Yesterday while perusing the selection of books that the International Reading Association offers, I came across a book that I just had to have.
(Hence the post title...bought yet another teaching book? who me?)
The Essential Guide to Selecting and Using Core Reading Programs
Peter Dewitz, Susan B. Leahy, Jennifer Jones, and Pamela Maslin Sullivan
I have been narrowing down my ideas for what I might like to do for my doctoral research because over the course of this year and next year I have to write a lot of papers for a lot of different classes and it behooves me to have an idea of what question my dissertation will be investigating because all of the work that I put into all the "small" papers ( and that is relative because the small papers are about 30 pages) can lead to the final ginormous dissertation if I play my cards right (meaning I need to have my act together and choose a topic now so I don't end up having to do a ton more work down the road!).
I decided that I am really interested in investigating scripted reading programs with a multicultural lens to see if these programs hold up to the principles/values of multicultural education that speak to the importance of connecting to students' background knowledge and engaging students in learning through instruction that is meaningful and pertinent to their lives.
Tangent ===> I have some opinions about scripted programs that are percolating and I am still processing how I feel about them. I welcome the idea that the lessons are research based and incorporate the big five components of reading instruction, yet I feel as though when it comes to great literature, providing students with enough time to actually engage in reading and writing, and addressing the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds, perhaps these programs do not make the grade. Not to mention, they can be quite mind-numbing for teachers because they include a "teacher script" as if we would not know intuitively what to say without the special blue font that dictates word for word what we should say, "think aloud," and ask the students. Like many other things in life, I feel like scripted programs have their place, yet good instruction requires a balance of the research based, sequential, skill-focused lessons and the natural teaching that comes naturally to great teachers.
What's your opinion on scripted programs? Necessary or nuisance?
(what a cute little reading components umbrella!)
Anyway, I was excited to come across this book because upon glancing at the table of contents, it appears as though it will be very informative with regards to the idea I am toying with using. There are chapters on the history of core reading programs and how they are created in addition to chapters that talk about how each type of reading skill is taught in this type of program. It sounds pretty interesting and I think that reading this book will give me a better idea of whether or not my research idea is feasible.
When I went to purchase the book, I saw that the IRA is offering a free webinar presented by one of the book's authors. I have never participated in a "webinar" before and I honestly don't quite know what it is, but it sounds pretty cool and I think that it allows me watch a presenter from the comfort and privacy of my own home. (These days I am all about professional development in my pajamas.) And similar to my routine wee-hours-of-the-morning class, this webinar begins at 2:00 am in Germany because it is being presented from the US at 8:00 EST. I have always considered myself a morning person but this is getting crazy! The webinar is on Friday morning, so the good news is that I won't have to go to work afterward. I figure I will get up, enjoy some learnin', then go back to bed. No biggie. I still have to wait and make sure my registration was confirmed because there are only 100 spots and I don't know if it has already been filled. Here is the link in case anyone else is interested. If you're on the west coast it's still pretty late but 11:00 is better than 2:00!
Have you ever attended a webinar?
If so, do share!