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Teaching children to read and write at high levels of literacy is a complex, longterm commitment that our society and our schools must make if we are going to remain competitive in the twenty-first century. In this fourth edition of Reading and Writing in Elementary Classrooms, we have taken into consideration the latest research and best thinking from literacy and language studies, curriculum and instructional practices, and psychology. Culling the best of what we have traditionally done and pulling together the best current practices, we present a balanced long-term view of literacy development and approaches.
SNAKED FEATURES 011 THE THIRD AND FOURTH EDITIONS
The fourth edition of Reading and Writing in Elementary Classrooms retains those features of the third edition that our students and colleagues found especially noteworthy. These include:
Focus on Thinking Processes
Chapter 1 describes eight thinking processes that are critical to reading and writing. These thinking processes connect, organize, predict, image, monitor, generalize, evaluate, and apply underlie the activities and strategies presented in later chapters and help to provide a coherent framework for the development of high-level literacy.
Focus on Reading and Writing as Language
One of the key ideas in Chapter 1 is that language is the foundation of reading and writing. Reading and writing build on the oral language foundation the child brings to school, and reading and writing support each other and the overall linguistic ability of the child. Throughout the chapters, activities andstrategies that promote the total development of all the language abilities of children are suggested.
Focus on Motivation and Engagement
Children are both thinking and feeling people. Their likes and dislikes, attitudes and interests must be developed and given attention. Applications for the key idea that feeling is the energizer of reading and writing established in Chapter 1 are found in all the other chapters in the book.
Focus on Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
Because we believe that reading and writing are best developed across the entire school day and throughout the curriculum, each chapter contains a major section on using reading and writing strategies as you teach in all subject areas.
Focus on Balanced Literacy Instruction
The field of reading appears to be continually under siege by various factions arguing for one approach over another. That children learn in different ways and that acquiring high levels of literacy is a complex long-term process mitigate against any single, narrow approach. This edition, like the earlier editions, promotes a balanced diet of authentic reading and writing activities along with instruction in appropriate strategies as indicated by careful observation of the learners. The best literacy instruction blends features from a variety of approaches to reading and writing.
Teachers often bemoan the fact that children have many more skills and strategies than they actually use. The same can be said of teachers. To use knowledge, one must know not only what to do but when and why, for how long, and with which children and in connection to what! The narrative chapters in Part II were created to give teachers concrete examples of how the various ideas and activities presented in Part I might be implemented in different classrooms at different grade levels with a variety of different children by teachers with a range of different teaching styles.
In Part II, we transport our readers to an imaginary school, Merritt Elementary School, where we follow an imaginary class of children from kindergarten to fifth grade. With help and support from the principal, Mr. Topps, and the central office facilitator, Sue Port, the various teachers use a variety of approaches to make literacy a reality for all their children. The children emerge into literacy under the enthusiastic tutelage of their kindergarten teacher, Helen Launch. Rita Wright provides a balanced approach in her first-grade classroom. She emphasizes shared and guided reading, words, writing, and self-selected reading, and demonstrates how the instruction changes as the children's literacy develops. Norma Nouveau, a first-year teacher, takes the class through second grade. She gets off to a somewhat rocky start, but with help from Mr. Topps, Sue Port, and other teachers, she makes great strides by the end of the year. Vera Wise, the third-grade teacher, has through all her years of teaching acquired huge stores of knowledge and books, and she carries out an integrated language arts program with literature as the centerpiece. The fourth-grade teacher, Yetta Maverick, also integrates, but her focus is on integrating across the curriculum. Ed Dunn, the fifth-grade teacher, carries out a balanced program that emphasizes studying, independence, and technology. The teachers in this edition are familiar to users of the earlier editions, but they, too, have been updated and have some new tricks up their sleeves.
To increase the comprehensibility of our text, we have included Looking Ahead and Looking Back sections, which preview and then summarize each chapter's major concepts. We have also identified four to six key ideas for each chapter and organized the information under these key ideas.
Theory and Research Behind Strategies
Each instructional chapter ends with a section that succinctly summarizes the major research and theoretical base for the ideas and strategies presented in the chapter.
Each chapter ends with an expanded and updated annotated bibliography of additional readings.
Believing that we learn best when we evaluate and apply what we are learning, we have included activities in each chapter that promote application. Many of these activities can be incorporated easily into a field experience, which is often part of the reading methods course. Listen, Look, and Learn applications contain suggestions for visiting classrooms, viewing videotapes of classrooms, and interviewing teachers and students to check out the ideas presented and learn more about actual classroom practice. Try It Out applications suggest lessons and activities students might plan and often suggest trying out some of these with a child or small group of children. Do It Together applications suggest cooperative activities in which readers pool their knowledge and experiences with particular concepts and compare their collective experiences with what they are learning in the text. Add to Your Resource File applications suggest books and other resources students might accumulate and add to their bag of tricks. Add to Your Journal applications suggest ways in which the reader might use writing to reflect upon the ideas in the chapter.
NEW FEATURES OF THE FOURTH EDITION
A New Chapter on Planning, Assessing, and Organizing
The earlier editions presented many suggestions for planning, assessing, and organizing, but the recognition that these critical teaching functions needed to be linked and coordinated moved us to combine these ideas into one chapter and show how they are linked through the teaching-learning cycle. This chapter also describes ways in which classroom teachers can coordinate and communicate with parents, volunteers, special teachers, and others to provide effective literacy instruction for all children.
Major Revisions of the Original Chapters
All chapters have been updated to reflect the latest research and best practice. Chapter 3 has been completely rewritten and reflects the current understandings about the importance of phonemic awareness, analogy in decoding, the important connections between spelling and decoding knowledge, the importance of morphemes for decoding and spelling polysyllabic words, and the need to connect word fluency instruction with real reading and writing throughout the school day.
Accommodations and Adaptations for Inclusion and Children Acquiring English
All the practical chapters contain accommodations and adaptations that have been found to be successful for helping all children acquire high levels of literacy.
Technology plays an increasingly important role in most elementary classrooms. Many teachers are trying to determine the best uses for the technology they have. The Technology Tips sections suggest ways successful teachers utilize technology in their literacy programs and describe some of the newest and most versatile software.