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Campus Compact > Syllabi > Education > Language and Literacy

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Language and Literacy

School: University of Houston-Downtown
Professor: Leigh Van Horn, Ed.D.

Course Description:

Investigates the relationship between language and thought, theories of language development, changes in the young child’s cognitive structure, and the role of the teacher in literacy development.  It is designed to address the Texas State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) Standards for Reading/Language Arts.

Prerequisites and Credit Hours:

Completion of READ 3305 and admission to the Teacher Education program of the Urban Education Department is required for this

3-hour course.

Text:

Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., and Johnston, F. (2008). Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Literacy Portfolio – created in READ 3305

Educational Objectives are based on the Competencies for EC-6 Reading/Language Arts for Students in the EC-6 Program:

Competency  I: Oral Language: Teachers of young students understand the importance of oral language, know the developmental processes of oral language, and provide a variety of instructional opportunities for young students to develop listening and speaking skills.

Competency II: Phonological and Phonemic Awareness: Teachers of young students understand the components of phonological and phonemic awareness and utilize a variety of approaches to help young students develop this awareness and its relationship to written language.

Competency III: Alphabetic Principle: Teachers of young students understand the importance of the alphabetic principle to reading English, know the elements of the alphabetic principle, and provide instruction that helps students understand that printed words consist of graphic representations that relate to the sounds of spoken language in conventional and intentional ways.

Competency IV: Literacy Development and Practice: Teachers of young students understand that literacy develops over time and progresses from emergent to proficient stages. Teachers use a variety of contexts to support the development of young students’ literacy.

Competency V: Word Analysis and Decoding: Teachers understand the importance of word analysis and decoding to reading and provide many opportunities for students to improve word analysis and decoding abilities.

Competency VI: Reading Fluency: Teachers understand the importance of fluency to reading comprehension and provide many opportunities for students to improve reading fluency.

Competency VII: Reading Comprehension: Teachers understand the importance of reading for understanding, know the components of comprehension, and teach young students strategies for improving comprehension.

Competency VIII: Development of Written Communication: Teachers understand that writing to communicate is a developmental process and provide instruction that helps young students develop competence in written communication.

Competency IX: Writing Conventions: Teachers understand how young students use writing conventions and how to help students develop those conventions.

Competency X: Assessment and Instruction of Developing Literacy: Teachers understand the basic principles of assessment and use a variety of literacy assessment practices to plan and implement literacy instruction for young students.

Competency XI: Research and Inquiry Skills: Teachers understand the importance of study and inquiry skills as tools for learning and promote students’ development in applying study and inquiry skills.

Competency XII: Viewing and Representing: Teachers understand how to interpret, analyze, evaluate, and produce.

Educational Objectives are based on the Competencies for 4-8 Reading/Language Arts for Students in the 4-8 Program:

Competency I: Oral Language: Teachers of students in grades 4-8 understand the importance of oral language, know the developmental processes of oral language, and provide a variety of instructional opportunities for students to develop listening and speaking skills.

Competency II:            Foundations of Reading: Teachers of students in grades 4-8 understand the foundations of reading and early literacy development.

Competency III: Word Analysis Skills and Reading Fluency: Teachers understand the importance of word analysis skills (including decoding, blending, structural analysis, sight word vocabulary) and reading fluency and provide many opportunities for students to practice and improve their word analysis skills and reading fluency.

Competency IV: Reading Comprehension: Teachers understand the importance of reading for understanding, know the components of comprehension, and teach students strategies for improving their comprehension.

Competency V:            Written Language: Teachers understand that writing is a developmental process and provide instruction that helps students develop competence in written communication.

Competency VI: Study and Inquiry Skills: Teachers understand the importance of study and inquiry skills as tools for learning and promote students’ development in applying study and inquiry skills.

Competency VII: Viewing and Representing: Teachers understand how to interpret, analyze, evaluate, and produce visual images and messages in various media and provide students with opportunities to develop skills in this area.

Competency VIII: Assessment of Developing Literacy: Teachers understand the basic principles of assessment and use a variety of literacy assessment strategies to plan and implement literacy instruction.

