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Teaching Literacy
Engaging the Imagination of New Readers and Writers



April 2006 | 176 pages | Corwin

"A fascinating piece of writing, presenting ideas that are fresh and exciting."
-Katherine Taddie Kelly, Literacy Coach and Reading Interventionist
Waco Independent School District, TX  

"Focuses on enhancing students' metalinguistic awareness and not just their intuitive use of words, fostering the development of higher mental functions."
-Elena Bodrova, Senior Researcher
McREL

Bring out the fun in fundamentals of literacy!

For teachers charged with the great responsibility of helping students achieve basic literacy, delivering instruction in stimulating and engaging ways is not an ideal-it's a necessity. Recognizing this, award-winning author and educator Kieran Egan puts the fun in fundamentals of literacy by helping teachers stir students' imagination and emotions.

In Teaching Literacy, Egan rejects the notion that familiar ideas and experiences are the best vehicles for effective instruction. Instead, he champions a new approach that focuses on teaching core literacy skills using concepts ranging from fascinating to exotic to magnificent to weird. By framing the elements of literacy in the unforgettable, students more readily internalize and retain material, not only preparing them for tests, but also instilling a lifelong love of reading and writing.

This innovative resource supplies answers to the question, "But how do I do it?" by offering:

  • Tried-and-true activities from practicing classroom teachers
  • "Teachers, Try It Out" features with instructional challenges (and an appendix of possible responses) for everyday classroom practice
  • Step-by-step planning frameworks for designing and delivering engaging literacy instruction

Combining playfulness with practicality and creativity with common sense, Egan's strategies apply to beginning readers at any age, bringing about authentic, enjoyable learning experiences.


 
Preface
Two Sources of This Approach

 
Cognitive Tools in Everyday Teaching Practice

 
Literacy Learners, Young and Old(er)

 
The Cognitive Tool Kits of Language and Literacy

 
Planning Frameworks Using Cognitive Tools

 
 
Acknowledgements
 
About the Author
 
Part I: The Cognitive Toolkit of Oral Language
 
1. Using the Story Form: Meeting Objectives by Engaging Feelings
Stories and Feelings

 
Stories in the Classroom

 
Inventing Comic Characters

 
Personifying Elements of Language

 
Creating a Literacy Adventure

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
2. Images We Care About: Too, Two, and To
Images Aid Memory and Understanding

 
Tying Concepts to Images

 
From Images to Letter Representation

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
3. Binary Opposites: Goldilocks and Civil War
Using Opposites to Expand Upon Understanding

 
Mediating Binary Opposites

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
4. Literal and Metaphoric Talk: “Like a Spring-Woken Tree”
Recognizing and Reflecting on Language

 
Similes

 
Metaphors

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
5. Jokes: Drawing the Drapes
Joking and “Seeing” Language

 
Humor in Amelia Bedelia

 
Reading Puzzles

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
6. Rhyme and Rhythm: Mickey Mouse’s Underwear
Echo Rhymes

 
Rhyme and Rhythm: Ring, Rang, Rung

 
Nursery Rhymes

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
7. Living Knowledge: Barbie and The Matrix
Embedding Knowledge in Students’ Lifeworlds

 
Children's Lifeworlds

 
 
Conclusion to Part I
 
Part II: The Cognitive Tool Kit of Literacy
 
8. Extremes: The Queueing Subbookkeeper
The Strange, Exotic, Different, and Wonderful

 
Fascinating Reality

 
Metalinguistic Awareness

 
Exploring Extremes

 
Wonder in the Classroom

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
9. Everyday Heroes: Spiderman and the Comma
Heroizing Literacy Tasks

 
Heroes in the Classroom

 
Heroic Experiences

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
10. Human Contexts: John Montagu, The Earl of Sandwich
Knowledge in a Meaningful Context

 
Linking Language With Purpose

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
11. Collections and Hobbies: Alphabets and Beanie Babies
Collecting Letters and Words

 
Literacy as a Hobby

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
12. Graphic Organizers: Lists and Flowcharts
From the Ear to the Eye

 
Visual Tools

 
Teachers, Try It Out

 
Final Words

 
 
Conclusion to Part II
 
Part III: Planning Frameworks
 
13. Framework 1
Mythic Planning Framework

 
Example: A Lesson on Homonyms

 
 
14. Framework 2
The Romantic Planning Framework

 
Example: A Lesson on the Comma

 
The Frameworks and You

 
 
Conclusion
 
Appendix: Responses to the "Teachers, Try It Out" Questions by Gillian C. Judson
 
References
 
Index

"A fascinating piece of writing, presenting ideas that are fresh and exciting."

Katherine (Taddie) Kelly, Literacy Coach and Reading Interventionist
Waco Independent School District, TX

"Focuses on enhancing students' metalinguistic awareness and not just their intuitive use of words, fostering the development of higher mental functions."

Elena Bodrova, Senior Researcher, McREL
Senior Researcher, McREL

"A fun, revealing guide acknowledging that an atmosphere of fun, familiar ideas and experiences promote effective instruction. Offers a new approach designed to present classroom teachers with intriguing, different activities. Chapters offer challenges for student and teacher alike and encourage lessons which are refreshingly different."

The Midwest Book Review, August 2006

I think the text was user friendly and provided tangible strategies that have potential to be incorporated to teaching in various ways.

Dr Joanna Maulbeck
Education Dept, Concordia College New York
June 7, 2016
Key features
  • Practical and entertaining instruction to engage students in literacy learning using stories, jokes, metaphors, heroes, extremes, graphic organizers, and more
  • Includes start-to-finish planning frameworks, and application of the frameworks to specific lessons on commas and homonym use
  • Appendix offers chapter-by-chapter literacy activities for everyday classroom practice 
  • Instructional strategies apply to all new literacy learners--both children and nonliterate adults

 


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Preface


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