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Navigating the Sociocultural Terrain of College Reading Jeanine Williams, Sharon Hayes, Nancy Parker and Haleh Harris.

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Presentation on theme: "Navigating the Sociocultural Terrain of College Reading Jeanine Williams, Sharon Hayes, Nancy Parker and Haleh Harris."— Presentation transcript:

1 Navigating the Sociocultural Terrain of College Reading Jeanine Williams, Sharon Hayes, Nancy Parker and Haleh Harris

2 Session Overview Rethinking college reading instruction A sociocultural approach to college reading instruction Revising traditional reading lessons using a sociocultural framework Using supplemental texts to enhance the sociocultural approach in the classroom Using a thematic, sociocultural literacy-based teaching format in an online reading course Applying this approach in YOUR classroom

3 Rethinking College Reading Instruction Increasing need for additional preparation in college reading. Unpreparedness in reading is the most serious barrier to degree completion. High attrition rates among developmental reading students. Increased scrutiny and pressure from external forces.

4 Theoretical Terrain Literacy should be seen as a Social Practice; literacy practices of academic disciplines are wide-ranging social practices (Lea & Street 2006). However, textbooks too often emphasize a generic comprehension approach and practices that are characterized by word-attack strategies and discrete skill-building. This is NOT supported by research. Studies show that the deficits of secondary language arts are being replicated rather than remedied in college. Studies show that students must be prepared for text complexity (coherence, organization and disciplinary conventions) and sentence structure, not discrete skills. Postsecondary literacy instruction should be a series of connections that take place within the context of college, NOT a set of technical skills to learn.

5 Instructional Terrain If literacy is a social practice, instruction must involve helping students make the transition to college. This involves both the learning context and the secondary Discourse of college. Instructional emphases must shift away from skills alone; instruction must be multidimensional. Research on skills-based instruction shows little to no improvement of students’ ability (Merisotis & Phipps, 2000).

6 The Instructional Terrain is Multi-dimensional Social Cognitive Metacognitive Affective Results of research on strategic reading with a focus on social, cognitive, metacognitive and affective processes are encouraging (Alexander & Jetton, 2000; Caverly, Nicholson & Radcliffe, 2004; Gee, 2004; Kucer, 2009; Pawan &Honeyford, 2009).

7 Social Situated Practice: immersion in a community of learners engaged in authentic versions of academic practices that emphasize the contextualized nature of mastery learning. Overt Instruction: use of metacognition to gain control and conscious awareness of learning (focus on the how and what of strategic learning. Critical Framing: concern with how learners frame their proficiencies in relation to the disciplinary area; critique previous assumptions by thinking about them in new ways. Transformed Practice: the transfer of critical situated masteries of practice to new situations in a recursive manner; focus on students’ ability to understand the traditions of different disciplines and work within them.

8 Cognitive Centers on the complex nature of reading. Emphasizes the self-regulation of cognition (implies a pedagogical shift to foster student responsibility for planning, decision-making and reflection (Mulcahy-Ernt & Caverly, 2009). Encourages instruction that combines learning and doing within particular situations and contexts. Views learning as active participation and interaction—in developmental reading, this means that learning is scaffolded, based in real-world tasks, and is problem and solution oriented (Brown et al., 1989).

9 Metacognitive Encourages students to understand and regulate their abilities and skills. Is more than any one strategy or action. Helps readers understand that active reading involves predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing. Helps readers detect contradictions or inconsistencies in texts, pull out important info. and select strategies depending on text and discipline. Is developed through instruction (many students come to college with very little metacognitive knowledge). Acknowledges how students’ beliefs about concepts and disciplines influence their comprehension and interaction with a text.

10 Affective Is tied to identity, as students understand themselves as learners who can negotiate the literacy demands of college that involve more than knowledge of specific, isolated skills. Can be seen as Self-schema about reading (characterizations individuals ascribe to themselves based on past experiences). Motivation for reading (and its ability to impact comprehension). Research increasingly considers the influence of affect in reading proficiency. Research demonstrates that variety in reading experiences is tied to growth in comprehension and the promotion of positive attitudes.

