Benjamin Franklin stated: Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. This remains as true today as it was centuries ago. This lesson will highlight strategies that will put Ben’s words to practice in the language arts class. A short quiz will follow to test your knowledge.
Introduction: Language Arts Teaching Strategies
Being able to reach all students is the most important part of teaching, especially in a major content area like language arts. When students ‘don’t get it’ or need extra help, teachers should be able to teach in a different way that will help students achieve success. Using instructional strategies will increase the likelihood that students will acquire the knowledge they need to be successful in the classroom.
If all learners are to benefit from instruction, teachers must differentiate instruction. When instruction is differentiated, it is offered in a variety of ways (i.e., whole group, small group, one-on-one) using a variety of resources (e.
g., computer, textbooks, and work sheets) that will engage students and support their comprehension development.
Predicting is a strategy that is used during the reading of a text. When students make predictions, they are guessing what will happen next in the story. For example, in the story of the Three Pigs , the wolf visits each of the pigs in an attempt to get into their homes. After the wolf visits the first pig’s home and blows the house down, the teacher may ask students ‘What do you think will happen next when the wolf visits the next pig’s home?’ The teacher is asking the students to make a prediction. As the students continue to read, they will find out whether their prediction was correct.
The basis of reciprocal teaching is that students will assume the role of the teacher when presenting a concept or lesson to their peers in the classroom. The student is responsible for gathering all significant information and materials needed to become a facilitator of learning. Case in point, if the class is embarking on a poetry unit, the teacher may assign different types of poetry to students for which they would create a lesson. The students would eventually present the lesson to the class using various resources and methods.
In the language arts classroom, students should be encouraged to develop their critical thinking skills. This can be accomplished by having them ask questions as they read. Good readers are able to ask relevant questions as they are reading in order to check their understanding of the content. Teachers may have to model this skill by reading a story passage aloud and asking questions related to the reading:
- What is the author trying to say?
- Why is this character behaving this way?
- How does the setting relate to the plot of the story?
As students engage in questioning the text, they may need to clarify or clear up some of the questions that remain unanswered. Clarifying may involve students being able to answer the basic who, what, when, where, why and how questions as they are reading.
Students may need to re-read portions of the text and restate them or the teacher may need to guide students through the critical thinking process in order help them develop the skill with greater proficiency.
Another great strategy is to have students summarize what they have read to check their comprehension of a text. Summarizing is when students put the content of the text into their own words. The summary should include key information from the text but not be so long that it exceeds the length of the text.
Students often have difficulty with this strategy because they either leave out important information or their summaries are too long. Teachers may need to model this particular strategy so that students can become proficient with it.
Developing strategies for the language arts classroom is important if all learners are to benefit from the curriculum. Providing strategies for students will help engage them in the reading of the text and develop their comprehension skills. These strategies may include: predicting, reciprocal teaching, questioning, clarifying and summarizing.