This article is from an independent school district in Texas, and I agree with their best practices for their English/Language Arts department. They have best practices for reading as well as writing. A few of the practices they mention increasing are:
- teacher reading aloud
- students selecting their own reading materials
- silent reading followed by discussion instead of “round robin” reading
- social, collaborative activities with much discussion and interaction instead of solitary seat work
There has been several articles written on the benefits of students being read to, despite their age. By allowing students to pick their own material to read, there is a higher chance of students becoming engaged and interested in the material instead of being “forced” to read something. “Round robin” reading or calling on students to read aloud may cause anxiety in some students because of embarrassment or it would call attention to a lower reading level, and providing a safe and comfortable environment is essential for learning.
A few of the writing strategies they have selected are
- helping students choose their own topics and goals for improvement instead of only teacher assigned topics
- using brief teacher-student conferences
- teaching students to review their own progress
I love the idea of having conferences to explain corrections and assist with revisions. Not only does it allow the student to clearly understand their errors, it builds a relationship with verbal assistance instead of ominous red corrections on their paper. These best practices are only a few of the list that this school has provided, but so many of them are useful and should be implemented in more classrooms.