What are trade books and how to effectively use them in the classroom. Why and how to use write to learn strategies in the content area classroom.

In Chapter 11 of Content Area Reading, I expect to learn what trade books are and how to effectively use them in the classroom.

Trade book is a new term for me.  Apparently trade books are books, fiction and non-fiction of many varied genre that are made for and sold to the general public.  Textbooks, on the otherhand, are those books created for the classroom and distributed through schools.

The why to use trade books was covered well.  Trade books will complement the content being studied in the textbooks and deepen and enrich the students’ learning. 

I am very excited to learn about all the styles of trade books available and to learn strategies to incorporate trade books into the classroom learning environment. 

Genres, such as, graphic novels are completely new to me.  I am very interested in discovering what is available in this format.  I can see using these as a way to engage students, encourage struggling readers, and entice students into learning more about the content area. 

I did a search on amazon.com and found that there were many graphic novels available that would complement Social Studies content.  I am planning to look into what is currently available in this form at the Hennepin County library and look them over.  I will do a little field experiment by bringing them to the homework help group where I volunteer and see how they go over with the kids. 

In preparing for the upcoming literature project, I also discovered that many classic texts are now available in young reader’s editions making the text more accessible and shortening the length of time needed to read them.  I would like to use these texts to introduce my Social Studies students to classic literature as we learn about history or geography.  In this way, students can become familiar with classic literature while understanding the time and space it was created in and analyzing the purpose of the literature and it’s impact on readers of the day.

The idea of reading picture books in class also really appeals to me.  I can see this as a good way to start the class, introduce a topic, or extend lessons.  In another class, we learned that picture books are an excellent way to build vocabularly in that they expose students to many new words in a form where it is easy to ascertain the meaning from the context.  I would like to create a collection to have on hand in the classroom.

I have seen some of the strategies described in the text used in my previous courses.  The read aloud is one of them.  Our professor did a short anticipatory and vocabulary activity and then read a portion of text to us, pausing to have us write a brief reflection every so often.  We then discussed what we wrote in pairs or groups.  I loved it!  I hope to incorporate this strategy into my classroom.

Some of the strategies seem a little above me at this time, but I would to develop the skill to successfully conduct activities like idea circles or blogs. 

It is clear that using trade books can engage students and enhance learning and I am glad to add some new strategies to my toolbox in order to successfully be able to incorporate trade books into my classroom.

Content-Area Writing  Chapter 2

In this chapter I expect to learn some good reasons why to use write-to-learn strategies and the classroom and practical ways to do this.

Well, it turns out Chapter 2 focused on the Why and the strategies are forthcoming. 

The authors explain write-to-learn activities and make a good argument for there use.  In a nutshell, students will learn and retain more if they interact with the material.  Writing is an excellent way to interact with material. 

They also explain how short, informal, unedited texts can help students to gather and organize their thoughts. 

In a former course, I studied write-to-learn activities and have been completely convinced that they are effective in engaging students, preparing them for meaningful discussions and formal writing assignments.  I also found that write-to-learn strategies are somewhat intuitive and that many students unconsciously use them already.  The best thing I found out is that they take very little time and the time they do take is more than compensated for in less time lost to classroom management because the students are more engaged, in less wasted time in discussions because the students have already formed ideas and questions and by using write-to-learn strategies in place of boring less effective strategies. 

I am sold on the write-to-learn idea and am looking forward to more ways to use them.


About susanm2012

I am a teacher licensure candidate at University of St. Thomas. This blog is an assignment in my Reading for 5-12 students.
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