Anonymous said... Who helped this child write this? The child is either very bright or had help from some adult. How do I know? I have never heard a second grader use the term "diversity", yet alone spell it correctly. I think rewriting a book or even a short story after reading it will only discourage children from wanting to read. The joy of reading comes not from rewriting the story, it comes from wanting to read that book again or the next book. Let's teach young children the fundamentals of language then when they are old enough they can write a response not their parents.February 21, 2009 7:41 AM
I chose to take this comment as a compliment. Do you know why? Clearly, this reader thinks the Response to Literature is a good one. One that couldn't possibly be produced by a second grader without help from an adult. But, one that was. This second grader participated in a Kevin Henkes author study in first grade during which he studied the text Wemberly Worried. A text that he grew to love through multiple readings. In fact, he appreciated the author so much that when he had to select a text to do a Response to Literature on in second grade, he selected this children's book. This child will produce two published Response to Literature pieces this year, along with writing in the genres of narrative, report, and functional.
This particular child has been fortunate, because he has gotten to participate in a Readers' and Writers' Workshop daily since Kindergarten. He has learned to love books and reads and writes as part of his classroom instruction daily. He also has had the fortune of daily focused 4 part mini-lessons that allow him to connect his learning, learn something new, practice it during active involvement with teacher guidance, and then has the learning linked to a reading or writing task where he can practice the skill or strategy during his work period. He has on average a 30 to 40 minute work period where he writes every day. He's also had the opportunity to develop a handsome working vocabulary through daily read aloud because his teacher uses Beck and McKeown's Text Talk to teach explicit vocabulary. Not unlike many of his peers, this student's vocabulary learning has transferred authentically into his writing. And, his classroom is a print rich environment with spelling and vocabulary word walls that he can use as a tool throughout his writing. Furthermore, this student participates in a daily closing session where his classmates share their work. He has been taught to benchmark his own writing against that of his classmates and is encouraged to apply their strategies and best practices to his own work. He has been taught to use a rubric to make sure his writing meets each of the standards.
In addition, his teachers use the resource Using Rubrics to Improve Student Writing which sets forth samples of rubrics and student work so teachers can compare their students' work against benchmark pieces. They also meet weekly in Teacher Meetings to analyze student work, share instructional practices, and study professional literature together. They also display student work throughout their hallways as a showcase for colleagues, other students, and parents.
This reader who made the comment clearly doesn't know that we not only foster the love of reading but also that we allow students to live the life of a writer. This student sample was completed in the classroom, not at home, without the assistance of an adult, during the study of Response to Literature, and with authentically embedded vocabulary that a second grader can and does use.
If you think your students can not achieve the same standard, you should be asking, "How do I get my second graders to this same level of performance?" Afterall, your students will be competing with this student for a job in the global marketplace one day.