Course Requirements:

  1. Prompt and regular attendance and participation is important and expected in this class that prepares you for children’s literacy instruction.
  2. Creating a community of learners is critical in a literacy classroom.   Mutual respect will be expected to ensure success for all learners. Please refrain from using cell phones, texting, or working on your laptops during class time. Your professional demeanor and participation during your classmates’ presentations is considered in your points for class participation.
  3. The class involves learner-centered discussions and activities.  Each student has a commitment to the class and/or group to come prepared to actively participate and to apply the information acquired through the assignment.  Assignments are due on the day indicated on the calendar unless otherwise noted. Points will be deducted for assignments turned in late – one point per class meeting.

Course Assignments:

  1. Class participation (5 points): Class participation includes prompt and regular attendance as well as active participation in classroom discussions and activities based on the reading assignments.  Assignment completion is critical and will be assessed each class session.  Please bring your Literacy Standards Portfolio and textbook to each class meeting. One point will be deducted for each absence.
  2. Professional Development/Community Service Activity (5 points): It is critical for literacy professionals and educators to develop their understandings of the members of their community and literacy issues. Your career as an educator will involve you in professional development and community service and it is important that you begin learning what this means while you are engaged in your university course work and preparing to become a teacher.  Using the calendar provided to you on the first day of class, choose and participate in one of the university sanctioned professional development or community service activities listed. To receive credit you must hand in evidence of your attendance/participation.
  3. Learning Activity Incorporating a Poem or a Song (10 pts.): You will work with a small group in class to choose a poem or a song and develop a learning activity focused on phonemic and phonological awareness and/or the alphabetic principle to accompany the poem or song. Please create your own visual representation of the poem or song. Do not make a copy of the page from the poetry or song book. Your poem or song/activity write-up should include the following: your names; the competency (ies) addressed with your activity; the name of the poem or song; the poem or song in a reproducible format; and a detailed description of the activity you have developed to “teach” literacy elements as you and your students enjoy reading the poem or singing the song.  Each group will have the opportunity to engage the whole class group in their activity. I will then make photocopies of your activity for the members of the class and we will file them in our Literacy Portfolios.
  4. Spelling Inventory and Reflection (10 pts.): Use the Elementary Spelling Inventory on pp. 270-271 to assess a child whose grade placement falls between 1st and 4th grade, or the Upper Level Spelling Inventory on pp. 273-274 to assess a child whose grade placement falls between 4th and 6th grade. See pages 34 and 35 to help you determine your student’s stage of   spelling development. Complete the Reflection Sheet. Think about your process and what you have learned to prepare for small and large group class discussions of yourfindings, conclusions, and implications.
  5. Student Storytelling and Interview (10 pts.): Oral language is critical to the development of reading and writing. You will read an excerpt from Gunning, T. G. (2006). Closing the literacy gap. NY: Pearson provided to you. You will then work with the same child you partnered with for the Spelling Inventory and Reflection project. Ask him/her to share a story with you. If possible, tape the story and then transcribe it after the child is finished. If this is not possible, write the story as the child is telling it. Write the exact words of the child. When the child has finished telling the story, extend the story by asking questions and commenting. Note the child’s responses to what you say. Next, complete the student interview provided to you in class. When you have completed the session, write a reflection for your Reflective Portfolio.
  6. Learning Activity Teaching the Essentials of Reading with a Picture Book (10 pts.): Based upon my demonstrations from Teaching the Essentials of Reading with Picture Books, and our in-class discussions, you will work with a small group on one topic: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, or comprehension. You will work with your peers and myself in class. Your group will choose a book and develop a lesson focused on one of the afore-mentioned topics. You will make copies of your lesson for all members of the class to be filed in our literacy portfolios. During the last two class periods the small groups will have the opportunity to engage their classmates in the learning experience they have designed. Note (1): A lesson  framework and checklist will be provided prior to our planning sessions.  Note (2): Before choosing a topic, think about what might be helpful to the child you are working with and let that guide the topic you choose and the experience you  design. When you and your group have designed a lesson, you will meet individually with the child you are working with and engage him/her in the experience and write a reflection about the session for your Reflective Portfolio. Note (3): Your reflection should describe the session in detail including descriptions of how the child responded and interacted with the materials, your thoughts about the experience and the impact upon the child’s literacy learning. In order to receive credit, the reflectionshould be typed, double-spaced, and no less than one page in length.
  7. Learning Activity Stages of Word Knowledge (10 pts.): Based upon your text, Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, you will refer back to the results of your Spelling Inventory and Reflection with the child you are working with, and choose one stage: Emergent, Letter-Name Alphabetic, Within Word Pattern, Syllables and Affixes, or Derivational Relations. Within the chapter devoted to this topic there is a section describing suggested teaching/learning activities for learners in this stage of word knowledge development. You will turn to the section in the chapter with activities devoted to the stage at which the child you are working with is beginning to perform (uses, but confuses) with the suggested activities and choose one activity to develop, demonstrate in class, and to engage the child you are working with.

