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Teaching English 3 English Curriculum 3 Adolescent Reading and Teaching Literature

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Title: Teaching English 3 English Curriculum 3 Adolescent Reading and Teaching Literature


1
Teaching English 3 English Curriculum
3 Adolescent Reading and Teaching Literature
2
KEY QUESTIONS
  • Why read literature and other kinds of texts?
  • What are the contexts we are working in and from
    as English teachers?
  • What do we know about adolescents and reading?
  • How do we come to be good readers?
  • What kinds of pedagogy offer the most effective
    and productive ways of engaging teenagers in
    reading?

3
Some Key Research Findings Relevant to Teaching
English
  • Many studies reporting on factors associated with
    success at school
  • Power of socio-economic factors well documented,
    including the complimentary role of home and
    school.
  • Many of the factors connected with success at
    school are linked to home background
  • parental interest
  • access to books
  • regular routines
  • TV watching limitations
  • homework supervision.

4
  • Research emphasises the power of parental
    interest, the important role of extra-curricula
    activities such as sport, music and clubs
  • ACER, 2003. SES and success at school. Correlates
  • success with literacy and numeracy.

5
  • Success in careers after school
  • Stay on to the final year of secondary school
  • Enter higher education
  • Obtain tertiary education entrance scores
  • Make more successful transitions to full-time
    education, higher level occupations and higher
    levels of earnings
  • Higher levels of health
  • Communicate better and have better participation
    in adult life

6
Positive factors in school success which are from
outside school
  • Hours per week spent in preparing for class
  • Hours per week spent in co-curricular activities
  • Time spent discussing ideas from reading
  • Out of school participation in sport, music
  • Use of time at home reading, regular meal times
    etc.

7
  • Social capital, the level of social trust,
    personal connectedness, is the single most
    powerful predictor of educational performance
    race, poverty, parental education are only
    indirect. (Putnam, 2000)

8
Research on Teenagers and Reading
  • UP TO 25 OF ADOLESCENTS EXPERIENCE DIFFICULTIES
    WITH THE LITERACY DEMANDS OF THE FORMAL SCHOOL
    CURRICULUM
  • UNDERPERFORMING AND/OR INEXPERIENCED READERS
  • SCHOOLS AND THEIR PRACTICES VIS-À-VIS READING CAN
    POSITION SOME STUDENTS AS FAILURES AND THEREBY
    INSTITUTIONALISE DEFICIT MODELS OF ADOLESCENT
    LITERACY ACHIEVEMENT

9
  • Disproportionately high numbers from
    disadvantaged socio-economic and NESB
    backgrounds.
  • No simple causal relationship between contextual
    factors and underachievement in reading.
  • Contextual factors can be surmounted with skilled
    intervention.

10
  • Adolescents experiencing difficulties with
    reading are not beginning readers in need of
    remedial instruction they are often
    inexperienced, disaffected, resistant,
    underperforming or disengaged readers.

11
  • Privileging of certain kinds of literacies over
    others.
  • Are we creating struggling readers by the
    structures and processes of schooling?
  • Do certain practices and hidden curricula
    position some students as failures?

12
  • Compulsory school reading is perceived as
    boring despite an overwhelming majority of
    adolescents who rate their reading ability as
    average or better.
  • Reading becomes closely associated with
    school-based learning which is often seen as
    low-level retrieval of information, dry-writing
    or comprehension exercises, fill-in-the-blanks
    busywork, or a means to an end of completing
    unimaginative and uninspiring written exercises
    (Thomson, 1987).

13
  • I pick the one I hate the least.
  • Significant link between reading difficulties and
    falling motivation and inappropriate and
    ineffectively managed assigned reading. (Cope,
    1997 Bushman, 1997 Ivey, 1999 Williams, 2001)

14
  • Decline in reading a direct consequence of the
    KINDS of reading required of adolescents and the
    WAYS such reading is managed.
  • Critical need for balance between
    teacher-selected and student-selected materials.
  • Value what students bring to school learning
    contexts.
  • Variety and diversity of accessible material.

15
Connecting School and Life
  • All readers are good readers when they have the
    right book. (Henry, 2002)
  • Readers use reading for their own purposes
    (Rosenblatt).
  • PURPOSE and its impact on motivation and
    achievement in reading is fundamental.
  • Tap into and build upon each students cultural
    and literacy capital to avoid incrementally
    disempowering them.

16
  • Reading excellence is not secret knowledge or a
    mysterious prize for an elected, privileged few.
  • Most adolescents experience difficulties because
    of factors other than their own inherent
    inability to learn.
  • Get to know the students background and
    experience of reading and literacy.

17
What we know about teenagers and reading
  • http//www.booktopia.com.au/InstockBooks.asp?CatMa
    inJUV
  • http//www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/subst/lists/be
    st/childrens.html/202-1682116-6375032
  • http//www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/stores/book
    lists/hot-25/-/52//202-1682116-6375032

18
Research with Australian Teens
  • 94 at least one hour/day spent reading
  • 43 reading for pleasure
  • 60 watch up to 3 hours of television
  • Of these 30 watch no more than 1 hr
  • No television 7.2
  • No reading 5.7

19
  • No significant change in TV viewing habits since
    1970s surveys
  • Computer usage is now overtaking TV viewing as
    the most popular leisure activity

20
Reading Preferences
  • Fiction 43
  • Magazines 36
  • Non-fiction 4
  • Poetry 4
  • Internet/Multi-media 4
  • Newspapers 2.9
  • Implications for English teachers?

21
Types of Books
  • Preference shaped by gender,ethnicity,
    socio-economic status, geographic location
  • Diversity
  • Benton (1995)
  • 1/3 of books read by adolescents had a horror
    element
  • Comic science fiction and books adapted to films
    also popular

22
Favourite Books
  • 55 boys had read favourite book more than once
  • 32 boys read favourite more than 4 times
  • 60 girls had read favourite only once
  • 40 had read favourite 2 or more times
  • 26 read favourite more than 4 times

23
  • 73.5 boys had favourite book recommended by
    family, friend, movie
  • 31 girls had found favourite through teacher or
    compulsory school reading
  • Ways to read this data?

24
Worst Reading Experiences
  • 24.6 of sample the worst book was compulsory
    reading
  • Compulsory reading in English
  • Boys- 32
  • Girls 17
  • Implications for choices?
  • What do the syllabuses stress in relation to
    reading?

25
Most Preferred Reading in English
  • Self selected and read 34
  • Silent Reading 24
  • Reading Magazines 24
  • Plays acted 18

26
Least Preferred reading in English
  • Reading out aloud
  • Newspapers
  • Poetry read by the teacher
  • Stories chosen by the teacher

27
Conclusions
  • Reading holding its own in lives of adolescents
    despite pervasiveness of media and technology
  • Need to consider how choice can operate as a
    motivator
  • Teachers have a powerful effect on students
    reading experiences

28
Your thoughts
  • To choose or not to choose.?
  • When to choose literature for your students?
  • Support team or fitness trainer?
  • What do we want our student to read? What types
    of reading to we value?

29
To consider
  • Allow for range diversity of literature
  • Recognise students capacity to make informed
    choices about what to read and how to read it
  • Good text- meets student needs, engages their
    interests, challenges their capacities
  • Remember boys when selecting texts
  • Practice what you preach - powerful model

30
To reflect on Why read literature in English?
  • Reading practice?
  • Platform for lit crit discussion?
  • Treasure hunt for techniques?
  • Tool for moral development?
  • Means to aesthetic appreciation/experience?
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