Reading Without Limits

Maddie Witter

A Calm Child Learns Best

FIGURE 1.1 Elem Choice Reading H.R.Recently I’ve been thinking about how we can redesign a literacy block, particularly for students with special needs.  I want the first half of the class to be as calm as possible.  A child learns best when calm and positive and is more likely to engage in higher order thinking tasks (Tennant).

Here’s something that we are now doing at Parkville College.

We start the class with vocabulary, which allows us to spend five to ten dedicated minutes building vocabulary.  It also serves as a settler, so students have a regulated heart beat and are calm.

Students move onto independent reading when they are done with vocabulary at their own pace.  Before independent reading begins, students first build in time for self-efficacy activities.  Then, they strategically read.  Finally, there is even more time for self-efficacy at the end of the independent reading block.

After that, the teacher starts her lesson.  What do you think?

Here’s what it looks like from the student’s point of view on a worksheet.

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