My Writing

Welcome to my blog about English 201!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Theoretical Approaches to Reading Instruction

Learning to read can take on many different approaches including the alphabetical approach, words, and meanings. In the beginning it was believed that children should be taught he alphabet in order to learn how to read. However, because the alphabet was difficult to learn a song was created in order to help children learn their ABC's. This process worked for a while until around the 15th century A.D. when paper was made available. A list of syllables was then created emphasizing pronunciation and spelling. It was at this point when children were encouraged to read aloud. However, it was still difficult for children to form connections between the words and the phonetics.
As the years when on spelling came into its own. It was believed that children should learn some words before they leaned the alphabet. The words children would range from anywhere from a couple dozen to hundreds(311). At this point it was also believed that it was easier to understand short words rather than long words but that proved untrue.
In the Age of Enlightenment the meanings of the words began to gain importance. This is the part of the text that confused me the most. I was unsure of what the author was trying to convey. It talks about memorization and the repeating of books and stories. As well as the importance of sentences in our quest for the knowledge of reading. It also goes on to say that the purpose for reading is what became important because if people were reading for their own benefit and not because they had to the would further excel. Finally the subtext 'Meaning' talks about the transition between oral reading to silent reading.
Silent reading began to take a rise in the United States in the 1940's. "Words were introduced through meanings first - to be recognized holistically by sight. When straight recognition failed, the children were encouraged to rely on context and pictures, to narrow in on the word's identity through meaning-based inference"(312). However, in the 1950's children were still having a difficult time learning to read. While in the 1960's new theories on how the mind works were coming about. It was said that children should learn to read "by being encouraged to apply their innately given language-acquisition powers to text"(313). Which means that children should learn to read like they learn to speak and it should be a natural process. Furthermore reading for meaning would help children to further develop their ability to read. The text continues to talk about the mind and its ability to read or learn to read using the alphabetical system and its connection to understanding.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought (Reread)

When I reread this the second time I realized that Ong was not talking about how writing negatively affects us and is bad but rather the positives writing has on our lives. Like computers writing has become much more to us., it is essential and invaluable. The following quote found in subsection 4 it better explains why I came to this realization. " Like other artificial creations and indeed more than any other, writing is utterly invaluable and indeed essential for the realization of fuller, interior, human potentials" (Ong, 23). He goes on to explain how technology is an exterior aid but how when it affects the words it becomes interior.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies

I was very intrigued by Baron's writing about well writing. I found it interesting how he says that "the written language takes on a life of its own, and it even begins to influence how the spoken language is used." (p.75) Writing is very important for people and I liked how he connected the advances in technology and how it has not hindered our writing but added to its advancement. His explanation of how even the pencil we first used to write was an advancement in technology much like the computer or the telephone. I was interested in the attention needed to create a simple wooden pencil. Making a pencil is a lot like writing itself a very detailed process that produces an unimaginably gratifying reward in the end. I'm sure their will be more advances in technology in the future that will lead the way to easier ways to write.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Tame a Wild Tongue

How to Tame a Wild Tongue was a very interesting story to read. I could not believe what this woman when through as a child and how confusing trying to find her identity must have been while having all these different languages. I liked the quote on page 40 "Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself." I feel that this is a true statement because our language really describes who we are. If we do not know our language we cannot know ourselves and if we do not know ourselves what a sad, sad time in a persons life that is. I also enjoyed the way she wrote. Her mixture of Spanish and English was captivating because I took some Spanish and recognized some of the words but not all. It was a great way to keep a reader intrigued and on their toes. I was impressed by how she handled her self and her struggle with knowing a lot of different languages but similar languages.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A World Without Print

When reading "A World Without Print" I found the situation Donny and his mother were in to be very interesting. I think we don't really understand the importance of reading. I think the school system should have done a better job preparing Donny to move into the next grade level. It did Donny no good by passing him if he was never going to understand the material especially since it was only going to get harder. I could really connect with the quote "its hard not knowing how to read. Some people think its easy... just sit down and do it. But it ain't" (Victoria Purcell-Gates, 403). Reading and writing are very difficult things to learn and most people don't take that into consideration. A lot of time and practice is needed to learn anything but especially a language. What our parents teach us at a young age really does make a difference in our ability to learn in the future.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Just Wanna Be Average

In "I Just Wanna Be Average" by Mike Rose I really enjoyed how descriptive he was. I was captivated by the detail in which he described the effects school can have on students. How crazy and demanding of an environment it is. School changes people, expects them to excel and strive to do their best. It is a time to define you. The word that stuck out to me was "average" - typical; common; ordinary. However, to be average is not a bad thing. Many students may not want to be average but they may expect that they can achieve nothing more than to just be average. This is because they lack the motivation to excel or even the right person to push them in that direction. It wasn't until his teacher Mr. MacFarland pushed the author Mike Rose to try harder in his classes did he make any effort. I think everyone can relate to that one teacher that actually cared. The teacher that when beyond teaching and pushed their students to better themselves. I also found the description of vocational education and how students were placed there to be appalling. Mike Rose describes a vocational track as "a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for the disaffected." I know it is meant to help these students but in the end it sounds much like it is not challenging them. Overall this article was extremely interesting to read especially about the how affected he was by the way his school taught their students.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Achievement of Desire

In "The Achievement of Desire" Richard Rodriguez explains the meaning of education. Education is not just a tool used for students to grow in knowledge but also an adaptive environment to mold the student's minds. Richard Rodriguez speaks of the difficulty he had in his academic growth. This difficulty was produced by the necessity to balance his school life with his home life. He said that he would spend hours reading and completing homework however; his parents were unable to understand his passion for learning. His parents, especially his mother, did however encourage him to continue on with his studies in hopes of attaining a good job later on in life. Throughout his studies he realized the changes that were occurring within him as a person. As he saw these changes he became more and more frightened that he was loosing himself. He was so changed by his studies that his home life became awkward to the point where he could hardly hold a conversation with his parents. He states "...the scholarship boy grows nostalgic because he remains the uncertain scholar, bright enough to have moved from his past, yet unable to feel easy, a part of a community of academics." This quote describes his difficult transition into a scholarship boy. He had great potential to be a scholar and was able to break away from his past however, he was unable to feel as though he was apart of the academic community he so longed to be in. I found this story gave me new perspective on education and how it affects students.