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Day 34: Reading Apprenticeship
By Mark Heintz
Sep 27, 2019

Day 34

“Many educators express the belief that students who struggle with academic texts “just aren’t motivated.” — Chapter 1 in Reading for Understanding

Many thanks to Kate Glass for bringing my attention to the Reading Apprenticeship framework. As for the quote above, I shamefully have used a line similar in the past. It’s shameful because not only did I label kids in a pejorative way, I accepted a minimum for reading. I limited what they would read because of my expectations and beliefs about them as students. Worse, when we finally got around to a higher-level passage, I essentially did the thinking for them. I read the text to the students and then explained every detail to them. I didn’t believe in my students. 

Big on Learning

I want my students to be able to access any text at any time. I want them to be able to do the thinking for themselves and make sense of it themselves. In the Reading Apprenticeship framework, students learn to gain that independence.  As the book cites, if the students can’t access texts on their own then they hit a literacy ceiling. Again, I have experienced that in class. When students don’t have a framework to access complicated texts, there is only so much we can do as a class. In the past when this happened, I resorted to reading cheats: I explained too much, I lectured to them on the subject so the text wasn’t important, I taught skills in isolation such as only teaching the main idea skill in the first quarter. However, I know that is not how people decode and make sense of texts; especially, complicated texts. As the framework points to, that type of teaching does not allow students to develop  “the kind of deeper comprehension skills and practice that are needed for high-level literacy demands.”

I’m only starting to dive into the framework, but I’m resonating with this approach because it is how people learn naturally. As I stated at the beginning of the year, I want my students to develop as learners and be able to think for themselves.  This approach has that front and center. Every reading task has them thinking and seeing how they approach texts; it gets them to develop what is working for them and what is not. 

Giant Questions

How can I do this on a daily basis and still make it through the curriculum?

I don’t have an answer for that. But, I hope to share when I use the framework and how much time it takes.

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