I found the readings and jig saw discussion I had on Day 5 about reading beyond traditional texts informative but not as helpful as the past days readings. It seemed that we could all agree that getting out side of traditional texts was a good thing but where to proceed wasn’t as clear, at least to me. As an example I read the article “What Pokemon Can Teach Us About Learning and Literacy”. In this article the author shows how her nephew is learning literacy concepts and skills through Pokemon. She made some really good connections but also some connections that seemed like she was kind of reaching for something that wasn’t really there. Pokemon cards do contain text, but not much and can be very different then reading novels or textbooks. So the question I had (that was never addressed) was if these skills her nephew learned through collecting and trading Pokemon cards carried over into the classroom. Maybe I was just spoiled by past articles being more practical and applicable, but I really felt this article was lacking. The author did ask some really good questions at the end of the article like “what can we learn about what motivates children to stay in the game in spite of increasing difficulty” or “how can we capitalize on the new literacies developed through everyday engagement with popular texts?” However I was disappointed that she just left it there and didn’t try to answer those questions. I do realize that not all articles will answer all the questions and the point of some is to merely ask a question, to get it out there and get people thinking about it. I guess I just like the practical ones better.
I absolutely believe that non-traditional texts can have a place in the classroom and can be helpful in motivating students, helping with differentiation and scaffolding other material. The readings and discussions today reinforced this belief. I learned that it is also important for a teacher to ask students about their reading habits and listen to what they have to say. Also model a wider understanding of reading material to your students. Let them know that literature other then novels and textbooks can be valuable in developing literacy. The final thought for today would be that it’s important to recognize where kids are at and what’s important to them.