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Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies





Summer Institute

Cambourne Article

First Language Literacy

Spring 2002


Instructor: Holbrook Mahn
Credit Hours: 3
Place: Montezuma Elementary School
Office: Hokona 212 

Office Hours: Tues. & Thurs. 1:30 - 3:00 & TBA
Phone 277-5887; home: 881-7981
e-mail: hmahn@unm.edu

Course Description and Rationale:
This course will examine theories of first language literacy acquisition and development. It is the first part of a two course sequence, the second part of which is second language literacy acquisition and development. We will examine literacy from a number of different perspectives and then building on this understanding, we will examine practical classroom applications that will facilitate the acquisition and development of literacy. Initially, we will discuss a methodological approach to study literacy and then explore the development of literacy, as a prelude to studying the processes at play as an individual acquires and develops literacy at home and at school.

1. To develop a methodological approach to study first language literacy acquisition and development.
2. To examine the historical development of literacy and construct a definition of literacy.
3. To examine the way that literacy develops in a child's first five years.
4. Based on that understanding to develop a pedagogical approach that builds on that development.
5. To critique current approaches to the teaching of literacy.
6. To develop classroom practices that reflect students' own developing conception of literacy acquisition and development.
7. To understand the relationship between literacy and technology and how to integrate them in the classroom.

Course Assignments:
On-line discussion (15%)-- Regular participation in an on-line discussion set up for this course which is accessible by clicking Here. This on-line discussion allows us to ask questions, make comments, respond to questions, raise concerns, in essence to carry on a dialogue with our peers and the instructor. Students should make at least one contribution per week.

Tutoring (15%) -- Each student will be assigned or will find on their own a low progress reader in the primary grades to tutor for one hour a week for ten weeks. At the end of ten weeks students will write a short (2-3 page) reflection on the tutoring experience focusing on what you have learned through this experience.

Demonstration (10%) -- Each student will be responsible for doing a 10-15 minute demonstration, using our class, of an activity described in Conversations.

Literacy Action Plan (25%) -- This project will give you the opportunity to reflect on your approach to teaching literacy and to develop a plan that you would implement in your classroom. This plan should start with a 2-3 page statement of the underlying theoretical approach that will inform the way that literacy activities are constructed in your classroom.You will then give an overview of how your curriculum will be organized. This should include routines that are done on a regular basis. You should also include the description of an activity that reflects your approach to literacy instruction. You can use this project to develop a plan that you would implement if you were not constrained by other considerations. We will discuss this project at greater length in class.

Final Project (35%) -- This project will give you the opportunity to explore an area of literacy activity that is of particular interest to you. The kind of inquiry you conduct will vary depending on the nature of your project. It is hoped that this project will be something that helps you in your teaching. No matter what the project is, you will turn in a 2-3 page paper describing your inquiry process -- how and why you choose the project, how you refined the scope, how you gathered the information, what you learned from the process.

Graduate Credit -- a short paper (2-3) pages reviewing two online articles about first language literacy acquisition, that tie in with your Final Project. These reviews will be factored into the 35% allocated to the Final Project.

Required Text: Conversations -- Regie Routman
Other articles on-line or distributed in class.


Course Schedule

Week One -- 1/15 -- Topic: Introduction to the Course and Community Building.

Week Two -- 1/22 -- Development of a Methodological Approach/Origins of Literacy
Reading: Smith -- "Reading -- From Behind the Eyes"; Weaver -- "How Words Are Perceived"; Conversations -- Introduction & Ch. 1

Week Three -- 1/29-- Topic: Constructing an Approach to Literacy
Reading: Harste article; Au article; Conversations -- Introduction; Ch. 2

Week Four -- 2/5 -- Topic: Curriculum Inquiry
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 12

Week Five -- 2/12 -- Approaches to Teaching Literature
Reading: Conversations -- Chs. 3 & 4 to page 121

Week Six -- 2/19 -- Topic: Struggling Readers & Special Needs Students
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 4, 121-169; Lyons -- "Helping a Learning-Disabled Child Enter the Literate World"; Primeaux -- "Shifting Perspectives on Struggling Readers"

Supplementary: The Differentiated Classroom
Orchestrating the Thought and Learning of Struggling Writers

Week Seven -- 2/26 -- Topic: Creating an Environment for Literacy
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 5

Week Eight -- 3/5 -- Topic: Getting Started with Writing
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 6

Week Nine -- 3/12 --
Spring Break

Week Ten -- 3/19 -- Topic: Using Journals in the Classroom
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 7

Week Eleven -- 3/26-- Topic: Creating an Environment for Writing
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 8

Week Twelve -- 4/2 -- Topic: Multiple Purposes & Functions for Writing; Family Literacy

Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 9; Strickland & Taylor -- "Family Storybook Reading: Implications for Children, Families, and Curriculum"

Supplementary: What Is Family Literacy?
Even Start Family Literacy
Literacy Action Plans Due

Week Thirteen -- 4/9 -- Topic: Spelling/Word Study & Reading in the Content Areas
Reading: Conversations -- Chs. 10 & 11

Week Fourteen -- 4/16-- Topic: Evaluation of Literacy Activities
Reading: Conversations -- Ch. 15

Week Fifteen -- 4/26-- Topic: Collaboration and Professional Development & Technology in Literacy Practices
Presentations of Final Projects
Reading: Conversations -- Chs. 13 & 14
Tutoring Reflections Due
Graduate Credit Reviews Due
Last Day to Post to Online Discussion 4/26; Reflective Journals Due

Week Sixteen -- 5/7 --Topic:
Presentations of Final Projects
Reading: Weaver: A Balanced Approach to Reading
; Smith -- "Twelve Easy Ways to Make Learning to Read Difficult"; Labbo, Hoffman & Roser, "Ways to Unintentionally Make Writing Difficult"
No End to the Reading Wars
Links on "Reading Wars"
Final Projects Due


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