Revised Personal Literacy Philosophy

Samantha Burritt
December 4, 2013
EDUC 440/441 – Maynard
Personal Literacy Philosophy (REVISED)
When I wrote my literacy philosophy a couple months ago, I didn’t realize how much it
would change in just a few months. There are still some aspects of my original philosophy that I
still believe in, but now there are others as well. I have thought of the Top 5 things I believe
every students needs in order to become literacy experts.
Number 5: The opportunity for the students to publish their work in a portfolio, or hang it
around the classroom. In order for students to be successful in reading and writing, they need to
feel like they can be successful in reading and writing. Students improve so much from year to
year. Keeping a portfolio of their work throughout the years that they can look back through and
see their own progress will be a good motivator for the students. Also, seeing their work posted
around the classroom, the pod, or the school, can help motivate the students. Getting to show off
their work to their peers is an extra incentive for the student to make sure they do their best at all
times. They don’t want to have their work hanging on the walls of their classroom if they
haven’t what they feel is a good job on it. Getting students motivated to do their best work when
it comes to reading and writing is the foundation for creating a successful student in the literacy
Number 4: For the students to be in a classroom setting where they are free and
comfortable to take risks and learn. In order to learn to feel successful in reading and writing,
the students have to feel comfortable to learn new things and take risks. Learning new things is
due in large amounts to taking risks. If students are not in classroom environment where they are
comfortable to step outside the norm, ask questions, and give answers then they won’t ever do
those things. If they don’t ever do those things, they will never progress. Part of learning things
is about taking risks and getting the wrong answers. If you’re never wrong, you never know
when you’re right. The teacher has the most responsibility in this. If you have your students
come in at the beginning of the year and make a community of learners within your classroom,
your students will be free to take risks and they won’t be afraid to ask questions or to give a
wrong answer. This will better allow them to learn what they need to
Number 3: The chance to see fluent reading modeled in read-alouds, no matter what
grades. We have learned in class that read alouds are opportunities for the teacher to model
fluent reading to the students. Read alouds are ways to get students exciting about reading, and
reading any kind of genre for that matter. I believe that this is especially important in the
younger grades of elementary school, but I also think that it is just as important in the older
grades of elementary as well as middle school. I could even argue the same for high school
students. If students are read to enough, they lose their interest in reading or they stick to the
same type of books instead of exploring other genres. When younger, students need to be read
aloud to in order to model fluency. I think that is the most important part to read alouds in the
younger grades. However, I think reading aloud to older students is most important in order to
get them motivated to read. The older years is when students start to lose their motivation; if
they have someone reading to them, I think that it could potentially help them stay interested in
reading. I think teachers should read aloud to all grades, with all different kinds of genres in
order to keep students on track, learning, and being excited about reading.
Number 2: Opportunities to see and practice specific skills and traits of writing. I think
that this aspect is often the more forgotten aspect of literacy instruction. I, myself, even lose it in
the clutter of everything reading. But I know that it is important for teachers to remember how
important it is to teach students all the skills of writing. I especially like the thought of mini
writing workshops we have worked on in class. Mini-lessons are such a good way to incorporate
any skill within the writing process. As we saw, it encompasses all of the six writing traits and
has a focus of something the students need to master. I especially like these mini-lessons
because they are very easy to differentiate for your students. Those students who struggle on a
previously taught skill can receive more help, while the students who are ready to move on, can.
Teachers have to remember that teaching writing is just as important as teaching reading.
Number 1: Getting differentiated instruction in order to succeed. This is something that
has been continuously harped on in all of our years of our education thus far. Although I will say
that it is harped on for good reason. Even just over the course of this semester, I have seen many
students who are not getting the correct instruction for their level of reading and I see how much
more behind it makes them. Every teacher needs to know the benefits of differentiated
instruction. Even now, after my students were split into different classes based on their reading
level, there are still so many reading levels within each class, yet they’re all receiving the same
instruction on the same material. When students first begin school, they come in on all different
levels. Some know the alphabet, some can read, and some know nothing. This is where the
differentiated instruction needs to begin. If teachers begin to differentiate their instruction and
their activities at a younger age, the gap between the students will close much easier. However,
this doesn’t happen. Instruction is usually geared towards the average student, and therefore the
students on both sides of that suffer. This eventually leads to the large gaps in reading ability we
come across in the upper grades. If teachers can realize how important it is in the beginning, it
will help all of the students in the long run. I am going to be a teacher who does this.