Monday, February 4, 2013

A Wordle, crocheting, and struggling readers

Wordle: More Books Than TimeWhat fun!  I created a Wordle today by just putting in the URL to this blog.  I like the way "book" and "reading" are the largest words.  I've done Wordles in the past, but it's been awhile since I played with words using this website.  It's a great way to highlight key ideas from your reading, or even to practice spelling words.

I have to admit, I did not read as much as I would have liked this weekend--unless reading a crocheting pattern counts.  Crochet patterns have a language all their own--sc for single crochet, dc for double crochet, ch for chain, cl for cluster...I remember how it felt when I was first learning to crochet, trying to figure out the abbreviations and constantly looking back at my beginning crochet books for reminders of the stitches.  I still struggle with patterns at the intermediate level, and haven't even attempted those at the experienced level.

My difficulty with complicated crochet patterns reminds me of the difficulties struggling readers have with text.  English is a hard language to read:  sh makes a totally different sound than s and h by themselves, vowels sound differently depending on their neighbors, words can have different meanings depending on the context.  There's not always a cheat sheet to fall back on like my crochet manuals; we're just expected to remember all these complicated sounds and rules and language.  Seen through this lens, reading is truly a magnificent skill to master; is it any wonder that some students struggle in their pursuit to find meaning in marks on a page?

My school has invested a lot of time and money in training teachers to help students learn to read.  I've got a lot of tools at my disposal; now I just need to remember the persistence, and patience I've allowed myself in learning to crochet, and have that same persistent patience with my own students.  With crocheting, I've opened the door to wonderful patterns, gifts, and a soothing, relaxing hobby.  With reading, I hope my students gain mastery of the patterns in words and language, discover the gifts in stories and books, and realize that decoding text can become soothing and fun, not just lessons in my classroom.

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