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The Role of Affective Communication for a Reading Recovery Child

Sherre Marek, Teacher Leader Springfield, Missouri

Affective Communication
Affective communication is communicating with someone either with or about affect (the influence of feelings or emotions) A crying child, and a parent comforting that child, are both engaged in affective communication. An angry customer complaining to a customer service representative, and that representative trying to clear up the problem are both also engaged in affective communication. We communicate through affective channels naturally every day. Indeed, most of us are experts in expressing, recognizing and dealing with emotions.

A major premise of Vygotskys theory of the ZPD is that higher psychological functions (problem solving, reasoning, decision making) occur when the individual is self-regulated. Self-regulation is the result of social interaction, (parentchild or teacher-student) mediated through tools such as language Defined as the childs capacity to plan, guide, and monitor his behavior from within

Capacity = Will and Skill two separate but interrelated concepts

Will choosing to act, a desire, volunteering to participate, associated with pleasure, controlling your own actions, energy, and enthusiasm The affective side of human development Registered in the brain structures associated with emotional development Skill expertise that comes from instruction, training, acquired ability or proficiency The development of knowledge, understanding, sound judgment Registered in the brain structures associated with cognitive development

For some children, these skills are not going to emerge easily, not because they do not have enough neurons or brain power, but because they have had fewer early childhood literacy experiences to develop a working network or neurons to complete the task. Time has not run out for such children. It is possible, with expert teaching, to provide learning opportunities that enable students who enter school with a low repertoire of literacy skills to become proficient readers and writers in a short amount of time. Carol A. Lyons, 2003

What Ive Learned:

Fight impulsivity, passivity, and inattention; build the childs self image as a good reader. No human being can learn material presented in a form that is too difficult. Make it easy for children to learn by determining what they can do easily and building on those strengthsthe quality of experience and instruction, not the childs brain, determines success or failure. - Lyons, p. 72

Keeping It Easy
Language structures Known words that can be monitored Strong picture support Good spacing Patterns that change and that can be monitored Easy to read print (keep childs known letters and confusions in mind) Childs interests Childs name/family names

What Ive Learned:

Carefully observe what the child does at time of difficulty. Not knowing what to do will come out as some type of inappropriate behavior. When the teacher teaches the child how to use multiple strategies for reading and writing text and sees to it that she is successful in her attempts, the child will learn how to learn. The will to learn is charged. - Lyons, p. 72

What Ive Learned:

Be patient and teach the child to be patient with herself; Have fun laugh with the child; Persevere and help the child to keep trying. Emotion drives attention, and attention drives learning, problem solving and remembering. It adds impetus to childrens attention system and keeps them engaged. - Lyons, p. 73

What Ive Learned:

Encourage the child, give specific praise to mold problem solving, and bring attention to good behavior. Remind children of what they know and provide emotional support, encouragement, and positive feedback for their imperfect attempts and partially right responses. These actions will assure children they are on the right track. - Lyons, p. 73

Moving to Self-Regulation Reading Checklist for Sequoia:

1. Listen to what the teacher notices. 2. Keep reading until the story is over. 3. Think about the story and what is happening. 4. Keep trying to get the tricky part: Sound it out Look for a part you know Go back If you can write it, you can read it. 5. Write 2 sentences.

A Blessing in Disguise The Last Thing Ive Learned: Our greatest opportunities to improve as teachers of struggling readers come from the children we find most puzzling. Spend your time thinking What is your student showing you? Self-esteem can come from making a great effort, from facing uncertainty and overcoming obstacles that we are not sure we can meet, from doing our level best. M. Konner