11 Instructional Implications Active-student centered instructional approaches are effective with developmental learners (Boylan, 2003; Simpson & Nist, 2000). Contextual, real-world texts rather than short manipulated paragraphs help students transfer learning to non-developmental classes (Simpson & Nist 2000). Peer collaboration is tied to student engagement and motivation (Turner & Patrick, 2008). Culturally responsive teaching can increase student motivation (Gay, 2000).

12 SHARON MORAN HAYES Revising Traditional Reading Lessons

13 “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Limited engagement Lack of transference Frustration Boredom Need for Sanity

14 Levels of Engagement


16 The Initial Change Teacher Centered Discussion of fast food and obesity Read “Weight of Blame” Identify the main idea and supporting details  Intervention:  Use of quotation marks?  Who is the author? Publication? Audience? Revise main idea and supporting details Student Centered Entry 1: Free write: “fast food and obesity” Discussion Entry 2: If you were the editor of Restaurants and Institutions, what point would you make about eating out and obesity? Discussion Read “Weight of Blame” Entry 3: What was the author’s point and why do you think that? Discussion (agreement or discrepancy between entries 2 and 3) Entry 4: What is your “take away” from this reading experience?

17 Comparison of Results Teacher Centered Main idea practice Supporting details practice Read carefully No future transference or even memory of the intervention discussion (purpose, audience, etc.) Student Centered Main idea practice Supporting details practice Read carefully + Author’s purpose and audience + Critical thinking + Accountability for learning + Transference of concepts (purpose, audience, evidence analysis) to future discussions

18 The Old The New Discussion of capital punishment Read “Death and Justice” Large group discussion of guide questions Small group discussion to identify thesis and major points Large group discussion of thesis and major points Assign next reading to identify thesis and major points Entry 1: Free write: “capital punishment” Read “Death and Justice” Entry 2: What was the author’s point and why do you think that? Entry 3: Which of Koch’s points do agree or disagree with the most? Why? Read “The Ghetto Made Me Do It” Entry 4: How does this reading impact your thinking about the Koch article? Entry 5: What is your “take away” from this reading experience? The Paradigm Shift

19 Old: Scavenger Hunt New: Scenarios What happens if you and your friend “share” the answers to a homework assignment? Your friend, Mario, asks to see your homework. He tells you that his mother was sick and he had to take her to the hospital and couldn’t do it. He promises that he’ll only ask to copy this one time if you would just help him out now. How do you respond to his request? Hit the Ground Running: The Syllabus

20 Group Discussion of Readings Comprehension Questions (homework) How did Douglas’ education begin? Why did Douglas have to find a way to continue learning to read? What role did bread play in Douglas’ reading instruction? How did Douglas begin to feel about his fellow slaves? How did Douglas learn to write his letters? Critical Thinking Questions (possible essay questions) Why would slave owners want to ensure that their slaves were kept illiterate? Explain how the ‘bread’ could be symbolically significant to Douglas. Why did Douglas say that “learning to read had become a curse rather than a blessing”? Who might have been the audience for Douglass’ work? What similarities exist between Douglas’ experience and that of Malcolm X or Sherman Alexie?

21 Formative Assessment Emphasis on Instruction How do you feel about your progress in this class? What, if anything, do you need more help in understanding? What can the teacher do to help you? Emphasis on Responsibility Why do you like or dislike your test grade? What did you do/not do to get that grade? What should you do differently for the next test? How can the teacher help you?

22 Changing the Responsibility for Learning Journal integration Problem solving Socratic Questioning Concept attainment Pair / Group work Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs – Analyze – Synthesize – Evaluate

23 The Big Questions

24 Nancy Parker Using Supplemental Texts to Enhance the Sociocultural Approach in the Classroom

25 The Trouble with Textbooks Much of the instruction in developmental reading courses has traditionally centered on a transmission model of teaching isolated reading skills, such as selecting the main idea, identifying fact and opinion statements, and other sub- skills (Armstrong & Newman, 2011; Maxwell, 1997). Research has shown us this doesn’t work!

