Chapter 10 leads us through lesson planning using Gallagher's approach to teaching reading. He recommends that before beginning a text in class, teachers ask themselves 4 questions:
"1. Without my assistance, what will my students take from this reading?
2. With my assistance, what do I want my students to take from this reading?
3. What can I do to bridge the gap between what my students would learn on their own and what I want them to learn?
4. How will I know if my student 'got it'?" (198-199)
The third question above is where the steps of teaching challenging text would come in.
Gallagher also emphasizes the importance of backwards planning--writing the assessments before teaching a unit, and being clear with students about what the objectives are for a given text. It gives students a focus while they read, and teachers a focus while they teach. He recommends choosing only one or two areas for each text to assess, and creating assessments that require critical thinking in order to provoke deeper reading of the text. He also shares two caveats of his approach to teaching challenging texts. One is the danger of overteaching the text, which risks that the literary value may get lost or that students may lose interest. The second danger is that students may come to rely too heavily on the teacher. It is important to offer plenty of scaffolding at first, then pull back gradually over the course of the year to help students develop independence.
Question: Gallagher asserts that multiple choice reading assessments inspire surface-level reading on the part of students (211-212). Do any of you give reading quizzes to check students' progress on a book? If so, what format do you use? Could this type of quiz be counterproductive, even if there is a more higher-order assessment after students finish the text?
Comment: Gallagher ends the book with a note on the importance of the teacher: "There is a big difference between assigning students difficult reading and teaching them how to read deeply. This definition reminds me that I am a teacher, not merely an information dispenser; and as a teacher, I will enter my classroom tomorrow morning with the goal of helping my students learn what deeper readers do." (216) I appreciated this combination vote of confidence and call to action. In reading, especially, there has been such a pattern of relying on teacher-proof curriculums as the magic bullet to solve students' reading problems, which has only increased with the accountability movement/NCLB, etc. In reality, a curriculum doesn't teach students to read--a teacher does. Gallagher's approach requires that teachers use their knowledge of texts and students to connect the two; something no boxed reading program could do.Posted by corm0009 at July 24, 2005 2:56 PM