Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hannah's Reading Importance

As I read I am constantly trying to make sure everything is making sense to me. Many times I have to reread for a better understanding. I can remember in third grade my teacher, Miss McClary, taught my class a strategy for reading comprehension. She told us after every paragraph you should ask yourself a series of questions. Who was involved here? What did they do? Was there a problem? How did they or will they fix it? She then told us if we still weren’t sure of one of the answer or we caught ourselves thinking about things other than the readings we should go back and reread. Obviously, now being a junior in college I do not ask my self these questions after every paragraph I read. However, I do have to think about all of those as I am continuously reading.
As a college student my volume of required reading sometimes stretches beyond what I am actually able to read. I constantly find myself wanting to speed read or skim the material because I have procrastinated and don’t have enough time to think about all of them in as much depth as hoped. During these sessions of speed reading I always look at the title so I know the topic that is being discussed. Then I read the first and last sentence of the paragraphs because a lot of the important information is outlined here. Then if there is any bolded or italicized words I read the sentences they are in. If I am not rushing through my readings I have found it to be beneficial to do the above steps anyways and then go through and read it. If you know what you are going to be reading about it is a lot easier to make connections and remember what was stated within the paragraph.
In one of the articles the author talked about another way to sift through all of the material to find the important information is to ask yourself what you think the author wants you to know. I haven’t personally tried this strategy yet but I feel it would be quite beneficial. I frequently forget the purpose of the reading and if you can keep that in mind it can help make connections to your background knowledge.

Jess' Reading Text

When I look back and think about what strategies I use when I read I find it important to think about the kind of text I am reading. The kind of text matters about how I go about reading beacause each type of text produces different ways of thinking in my mind. Specifically in all instances of reading I usually look through the book and see what each chapter contains or section. By doing this with informational texts and articles you are able to get an idea of where the text is heading toward. This is useful for me because as I read I already know the overall purpose I am suppose to get out of reading. By knowing the purpose I find it easier to locate key phrases and words that may be imporant for after reading. In regards to non-fiction texts I usually do not look through the chapters, because sometimes the chapter titles give away information, which is exactly opposite from fiction texts. However I think the most enjoying thing about reading non-fiction texts is that the internal thinking in my mind always concerns what might happen next, or I bet this happens, or I wonder if that is important to know for the future. In comparison to how I read fiction text my internal thinking usually revolves around what information I need to come back to or remember. Reading a non-fiction text is more like watching a movie you want to know what comes next or what might be important because your anxious to know what will be next. But in fiction text the internal thinking is usually for me only about how I can remember what I have already read.
The important information in both instances is usally apparent while reading. Its either in bold or talked about in detail. I find it easy to pick point important information from a chapter but sometimes i have to read it a few times in order to remember it or get a firm grasp on the idea.

Reading texts

While pondering the notion of how I read texts, I came across some interesting things that I often do. Throughout my schooling, I have had countless numbers of assigned reading to do. Many of the text books I read were very dry and slightly boring (not all, but some). I somehow taught myself to look at the end of each chapter before I start reading and look at what the questions were asking about the text. I would then go read the chapter as a whole, but make sure I kept my eyes open for the main points and would highlight them.

When I read, I like to picture what is going on in the text. When it's a literature book, I pretty much have a movie playing in my head on what I think is happening. It's hard for me to get a movie picture in my head with text books which may be a reason why I have a harder time consentrating on that kind of homework. I understand the importance of reading and comprehending what is read. I do for the most part comprehend what I read (usually the first time) but sometimes am not sure if I truly understand what the text is saying (usually happened in geometry and physics).

I usually know what's important by thinking about what the chapter is supposed to cover. I look at the title of the chapter and read the intro. By reading the intro, I get a good grasp on what the author is attempting to explain in his writing.

Kristen W.'s importance in reading

When I am reading something I first assess what the point of the reading assignment is. If there is a key concept in the class that we are focusing on, I know that I should be looking for information that will help add to my knowledge of that concept. As I read I do have an internal conversation. I read something and go over what I just read and then decide if it’s important or rather decide if this helps to elaborate on the key concept. If it is a broad chapter of information I often look for any bullets, separate boxes containing information, or bold or italicized words that could all indicate important information.
When reading books for enjoyment it is a little harder to distinguish important points of what I am reading. I often remember or pay attention to main points such as characters and setting. It is more difficult to tell important parts of a book, because in a novel you often don’t know what will happen or what is important to pay attention to that will help in analyzing a situation later in the book. Oftentimes I will need to go back to the beginning to recap on specific details that will help to understand the passage later in the book that I have reached.
I think it really depends on what you are reading and why you are reading it to determine what is important in the text. Many school texts have a plain reason why we are reading it and so we know what kind of information is important for us to know in order to succeed in class, on a project, or on a test. When reading for pleasure something in the book may seem less important than others. For instance, something romantic happening in a story could be important to one person, but insignificant to the overall plot to another person reading the same book. Subjectivity comes into play when finding important features in a text because everyone comes from different backgrounds, has gained different background knowledge, and sees things differently. Because of this, everyone sees novels or class texts differently and may interpret some things more important than others. It is mainly important as a teacher to make clear to students the goal of what they should get out of the text and the purpose for reading the text for them to find the importance and meaning behind what they are reading.
When I begin reading passages from a book or story I first look at any pictures that are on the page. For a couple of reasons one to give me an idea of what this section might be about or two because I like pictures . If there are no pictures on the page I start reading the section. I then read one paragraph of information at a time if the story is not in paragraphs then I stop at a section where I think the information is telling me new ideas. After I have read the one paragraph I go back and think about what the paragraph was about. Is there anything in particular that is important to me? Do I understand everything in this section? If I don’t I go back and make sure I read over everything again that has to do with this topic to see if I missed something. Then I continue to read on doing the same thing every time. After each chapter or when I am done reading I think to myself what was the main purpose of this section. Do I have any questions? If so, what are they? Then I try and go back and see if I missed something on the information that I don’t understand. If I can’t find anything then I will write it down so I can find out the answer to it. I have a lot of internal conversation with myself when I read, not only to help me understand what I am reading but also to help me stay focused on the task at hand. Usually the text that is important for the students to know is what the main ideas where in the section that they read. That’s why I try and find the importance of each paragraph so I can come to a better conclusion of what information is the most important to me as a reader.

Importance in Reading

When reading it is important to think about why you are reading first before you think about what is important within the reading. If I am reading a text book for class then I pick out the important details that have to do with class, the chapter, or what a test might be over. When reading for class, I think about what we have been discussing in class and how the reading might be relevant to our discussions. Also I read the chapter title and ask myself as I read what is important in this text that relates to the title of the chapter. I like to highlight the important stuff so I can easily scan later when studying for a test. I am always asking myself questions as I read. Sometimes I ask myself if I have prior knowledge about a certain subject or term, or whether I understand something. When there are things that I do not understand then I write it out on a post it note so I can look it up later. Then when I reread for test or papers then I know what that concept, or whatever, means.
If I am reading for pleasure then I pick out main characters and what each person does in the story. I am always thinking in my head as I read for pleasure. Some of the books that I read have complicated plots and characters, so I have to think about which character feels or does certain things. My favorite author uses characters across his books even though they are completely different stories and I often have to think back about what important details were in the other stories that are significant in my new story.
I think it is really important to have an inner dialogue because if you are just reading then you may not be taking in all the information the way you should. If you do not question yourself about what you are reading it is almost like you did not even read. If you consciously ask yourself questions about what you just read then you have a deeper meaning associated with what you are reading. It will be easier to recall information later on if you put meaning to it. Otherwise when you are in class and the teacher ask what you thought about a certain term, you may remember the term but may not have anything attached to it for it to be meaningful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How Do You Know What Is Important In Text? By: Kate Neal

Thinking back on how I have always read passages, I do have an internal conversation with myself. After each paragraph (or sentence if the material is difficult) I ask myself, “What did I just read?” If something in the reading catches my attention (makes me laugh, reminisce, question etc.) I will become sidetracked (asking myself how that statement familiar to me, think about a time when something similar happened to me, etc.). Overall, I can not think of a time when I have read and not had an internal conversation with myself and/or imagined a picture in my head about what was going on in the reading.
Most of the readings I do now are for school assignments. Being that the readings are vital to my education, I make sure I fully understand before I move on in the book. For this type of reading I highlight information that I believe to be important or write notes on the side of the pages/ or my notebook so I can have the idea in my own words. Highlighting and taking notes make it easier for me to study for the exam over the readings. For readings that are for personal pleasure I highlight some funny, sad, thrilling, etc. times in the book, but rarely need to take notes because the reading is always interesting to me otherwise I would not be reading it.
How do I decide what information is important when I am reading? I normally ask what the story, chapter, or passage is about. From there I begin to think about what is in the reading that answers or really goes into detail about what the reading is about. Sometimes I will consider the highlighted words to be important, the title of a paragraph to be important, steps or stages of something to be important, or how something is used to be important. It does, however, depend solely on the reader and his or her own views and/or interests. What I may consider to be important could not be what some one else may consider to be important.

