Philosophy Statement – EDUC 311
Professor Tara Nappi
Medgar Evers College
The focus of this philosophy statement is to write a statement of my philosophy for the teaching and learning of reading. In this statement, I will discuss how I define reading and how that definition contextualizes and impels myself to support certain kinds of teaching and learning. I will provide examples and rationales for when I become a teacher how I would incorporate it in the classroom. I will include how the students will learn in my classroom; also I will define assessment and the role I believe it serves in my future classroom.
Here I am taking Education 311: Teaching Elementary Reading I, when I first heard of the class, I immediately thought the class will be boring. However, here I am at the conclusion of the course and I must admit I have learned a great deal of information. At the beginning of the class, I was exposed to the word “reading,” and I had to brainstorm this word. Different thoughts came rushing into my head about this word. I thought of reading to be fun, boring at times, educational, someone can read as a hobby, and it can either be difficult or easy for one to do. Taken from my experience in this class and reading, “Beyond Traditional Phonics,” I was able to understand reading is understanding print. Margaret Moustafa stated in her text, Beyond Traditional Phonics that “if reading is making sense of print, it is not necessary to “sound out” print words in order to read them” (p. 14). From taking this class, I have learned that “teaching reading and learning how to read are complex endeavors” (Taberski, p. xvi). An inference I made from Taberski’s text was, as a future educator I have to keep in mind that all my students will learn to read differently. I will have to find different gateways that will enable me to effectively teach my students reading.
Reading is a task many people are not good at; this is why I will have to pick different strategies that will be beneficial for my students to excel at reading. When teaching reading to my students I will have to make it interesting and keep my students interest at hand. “I suggest to the kids that, from the beginning, it’s important to focus on what we understand when we read; reading is about understanding” (Santman p. 207). When we read, we must remember we are reading for understanding. However, for some they do not comprehend reading as they should. If you do not understand something you have read, it is best you go back and re read the selection or highlight things you would like to discuss with another classmate or bring about in a classroom discussion. This will both help the student and the class out in a whole. The reason behind this is you may never know who had the same question about the same selection you needed clearance on. Linking to what Moustafa said in her text, “learning to read should be a joyous adventure, as exciting for youngsters, their families, and their teachers as when children learn to walk and talk”. If reading was like I am sure more of our children will love to read. By picking a variety of strategies will help my students overcome the hurdle of reading and this will encourage them to continue to read because they will have acquired new skills to help them read excellently. If I have struggling students in my class I will group them with fluent readers, so they can get further assistance from their peers. As a teacher, I would love to see all my students become fluent independent readers, now which teacher would not like to see their student excel this way. When I am conducting my reading lessons I am going to match my lesson that it will cater to all of my students’ different learning needs. I would make the necessary accommodations or modifications that will ensure all students will receive the same quality of education.
My time in EDUC 311 has opened a different aspect for me as a future educator. While reading Moustafa’s text, I came across this quote, “reading occurs only if comprehension occurs” (p. 6). This quote struck out to me because when I was in class we did an exercise that explained the quote I came across. I felt anyone may know how to read, but do they fully grasped what they have just read? Contrary to that some may not understand what they have just read; all they may see is words. An example from the text is, “… you may pick up a book or newspaper in Portuguese, for example, and say the words but may not comprehend the message. So with that being said, the new definition of reading would not consider that to be reading. Enrolling in this class has changed the way I think about reading; I thought teaching reading would have been easy. After clear fully deconstructing “reading” I have realized this is not an easy lesson to administrate if you are not properly taught.
As a future educator, I believe having A Balanced Approach to Literacy can help a student who is struggling in many different ways. Read alouds, shared reading, and guided reading are components that makes A Balanced Approach to Literacy. Hence, these different elements can provide students with numerous and different varieties of literacy opportunities. I will have to keep in mind that a balance approach to literacy is not a curriculum; but it is a support to aide you in teaching reading. Having a balance approach to literacy will help in developing student’s skills knowledge, whether it is decoding, comprehending or even spelling. A balanced approach to literacy will help you get to know all of your children’s strengths.
Taberski mentioned in her text that you should provide students with provide feedbacks, I personally find this to be true. “I don’t sugarcoat my comments about their reading” (Taberski, p. 126). If a child does not know what he need to improve, how else will he grasped this knowledge. If you want to see your student succeed, provide them with substantial support. It is important that I deliver my students honest and specific feedback that is appropriate and necessary for my students’ development. “More important, even if the children are always present, who would guarantee that every child will everything he or she is taught (Moustafa, p. 22). If a student is always in school it does not necessarily mean the student has actually understood the lesson. This is why for teachers it is important that we monitor and assess their learning. Also I feel working one on one with a student who may not learn everything that is being taught will show the student that you are helping them and this will encourage them to do better.
There are numerous ways to assess a student’s performance. An assessment is I feel a huge assessment that is helpful for seeing what is suitable for a student is a miscue analysis or as Taberski calls it “running record.” An assessment can be defined as an on-going process that is aimed at how the student understands what is being taught and how to improve students learning. After conducting a miscue analysis, I will be able to select “just-right” books for my students. Having just-right books in my classroom is my number one priority. I personally feel when a student is reading a book on his/her own they feel a sense of independence, they do not need the help they would need if the book was not a just-right book. According to Weaver, “a miscue is an unexpected oral response that occurs while someone is reading aloud … a miscue is an oral response that differs from what the text would leads us to expect” (pg. 223). Goodman explains that “miscue is a good term because it reveals that miscues are unexpected responses cued by the readers’ knowledge of their language and concepts of the World” (Weaver, pg. 226). Having a student read aloud to you will benefit both the student and the teacher administering the miscue. The student and teacher will hear the students’ mistakes.
EDUC 311 has also taught me the proper usage of letter-phoneme correspondences. Although it was stated that letter-phoneme correspondences are difficult, do they believe elementary school children will understand this approach as quick. I feel they should have different approaches to see how students will be able to understand this schema. I believe scaffolding will be a great asset to better assist a student who may need help in letter-phoneme correspondences. I learned from this class that is okay to take chances, because our number one focus is to help our students to become an excellent reader. So as an educator I feel it is okay to learn different approaches, because with these approaches they will enable us as teachers to better assist our students. EDUC 311 has opened my eyes so I can see that not all children develop at the same rate. One might get it faster than another would, all I can do as an educator is assist the child in any way they may need help.
In a final analysis, EDUC 311 is a course that has a second part to it and I hope the second part is as informative as the first part is. This course has given me clear indications on how I should and should not teach reading to my children, whether it was from the different handouts I have read or the works of Moustafa and Taberski’s text.
Moustafa, M. (1997). Beyond traditional phonics: research discoveries and reading instruction.
Santman , Donna. "Teaching to the Test?: Test Preparation in the Reading Workshop." Language Arts [New York] 1 Jan. 2002: 203-211. Print.
Taberski, S. (2000). On solid ground: strategies for teaching reading K-3. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Weaver, C. (1998). Practicing what we know: informed reading instruction. Urbana, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English.