Having a Voice

I recently had the great misfortune to contract tonsillitis. Out of the myriad of unpleasant symptoms, the one that was the most difficult was loosing my voice. It was frustrating not to be heard. There were a few situations, especially with larger groups of people, when I started to withdraw from the conversation. It was just too much effort.

student unengagement
This experience made me appreciate the value of Reading Apprenticeship, an approach to secondary literacy through the Strategic Literacy Initiative at WestEd. The Reading Apprenticeship framework focuses on students developing, expanding and building the confidence in their voice in discipline specific ways.

In a traditional secondary classroom, it is not unusual for the main modality of learning to be lecture. Students sit, listen and regurgitate on demand. The teachers do most of the work and students are peripheral to the learning process.

In converse, Reading Apprenticeship classrooms have students at their center. Students are viewed as competent learners. Strategies and scaffolds are provided to enhance and expand independent learning. Interaction and supports from peers is critical. Students are held accountable for their learning as teachers become facilitators of learning.

In the Reading Apprenticeship framework, students have a voice and with that voice comes engagement, reflection, ownership, accountability and much more. I am left with the conclusion that having a voice is essential for increases in student achievement, especially for our most at-risk learners. What do you think?

Check out the new Reading Apprenticeship blog – filled with fascinating information on the latest research, resources, and ideas to assist all students with reaching high expectations.
Photo courtesy  of http://www.flickr.com/photos/sergei24/2493843892/sizes/o/


John Branson said…
Kelly, your post made me think of an article I recently read in Educational Leadership. It was called "Reading Through a Disciplinary Lens." It described how teaching students to read as "Scientists," "Writers" or "Historians" can increase comprehension and critical reading skills.

This approach obviously establishes a purpose for reading, which is very important. More significantly, however, I believe that this "empowers" the student and, as with Reader Apprenticeship, instills within the student a sense of competence as readers. I believe that this is very important. One of the greatest barriers to reading that I have encountered in both students and adults is a sense of insecurity; of "not being good readers."

I bookmarked the article in Keystone Commons.
Kelly Pauling said…
The approach establishes a purpose for reading but also emphasizes that reading is contextual. The genre absolutely changes the way we read... what strategies we use and what questions we ask ourselves as we read.

I will have to get a hold of the article you mentioned. It sounds like it will complement our work in Reading Apprenticeship.
Gina Hale said…
Thanks for linking to us, Kelly. You can find a link to the Ed Leadership volume on Reading that John referenced in his comment on our blog too! I did a review of the whole volume. You will like the social dimension things included there.

Gina Hale,
Reading Apprenticeship
Kelly Pauling said…
Thanks Gina. I will definitely check it out.

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