Lauren Flaspohler's reading importance

Reading takes a lot of different skills. One of those skills includes figuring out what is important about a text. Another skill includes having an internal conversation with yourself about what you are reading as you read.
Over the years that I have been reading, I have learned how to decide what is important when I am reading. Generally, I will read with a highlighter and a pen. While I read, if I already know something I don’t highlight it. If something is new to me and seems to be a general and main idea of the text I will highlight that, and then I will look for details that go into more depth. Also I will note down a couple points in the margin that tell me what I have highlighted so when I go back I can remember why I highlighted that part. Figuring out what is important is somewhat of a biased decision. What is important to me may not be important to someone else. This is why it is important for teachers to go back and explain what they think is important as well. As long as the main ideas of the reading are understood, generally that will be enough.
Internal conversations are critical when reading and understanding what you are reading. I am always asking myself if I understood what I have just read. Also if I highlight things, I try to reword them in my head and if I write them down. This way I know that I understand it and if I come back to reread what I wrote/highlighted, and I can remember it a lot easier and faster. Also if I don’t know what a word is, I will have an internal conversation trying to figure out what the word means. I will reread the sentence that it is in and I will see if I know part of the word. Usually I can figure it out, but if I can’t, I will look it up in a dictionary.

Important while Reading, Jennifer Wolff

I think everyone picks out different things that are important while reading. I also believe this can be based off of several different reasons as well. One main reason could be one's background knowledge. Not every student has the same background knowledge, so one may think something is more important than another classmate. For instance, say one student is preached at home about proper manners during dinner, yet another student is allowed to eat in front of the television or on the floor. While reading, if a passage explains not chewing with your mouth open, the student that has learned this previously may think this is a very important idea, whereas the other may just skim past it. This was a very small example, but I think it definitely proves that one's homelife may affect how he/she reads a book, or paragraph. Furthermore, I think if the students know something they are looking for, they will be more likely to think the same things are important. For example, in Stacey's class on Monday we read a passage about a house. First she told us to underline anything we thought was important. Some students underlined important names in the paragraph along with places. However, while reading I noticed things that stood out that were different than names. I saw sentences that hinted to the possible robbery that could happen later on in the story. This is what stood out to me, so I underlined all the potential hints into the robbery. I simply did not think names were important because they were not going to help me once the house was robbed. This may be different than most students; however, I thought I needed information that was going to help me in the long run, not names and locations.
I think this is important for teachers to realize. Not every student is going to think the same, and a teacher needs to be able to look at a passage and see every possible outcome. This may be difficult; however, with a lot of work, I think any teacher can master this.

What is important

Whenever I am reading be it for school or for fun I try to put myself in the story. I read as if someone is telling the content to me in a conversation. As I go through the text when something comes up that I would question a person about to find out more or because I don’t understand it I write it down that way I can read on and maybe find the answer or if not look it up when I am done reading. I do thing in case it is important and I tend to think of this as not important if I don’t understand them so this way if it is important I will have some understanding of it. I also look for things that are repeated throughout the text if it is mentioned more than once or twice it is probably of some significance. For textbooks I look at what is in bold print and larger print. Usually these things are standing out for a reason. Looking at headings also helps me to figure out what might be important. If I am reading for an assignment I look for things that we have talked about in class or things the teacher has mentioned if they are in the text then I know they are important. If I am reading something for pleasure I look through the book when I first get it and see if there are any pictures. If there are I look at what the pictures are showing and as I read I think about how the text relates to the picture and anything that does I know is important. I also look at the main title or chapter title to find what is important in the text by finding what is related to them.

Alex Nabolotny's Importance in Reading

As a student I try to be a very active reader. I always want to try and get as much content out of an article or textbook. I find this hard to do sometimes, especially with readings that do not hold my attention. Because of this I have tried to think of tricks to help me get the main ideas out of articles or textbooks without having to read everything thoroughly. One thing that I always try to do is highlight. I highlight what I believe are the authors main ideas and this usually helps me understand the content of the article. However, sometimes it is easy to get highlight crazy and highlight every word on the page, and then that kind of defeats the purpose. Because of this I try to, along with highlighting, write down some notes in the margins of the text or article. They are usually short sentences, or even questions that I have about the reading. The questions help me stay focused on the reading because as I continue to read I am searching for the answer to my question. Reading for school and reading for pleasure are two different types of reading and I use different comprehension skills for each. Books that I read for pleasure are written differently than textbooks and therefore they do not require the highlighting and note-taking. I do, though, think of questions as I read for pleasure. I also look closely at the dialogue because it is important to see what is going on in the character's lives.
Interestingly enough, in one of my classes we did an activity on reading comprehension. My teacher gave us a short story and told us to underline things that we thought were important to the story. I thought this activity was really beneficial because I was able to see what my classmates underlined, what they thought was important. It got me thinking about reading comprehension and how students can and will interpret stories differently. Obviously there are certain texts where there is only one main idea, but at times there can be some discrepancy between main ideas.
Overall I think the most important things to do when reading is highlight or underline the important things. This will help you get to the point and allow you to comprehend the story better.

Alex Lew

I, like every other college student, have had plenty of opportunity to work on my reading skills. The large amounts of reading assigned to me has helped me over the years to work on finding what is important in what I am reading. I feel it is important for me to understand how I figure out what is important when I am reading, as well as what goes on in my head while I read, because it will better able me to explain these processes to new readers.
When reading college texts it is fairly easy to determine what is important in the reading. Usually, what has been discussed in class is being supported by the assigned reading and therefore I have an idea of what main points to pay attention to. I use a highlighter to mark the main ideas of paragraphs and other interesting facts; so that I can remember what I thought was important. The internal conversation I have while reading college texts usually connects the reading back to something else, either read before or talked about in class. I also try to imagine myself using the techniques or lesson ideas, presented in the reading, in my own classroom. This helps me to better understand what the lesson or idea is about and to visualize its usefulness.
When I read for enjoyment, rather than for school, my process for deciding what is important is different. It is harder for me to determine what is important while reading novels because if I do not know what is going to happen in the book I cannot determine what is important information and what is not. My internal conversation while reading novels for pleasure talks through major events. If an important event has happened in the book I then try to think about why it was important, how it related back to the beginning of the book, and how this certain event will/will not change the course of the book. I also have a constant running visual of the images and events that happen when I read, because if I did not do this I would lose focus and begin to think about other things unrelated to the book, while still continuing to read.
My reading of college texts differs from that of reading novels for pleasure, however, I always try to connect the reading to something while having some sort of a visual to keep me focused.

Kelly Reeder-Breaking Down Readings

While reading texts there are many different things that cross my mind. If I know that the text assigned to me by my teacher is going to be very important I bring out my highlighter and begin marking the paragraphs, or sentences, that I think will be beneficial if I look over the text again. I know that I am not a very good judge of what is important, but I know that I have a hard time focusing. If I am able to eliminate simple sentences, without meaning, than I have narrowed down what I should reread. While reading these important texts I often find myself reading each sentence over twice, and then sitting back to comprehend what the sentence was saying. Each time I put all of my energy into understanding every part of a text I take a lot longer than I do while reading a simple article. Each time I read a sentence and sit back to comprehend it I also wonder if this could be important. I think about if it will be on a test, paper, or quiz in the future.
Often times a teacher will give you a text and tell you that certain parts will be on an exam. When this happens I break down each little section into time slots. Since I don’t want to overwhelm myself I will break down the chapters into sections, and even paragraphs down to a sentence. During one of my cluster classes I found that outlining the chapter helps me to better understand the concept of it. I look for the most important things inside of each of each paragraph and best summarize it. If I have a hard time with what I am reading, I will try and reword some of the important sentences so that I will better understand. Once I am done with my outline, I set my book aside and try to comprehend what is written on my sheet.
I guess when I look at my strategy for understanding the main ideas in text I do have a major conversation with myself. I often sit back and try to reword or repeat a sentence I just read. I wonder what points I would focus on if I was a teacher, and which points would be the most beneficial for me to understand. There are often times when I become stumped with a reading, but if I try and break it down to a point where it is simple enough for me to understand then I am able to focus on the important points and eliminate the unnecessary.