Note:  A sign up sheet will be provided in class. Please be sure that you have signed up for a demonstration, and that you have noted the date on your personal copy of the syllabus.

Please develop a write-up to accompany your demonstration/teaching session which includes:

  • The stage of word knowledge
  • The name of the activity
  • Description of the activity as included in your text
  • Explanation of your understanding of the activity and how you went about thinking through it and preparing for your presentation and teaching session
  • Extension for the activity – How would you add to the activity or adapt it for English Language Learners or Bilingual students?

You should make a copy of your activity for each member of the class. These activities will be filed in your Literacy Portfolios. If appropriate, create materials you will need to help you demonstrate your learning activity to your peers. Please plan to actively engage all your classmates in the learning experience. Note: You will meet with the child you are working with and engage him/her in the learning experience. After the session you will write a reflection for your Reflective Portfolio.

Note: Your reflection should describe the session in detail including descriptions of how the child responded and interacted with the materials, your thoughts about the experience and the impact upon the child’s literacy learning. In order to receive credit, the reflectionshould be typed, double-spaced, and no less than one page in length.

8. Reflective Portfolio (20 points): The reflective portfolio on your assessment and instruction experiences with a child in our community includes the following:

    • Spelling Inventory and Reflection
    • Student Storytelling, Interview, and Reflection
    • Learning Activity Teaching the Essentials of Reading with a Picture Book and Reflection on Teaching Session
    • Learning Activity for a Stage of Word Knowledge and Reflection on Teaching Session
    • Final reflection on what you have been able to learn about the evaluation/teaching process and the literacy of this particular child

Note: All reflections should be written in a clear and professional manner which could be shared with a parent or another educator.

9. Final Exam (20 points): You will have a comprehensive final exam that will include key terms in literacy as well as opportunities to reflect upon the knowledge you have acquired this semester.

Evaluation:

Participation –  5 points

Prof. Dev./Comm. Svc. Activity –  5 points

Learning Activity Incorporating a Poem or Song         – 10 points

Spelling Inventory and Reflection – 10 points

Student Storytelling and Interview and Reflection – 10 points

Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection Using Teaching the Essentials of Reading with a Picture Book – 10 points

Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection Stages of Word Knowledge – 10 points

Reflective Portfolio  -  20 points

Final exam –  20 points

Total – 100 points

Tentative Calendar

Date/Topic/Assignment Due/Assignment

1/19

TOPIC: Introduction, Review of the Syllabus, Building a Literate Community on the First Day of School, Using Students’ Names for Reading and Writing from Day One

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read excerpts from Fountas and Pinnell Word Matters “Eight Principles of Literacy Learning” and “Designing a Quality Literacy Program”. Reflect on your reading by completing a dialogue journal where you use the following three headings: “What I Read” (includes page and paragraph number as well as written copy of excerpt from the text); “What I Think About It” (includes your personal reflections and the connections you make to your previous learning; and “How Might This Impact My Teaching” (includes thoughts about how you might adapt/incorporate your readings and reflections into your own classroom practice.

