This article is the third in a series that summarizes and reflects upon the Ontario Ministry of Education 2009 document Me Read? And How!
The third strategy advocated for improving boys’ literacy:
Teach With Purpose
The 3rd boys’ literacy strategy that was piloted in the province of Ontario is to teach with purpose—to execute specific actions to improve literacy levels. It’s important to have a systematic approach, for instance, specifically describing a strategy, modeling the strategy, guided practice, and independent use of the strategy.
6 Recommendations for Teaching with Purpose:
- Design a balanced literacy program with high-yield strategies. It’s important to activate prior knowledge through discussion or specific anticipation activities and guides. Use a variety of strategies for completing the reading: read-alouds, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. Use the three R method for reading: retell, relate, and reflect. Use the APE method for writing: answer, prove and extend.
- Use direct, targeted instruction and specific strategies. It’s important to give students regular feedback on their progress; however, it’s even more important to have students set their own reading goals. Here’s a goal setting guide and handout, I’ve found helpful. Implement before, during and after reading strategies. Also, don’t assume that students ‘know’ a text’s features: actively teach the parts of a text, it’s form and it’s style elements. Using graphical organizers to complete these tasks is also supportive of good teaching.
- Use differentiated instruction to give students a variety of active learning experiences. Chunk the class into shorter time periods to offer these varied activities. Debates, games and other forms of competition are generally popular with boys. As well, including audio and visual information that is supportive to the text gets students to engage more areas of the brain, thus staying more actively interested in the reading.
- Teach metacognitve strategies for reading. Teach reading and vocabulary strategies so that students can use the strategies independently.
Next Boys’ Literacy Strategy: #4 – Embrace the Arts