Importance of Reading (Leanne)

As a Junior in college, I've had plenty of exposure to reading educational texts. At this point, I know that there is not much of a chance of taking a college course without these texts. However, I have also grown to see the importance and relevance of many of these readings. Since most of my classes are specific to teaching, I really consider the information in the texts to be practical and beneficial. I've learned to view these texts as a tool for my teaching.
Although I do not have a classroom of my own, I still consider previous teaching experiences as well as any I am currently in when I read. Right now, I tutor at the Boys and Girls Club and consistently see students with academic difficulties. When I encounter these challenges, I usually rely on readings or discussions from classes to help these students. I've had the chance to implement strategies and suggestions from readings and many times have found them to be very helpful.
When I read, I usually try to imagine myself implementing the information from the text. Many times, these readings are over workshops, lessons, or strategies in the classroom. As I read, I try to imagine experiencing these as a student as well as in a teacher role. I have also had some exposure to working with students in special education, so when reading about certain disabilities, I imagine specific students to which the text applies. Many times, I can imagine certain characteristics being played out, which makes the information seem more relevant and true. When I can make the connection with my own experience, the text becomes more useful and practical to my life.
There is so much information in a text, especially one that is academic. I tend to focus on a specific aspect that seems most important. Usually I decide what is important based on what we are discussing in the class at the time, what is going on with my life, or what I want to focus on teaching in the future. For instance, if the class discussion will be about multiplication, I will most likely focus on how to implement this with upper grade levels. This is because I am teaching beginning multiplication at the 3rd grade level and I also would like to teach in the upper elementary level after college. However, if there is a reading on spelling or handwriting, I might pay particular attention to how to incorporate and encourage this in younger grades. This is because I have a lot of students that I tutor who need help in this area. I might focus on strategies that I can implement outside of the classroom. Overall, I try to imagine what is most practical at the time as well as what will be the biggest "take-away" point from the text in the future.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amy Stone's Importance in Reading

I have never been very good at reading comprehension and my skills have some what progressed over the years but nothing major has occurred. Once I changed my major to education my sophomore year, I began to realize different strategies that can be used to make sure that I comprehend the text to the full extent. When entering college, it was no longer the same as high school when I could read something and finish without knowing what any of the words meant. I began to utilize the strategies that were present in my courses and I find that these strategies can be used at any age.

When I am reading, I tend to be an active highlighter. For me highlighting allows me to comprehend that I have read the text and helps me to focus in on the words and concept. I tend to highlight main concepts and ideas but I also focus on definitions throughout the text therefore I can comprehend the ideas better. From the courses that I am taking now on literacy, I now realize that as I am reading, I want to make a picture and a connection to the text in my mind. In the margins of different readings, I normally write any questions that have risen as I am reading or connections that the text has to my everyday life. Like most people, I have an internal dialogue while I am reading. I read the text and replay the words in my mind but I also make connections and ask questions in my mind while I am reading. Sometimes I do not need to write any questions down because as I read more of the text my questions are answered.

Sometimes as I am reading, it is difficult to understand what is important in the text but I normally focus on titles, key words, and main concepts. By browsing the text first, I am able to gain a sense of what is to be included within the reading. When I know what is in store before I read, my mind is more focused throughout the reading and I am able to make better connections. As I continue through my years in college and begin to have my own classroom of students, I would like to master more strategies so that I can teach those strategies and use them within my own readings. By finding new ways to comprehend texts and create a better internal dialogue, I will be able to teach my students better and use these strategies on my own.

Courtney Dressler's Important Reading

Although I have always considered myself an avid highlighter, it has not been until recently that I believe I have been highlighting the “right” information. We have all been taught that when we come across important, relevant, or informational ideas or statements in a text we should somehow mark it so that the information will be useful in the future. But do students really know what they should be looking for? Today, for instance, in one of my courses, we used a simple piece of text to understand how children look for and comprehend information depending on what their teachers ask of them. For example, if a student were reading for “big ideas,” the highlighted information would differ from if a student were reading for “specific examples,” “names of characters,” or “chronological events.” In short, while reading I must remember what I am looking for in order to find “what is important.” Take, for instance, that I am reading an assigned reading for a course this semester on children’s literature. Although the passage is sure to have an abundance of useful information and activities that I could apply to my class, I make sure to only highlight “big concepts” such as vocabulary or generalizations along with any activities that I hope to refer back to in the future. In order to successfully do this, while I read I have a constant and repetitive internal conversation taking place in my mind: “Will I need to know this information 2 weeks from now? A year from now? Will it be applicable during discussions, activities, and assignments? Do I find the information interesting and useful for my future as a teacher?” All of these internal questions help me to recognize, what I find to be, relevant information in the text. But although these are the questions I ask while reading, I firmly believe that what people find “important” and “useful” in a text varies from individual to individual.
When I am reading for a class or for fun, I always have some sort of dialogue in my head. In order to make the story interesting I imagine what is happening in my mind while I read. Because of this I usually have to go back and re-read the pages a couple times to get a real idea of what is happening on the page. First, for things I have to read for class, there are usually guiding questions the teacher will ask to get your mind going. For me this helps because then I look for important information that the teacher has asked us to look for. Some times when there are not guiding questions, I get to the end and wonder, “What was the point of this article?” When the teacher does not provide directive questions, the first and summary paragraphs are very important. In the first paragraph, it usually talks about the important subjects or the main ideas of the text. In the summary paragraph, it reinforces the main points of what you have just read. This can be helpful or it can make you more confused because the summary paragraph emphasizes different points in the reading than you thought were important.
The other direction I look for in reading text is how it is broken into sections. This is always good because the different sections show the main ideas and then it is now up to you to understand what the author is trying to say. Again it can be difficult to do this because the writing style of the writer may be hard to understand. Using these study traits I mentioned help create the dialogue in my head and help me understand what I have read. As I read I can ask myself in my mind, “what is the point he is trying to make here?” Sometimes talking through it in your mind can help you figure out what the writer was really saying. Yes it may seem weird but it has helped me out before. These are some of the ways I think of text when I read. I develop a dialogue in my head and identify the important information.

Joe's Reading

When I read something for the first time I try to focus on the main points. Reading the title first helps me figure out what I am reading and it helps me look for the main points of the article. If there are highlighted words or key terms in bold I try to figure out what those words mean and I make sure I know them before I continue reading. While I am reading I like to highlight or underline phrases that I think are important to the main topic. If I am being a really good student I will take notes on the reading too, but that doesn’t happen too often. Depending on the length of the text I am reading, I like to reread quickly to make sure I have the main points down and a summary of what I read.
As I read I try to keep an internal conversation going, or I write notes on what I think about the reading. This helps me stay on task because when I start to think about other things I can recognize that quickly and return to the reading. I like to ask myself questions or write down questions that I have from the reading. When I come across an answer to the question when I am reading I write it down. This really helps with remembering main points because I have thought about it, read it, and then finally written it down so it’s almost stuck in my memory. Reading for class usually takes me a while, but when I am done I feel like I have a good grasp on what I just read.

Natalie Reading

Text book reading and reading for pleasure is two very different things. There are several things that I do to help me distinguish what is important.

