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July 20, 2006

reading out loud

I believe that becoming competent at reading out loud is critical to student success. The process of decoding text, speaking the words, and processing the language back to the brain through the ears is a much larger experience than the largely invisible and inaudible activity of silent reading. Listening to students read out loud affords me the opportunity to assess a student's independent reading level, understanding or confusion of text, mastery of vocab with, and it creates an opportunity to engage in dialogue about text. The sticky wicket is that reading out loud is difficult, frustrating, and demoralizing for many students.

Kylene Beers offers usable, effective strategies for the read aloud arena. I am a big fan of Beer's entire book. She offers teachers ways to collaborate with students that are risk safe and forward moving. In chapter 11(Word Recognition, What comes after "sound it out"?), Beers reccommends extensive reading at instructional and independent reading levels, discussions about the readings, opportunities for writing, a strong read-aloud program, comprehension strategy instruction, and meaningful vocabulary development. Beers reminds us that "nonfluent readers are most often nonfluent because of a lack of practice with reading" and gives us an opportunity to examine our instructional practices with these readers. On page 218-219 she shares 10 questions for teachers to consider and use to improve reading instruction.

If you have not read Beers book, I highly recommend that you borrow it and take a look at it.

Mary Verbick
Mary Verbick

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July 18, 2006

Half Rhymes: Clunky or Subtle?

People studying language must be on the same wavelength. There have been several serendipitous occurrences since the institute began. Today Jen's prompt had us consider the artfulness and nuance of half rhymes. Language Log is a blog I like to read. I subscribe to it in my RSS reader. Anyway, just last night there was a piece about half rhymes. The blogger is reacting to a review of Seamus Heaney's latest book. The review, by Brad Leithauser, appears in the New York Times Book Review and discusses Heaney's work, specifically his use of half rhymes as "dissonant" and "rough-hewn."

The blogger debunks the reviewer’s assertions by looking at rock music and shows that poets and musician are probably not settling for a second-rate half rhyme. Check out what the blogger had to say. I found it interesting and even more so now that we've practiced doing it. Let me know what you think.

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July 10, 2006

welcome to our MWP SI 2006 blog

Welcome, MWP fellows, to our new blog to discuss our summer readings. How do you feel about using this new tool? Please make a comment and let us know.

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