Teach the Kids to Read Everything

summer readingImage by ruminatrix via Flickr

Welcome to the second installment of Teaching Tip Tuesdays for the 2010 – 2011 school year. 

So far there are 70 tips that I hope you will find useful in the archives here. I will be adding a new tip every Tuesday. 

Without further ado, here is today’s tip. 

In order to live and prosper in today’s society, it is important to be able to interpret and understand a wide variety of messages that continue to be presented to us in new and unfamiliar ways. As such, we cannot continue to focus on narrow definitions of literacy. The goal should be to empower our students to become good consumers of information.

Our students need to be able to read all sorts of different texts from a variety of media forms. As teachers, we should be giving them opportunities to create using these various forms as well.
I believe that act of creating a piece of work whether it be text, mutli-media, visual arts, or music really empowers the artist. Further than that, the completed piece allows the observer to see something new as well. This allows for a new appreciation of the work and in many cases, the original artist as well.
We need to teach our students to be critical of what media they consume on a daily basis and one of these ways to do this is to involve them in creating some messages using those media forms.

I teach Grade 3 and involve my students in creating new media whenever I can. Every year, I work with small groups and guide the students into creating a radio play. I have the students come up with a story idea and each of them must also create heir own character for the play. We then write the play, rehearse it, and record it on the computer. The finished product is a podcasted radio show. I give each student a CD with all of the plays on it and if I can, I even get the segments aired on the local radio station. The students are engaged in this process in a way that a regular reader’s theatre script simple cannot do.
Elliot W. Eisner states, “In order to be read, a poem, an equation, a painting, a dance, a novel, or a contract each requires a distinctive form of literacy, when literacy means, as I intend it to mean, a way of conveying meaning through and recovering meaning from the form of representation in which it appears.”

That is why we can no longer teach from textbooks or readers alone. We need to expose our students to Internet content, to film, radio, television, and the things that have now become part of our daily lives. This will empower our students and allow them to be literate in all of the ways we communicate in this current day and age. 

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2 Comments on Teach the Kids to Read Everything

  1. Hi Chase .. I think your project is great – and I'm sure the kids learn loads from all the input and the opportunity to continue 'playing' but as creativity .. sounds wonderful .. can I join .. I'm only a few years too old?!

    Enjoy the new term .. and class .. bye Hilary

  2. Thanks Hilary!

    You can always try to create some audio fiction for your blog too.

    It's fun.

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