When reading a text book the first thing I do is read the title. That can normally tell you something about the text you are going to read. Then, if it is a text book, I will read the headers in the chapter. This usually tells you the main points and focuses of the chapter. I then look over any questions that might have been outlined in homework, on the syllabus, or raised before we left class. Then I look over the notes that I took in class and look for that in the text. Then I know I read what about what we are covering in class. I want to know why I am reading the text, so the last methods really help me see the purpose in what I am reading. It helps me to know that what I am doing matters. I may also highlight anything that I feel sums up what I have just read, whether that is in a section under a specific header or chapter. I especially read carefully the introduction and summary. That way I have an idea what I am going to read, and some of the main points that I should have taken away.

Internal communication happens more at the end. That is when I ask myself if I understood what was read, do I see what the teacher or professor wanted me to see, or do I understand the main points. Internal communication, for me at least, happens more when I am reading for pleasure, because I do not care if the questions in my head distract me from what I am reading. I dont want to get distracted when I am reading something for school.

Texts are many times unclear, especially school texts. Many times I feel I get lost in the language, however, I feel that I still have good ideas on how to address the texts. Even if I dont always know what is the most important thing to draw from a text.

Jada Nichols

When it comes to reading texts, I read in a completely different way than I would if I were reading a book for enjoyment. I think this is natural as texts seem to not have a flowing plot but are designed as informational guides. The way I decide what is important is usually by first noting what the author felt was important. If I am taking notes I always use the headers somewhere in them because they are a good way to know what the author felt was important and to organize notes. Another way I decide what is important is dependent upon the class that it is for. If I am in a teaching math methods class and am reading a text for it, I am going to try to pull out any math methods information that would be useful. It is most useful in reading to know ahead of time the purpose of your reading, otherwise it can get muddled with unnecessary information and note taking. Finally, along with using the aforementioned methods for reading texts, as I am reading I tend to skip over concepts I already know. From class to class and book to book, there can be a lot of repetitiveness. If I am absolutely sure that there is a section of my reading over a concept I am certain I have mastered then I will just skip it. There is no use, to me, in reading over something I already know when I could be reading and gaining new insights on a completely foreign concept.
When reading texts I tend to not have as much internal conversation going on. This could be why I come out of reading a text with little comprehension the first time around. I seldomly ask myself questions about what I am reading because oftentimes it involves a lot of new ideas that I am simply trying to understand. Usually at that stage the questions are mostly “what does this mean?” Which is usually answered later in the text or in class.
When it comes to knowing what is important in a text, I rely, as I said before, on the topic at hand, or questions the teacher poses. There are so many details in texts that unless there is some guidance as to what you are looking for, you could very easily get lost. It is easiest to pick out the important parts if the teacher provides thought provoking questions or if there is a “sum it up” section at the end to help guide the thought process.

Finding Importance in Reading-Courtney S.

When I read my textbooks, I highlight ideas or phrases that I think are the most important. I base what I highlight off of the headings of the section, and the first sentence of the paragraph. You can normally tell what the main idea of a paragraph will be by using those two tools. I do, however, go highlighting crazy sometimes, and highlight a lot of words on a page. When I look back at the reading, it can be hard for me to figure out the main ideas when the whole page is bright yellow! Another strategy I use when I read my texts is that I normally look for key words that relate to the broad heading or entire chapter. Sometimes texts put important words in bold face or italics, and then I pay closer attention to those as well.
When I read for my own pleasure, I read differently. Novels are not set up like text books, with headings or side notes in the margins. When I read for fun I find everything to be important. It is hard to tell sometimes what paragraphs or sentences are more important than others-depending on the genre of the book. I like to read James Patterson books and he writes a lot of murder mystery type books. Those books, I pay attention to the clues they find that I think will have more importance later in the story. Also, in general, I find dialogue important-when the characters have conversations it can be powerful for the story. In dialogue it is important to pay attention to the mood of the character and the emotions he or she possesses. I am also in the middle of reading Pride and Prejudice and since the language is more difficult at times I try to pay attention to the words I am familiar with and use context clues to figure out phrases or words that I do not know.
I have noticed that I do have a conversation with myself when I read. While I read textbooks I noticed that I ask questions to myself a lot. Sometimes I try to write them in the margins, but often I find the answers as I keep reading. When I am reading for fun I ask questions too-but the questions revolve around the plot and not about information I have just read. Also, I hear myself talking the words while I read and I paint a picture in my mind of the events of the story.

Meredith Monserez

While I am reading for educational purposes, I am always taking notes. I have learned that writing the important information down in my notebook is the best way I am able to learn and remember the information. I always begin by writing the title of the passage. Usually at the beginning of any section or chapter there are "Big Ideas" or "Main Points" that are bulleted, or sometimes there are suggested questions to think about while reading the following text. Both of these things I write down in my notebook. This way, when I am reading the text, I will remember when I main point or a particular question come up and I will know to take notes on this. I also always copy any vocabulary words into my notebook. This is useful because it not only helps me to remember the vocabulary word and its meaning, but it also makes it easier to go back and find the important words when I am studying the material later. As I am reading, I usually write down one or two concepts that are under each bold heading as well as information shown on graphs. Sometimes I will copy the actual graph in my notebook, but if it is very detailed, I will just write down the information shown and the topic of the graph and will write the page number down so that if I would like to go back and reference the actual graph while I am studying, I will easily be able to do so. I usually end my notes with any questions or summary points that are highlighted in the book. After I write down these questions, I go back through the text and find the answers.
I am not a very fast reader because of all the notes I take and simply because I spend a great deal of time re-reading paragraphs I have already read. I frequently find myself just going over the words and not actually comprehending the information I am reading. I try to avoid this problem by focusing on the internal conversation I have with myself while I am reading. If I find that I am no longer saying the words to myself and making sense of them, I realize that I must go back to where I stopped paying attention to what I was reading, and read again. This process of re-reading material can take up to five attempts at times. But I would not feel satisfied with myself unless I was able to say that I completely understand everything that I just read. To completely understand the material I am reading, I also use a dictionary while I read. When I come across a word that I do not know, I look up its meaning in the dictionary. Once I find its meaning, I write it down next to the word in the text.

Rachael Matchett

When I am reading school books, or books that have a lot of information in them, I highlight everything that I think is important. Highlighting allows me to review the material without having to reread the entire chapter or section. I know when something is important if it is in bold lettering or if it is italicized. Vocabulary is something that I always highlight to either get the definition from the reading or for my reference to go and look it up in the dictionary. Lists of different things are also important to highlight. However, they can be deceiving. I always make sure to read through the lists just to make sure the points are not obviously stated above or that they have no relevance to what I am reading. I learned in school how to decipher different kinds of texts and how to determine which information is important. Even though teachers have taught me this, it was important that I practice myself in order to understand. Some people take notes and others make webs, but I enjoy highlighting. Once in a while I will type out my notes if I need it for a test or quiz. Sometimes, teachers give you handouts or study guides on what is going to be on the test or paper. If I receive one of those, then I make sure to find the answers in the book and then either write them out or type them. However, I do not think this is real learning. Just trying to go and find the answer and then memorize the facts is pointless. I will forget them within a week after. I would much rather write a paper on a topic that I enjoy then to just take a quiz or test.
I enjoy reading books that I find interesting. When I am forced to read some material, it makes me not want to do it at all. When I read, I talk to myself in my head. I read the words out loud to myself in my head, but I also paint a picture of the scene and the characters. This inner dialogue was not learned until I was a bit older. As a child, I would read out loud to myself or my peers. I had not yet learned that I could read to myself in my head. This process has made my reading much quicker and easier for me to understand.