26 The use of only a single text, especially one with a skills- based approach, does not prepare our students for the variety and complexity of tasks that they will face in discipline courses. Many academic disciplines incorporate a wide array of “intertextual” materials and expect students to be able to synthesize the information learned. Trapped in a Textbook

27 So what does “intertextual” mean? An instructional approach where instructors offer multiple texts and materials of a wide variety of genres to give students the opportunity to: increase background knowledge make connections across and among texts develop multiple perspectives, interpretations, and a broader picture of a topic develop their critical thinking skills. (Armstrong & Newman, 2011)

28 Example: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. Relatively short in length Based in Baltimore Deals with universal issues such as: identity, teen pregnancy, parenting, education, poverty, choices and consequences, class and race, family, nature vs. nurture, etc… Easily incorporated into a course unit/theme as one of several “texts.” Other texts/materials could include: video interviews, newspaper articles, TED talks, textbook excerpts related to issues Method #1: Incorporate a novel or other outside reading into your course.

29 Students choose a novel that appeals to them from a list of books. These books were selected from the 2012 and 2013 “Notable Books for a Global Society” lists. A book talk is given on each of the novels to…hopefully…get the students excited/interested in one of them. The students will also have the opportunity to research the country or issue that their book centers around. Ultimately, the students will submit a “portfolio” of work on the book to me. They will also be responsible for sharing their book, findings, etc… with the class in a format of their choosing. Method #2: Utilize multiple novels/texts based on the same theme.

30 The assignments throughout the project will allow the students to apply the skills they have learned in class: summarizing; outlining; journaling; reacting to the text/quotes; etc… Because several of the students will have selected the same book, group activities are a natural fit (book club/lit circles, discussions, etc…) This project will engage the students because of its emphasis on: o self-selection/ choice, o ample time to work with peers o application/contextualization of skills taught in class o use of technology, o connecting- self with the text, text with world, text with class!

31 Method #3: Participating in Your Institution’s Community Book Connection Also known as: One Book, Common Read, First Year Experience, etc… The goals of the Community Book Connection are to enhance student and community learning, to strengthen our common human and intellectual bonds; and to demonstrate the many ways that classroom learning is deeply connected to our lives in the everyday world. (CCBC, 2014) Students are encouraged to read the book and faculty are supported in their efforts to include the book or selections from it in their courses. The students begin to see the important and exciting connections between literacy, education, and social awareness.

32 Throughout the year, cultural and academic activities are organized: o Lessons and classroom activities o Films, Plays, Dance performances o Debates, Panels, Lectures, Speakers Participation in the Community Book Connection can be the focus of class discussions, reflection papers, research projects, and interviews. The activities easily lend themselves to the incorporation of multiple texts within your course such as: o newspaper/ database articles o websites o advertisements o poems o essays o videos (movie/TV clips, documentaries, interviews, etc…)

33 Haleh Azimi Harris Meeting Online Students’ Needs Using a Thematic, Sociocultural Literacy-based Format

34 Developmental Education Online Learning What does online learning look like for college level reading students? Brainstorm Discuss

35 The Benefits of Online Learning

36 Obstacles

37 What About Our Most At-Risk Students?

38 Critical Thinking for Online Learners

39 Expectations

40 Thematic-Based Approach to Online Learning

41 Learning Module 1

42 Learning Module 2

43 Learning Module 3

44 Learning Module 4

45 Learning Module 5

46 Reflecting on the Presentation What do you find most useful about a sociocultural approach to reading instruction? What do you find most confusing or daunting about taking such an approach? In what ways are you already using a sociocultural approach in your classroom?

47 Practical Application With a partner, brainstorm and discuss a few ways that you could further apply a sociocultural framework in your classroom.

48 Questions or Comments? Jeanine Williams Sharon Hayes Nancy Parker Haleh Harris

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