Resposive Literacy: A Comprehensive Framework Part 2

Jul 10, 2018

As the school year was coming to a close, Em and I were offered the opportunity to read Responsive Literacy: A Comprehensive Guide by editor Patricia L. Scharer.  Believe us, it IS just that!   This book hits on everything that is important for your ELA block.

When I started reading the writing portion of this book, I was immediately reminded of why I adore teaching writing because it affirmed things I already do in my writing classroom and helped me realize there are things I need to revisit.  If you are looking to jump start your writer's workshop or if you need a refresher, this section is a great reminder of all things writing.  From how to go about starting writer's workshop all the way to conferencing with students.
A few things I thought were awesome about this book is it offers you great tips, thought out ideas for lessons, and suggestions for professional development.  I can see myself sitting down with other writing teachers to discuss these points.

Being Interactive Writers...

As I began my reading with chapter 15, I was quickly reminded about Interactive Writing. What a gem this can be to your writing classroom and I have used it in the past but over the last year or so I have moved more to modeling versus being interactive. This chapter reminded me of the importance of interactive writing in the development of young writers. It's important for them to see us write, but also to help us write alongside them.

Let's Refresh...

The book goes on to giving you tools you need in your writing classroom, basic plans for mini-lessons, and ideas for rubrics in chapter 16. I really loved the mini-lesson refresher because that's where a lot of great teaching can happen.
The next few chapters take you on a journey into Narrative Writing in the primary and elementary grades. One thing that was helpful for me was going back over the stages of writing development. It was a great refresher and I feel like I need to have examples of these stages available for my families when I sit down with them at conferences.

Word Work...

Section Five of this book revolves around Language starting off with phonics and spelling.  For me this chapter got my thoughts a rolling because for the last few years I've done spelling in my classroom and a pinch of phonics, but next year I'm responsible for most of the phonics instruction. This chapter walked you through the stages of spelling development and word study.  You will also find a helpful explanation on how to implement an explicit words study block in your classroom. What I also like is how Carla Steele, Patricia L. Scharer, and Denise Rowe give you ideas on how to embed word study opportunities throughout your ELA block as well as give you lists of resources that are needed in your classroom for word study.

 Don't Forget Vocab...

Next, I read about accelerating vocabulary development. When reading, I was reminded of how it's easier to pick out and be intentional with the words you want prior to sharing the text with your students. Again, not that "on a whim" isn't okay, but if you are planning ahead of time, you're looking for those words that are "tier-two", high utility words. After reading up on vocabulary, handwriting was on the list next. In this chapter you will find a valuable resource about the verbal paths you can use to help students with lower and uppercase letter formation. I am already starting to think about how I can incorporate these into my everyday instruction of letter formation in the beginning of the year.

A Learning Commmunity

The final section in this resource, section six, focuses on "A Learning Community".  We get started with a rundown of inquiry in the classroom. There are ideas for designing inquiry units using backward design.  This is where you identify your results desired, determine evidence, and plan the experiences and instruction your students will receive. The chapter goes on to give you ideas and several mentor texts you can use for different inquiry lessons. Finally, Sherry Kinzel, Wendy Sheets, and Carla Steele take you all they way through their 10 step recipe for an "Inquiry Approach to Studying Genre". Fantastic!!!
Finishing out this amazing resource is a section on the home-to-school bridge using KEEP Books, coaching, professional learning, and how to lead your school to a comprehensive literacy framework.

As a teacher for almost 20 years, this resource was one that would have been a great asset 20 years ago, if only it was written then. :)  This book was easy to read and is one that is a must have on your teacher shelf.

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