Alyson Cotter Reading Importance

Picking out main points or important information can be difficult, because the reader does not know exactly what particular point the author is trying to get across. Different people typically perceive texts in a variety of ways. This is why, when reading texts for a class I tend to pick out important information by looking at different fonts and headers. Definitions and bolded words or phrases seem to be main points in texts so I am more apt to make note of them. Making connections to my previous knowledge is another way to pick out information from a reading. If we have discussed a topic in class and it appears in the text it is probably important. Highlighting the material and sometimes making notes off to the side is the strategy that I am comfortable with and that enables me to remember my thinking in class discussions. It seems that there are many occasions where my idea of what was important changes while talking to professors and classmates.
While looking at texts, I hear myself reading the words in my head. I have an internal conversation with myself. Many times stopping and rereading helps me to understand a particular topic or point. Asking questions while reading about whether or not the particular section of the reading makes sense is something that goes on in my head. This internal conversation also helps me keep focused on what I am reading. I know that if my voice is not heard in my head, then my mind has wondered off topic and I need to get back on task. Since much of the reading assigned is related to teaching in the classroom, I also stop to think about how it applies in classes I have seen. Trying to visualize the situation in a classroom is very helpful to me as a future teacher.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rachel's Reading Importance

When I am reading there are several things I do to make sure that I understand the text. The first thing I do is read the title. This helps give me a good understanding of what the whole book/article/chapter is about. I then begin reading. As I am going along in my reading I make sure to look out for bold words or subheadings. These help me figure out important words or ideas that the author is trying to get across. After I read a page or big paragraph I usually stop and reflect on what I am reading. I ask myself what important topic or idea am I supposed to be getting from this text. This helps keep me accountable for what I am reading. I never really thought about it as having an internal conversation with myself. But when I actually want to remember what I am reading I have to ask certain questions to myself or nothing will stick in my head. By having this internal conversation with myself it keeps me on task and accountable with what I am reading. The only time I don’t really have to have an internal conversation with myself is when I am reading for fun. I think this is because there is less pressure on me to remember specific details than if I were reading something for class.

Natalie DiSalvo! Importance

Thinking about how I read texts seemed rather difficult to reflect on since it just comes naturally at this age. I tried to read over the paragraph with the descriptions of what the blog was about to try and think about how I read and what I do to get the main idea of the text. I read one paragraph at a time and try to think of how to reword what I read. The way that I know that I grasped the main ideas is when I can explain the paragraph to someone else with my own words. Another strategy that I do when reading a long text is reading the first and last few sentences in each paragraph and skimming over the middle section. That usually highlights the main points of the paragraph and gives me a good understanding of what the sections are about. One can also read the captions of each section of an article before reading the text to give them an idea of what they will be reading about. It would also get the reader in the right mind set prior to the reading.

As I read, there is definitely an internal conversation that I have with myself. I can hear myself talking and reading the text aloud in my head. It is pretty wild that people can hear themselves thinking within their own head! I can always catch myself drifting away from the text when it comes time to recap a paragraph after I have “read it”. When I cannot remember what I just read, I realize that I have drifted off. Sometimes I even catch myself looking at the page but actually thinking about my plans for later in the day instead of reading the context in front of me! I find myself drifting off from reading at least one time a day, especially if I have a hard time relating to the reading. Another reason I drift off from the text is because I do not enjoy the reading-whether it be because I do not like the subject the reading is over, or if the reading is long and drawn out.

I think that finding the important information within text is difficult, but the ways I tend to go about finding it is mentioned in the first paragraph. However, I still have a hard time figuring out the main ideas of readings over topics dealing with special education. I think a lot of the information is descriptive and, at points, is hard to limit what to count as “important”.

Michelle Ezrachie

As I reflect on my reading of texts I noticed that I have a specific style and approach to readings. I first decide what is important about this reading. This process takes a while because reading is not my specialty. As much as I love to read, it has never come easy to me. I have always needed to develop a certain style to help me concentrate and absorb the information before me. Sometimes when I read I have to ask myself questions, highlight, and summarize. Understanding what is important in the reading is also a big part everyone should master. My method includes different steps to pick out what is important. When I read texts for my classes, I first read through the text page by page. Under every section if I notice it has been repeated, bolded, or italicized, I will highlight it. In addition, I will highlight the information if it gives examples, definitions, or generalizes what has happened. Lastly, while reading texts anything I think would be included in a summery is something I would highlight and make a note of. The ideas highlighted are the important concepts of the text.
In addition to highlighting, I determine what is important. It is important to continue my thought process. As I read to myself, I think about what is theme about in the reading. I ask myself why I would need to know this concept or big idea. What is the main point in the reading? What examples could I use when teaching? What information do I already know? What information is new? If it is new information, I ask myself in what way would I be able to remember it? I also will read a full page. I ask myself what happened. If I am unable to remember and I notice that I have not understood anything, I will reread the page. The second time I read, I break each paragraph down. This way I am able to zone into the information. I take the sentence, and if it is complicated to understand, I rephrase it in order to remember it. I continue through the process highlighting and rephrasing. When I get to the end of the page and I feel comfortable with the concepts, I will then continue with my reading. If I am still a little uncomfortable I will go back and only read the highlighted sections. This way I have time to develop the important information while making sure I understand the key ideas. These methods summarize how long it takes me to scope out what is important, read, and remember key concepts. Without practicing these strategies I would not comprehend and have difficulties with participating in homework assignments.It is important for me to feel confident in all class discussions.

Important Reading Jen Shearer

As I read I pay attention to the main points in the readings. I focus on the points that are the central part of the readings. The points that everything else is focused around. As I read I focus on the first couple of sentences and the last couple of sentences in a paragraph. I think that will give you the main points and the points that are the most important in the book.
When I am reading I think try to constantly be thinking about how everything is related so I can fully understand the text. I like to think about the topic and I try to focus very intently on that so my mind doesn't start to wonder. Sometimes when I read I read a word and it triggers a memory of a past experience and my mind starts to wander. When that happens I have to go back and read everything I just reread trying to focus on actively trying to relate everything I'm reading.
One thing that helps me to know what is important is by reading what the first sentence of a paragraph is about. I think that will give you a pretty good overview of everything you need to go over. As I read I try to use a highlighter or take notes because it helps me to remember what I have read. It also makes it easy to go back and recall something that I have read. I usually remember where it is better when it is highlighted or in notes.

Reading Importance (Emilea Bade)

When I am reading my interactions with the text depend on what kind it is. For example, if I am reading something for class then I will think about it and interact with it differently than if I were reading a book for fun. One of the things that I always do when I am reading a chapter, book, or article for class, is to highlight the things that I think are important. With as much reading as I do for class it would be unrealistic for me to take written or even typed notes over the main points of a reading. This is why I choose to highlight the important points and go back to them later and review them. I think that I remember information this way just as easily as if I wrote it down because I am still going back and reviewing the highlighted points. When I am reading for class the information that I find to be important usually sticks out to me because it is important terminology or it is examples of important concepts. I know that many argue that this may not be the best way to get meaning from a text for class, but due to time issues it is the best way for me. Something that I could consider doing in the future is to use different color highlighters to highlight my notes. I could have a different color for the different things such as terms or examples, making it easier to go back and find them to reference them.
When I am reading books for fun instead of for class I have a different set of things going through my mind. When I am reading something for fun I obviously don't highlight or take notes. As I am reading, however, I have a mental picture of what is going on in the story. It is almost like the story is a movie that is playing in my mind as I am picturing each event and scene in the book. I also have noticed that sometimes when I finish reading and go to do something else there are things that happen that make me think of events or characters in the book because of how I pictured them while I was reading.
I think that reading for class and reading for fun both require different mindsets because you are reading them for two different purposes. When reading for class the information may not be as exciting and appealing to you as a reader so highlighting, taking notes, and reviewing are necessary in order to retain what was read. When reading for fun it is different though because you are going to be reading something that is of interest to you and that many times follows a story line that you can actually visualize happening.

Reading Importance - Frantzen

What's most interesting when I look back at old text books and reading handouts from junior high is the percentage of the page that I likely had highlighted at the time. In my mind I had highlighted this information thinking it was very important, I highlighted it so I might refer back to it later, unfortunately I had highlighted approximately 80% of the page if not more. By the time high school had come around I had become a habitual "page-painter" which is not a particularly good nickname to have - especially when it came time for tests or papers and I would have to rely on my notes and highlights as a shortcut to helping me remember important points. Then came the dreaded history class freshman year of high school. The teacher had taken an entire period to explain the importance of highlighting just the right information - but to be honest, from there on I was very particular about what it is I highlighted on the page.

From that point on I became much more particular about what it is I highlight on a page - I am sure to highlight important dates, character information, setting and plot information, or if the reading is a research article of some sort I typically highlight ideas that I feel pertain most closely with the title of the article or the particular topic of research. Because I do have reading comprehension difficulties I also make quite a few notes in the margins of my reading, I find it much more easy to relate back to materials I have already read if I leave notes summarizing a particular point in the margin.