Bring a selection of personal/family photographs with your name written lightly on the back of each photograph. These photographs will be used to demonstrate sorting and for other literacy related activities in the next class period.

Go to Blackboard VISTA and print out the course documents associated with this course. Three hole punch the documents and bring them AND your literacy portfolio binder to the next class meeting. I will have print-outs of other documents and we will organize your course materials for the semester together.

 

1/26

TOPIC: Fountas and Pinnell “Eight Principles of Literacy Learning: and “Designing a Quality Literacy Program”; Classroom Discourse: Sharing Time; Organize course materials in literacy portfolio binders

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Oral language is critical to the development of reading and writing. You will read an excerpt from Gunning, T. G. (2006). Closing the literacy gap. NY: Pearson provided to you. You will then choose a child (EC-6). Ask him/her to share a story with you. If possible, tape the story and then transcribe it after the child is finished.

If this is not possible, write the story as the child is telling it. Write the exact words of the child. When the child has finished telling the story, extend the story by asking questions and commenting. Note the child’s responses to what you say. Then, complete the student interview provided to you in class. Finally, write a reflection about your experience. We will share our experiences with this in the next class meeting.

Read Words Their Way, Chapter 1, “Why Word Study”

Use the five post-it notes provided in class to summarize your reading as if you were explaining to a parent the following topics: 1. Why word study? Why is it important? What is the purpose of word study?  2.  What is the basis for word study?  3. Compare the stages of word knowledge to the reading stages. How does a teacher know a child’s stage of development?  4.  Briefly explain each stage of word knowledge. (2 post-its)

Begin preparing the sound boards and pictures for sorts and games found in the appendix on pp. 277-319 on cardstock. Copy the pictures on pp. 282-319 on cardstock and cut each page into individual letters and pictures. Determine a system of organizing the pictures with the corresponding letters for easy accessibility. (If you have access to free laminating or if it is within your budget, you may want to consider it. It is not a requirement and will not influence your grade. You may also want to color the pictures if you wish; you are making these for your classroom use. Again, this is not a requirement and will not influence your grade)

 

2/2

TOPIC: Words Their Way, Chapter 1 “Why Word Study?”; Cazden – Assessment/Evaluation of Children’s Narratives; Spelling Inventory – Introduction; Student Storytelling, Interview, and Reflection Due

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way, Chapter 2, “Getting Started: The Assessment of Orthographic Development” and “Assessment Materials for Chapter 2”; Using the Primary Spelling Inventory and Feature Guide (pp. 266-267) or the Elementary Spelling Inventory on pp. 270-271 of the Appendix, assess a child whose grade placement falls between 1st and 4th grade. Or, you may use the Upper Level Spelling Inventory on pp. 273-274 to assess a child whose grade placement falls between 4th and 6th grade. There is also a Spanish Spelling Inventory you may use in the CD that accompanies your text.(See sample of a completed evaluation on p. 35 in your textbook). (Note: the Feature Guide and Reflection Sheet are filled out after the session with the child has been completed, not when the child is present.)

Think about your process and what you have learned to prepare for small and large group discussions of your findings, conclusions, and implications.

 

2/9

TOPIC: Words Their Way Chapter 2, “Getting Started: The Assessment of  Orthographic Development; Introduction to Phonemic Awareness; Working with a small group to develop a literacy activity based upon a poem or song; Spelling Inventory and Reflection Due

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way, Chapter 3, “Organizing for Word Study: Principles and Practices”; “The Language Experience Approach to Word Learning”; excerpt from “Teaching Writing Balancing Process and Product.”  Bring to class the write-up for the poem or song for your group.

 

2/16

TOPIC: Words Their Way. Chapter 3, “Organizing for Word Study: Principles and Practices”; Sharing picture sort (5 students); Sharing literacy activity based upon a poem or song (Due); The Language Experience Approach and Student Writing

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Rasinski and Padak handout, “Teaching Phonemic Awareness,” from From Phonics to Fluency. Use the post-it notes provided to you in class to place notes in the text of this  reading. Your notes should provide you with an opportunity to respond and reflect directly to what you have read in the place where you have read it. The notes will be a point of reference for you during discussion of the readings at the next class meeting.

