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Developing Readers

Chapter one of Buehls Developing Readers text focuses on first


defining reading and each readers identity. He demonstrated reading
identity by explaining the different types of lens with which a person
might approach a text. Buehl then transitioned to a discussion on the
obligation form of reading and how students cope with the burden of
reading texts that might not be of interest to them in the same way
we, as adults, cope with obligation texts.
The introduction of reading identities moved into a model of
disciplinary literacy, breaking literacy into three part: basic literacy,
intermediate literacy, and disciplinary literacy. The direction of public
policy and education is moving in the direction of disciplinary literacy
and holding middle and high school teachers accountable for teaching
not only content, but specific literary techniques and strategies in the
classroom. He offers his own model in teaching these strategies
through classroom apprenticing, modeling, scaffolding, and,
eventually, independent reading and learning.
I found myself deeply engaged in Buehls observations and
suggestions. The exercises and reflections within the text had me
breaking down my own literacy lens and brought insight into why I
might respond apprehensively to certain texts. I appreciated that Buehl
didnt simply the challenges currently faced by classroom teachers
without providing solutions. His explanation of modeling (and story
about the sawyer) provided teachers with concrete examples to
implement in the classroom setting. As I read the chapter and thought
about how this would translate to my classroom, the concept of
relevance kept resurfacing. In order to assist and model for students
how to become independent learners and readers, educators should
find ways to make the learning relevant. Educators should consider the

what are you able to read well? question and encourage students to
find their own literacy lenses.

What does it mean to read, write, and think through a


disciplinary lens?
Buehls second chapter begins with a breakdown of how students
read and the processes of proficient readers. He lists certain schoollevel ways in which students read without actually comprehending the
texts in front of them. He defined these behaviors as pseudoreading,
skimming for answers, surface processing, and reading and forgetting.
He then compared these behaviors to the processes proficient readers
use and focused on seven fundamental components (Table 2.1, p. 35).
After establishing the definition of a proficient readers, Buehl examined
the various aspects of complex texts as well as establishing how
discourse can impact the way a proficient reader might approach
unfamiliar texts within different academic disciplines. The last half of
the chapter focused on the specific disciplines of science, social
studies, math, and literature, and how it will be necessary for students
to read these complex texts through different, disciplinary reading
lenses. So, what does that mean, exactly?
To read, write, and think through a disciplinary lens, means an
understanding and willingness on the part of a proficient reader to
examine the different subject matter from different perspectives. For
example, a novel cannot be read or studied in the same way a math
textbook might be read or studied. Both texts require the reader to use
different strategies of understanding. In addition, each text is going to
have a certain level of discourse that demands definition in order for
the reader to comprehend and internalize what he/she might be

reading. Once a reader is able to read and comprehend complex texts


through a disciplinary lens, they begin the process of developing an
ability to write and think within the discipline as well. Buehl refers to
people who understand, write, and think within a discipline as
discourse insiders. To achieve the level of proficient reader and
discourse insider, we, as teachers, will need to implement scaffolding
strategies for students in all disciplines. I appreciated Buehls insight
and look forward to instructional ideas to implement these strategies.

How do academic knowledge gaps affect the reading of


disciplinary texts?
Academic knowledge gaps impact the reading of disciplinary
texts by making what might be an understandable reading text seem
incomprehensible to a student. Buehl explains that certain students, in
fact many students, make lack exposure to out-of-classroom
knowledge that can create gaps in learning. Students make lack not
only the basic vocabulary to tackle a text, they may also lack the
historical perspective, the political and cultural exposure, and the
domain knowledge needed to fully understand academic texts. Buehl
recommends creating knowledge bridges for students to help
address the academic gaps students may have. He also suggests
finding a middle ground of academic information to teach to the
extremes in perspective students in the classroom may be facing.
In addition to finding the middle ground, students may be faced
with changing their academic identities in order to fully engage in
disciplinary texts and learning. In Literature, I appreciate Buehls
perspective when he addresses how students might enter the
classroom with the idea the literary texts are supposed to be easy and

fun, and instead find themselves faced with a series of obligation texts.
To address this phenomenon and the phenomenon of changing
academic identities, we must develop a connection for students to
texts (i.e. make it relevant). Buehl states, Suffice it to say that identity
is a critical variable when examining the match between authors and
readers of literary fiction and that exploring that identity is a crucial
function of reading literature (107). As a teacher I believe exposing
students to a variety of authors (not just those in the historical canon)
will help students find the literary match they need to help build an
academic identity. In addition, presenting different authors and
matches within literature will help students understand some of the
moral challenges they will face as both teens and adults. In order for
this to be successful in the classroom and to help prevent early
academic frustrations, preteaching and prethinking is necessary to
assist students in navigating the unfamiliar aspects of literary works.
Developing a sense of relevance, finding an appropriate reader match,
and exposing students to a multitude of literary choices are just a few
ways teachers might help students find their academic identities in the
classroom.
Anticipation Guide and Reinforced Thinking
I completed the Anticipation Guide at the beginning of the
chapter and found most of what was questioned was already alluded to
in class discussions, so my answers were fairly accurate before and
after the reading. The majority of the chapter felt a little text heavy
and much drier than the Buehl readings, however, the APG text
explored a deeper examination of writing strategies that could be
implemented in a classroom setting. Both the Buehl and the APG
readings lend themselves to developing a go to file for teachers so
that when it is time to teach these strategies will not be lost. My hope
and concern for the classroom setting is that Ill know when to use

what strategy. Im assuming some of the process will be trial and error.
There was guidance for this in the text (the Romeo and Juliet story map
does little for thinking about the theme of the play but is very helpful in
terms of plot, for example), but until we are in a situation when we
have to use the strategies beyond the college classroom, they remain
purely hypothetical.
In order to move from the hypothetical to the practical, my
intention is to transition the strategies weve been learning about from
the figurative toolbox to a literal toolbox. I think I will find it helpful to
create large index card versions of many of the strategies with
explanations and descriptions on the back so that I will have a physical
reminder of the strategy suggestion as well as a guide for when the
strategy is most helpful. It might even be interesting for students to
explore and choose their own strategy and apply it to a reading or
lesson. If students are choosing the strategy, it encourages
metacognition and reinforcement of textual study from the student
perspective as well.
A final note about the chapter: I was surprised at how online
reading was dealt with in such a surface manner. The book was
copyrighted again in 2010, a reader would assume there would be
updates on applying detailed strategies to online research, but the text
barely scratched the surface. In addition, I find it interested that
Pearson holds the copyright. I know that weve discussed the
companys control over the educational system, but Im always
surprised at how ubiquitous their presence seems.
What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships
with students?
A few considerations came to mind when reading chapter eight
of the Marzano text. The first reflective consideration that occurred to
me regarding classroom dynamics is how difficult it will be to not take

disobedience and outbursts personally. Human nature has us hardwired


to react when treated poorly. How do you ignore those emotional
responses? I imagine it boils down to trying to maintain a calm exterior
despite what might be happening on the inside. On the other end of
the spectrum, I believe developing effective relationships might be a
strength for me. I enjoy getting to know teens and look forward to
finding out about their interests. I intend to quickly establish these by
taking surveys early on in the year to understand what each students
life is like outside of the classroom and work to developing their
interests into the curriculum. Additionally, the use of humor will be
easy, because Im hilarious. Mic drop. Seriously, though, in my previous
work with students Im able to project emotional objectivity without
seeming too involved or too distant. I know developing relationships
will continue to evolve the longer I teach, but I look forward to moving
past the hypothetical and into the classroom.