The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 2 - Page 45

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is the reader’s initiation into a personal reading process.

What may surprise educators is the emergence of shame in this context. You might presume that shame emerges when students face text that is “above” their level. Actually, students face intense feelings when sharing their strategies or their interpretation of text. Children want to know they can talk freely without feeling analyzed (Miller, 1995). Even though the text is common, readers have the opportunity to see how their thinking is similar to and different from that of their peers and the teacher. As maturing readers attempt to establish their own reading process while simultaneously seeking the acceptance of others, they find themselves in a crossfire of identity development. Alice Miller shares, “Children robbed of their feeling forfeited their vitality” (p. 18). Shared reading, then, becomes an important vehicle to help readers realize the diversity of strategic reading possibilities and to establish supportive collaboration skills

Assisted Reading: All students need some level of support with reading at some point. Pulling small groups of students with similar needs together provides scaffolding before, during, and after the reading process and is an essential ingredient of reading workshop. In some circles, assisted reading might be referred.to as guided reading; I refer to small group reading as assisted reading because the scaffold is temporary. However, pulling a group aside in the middle of a workshop is a public act that potentially highlights deficiencies, creating shame amongst readers. Many readers do not feel they need help with reading. Others resist group reading because they have to

acknowledge inadequacies they would rather keep secret. Given these realities, I prefer to confer with students to ascertain their feelings about strategies we’re working on, asking them what is working and what they need more practice with before deciding on groupings. When students recognize and articulate their need, rather than merely accept my designation, they establish self-efficacy and autonomy.

Independent Reading: Nowhere in the reading workshop is there better preparation for autonomous reading than independent reading, where students read on their own. Teachers have the least amount of control here, but we must trust in the solid instructional foundation we have built and the sensible accountability practices we put in place. We must recognize that no teacher can regulate every book choice of every student. The reader controls that, and how we guide or challenge the reader is completely dependent on what the reader feels is right for himself. How a student chooses to apply learning to reading in a style that is indicative of his or her reading process and not representative of cookie-cutter expectation could determine the extent of shame a reader feels. Failure to acknowledge their reading process or thinking or allowing students to show no evidence of reading creates shame because readers can hide their weaknesses or worse, become self-destructive. Strategic reading stategies can help

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You might presume that shame emerges when students face text that is “above” their level. Actually, students face intense feelings when sharing their strategies or their interpretation of text. Children want to know they can talk freely without feeling analyzed (Miller, 1995).