Lastly I tend to ask myself questions after I have read, many times these questions relate to the important ideas I feel I meant to take from the reading, when I do this if there is a question I cannot answer I likely look back at the notes and highlights I have already made and find what might be missing. Sometimes this step takes a little extra time but it helps me to ensure that I fully comprehend the reading materials I have been presented with.

Sarah Spitz's Reading Importance

This blog really got me thinking about how I read and what I do when I am reading. I guess it is true that as I read, I determine what is important and what is not in the text. How I do this, I am not sure. I realize that I must filter in and out all the information that is coming from the text. I think that I can determine what is important by the context of what I am reading. I know that whatever the main subject of the reading is, that the lines that relate directly to that are what are the most important.

I do think that I have internal conversations with myself while I am reading. These internal conversations are what help me process all of the information I am getting from the text. The conversations that I have with myself help me to understand and get meaning from what I am reading. It is almost as if I am studying the pages so that I comprehend the messages the text is trying to relay.

I think that having internal conversations with myself and determining what is important in the reading comes naturally from years of practice with reading. I think that the more you read and the better you understand the process of reading, the better you get at determining what is important and what is not when you read.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Determining Importance (Jayne Royal)

This question was an interesting one when I first read it. I do not think I have ever thought about what I considered to be important prior to this. It was something that comes so subconsciously that I never really thought to much about it. There are a few things moments in my life where I really had to revamp my thought process when it came to determining what was important in texts.

When I was in the seventh grade I transferred to a much better school than the one I was attending prior. On one of the first days of schools I remember my History teacher went over ways of underlying and note-taking that would help with comprehending the text. I remember we started out by listening to a book on tape. As we listened we read along in our text and underlined and circled what we thought was important. One thing that I noticed was that at first I was pretty much underlining everything. The teacher then had us talk about what we had underlined and I noticed that I was not the only one with that problem. She gave us tips on how to underline and what was important.

Another memory that I have of revamping the way I read texts was when I was a junior in high school. I somehow was placed in the English class with the hardest teacher. He was so detail oriented and had extremely high expectations. Up until this point when I read books I would always underline, but in this class I realized that I needed to do something more. The class really stressed participation and I was not the best at that. This is when I started to write things in the margins as I would read. Anything that I found either related to another book, or was significant in someway I would star at the top of the page. I did that because it was then easier to find when I got to class. Then I would always write something in the margins to remind me of the point I wanted to make during class discussions.

When I read something, especially when it is for a class, I take a long time. I really think about the text and make notes about what I want to discuss in the next class.

Friday, October 16, 2009

e342wed erin baxter what's important?

How do I go about deciding what is important as I read? It definately depends on what I'm reading. Of course for school readings, words in bold, bullets, or underlined always stand out. If there's a list, it's probably something important. Depending on the boring factor of the text, I may or may not have much of an inner dialogue. For instance, I'm reading a book called Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather. I find it extremely interesting, and many time's before I turn a page I'm compelled to read a passage again. Because it resonated within me, because it made me ask questions and seek the answers in myself, it is important enough to reread. In a book like 1984, basically it's all important to me. The details add to the full effect. My mind creates pictures, and it seems like the words are read to me by the author himself. I ask questions and notice the occasional daydream, but my feelings and thoughts attached with reading the book are important to me as well. So as far as my chosen books go, the important things are what make me think, question, go deeper into the story, and perhaps outside the story, creating my own version of a book's reality.
School books, honestly, are a different ballgame to me. Unless I find it interesting, I will skim a book and seek words I've heard in class, or seen in notes. The bold titles or questions at the end of a chapter are what I focus on if there's little time and interest. The connections I make with a book or chapter to class are what make things stick out as important to me. I'll make a mental note or post-it for passages that seem relevent and necessary for me to remember for a class. Above all, what I find to be important in text tends to be what makes me think and question my take on reality.

Molly Paraschak's Reading Importance

I think it is very important for each student to have a strategy that works for them when they are deciding what is important for them to pay close attention to. One strategy that I use is reading through a paragraph and highlighting the main points that jump out to me, this is helpful because then when I look back at the paragraph instead of reading the whole thing I can look at what I have highlighted and remember what the paragraph was about. Another thing that I highlight in paragraphs is any sentence that has definitions in it or any sentences that have statistics or people's names in them. Those type of sentences are always very important and things that need to be highlighted so that you can remember. When I read I do have a conversation with myself when I read each sentence I ask myself if something in that particular sentence could be made into a test/quiz question; if it can then I highlight it. I also ask myself questions about what I just read and if I cannot answer them then I go back and find the answer and highlight the answer. I know what is important in the text when something is in bold faced print or something is repeated a lot in the paragraph. I also know something is important in the text when as I stated earlier statistics or people's names are brought up and then a description of what the person did is behind their name, that implies that you need to remember the person's name or what he/she did. People interrupt texts differently, so there are many strategies that I did not discuss that you could use; but the one that I discussed is the one that works the best for me.

Trisha Bingham's Reading Importance

Over the years, I have developed my own strategy for reading. It involves several steps that weed out unimportant material and focuses on the important details of a text. My first step is to read titles. If what I am reading is a text book or something scholarly, I look at every heading possible. I take mental notes of these headings as things that I need look for while doing the more in depth reading. If what I am reading is a novel or story, I pay attention to the main title and then read the back cover. My next step is glance at what words may be bolded or italicized. These words are usually important or must-know terms for the text. I usually write these words down so that I can check them off as I read. This helps me make sure that I know all of the vocabulary upon finishing the reading. If this is a novel, then I skim through the dialogue. This helps me see what the important conversations are. Then I actually sit down and read the text. I use my notes from before about headings, titles, and important words to direct my thinking as I read. I usually take additional notes as I come across these ideas.
The main conversation I have while reading actually comes at the end of the reading. After completing the above steps, I always reflect upon what I have read. I usually ask myself, "Have I found everything I needed to find?" or, "Have I covered all the notes I took before actually reading?" From there, I check my knowledge with all of my note to make sure that I have mastered all that I need to. I usually wrap this up with asking myself if I have any questions. If not, then I consider my reading completed. If so, then I go back and reread to answer my questions.
To know what ideas are important from a text, I usually look at the titles and headings first for main ideas. Then I look at different-printed words as important vocabulary. After finishing the reading, I always recheck with end notes or text summary to make sure that I have mastered all that was expected of me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reading Importance- Danielle Rolley

Whenever I am reading text books or articles of importance for learning I tend to decide what is important by first skimming the text for bold or italicized words followed by their definition or their explanation of importance to either the reading or to general knowledge. After skimming the text I then start my reading and pay attention for key parts that seem like they might be important. I usually decide what is important either by noticing that it pertains to something learned in class or if it is something that I thought was interesting or if I learned from it. If I learned something from what I just read then I consider it important and usually mark it by highlighting it or underlining it with pen. Same goes for if I think something is interesting. If I find something interesting or new to me then chances are I might need to know it for later purposes.
When I read I normally have an internal conversation with myself about the text. I can hear my internal voice reading the text along with me whenever I am really paying attention to what I am reading. This is how I know if I am still on task with my reading or paying attention. If i do not hear my internal voice I know that I really was not paying attention let alone comprehending what I just read or presently reading. When I do not hear my internal voice I get myself back on track by rereading what I just did or by taking a short break to think about whatever was distracting me and then start my reading back up again.
I know that something is important in text whenever it is bold or italicized like I mentioned before, but I can also tell something is important in the text if there are reflection questions in the back on certain parts of the reading. Usually textbooks or articles are organized by major subjects that it is addressing and then under each major subject are little subtopics. I can usually count on those little subtopics having meaningful information in them. The subtopics are the one that are getting down to the point usually and all the other stuff is just recapping on those subtopics are building up them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lauren Schraut- Reading Importance

When I read there are two different “sides” of me that can be present. This “side” of me relates to if I am reading for pleasure or for an assignment. Reading for an assignment is usually quite tricky for me. I usually end up highlighting the wrong things and I most likely will realize I have been reading without comprehending any of it; in that case, I will have to go back and reread what I have already read. At this point I will think to myself if I am really fully engaged in the reading, if not (which is usually the case) I will set the book down and come back to it at a later time.
A lot of the previous paragraph has to do with interest. To be honest, if I was reading something I was not too passionate about I would simply skim through the pages and just go straight to the bolded words. But, if I find the writing techniques to be “catching” and the topics to be interesting, I will most likely stay engaged in my reading throughout the chapter.
When reading I tend to focus on the bolded, italicized words because they must be important, right? I will usually read over sentences containing these “important” words or phrases a few times and most likely highlight them. Freshman year I wrote a lot of notes in margins of papers and since I do not like clutter, I quickly realized that was a bad idea. I also try to relate what I am reading from past experiences in the classroom either as the teacher or as the student: when I do this, it allows me to easily comprehend what I am reading.
I usually skim a lot when I first look at a chapter of a textbook for instance. I will flip through the pages to see what the topics are and important words that are going to be presented. After this, I will then go through and read the chapter or section needed.
As I read through a text book I have this internal thought process as mentioned earlier. I try to figure out how I could implement or use a certain piece of information in my classroom and I try to relate to the topic at hand. I also realize if terms or topics are repeatedly brought up that they are important to understand.

