My school believes that ALL children are learners. They learn at different paces and in different ways, so instructional practices will reflect this. Since we believe that children learn best in a positive environment, the instructional setting features structured classrooms that are safe places for children to express themselves, show respect and be respected.
When students leave their grade level each year, they will successfully have taken full advantage of all learning opportunities: prior knowledge, growing emotional and intellectual development, school and home cooperation, and sound instruction in required standards.
The big challenge as a teacher is not simply getting students to read—it's getting them to enjoy it too. Research has repeatedly shown that motivation to read decreases with age, especially if pupils' attitudes towards reading become less positive. Which is why I am seeking help in funding a class set of the short novel "Because of Winn-Dixie."
Encouraging children to read for pleasure is about more than getting them to pick up a book; it's equally important for children to appreciate a good story.
In Kate DiCamillo's book "Because of Winn-Dixie," the protagonist, Opal, learns about her absent mother when her father shares ten things about her. As a class, my students can match items from the list of ten things describing Opal's mother in the novel with the basic elements of characterization. Next, they can work in small groups to go through the same process with the list of ten things describing Winn-Dixie. Students can then create an individual list describing another character in the book. Finally, students can extend this process to another book they are reading by recording ten characteristics on a printable bookmark, ranking those characteristics in terms of importance, and then publishing them in a flip book format. As you can see—reading in my class is not just done for pleasure, I know my students will appreciate this fantastic novel while learning in an engaging way!
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