The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 2 - Page 46



This program emphasizes not only the importance of reading, but also helps develop a lifelong love of the written word. - Dr. Betty Porter Walls

The Read and Feed Program at Johnson Wabash Elementary School was the type of school day we'd love to experience each and every day when children smile at the sight of books and adults say, "Finally, a reader is born." More than fifteen hundred (1,500) trade books were given to the students. Thank you for a renewal of spirit and confirmation that teaching is indeed a noble profession. Ferguson-Florissant was a fantastic host for the Read and Feed Program and I believe we all did good work!—Dr. Betty Porter Walls

The Value of the Optimal Learning Model


Heather Johnson


readers establish a sense of success during independent reading.

Writing About Reading: Evidence of reading, of comprehension, is essential to supporting readers and developing resilience. Every reader has a voice. In reality, no matter how much we encourage collaboration or establish norms for discussion that teach readers to “share the air,” there is always a prevailing voice or predominate opinion. People naturally gravitate to strong personalities and easily concur with their point of view, even at the cost of forsaking their own opinion, especially when acceptance and acknowledgement is involved to the identity-seeking, middle-grade reader. Writing about reading is a vehicle that allows readers to express their own voice, their own sentiment, in a way that is indicative of their personality. Writing about reading becomes the voice for students who are otherwise afraid to express their understanding and interaction with text.

Word Study: Word study is often addressed before the workshop begins. At the intermediate level, I use word study to establish a vocabulary foundation that is essential for reading and responding to text. I use word study as a means to help students acquire the language necessary to communicate what they learn from and associate with in reading. I teach common words, often related to themes, morals, and ethics—like “integrity”—that transcend reading into life. By teaching students these words, I provide them with the language necessary to express their unique interpretations. Readers cannot respond to text to text or mine for meaning without having the words to articulate complex and abstract thoughts. The necessity behind explicit vocabulary instruction through word study is for student who lack language to articulate to find vernacular that will represent their uniqueness.

Assessment – Peter Afflerbach (2016) states,

“The ongoing focus on readers’ cognitive strategies and skills and on content area knowledge gain results in our ability to make legitimate inferences about these critical aspects of reading development and reading achievement.”

No mirror is more critical as a reflection of a reader’s self than assessment as a reader must acknowledge and react to his or her participation and success in the reading process. Assessment is often used to define instructional needs of a reader, such as developmental priorities and capabilities. Any assessment carries the potential for shame. From not reviewing an assessment with a student, to uncovering realities of a student’s independent reading, assessment exposes the truth. For example, if I administer a diagnostic assessment, I have a responsibility to learn from and share with the reader the experience of the assessment. Without feedback, readers are likely to assume the worst because silence equates with worthlessness (Kaufman, 1992). On the other hand, many readers will hide the realities of their independent reading, which can be discovered by using various reading logs (author, 2014). How we handle the assessment and the reader's emotions has an impact on self-perception. Assessment should also be used to reveal the inner thinking, self-efficacy, and self-perception, all of which define who the reader is in a more authentic manner. Afflerbach continues, “if we do not regularly assess the development of students’ motivation and self-efficacy for reading, we cannot make measurement based inferences about these critical factors.” In this manner, appropriate assessment is an opportunity to learn about maturing readers. If assessments are accompanied by the opportunity to confer, the pathway to discovering why a student might retort, “I hate reading” becomes less abrasive and threatening

Creating Time for Authentic Interaction with Text

Components of the reading workshop may vary across classrooms and grade levels, even within the same school. It is important to note that a formulaic installment reading workshop can potentially shame developing readers. When we apply a model or program by mandate, we run the risk of students