- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (May 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596670495
- ISBN-13: 978-1596670495
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #961,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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But I'm Not a Reading Teacher: Strategies for Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas 1st Edition
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"If you are a content area teacher who has been known to think – or even say out loud – “I’m a _____ teacher, not a reading teacher,” then Amy Benjamin’s But I’m Not a Reading Teacher: Strategies for Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas is a must read. The book’s four parts provide examples, strategies, and practical applications for all teachers. Additionally, at www.amybenjamin.com, teachers will find more activities and classroom ready ideas for literacy instruction. Dr. Benjamin’s suggested strategies are sensible and easy for a busy teacher to implement."
―Anne Anderson for MiddleWeb
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First of all, she starts with some basic material about reading in general. She establishes the importance of patterns when it comes to reading. Since the brain has a tendency to throw out useless information, then language has to be learned in context. Teachers know that students have to connect with prior knowledge. This is no different when teaching language. Teaching vocabulary in isolation from other words that relate to it does little to build student understanding. She suggests a couple of key items I thought was important. First, when we are teaching words in clusters we are categorizing and grouping them together which makes it easy for students to assimilate. It helps because our students do not have to necessarily know the precise meaning of a word to come to a decision about what the word means. If one word is defined well and other words with the same definition are clustered with it then it will teach vocabulary more efficiently. Secondly, she suggests that roots should be taught and that our students should have a solid grasp of prefixes and suffixes in order to decipher a word.
One issue that she mentioned was that reading a literary piece or a historical piece reads different from that of a science or math piece. The reason of course is that the position and function of the verb is different. In math and science the verb is passive while it is more active in language and history classes. I was surprised to see how different it was when the math questions were worded with the verb in an active form. I believe that a lot of problems that I had in school with math would have been greatly helped if the questions would have been worded in this way. The problem looked much clearer and I could tell exactly what was being asked. I imagine that it works the same way for math and science people who struggle the other way. This a great tool for teachers and this will help with differentiated instruction. For example: if you have a child in your class who does well at Math but poorly at History you may think about restructuring the question to resemble a math question and see if that improves his or her grades.
The book was short and to the point which was a plus side. The book had a few dead spots in it. She is an interesting and engaging writer for the most part. I think one thing that made it difficult is that I am a history teacher and did not benefit as much from all the science and math sections. That is of course not her fault and is not a reflection on her writing. I felt the suggestions and models she demonstrated were great. I actually wish there had more of them. I would love if she would come out with some individual books just geared towards a single discipline. Since I am a relatively new teacher I would enjoy seeing more demonstrations of the material. However, there is really not much that I can complain about with this book. 1. Because it is the first of its kind I have read and, 2. It was very useful.
All in all, I would certainly recommend this book. It does not take long to read. There are sections for every subject matter even if you are not a reading teacher. I enjoyed reading the language arts section as well because there were a lot of things that bled over into the social studies section. I think even if you are homeschooling your kids or helping your own children develop good reading skills this book will be beneficial. I love the examples she gives and I only wish there were more to look at. Teachers are facing tougher rules and higher expectations. With the introduction of the TPA and other systems being introduced teachers are going to have to shoulder a great responsibility for reading levels. It is advisable that you begin now educating and preparing yourself to meet that challenge. There are a lot of good things to think about as we try to tackle the literacy issues that face the school system. This book is a good place to start.