 

2/23

TOPIC: Sharing picture sort (5 students); Rasinski and Padak handout, “Teaching Phonemic Awareness,” from From Phonics to Fluency; Van Horn – Demonstration/Discussion – Teaching the Essentials of Phonemic Awareness with Picture Books

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way Chapter 4, “Word Study for Learners in the Emergent Stage”

 

3/2

TOPIC: Words Their Way, Chapter 4, “Word Study for Learners in the Emergent Stage”; Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection – Emergent Stage (Due); Sharing picture sort (5 students); Van Horn – Demonstration/Discussion – Teaching the Essentials of Phonics with Picture Books

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way, Chapter 5, “Word Study for Learners in the Letter Name Alphabetic Stage”

 

3/9

TOPIC: Words Their Way, Chapter 5, “Word Study for Learners in the Letter Name Alphabetic Stage”; Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection – Letter Name Alphabetic Stage (Due); Sharing picture sort (5 students); Van Horn – Demonstration/Discussion – Teaching the Essentials of Fluency with Picture Books

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way, Chapter 6, “Word Study for Learners in the Within Word Pattern Stage”

 

3/16

No class – University closed for spring break

 

3/23

TOPIC: Words Their Way, Chapter 6, “Word Study for Learners in the Within Word Pattern Stage”; Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection – Within Word Pattern Stage (Due); Sharing picture sort (5 students); Van Horn – Demonstration/Discussion – Teaching the Essentials of Vocabulary with Picture Books

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way, Chapter 7, “Word Study for Learners in the Syllables and Affixes Stage”

 

3/30

TOPIC: Words Their Way, Chapter 7, “Word Study for Learners in the Syllables and Affixes Stage”; Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection – Syllables and Affixes Stage – Due; Sharing picture sort (5 students); Van Horn – Demonstration/Discussion – Teaching the Essentials of Comprehension with Picture Books

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Read Words Their Way, Chapter 8, “Word Study for Learners in the Derivational Relations Stage”; Read excerpt from Teaching the Essentials of Reading With Picture Books

 

4/6

TOPIC: Words Their Way, Chapter 8, “Word Study for Learners in the Derivational Relations Stage”; Learning Activity/Demo/Teaching Session/Reflection – Derivational Relations Stage – Due; Sharing picture sort (5 students); Discussion of excerpt from Teaching the Essentials of Reading With Picture Books (pp. 5-13 – “Introduction,” “Teaching Reading Through Reading Aloud,” “Choosing Books for Reading Lessons,” and “The Five Building Blocks of Reading: An Overview”; Small groups work to develop a literacy lesson to teach the essentials of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary or comprehension.

 

4/13    

TOPIC: Creative writing experiences with Myra Cohn Livingston’s poetry; The Subtext Strategy and Readers Theater; Classroom Discourse: Reconceptualization and Variations in Discourse

of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, or comprehension.

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Be prepared to present your literacy lesson to the class. Please bring copies for each of your classmates to file in his/her Literacy Portfolio.”

 

4/20

TOPIC: Teaching the Essentials of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Using Picture Books; Demonstrations Teaching the Essentials of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Using Picture Books

 

4/27

TOPIC: Teaching the Essentials of Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension Using Picture Books; Demonstrations Teaching the Essentials of Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension Using Picture Books; Reflective Portfolio Due – This includes: Spelling Inventory and Reflection; Student Storytelling, Interview, and Reflection; Learning Activity Teaching the Essentials of Reading with a Picture Book and Reflection on Teaching Session; Learning Activity for a Stage of Word Knowledge and Reflection on Teaching Session; Final reflection on what you have been able to learn about the evaluation/teaching process and the literacy of this particular child

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT MEETING: Prepare for Final Exam

 

5/4

No class – University Reading Day

 

5/11

Final Exam during regular class period at usual location

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