Kaelyn Riley's Importance in texts

When I think about my own reading, I realize that I am a sucker for bold print, headers, and attention grabbers, such as different fonts from the rest of the text. In school, I have always had to memorize definitions so the words that are bolded are usually important to know. As I am reading, I am usually thinking about three things. First, ‘how does this relate to something I already know about?’, next, ‘does this topic interest me and why?’, and finally, ‘how does this relate to me, or my life?’.

If something I am reading applies to something I already know about, it helps me to think about what I already know about the topic, what I want to know, and where I think the new passage will take me in the reading. I also think about if the topic is interesting to me, probably less consciously than I realize, but if I do think it’s interesting, I am more willing and likely to pay close attention. If I do not feel interested in the topic, I am more likely to skim for the bolded words and get a brief understanding, but maybe not to the fullest extent. When I am interested in a passage, I try to pick up on the small details and sometimes will re-read a paragraph to understand the full context.

Now that I am reading a lot of text for my classes that have to do with my future employment, I am paying a lot more attention to what I am reading than I was, for say, my history class freshman year. These texts relate to me, and will directly affect me, so I know how important to not only be reading it, but also comprehending what it is I read.

I know my reading sounds selective, but I guess I have this disposition after having to read so many different texts for college that I have had to become more careful in how I use my time reading.

I think it’s hard to say you know exactly what is important in a text, especially if the author or publisher does not use any specialty writing techniques, such as bolding, underlining, quotes, or anecdotes. If a text is written in one long paragraph, it can be hard to pick out the author’s emphasis or meaning. So my best suggestion would be to keep an eye out for those writing techniques I mentioned previously.

Jamie Oberg Reading Importance

When reading text I always focus on random things. I am not a big reader so when I do read things for a school I always automatically focus on bold faced vocab words and definitions. This gives me a general idea of what the section is talking about and helps me make sure to understand terms that I may or may not previously understand. I also focus on the first couple sentences of each paragraph. This way, if I see the text again I generally remember the gist of the material. If I am reading for pleasure I make sure to focus on the main idea of each chapter. After taking a break from reading and picking up the book again, I always do a mental recap of what previously occurred. I definitely have an internal conversation with myself while reading about what the characters are doing, their names, what I think they might look like, and an imagination of the setting. I choose to think that the beginning, middle, and end of a book are the most important areas because focusing on these areas will lead to a complete understanding of the reading. I also think being very aware of different characteristics and patterns of the characters is very important to follow along with everyone in the story. Losing track of a character's actions may cause confusion if they disappear for a time in the story and reappear at a later time.

Hannah Troxal Literacy Centers

The site I found was really interesting. It has 22 literacy centers or stations. Each one includes about five or six activities that relate to spelling, reading, writing words and sentences, and then also a few activities that relate to art, math and other subjects. Examples that were included in the stations were listening to books on tape, writing a sentence about a classmate, using sing-language letters or magnets to spell someone’s name. The site also includes strategies that help students read and write more proficiently. I liked this website because the literacy strategies seemed very useful, however, I did think the author could go more in depth about each one and how it would be useful for students in which grade level.
Another site I found had many resources to use for centers. The author of the site said she taught them in 2nd grade but may also be useful for 1st or 3rd grades. One particular idea I found rather interesting was for changing the onset or rime of the word. The teacher had the rime on a big picture of a pencil and then the first letter (or first few letters) on a picture of an eraser. The students would rearrange the erasers with different pencils to show that when they change or erase the first letter(s) they are still able to make new words. This activity was called CVC Eraser Words.
Another activity I liked on the site was called Glue Words. Glue words are compound words that “glue” the sentences together. The students should make sentences and use their glue words to combine them. I thought this was a creative way to help students understand what the word compound actually means by using a picture and a word (glue) they are already familiar with. I also really liked this website because it enables you to download the actual pictures or copies the teacher used to teach her class and shows pictures of how the students were working with them. This site had many more ideas that used pictures to help the students understand what they were actually doing! I thought it was very resourceful for future teaching.

Kristen W's resources on Literacy Centers

The first resource I found that includes helpful ideas for Literacy Centers referred to them as “ABC Centers” instead. This website makes explicit that all of these activities are looked forward to by the students because they view them as games rather than school work. These centers provide opportunities to strengthen the students’ skills such as their phonemic awareness, listening skills, oral language expression, rhyming, and reading skills. This website lists various types of centers that can be included like Fun Fonts which gives various fonts and letters to sort through similar characteristics, Letter Search which involves activities within it such as finding the letters for their name, Book Baskets which are baskets containing various types of books for various levels of readers, and Stamp a Story which includes alphabet stamps and making words that match pictures or more advanced and stamping a sentence or story. For each of these activities the website provides steps on how to organize these various centers into your classroom, pictures of each activity’s materials, and exact directions to help utilize them. Many of these activities seem to be for young grades, but could provide an outline of an activity that could be enhanced to a higher level. This resource suggests a group of students visiting a different center each day of the week and has a board that they check at the beginning of the day to see which center they will be at that day. This site is also great because it gives book resources for helpful center ideas and provides you with additional websites for Literacy Center ideas which led me to my next resource! :)
The next great resource for ideas on Literacy Centers was My previous resource led me to this website on the page specifically for literacy centers for Kindergarten. This page had great activity ideas and directions on how to implement them into your classroom. A few activities given are Letter Sort using alphabet tiles, Name Game which involves the class’ own names and sorting them into different groups, and Felt Board which uses words and pictures for the students to explore and form a story or sentences. This website is also great, however, because it not only helps with Kindergarten, but all grade levels with great reading and writing ideas other than literacy centers. This website is a great source for teachers for forming any lesson plan or activity.
These websites really helped me to understand Literacy Centers and exciting activities that I can use myself. It was amazing to see how much information and help that I received from two websites. I realize the importance of search engines as well as fellow experienced teachers willing to help around the world.

Jamie Oberg Literacy Centers

The first website I went to had many different literature games. This website could be geared appropriately depending on the age but because it does use technically, it may be best to use this for the upper elementary grades. It seems to think that children learn best through interactive activities and also while having fun playing a game. There are games for adverbs, adjectives, sentence making, proof reading, and different types of grammar along with punctuation. It would be beneficial teaching a whole class to have the students work individually on their own computers or if this is not available, to take turns playing the game with is displayed onto a projection screen. It could also help engage the students if they worked on teams or pairs.
The second website I went to would be helpful for younger students because it includes many different coloring pages. They require cutting different sentences up and rearranging, completing sentences that coordinate with the picture, creating an alphabet book, or point to each word in the sentence on the coloring picture. Every activity on the website is based around hands-on learning activities to keep the students focused.

