Elementary Literacy Lessons
Cases and Commentaries From the Field
Routledge – 1999 – 256 pages
Innovative and practical, this text helps prepare teachers to support the literacy learning needs of all children in grades K-6, including academically, linguistically, and culturally diverse students. It features original teaching cases written by preservice teachers enrolled in field-based reading/language arts methods courses, accompanied by commentaries written by experienced teacher educators and skilled classroom teachers. High-interest content and a reader-friendly format encourage critical and reflective thinking about topics important to effective literacy instruction. By promoting reflection about case issues, the text helps prepare future teachers to respond to teaching narratives presented on the practical applications section of the PRAXIS II, an examination required in most states for teacher licensure.
The authentic cases candidly and poignantly describe preservice teachers' plans, problems, hopes, disappointments, dilemmas, and reflective thinking as they address the multilayered complexities and ambiguities associated with learning to teach reading and language arts in elementary classrooms. These teaching stories reveal glimpses of literacy instruction and allow us to enter real classrooms and experience the wide varieties of situations that reading/language arts teachers encounter daily. Although the cases are grouped according to specific dimensions of literacy theory and pedagogy, just as in real classrooms, other issues are woven through each case as well.
The commentaries provide scholarly, and sometimes contrasting, perspectives and approaches through which readers might consider the issues presented in the cases. The commentaries represent only particular perspectives, but readers are encouraged to explore and consider as many perspectives and issues as possible regarding each case.
Each chapter includes helpfulpedagogical features:
* New or critical concepts and terms listed at the beginning of each chapter alert readers to what might be unfamiliar vocabulary.
* Applications and Reflections pages help readers take an active part in analyzing, documenting, and talking about the particular issues portrayed in the case narratives. Using the questions on these pages, the cases and accompanying commentaries can be read and discussed as a whole class activity, in small collaborative groups, or by individuals. The questions can also be used by readers to guide their own case writing initiatives.
* Margin References direct readers to correlated readings for the strategies and parallel concepts mentioned in the cases and commentaries. Suggested readings can be discussed within the format of literacy study groups.
* Annotated Bibliographies at the end of each chapter help readers construct more in-depth knowledge for the instructional strategies and activities discussed in the teaching cases.
The cases, commentaries, and pedagogical features in this distinctive text provide rich opportunities for readers to discover what they need to know and how they need to think in order to teach reading and language arts effectively and successfully.
"….speaks directly to preservice, beginning, and experienced teachers, to supervisors of student teachers, university professors, and reading specialists."
—Journal of Reading Education
"This volume presents stories…short narratives of actual teaching problems selected because they have a high probability of relevance for beginning teachers. In response to the stories, teacher educators and experienced teachers comment. The result is a useful blend of theory and practice… Both the stories and the responses are convincingly real. Readers will find themselves arguing with some of the writers and generating their own solutions to the problems described so vividly. As I read the stories, I thought again and again how hard it is to teach young students who are compelled to attend classes and how enormously hard it is to teach well in certain circumstances… This practical, inspiring book will help."
Stanford University, From the Foreword
Contents: N. Noddings, Foreword: Working Together From Stories. Preface. Introduction: Writing and Sharing Personal Teaching Cases. Working With Young Literacy Learners. Individual and Group Management Concerns. Speaking and Listening. Reading Instruction. Guiding Students' Spelling and Decoding Development. Teaching and Promoting Writing. Working With Special Needs Students. Literacy Instruction and the Arts: Viewing and Visually Representing. Linguistic Diversity. Social and Educational Factors Affecting Students' Literacy. Providing for Students' Varying Literacy Abilities.