More on reading development…

More reading notes on reading!

John (2009), in her research into teacher-pupil interaction in shared reading sessions, has some very useful findings to share. In past research pupil interaction has been minimal, with the majority of ‘talk’ coming from the teacher. Whilst it is believed that learning is socially constructed (Vygotsky) and that teacher scaffolding and modeling is crucial, it is clear that children need to interact and respond to texts in order to develop as enthusiastic readers.

The classroom atmosphere and learning environment can affect social interaction and put emphasis on the different values of certain texts.

The demonstration of good reading behaviour by the teacher and able pupils is beneficial to EAL children. This, alongside ‘reciprocal interaction between adults and children’ (John, 2009, p.124) assists EAL children in starting to understand the structures and meanings within a text.

In her research she looked at how the IRF (initiation, response, follow-up) sequence developed as part of the Literacy hour was used in 3 different classrooms. She discusses her findings in 3 categories – ‘teacher-framed discourse’, ‘pupil-framed discourse’, and ‘collaborative discourse’.

Teacher-framed discourse was generally found to be the least influential in terms of developing children’s learning. There was evidence of very little pupil interaction outside of the IRF discourse and value was placed highly on decoding rather than meaning making. Whilst this was discussed as negative if used as a main approach, it was detailed that this system has benefits for EAL children in terms of maintaining the flow of a lesson with structured responses.

Pupil-framed discourse was held as a positive mode of textual interaction as it allowed pupils to share their thoughts and ideas surrounding a text and genuinely interesting questions could be posed by the teacher following pupil interactions. It was discussed that EAL children may not cope well with this whole class discourse as the meandering of ideas may cause a loss in focus.

Collaborative discourse, I believe, showed the most positive findings in many ways. The pupils were found to be actively engaged in the sharing of the text and meaning was co-constructed. The teacher’s ‘low-control’ (John, 2009, p.130) facilitated ways for children to bring their own experiences to the text and collaboratively make meaning with their peers and the teacher. Children were confident to share their ideas and the teacher took them on board, moulding the lesson appropriately.

Overall, dynamic, collaborative discourse allowed for an atmosphere where ideas were shared and valued and encouraged positive attitudes to reading, a major part of developing secure skills in reading, especially as she cites the PIRLS report which detailed a significant decline in attitudes to reading. A positive attitude to reading generally related to positive attainment.

This is a very ‘notey’ post but the gym has just ruined me – can’t…move…arms.

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