Stephanie Shumacher

When I started this class I had very little experience with literacy instruction. I participated in the Clase Program at Chase Street Elementary last year and worked in a first grade classroom. Each week I went in and acted as a reading tutor for the students in the class. I really enjoyed this experience and felt I learned a lot about reading levels and how diverse a class can be in their reading abilities. When this class started I realized it would be my only reading course before student teaching in the spring. With this in mind I wrote the following course goal:

I hope to get practical knowledge out of this course. I am student teaching next semester and I want to know some strategies and techniques for helping my students read. I think that something that will help me is hearing real examples of lesson plans, stories, and strategies that have worked in people’s classrooms.

As I reflect back on what I learned this semester I realize that my goal was reached. The class presentations and discussions gave me a number of practical ideas and applications for literacy instruction in the classroom. I feel like I have a lot of tools in my toolbox for student teaching next semester. Although I realize I still have a lot to learn, I feel that I have an understanding of reading basics. I know what types of activities and strategies will benefit my students and I know where to look for activities and lessons that will strengthen students reading abilities.

I also feel a great appreciation for my group and the conversations and experiences we had together. Although each of us came from different backgrounds and have interests in different grade levels, we found ways to combine our interests in each module. The more we discussed the readings and our experiences, the more we realized that teachers of all grade levels experience the same challenges. The support I felt from my group was great and I hope to teach with people like them when I get into my own classroom.

Although I feel I learned a lot in this class I feel there is so much more I can learn. I am student teaching in fifth grade in the spring and I would like to work with the "Tangled Readers" I am sure to encounter in the classroom. These are students who are preparing to enter middle school and who may begin to fall behind as much of the curriculum will focus on reading to learn instead of learning to read. I hope that the ideas and strategies I learned in the class can help me to prepare these students for the transition. I also hope to use this class as a base of what I can do with these students. I want to keep reading and learning about more ways that I can help and engage them. My hope is to help students learn to love reading as much as I do. As we discussed in one of our modules, many students in the middle grades stop reading. I hope that I can inspire and encourage students to continue their reading as they move into more independent learning environments.