Alyson Cotter Literacy Centers

The website Literacy Centers: Literacy Center Ideas and Management Tips from had many useful tools. It has numerous beneficial resources and links. It had pictures of charts that give teachers a wealth of information. Also next to these pictures was an example of how one teacher used a chart in the classroom setting, and how this teacher organized and managed certain centers. It also has links that focus on mini-lessons, activities, signs, and rubrics. The site has a variety of ideas for particular subject areas. Examples of these centers include: Independent Reading Center, Language Arts Center, Vocabulary Center, Word Work Center, Computer Center, Writing Center, Poetry Center, Listening Center, and Literature Circles. Each link has a list of activities, ideas for bulletin boards, charts, and ways to organize the center.
Another site that that seems to be an excellent resource was Teaching Hearts Learning Center Page from This page was a lot different than the one described above. A teacher explains how she has the centers set up in her classroom and the procedures that she follows. She then has different centers that she uses in her classrooms with links to print worksheets, signs and schedules. The teacher took pictures so that we can see students working at the centers and how they are set up. This is great because sometimes it is hard to envision what a teacher is describing without actually seeing students at work. Also helpful was the listing of books that can contribute to the success of the various centers. There were teacher-suggested activities on how to increase learning in the centers. After studying these sites, I have concluded that literacy centers promote student learning, and that these websites will be excellent resources to use in my future classroom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reading Center

The website I went to discussed how important learning centers were in developing different kinds of skills in the kindergarten setting. The reading center mentioned on the website involved shelves of books and comfy places to sit and read. One unique way the teacher set up seating arrangements was to have the children sit in laundry baskets. The teacher placed blankets and pillows in the basket to make it warm and an inviting place to sit. She placed the baskets near the window so the children would have natural light and be able to look out the window and see everything and think about books. The teacher also mentioned how she incorporated reading into every center. One center she had was a "cut and glue" center that one would most likely assume was used to develop fine motor skills. What the teacher did though, was use worksheets that the students would have to read and cut out. Children would have to cut out words and/or numbers and glue them to other pieces of paper in order to match up certain things. I feel this teacher was very creative in finding ways to incorporate literacy in everyday situations and other types of topics.

Literacy Center Ideas

Free Book for New Teachers
At the bottom of this page, the teacher has a link that says free eBook. It is to help out new teachers that need ideas to help setup the classroom. You type in your email and name and she will send you something to download. She sends out free newsletters for teachers as well. She also has a place where you can type in your own ideas for literacy centers. This is a good website because teachers can work off of each others ideas and make them better. She also has some good guidelines to follow when thinking about literacy centers. First she says to make them so the children do not have to have constant supervision. Second, make sure it does not require maintenance, like revamping every week or month. Third, make sure it meets the needs of many students. It has many other guidelines you can check out on this website. She has lots of centers on her website, not just ones about literacy but all kinds. All the centers have some kind of literacy in them though. She has lots of good tips on how to set the centers up and how to keep the children’s behavior under control while they are in centers.

Other Good Resource for New Teachers
The other website that I looked at was a good one too. She showed how she set up her classroom for literacy centers and gives you resources you can print off or website links that have good information as well. She shows picture of the children working in their centers. She has a lot of really good ideas for literacy centers and I love that she shows everything she uses in the classroom. This way I know that what she uses works for her class and most likely will work in my future classroom. This website also has feedback from other teachers about what did work or what they changed to make it better in their classroom. The teachers work together to build a stronger classroom. This teacher has direct links to websites that tell you what materials you need for the centers and the directions for the centers. She has many kinds of centers as well. Not all of them are literacy but everything has literacy incorporated into it. I love this website because it has so many good resources and she is very organized with her information. I added both of these websites to my favorites.

Stacy's Literacy Center Ideas

This website had a bunch of ideas for literacy centers. It gave the title, or what you would call the center and then below it would be a description of what the students would be doing in that specific center. It even had rainbow spelling which we did in class on Monday. It has the name of the literacy center in red, the primary skill being performed in bold black, and the description below in black so its easy to follow when browsing through the website. The next website I looked at gave more visuals of how you can set up your literacy centers. There was a picture of what the literacy board looked like which was kind of like the red, blue, green and yellow pocket thing that you brought into class. I really liked this website because each idea for a literacy center that they gave, they had a picture of what it looked like as well as one with the students interacting with it. It also had the title and an explanation of what should be done during the center. When comparing the two websites, I liked the second one better because it gave me more visuals of what the literacy center should look like. Although the first one gave a lot of ideas, it was less detailed and just boring.  I would reccomend the second website. There are a lot of resources that are given to you on the website so you don't have to go to other places to search for something to use. What you need to produce the literacy center is all given. 
First Website:
Second website :

Jennifer Wolff Literacy Center Ideas

This website I found was very helpful. It is basically a very long list of different activities teachers can use to as centers in the classroom. The website has the activity in red, then below it has the primary skill the students will be using throughout the activity.

For instance: "Fill in the missing letters/words" Then below it, it says the primary skill the student will be using is writing. The website then furthers its description by stating "write out a poem or a message on the board or on photocopied paper, leave out some parts, and allow the students to fill in the missing sections"

With each activity given, there is a short description underneath the title activity. The interesting part of this website is that it reflects mainly on reading, writing, and typing skills. Therefore, this website would be best for Language Arts Centers. It is very beneficial for a teacher looking for ideas for reading/writing; however, it will not benefit teachers looking for centers for any other activities. I found a lot of these activities given very engaging and fun for the students as well as teacher. They are not the same activity each student is used to for class. Some are unique games that some students may have never heard of. For instance, one unique activity is called the "tongue twister". In this activity the students will "have photocopies of a variety of tongue twisters and have students practice reading them. Share the twister with other students or the teacher." This can be viewed as a game to the students where they can have a lot of fun with the twisters. I believe a very important trait to have in the classroom is knowing how to engage the classroom and create a fun environment. I think this website does a great job with this.

Courtney Dressler's Literacy Center Ideas

This teacher's website introduces teachers to a variety of literacy centers that she implements into her classroom on a daily basis.

Literacy Circles: Small groups both read and work together while studying a piece of literature from the series the class is focusing on
Browsing Box: Acting as a connection to reader's workshop, guided reading groups chose familiar texts read during group reading time and share them with the class.
Independent Reading Centers: Student choses a book from class library and completes a book review that is kept in a binder near the library for other students to look at in order to help them determine what they would like to read
Buddy Reading: Two copies of each book, from all level, are organized so that two students can read the book together and then either work as a pair or separately to draw or write about their favorite parts
Writing Folder: Students make their own books and write stories that they want to share with the class. It is encouraged that children be given a "book-like" format so that they feel more like an author. Books may also be "published" using word processor.
Journal Writing: Teacher uses prompt in order to engage teacher in writing activities.
Pocket Chart: Usually done using a pre-planned activity, the class can use sentence strips in order to show their comprehension of a previously read book.
Phonics Center: Phonics techniques are reinforced using literature, games, index cards, etc.
Handwriting Center: Using various materials, students are encouraged to practice making letters
Overhead: Using graphic organizers, graphs, venn diagrams, etc. students are encouraged to present their work and thought processes to their peers.
Sight Word Center: Using rubber stamps, magnetic letters, etc. word manipulation is reinforced in order to help students learn their sight words
Poetry Box: Using individual poetry binders as organizers, both professional and authentic poems are created, edited, illustrated in order to emphasize the importance of poetry.
Listening: Students may either listen to the teacher or a pre-recorded book, followed by some sort of activity to prove comprehension and understanding.
Big Books: Using pointers or other visual aides, kids read the groups either as a whole class or in small groups. Other manipulative can also be used in order to practice certain skills, e.g. pipe cleaners circling sight words.
Computers: "living books" or CD roms can reinforce certain phonics or literacy skills. Students can reflect their new knowledge or feelings of activities in their individual logs.
Stamp a Story: Students use large rubber stamps to create an illustration and provide a logical story to explain their thoughts.
Build a Sentence: After choosing sentence parts out of a bag, students create silly and humorous sentences that are recorded on sentence strips and shared with the class.
Deal a Story: Using many different colored cards, students chose a card that has a subject which to write about.

This website had many different ideas, a lot of which I would have never thought of on my own! Although I have summarized all of the teacher's activities in this blog, I highly encourage you to visit her website and read further about ideas and suggestions that she has for each activity!

Literacy Centers

The site I found I really liked. It had ten different links in it and each link was a different part of literacy centers. Each link has some very good information. The first link had different was to organize the different groups and in what order each group did the different centers. It gave several different ideas on how you could organize this. In all the other link it was what each center was and different things you could have the students do at that center. There were links in each of these tabs to other websites with good information pertaining to that center and also examples of the different activities that could be done at that center. Each tab had more resources for that particular center at the bottom of the page that where very helpful. I really liked this site it had some very good information and was simple and to the point. I also liked that along with the ideas they posted different handouts you could use.