Partner reading is important for many reasons. Literacy is a socially constructed activity involving reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and visually representing. Reading together and talking about books can provide partners with enriching experiences, thinking, and conversation that would not take place while reading independently. In addition to the motivation, engagement, and social aspects, Rogoff (1990) documented interactions between partners that led to each child achieving a higher level of understanding than working by themselves. This could be due to the type of talk surrounding partner reading. Brown (2006) found five major themes of talk occurred during partner reading time in second grade: organizational, disputational, word strategy, meaning making, and personal talk. All of these, except personal talk, supported partner reading.
As authors Lindsey Moses and Meridith Ogden point out in their book “What are the Rest of my Kids Doing?” Fostering Independence in the K—2 Reading Workshop, there are a variety of ways to discuss the stages of literacy development. Fountas and Pinnell (2011) developed a continuum of literacy learning with corresponding leveled text. Others use Lexile levels, Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) levels, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) scores, grade-level expectations, or various norm-referenced assessments. Although Moses and Ogden assess reading performance of young learners using these tools, they note that a more general understanding of literacy progression helps to inform decisions made about developmentally appropriate practice. The National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and International Reading Association (IRA) identify phases in a continuum of early reading and writing (1998).
Moses and Ogden note that, IRA and NAEYC recommend effective reading instruction for kindergarten and primary grades that includes but is not limited to the following:
Each week on The Heinemann Podcast we bring you concise, relevant and thought-provoking interviews with Heinemann authors and educators in the field. We know teachers are very busy people and it can be hard to keep up with all of your favorite authors, so, as we wrap up another school year we thought you might enjoy a recap of some recent Heinemann Podcast highlights. Enjoy!
Managing classroom libraries requires a delicate balance between organization, choice, behavior, and matching children with appropriate texts. Classroom libraries can be organized in many ways– by genre, series, or some other category. Susan Taberski (2000) suggests having bins of unleveled books from which students choose their independent reading selections and bins of books by level for when they need practice with something "just right." Other teachers label their books using the Fountas and Pinnell A through Z gradient.
Because an "assessed" reading level doesn't always correspond with a student's level of comprehension, it is important that students spend time with more than just independent-level texts. To do this, it is necessary to spend time working with students on independent text selection that supports decoding development, fosters comprehension and thinking, and pique students' interests in reading.
If you are a K-2 teacher, have you ever asked: “During reading workshop, what kinds of meaningful work can students be doing independently, while I confer one-on-one or with small groups?” Lindsey Moses hears this common frustration among those who work with our youngest readers in her work with teachers around the country. That’s why Lindsey, along with First grade teacher Meridith Ogden, wrote: What are the Rest of My Kids Doing? Their goal is to help you move beyond assigning busy work to providing purposeful learning experiences that build independence over the year and ideally take the anxiety out of reading workshop.