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Teaching Literacy
Engaging the Imagination of New Readers and Writers



April 2006 | 176 pages | Corwin

"A fascinating piece of writing, presenting ideas that are fresh and exciting."
-Katherine Taddie Kelly, Literacy Coach and Reading Interventionist
Waco Independent School District, TX  

"Focuses on enhancing students' metalinguistic awareness and not just their intuitive use of words, fostering the development of higher mental functions."
-Elena Bodrova, Senior Researcher
McREL

Bring out the fun in fundamentals of literacy!

For teachers charged with the great responsibility of helping students achieve basic literacy, delivering instruction in stimulating and engaging ways is not an ideal-it's a necessity. Recognizing this, award-winning author and educator Kieran Egan puts the fun in fundamentals of literacy by helping teachers stir students' imagination and emotions.

In Teaching Literacy, Egan rejects the notion that familiar ideas and experiences are the best vehicles for effective instruction. Instead, he champions a new approach that focuses on teaching core literacy skills using concepts ranging from fascinating to exotic to magnificent to weird. By framing the elements of literacy in the unforgettable, students more readily internalize and retain material, not only preparing them for tests, but also instilling a lifelong love of reading and writing.

This innovative resource supplies answers to the question, "But how do I do it?" by offering:

  • Tried-and-true activities from practicing classroom teachers
  • "Teachers, Try It Out" features with instructional challenges (and an appendix of possible responses) for everyday classroom practice
  • Step-by-step planning frameworks for designing and delivering engaging literacy instruction

Combining playfulness with practicality and creativity with common sense, Egan's strategies apply to beginning readers at any age, bringing about authentic, enjoyable learning experiences.

 
Preface
Two Sources of This Approach  
Cognitive Tools in Everyday Teaching Practice  
Literacy Learners, Young and Old(er)  
The Cognitive Tool Kits of Language and Literacy  
Planning Frameworks Using Cognitive Tools  
 
Acknowledgements
 
About the Author
 
Part I: The Cognitive Toolkit of Oral Language
 
1. Using the Story Form: Meeting Objectives by Engaging Feelings
Stories and Feelings  
Stories in the Classroom  
Inventing Comic Characters  
Personifying Elements of Language  
Creating a Literacy Adventure  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
2. Images We Care About: Too, Two, and To
Images Aid Memory and Understanding  
Tying Concepts to Images  
From Images to Letter Representation  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
3. Binary Opposites: Goldilocks and Civil War
Using Opposites to Expand Upon Understanding  
Mediating Binary Opposites  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
4. Literal and Metaphoric Talk: “Like a Spring-Woken Tree”
Recognizing and Reflecting on Language  
Similes  
Metaphors  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
5. Jokes: Drawing the Drapes
Joking and “Seeing” Language  
Humor in Amelia Bedelia  
Reading Puzzles  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
6. Rhyme and Rhythm: Mickey Mouse’s Underwear
Echo Rhymes  
Rhyme and Rhythm: Ring, Rang, Rung  
Nursery Rhymes  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
7. Living Knowledge: Barbie and The Matrix
Embedding Knowledge in Students’ Lifeworlds  
Children's Lifeworlds  
 
Conclusion to Part I
 
Part II: The Cognitive Tool Kit of Literacy
 
8. Extremes: The Queueing Subbookkeeper
The Strange, Exotic, Different, and Wonderful  
Fascinating Reality  
Metalinguistic Awareness  
Exploring Extremes  
Wonder in the Classroom  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
9. Everyday Heroes: Spiderman and the Comma
Heroizing Literacy Tasks  
Heroes in the Classroom  
Heroic Experiences  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
10. Human Contexts: John Montagu, The Earl of Sandwich
Knowledge in a Meaningful Context  
Linking Language With Purpose  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
11. Collections and Hobbies: Alphabets and Beanie Babies
Collecting Letters and Words  
Literacy as a Hobby  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
12. Graphic Organizers: Lists and Flowcharts
From the Ear to the Eye  
Visual Tools  
Teachers, Try It Out  
Final Words  
 
Conclusion to Part II
 
Part III: Planning Frameworks
 
13. Framework 1
Mythic Planning Framework  
Example: A Lesson on Homonyms  
 
14. Framework 2
The Romantic Planning Framework  
Example: A Lesson on the Comma  
The Frameworks and You  
 
Conclusion
 
Appendix: Responses to the "Teachers, Try It Out" Questions by Gillian C. Judson
 
References
 
Index

"A fascinating piece of writing, presenting ideas that are fresh and exciting."

Katherine (Taddie) Kelly, Literacy Coach and Reading Interventionist
Waco Independent School District, TX

"Focuses on enhancing students' metalinguistic awareness and not just their intuitive use of words, fostering the development of higher mental functions."

Elena Bodrova, Senior Researcher, McREL
Senior Researcher, McREL

"A fun, revealing guide acknowledging that an atmosphere of fun, familiar ideas and experiences promote effective instruction. Offers a new approach designed to present classroom teachers with intriguing, different activities. Chapters offer challenges for student and teacher alike and encourage lessons which are refreshingly different."

The Midwest Book Review, August 2006

I think the text was user friendly and provided tangible strategies that have potential to be incorporated to teaching in various ways.

Dr Joanna Maulbeck
Education Dept, Concordia College New York
June 7, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Preface


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