Yesterday I was reminded of the power of collaborative conversation to scaffold participants’ deep understanding of a particular topic. In other words, I got to talk literacy with facilitators in our network.
And they reminded me of the importance of modeling. A science teacher from Tech Valley High School asked if she should model for students how she reads a difficult text in a scientific journal, highlighting her struggles to comprehend and the way she ‘gets the gist’ without understanding everything. The resounding answer from the group was, “Yes.”
If we see students as our apprentices, working to master many skills, including the ability to access content area texts, we must let them in on the “secrets of our trade” (see an excellent article on reading apprenticeship and content areas recommended by the media specialist at Lakeland Leading EDGE High School).
Most importantly, we need to show students that good readers struggle. And we need to emphasize that it’s ok to struggle. It’s ‘making meaning’ that is the essence of literacy, as another teacher from Tech Valley High School said. And ‘making meaning’ can be hard work.
I love being reminded of what matters by my colleagues.