that reading needs to be FUN. Students should like what they are reading and should be given the opportunity to look at texts from a variety of different ways, so that they do not ever get bored or frustrated with the same one or two methods of reading, such as silently reading all the time. Reading can be incredibly fun if there is effort made by the teacher to engage their students and provide them with rich opportunities for constant growth and learning through exposure to various texts.
I have also learned that reading needs to be relateable for students. If they are reading texts that are dealing with issues, themes, and ideas, that are far below or far above their understanding, they will very likely become uninterested and unmotivated quite quickly. Whereas, if students are reading various texts that they find interesting and can relate to the characters, the setting, or even some of the broader themes, they are much more likely to be engaged, enthusiastic, and ready to learn.
I have also learned that reading is not just about physically reading books, it is so much more than that. Our C & I class has really taught me the importance of teaching and using all of the six language arts strands in the classroom. As I mentioned in an earlier post, by listening to The Giver, my eyes were opened to the importance of this strand in teaching and learning how to read. Through our class, I have also learned that other strands, such as representing and viewing, are just as important as traditional reading and writing. Of course I knew that these strands were important before this class, but the examples we have been given of what these strands look like and how to use them when teaching reading, has showed me the variability of Language Arts and reminded me why I love the subject so much. While completing this response log, I have forced myself to step away from the traditional way of responding to texts (writing), and instead chose to visually represent, listen to, and view The Giver in as many ways as I could think of. I will admit that this has been difficult for me, but it has also been a lot more enjoyable, because I was able to bring out my creative side and think about how I want to make this text as interesting as I can for my students.
Something else that I have really taken away from this assignment and C & I class is that there is so much more to a novel study than just the novel. There are themes, perspectives, interpretations, and related texts, among many other components that contribute to the reading, studying, and analyzing of a novel. I really love the idea of choosing a wide and broad theme and then choosing multiple texts to study that are related to that theme, which is what I will most likely be doing for my unit plan for this novel. I have the whole practicum to study this novel with my students and I think that bringing in other related texts is going to be a very enjoyable and beneficial experience for both myself and my students.
P.S. Below is a picture of me reading The Giver in the Curr lab. Enjoy!