It seems like quite a few threads lately have been about reading instruction and that block of time in the MFW grid/schedule called "Reading." Perhaps you're like me, and you have been thinking that you need to have some structured reading instruction during that time like they do in the public schools... instruction in plot, character, setting, etc. That's what has been running through my mind lately. I just have such a hard time getting out of that public school mentality sometimes.
Well, I am working on a Masters degree in Reading right now, and I came across some interesting things in some research I've been doing. I thought I'd share it with you, for those of you who are interested.
I've been reading a book called The Child as Critic: Teaching Literature in Elementary and Middle Schools, by Glenna Davis Sloan. It is a fabulous book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in literary theory and literature instruction. It puts basic literary theory in a very readable and understandable format. It contains wonderful information about teaching literature in grades K-8.
Anyway, this is what Sloan says about reading instruction (now keep in mind, this is addressed to public school teachers, but it can easily be applied to us homeschoolers):
- "We do know that reading is a skill that is developed by actually practicing it with genuine reading materials and not by filling workbooks with exercises that relate peripherally to it. That is why an independent reading component is absolutely essential in all literacy programs" (p. 112).
She says that at least half of the time allotted for reading in schools should be independent reading time, during which students are reading for enjoyment, without a response required.
As far as I can gather from the more experienced MFW users (having only completed MFWK myself), that is how the "reading" time in MFW is designed... as independent reading for pleasure, especially during the elementary years. Perhaps that is one of the problems with so many kids not learning to read at grade-level in the public schools--not enough "independent reading for enjoyment" time in public school.
As far as the "directed reading lessons" that Sloan mentions are concerned, I really like Crystal's response in this thread:
Her questioning methods, used occasionally with literature your student is reading, would be a wonderful way to help your children study and more deeply appreciate certain pieces of literature.
Hope this helps some of you who are struggling with what to do for reading instruction.