This year I have been focussing on generating more discussion to support my students in literacy. I have been using reciprocal reading, argumentation boards, text analysis and language experiences to ensure that I am scaffolding my students with talk.
My class recently took part in Get New Zealand Writing, where they had to create poems formed out of first 40, then 18 rich words that are related to an item. Because vocabulary is something that they need to work on, this was an incredibly challenging experience for them and I had to scaffold some students far more than the programme suggested.
I also just finished marking my students first asTTle writing tests and once again found that they scored relatively low in vocabulary, using most 'everyday' or social vocabulary, despite writing explanations that are more suited to academic vocabulary and tone.
In response to this, I have decided to focus on vocabulary for another week in writing and look at short poems such as Haiku's so that we do not need to worry about the length of the text. I have also decided to increase the number of texts per week for my students with reading ages below 11. I hope that this increased mileage and exposure to language will accelerate their reading progress and I will be sure to scaffold them with discussion. In contrast, my 11+ readers will read far more complex texts and then I will provide them with some shorter scaffolding/contrasting/ supplementary texts around the same theme. I hope that this wide and deep approach will accelerate their learning and that the exposure to the more complex language in the main texts will broaden their vocabularies.