Enhancing literacy acquisition in students is a hard task requiring a lot of responsibility, persistence, and skills for adopting a unique approach towards students. Unless a teacher is capable of encouraging students for acquiring new literacy skills, their students will not be able to make any tangible progress (International Reading Association, 2010).
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To identify and solve the unique problems that stand in the way of some students, a teacher must adopt an original approach towards each student with a specific issue. After a thorough analysis of the case of Logan, a young student, who was unwilling to acquire any reading skills whatsoever, some of the dilemmas that a teacher may have to solve in a reading class have been identified.
The experience of searching for the methods of motivating Logan for reading, several important insights on the process of teaching reading have been gained. First and most important, it has been revealed that students need to develop their own pace of reading. What may seem a very slow manner of reading for one student will be an adequate reading speed for the second one and far too fast for the third one.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that each of the students has managed to find their own reading pace and can coordinate their reading process with the rest of the class.
Another important lesson, which has been learned in the course of teaching Logan the basic reading skills and locating the problem that triggered his unwillingness to acquire information through reading, even though he displayed a keen interest in using other media (TV, social networks) for gaining new knowledge.
The use of learning resources and application assignments has also contributed to my foundational knowledge concerning the development of reading skills in students. Unless I had used the tools for enhancement of reading skills in students, including such exercises as an oral retelling and oral responses, I would have never helped Logan overcome his barriers and finally start getting engaged into the process.
The exercises served as the means to both drill the newly acquired skills and overcome Logan’s fears of failing as a reader once again. The exercises helped the teacher show, Logan, that reading is, in fact, a very simple procedure that consists of several very basic steps. The careful use of appraisal as the key method of motivating Logan can also be considered one of the key tools, which predetermined the successful outcome of the procedure.
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The assessments that have been taken to check Logan’s initial academic stage and evaluate further progress should also be viewed as the key tools in managing the process of Logan’s evolution as a reader.
As it has been stressed, oral response and retell were utilized as the key tools for conducting the assessment; a comparison in the quality and amount of the information reproduced was the key measurement tool (Henk & Melnisk, 1995), which provided a rather precise assessment of Logan’s progress.
It is peculiar that the tools listed above, especially the test that involved retelling, provided the exact numerical equivalent of Logan’s progress. In the process of the assessment, the number of information blocks reproduced by the student was compared to the previous test results.
It is quite peculiar that throughout training, Logan’s results in the test described above grew by 500%: in his final test, he managed to reproduce six times more information than he had done in his first test.
Though the new information acquired in the process of communicating with Logan and dealing with his problem is not new, it will still help me in my further career of a teacher. It is important to keep in mind that the students’ progress differs from the overall progress of the class and that individual factors must be taken into account when addressing a specific issue that a student may have in reading or any other academic area.
Judging by the experience mentioned above, the next step for me as a reading teacher is searching for the ways to work the exercises for enhancing the literacy of individual students into the general lesson plan. Also, it will be required to define whether working in a team may enhance students’ willingness to read more. The third goal concerns the students’ motivation for longevity analysis.
Despite the fact that the problem, which emerged as Logan, one of the students, started displaying a complete lack of interest in reading, was rather difficult to approach, with the evaluation of the student’s motivation, as well as the adoption of the key principles of literacy instruction, defining the further strategy became possible.
Logan’s case has shown that to solve students’ reading problems, a literacy teacher must think outside the box and find a unique way to address the issue, at the same time following the principles established by the existing developmental theories. Teaching students to read is one of the crucial tasks that will define their future progress, and one must approach the teaching process with due care and responsibility.
Henk, W. A. & Melnisk, S. A. (1995). The reader self-perception scale (RSPS): A new tool for measuring how children feel about themselves as readers. The Reading Teacher, 48(6), 470–482.
International Reading Association (2010). Standards for reading professionals — revised 2010. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.