Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Steps to Practice Self-Regulation Strategies with Emergent Readers, Part 2

By Gaynell R. Jamison, Reading Specialist, Guest Blogger

Today's blog post is the second of a two-part blog post in which I'll describe how you can successfully teach and practice self-regulation strategies with emergent readers using Joy Cowley books. If you missed the first part, you can read Steps to Practice Self-Regulation Strategies with Emergent Readers, Part 1 .

Creating Opportunities for Students to Self-Regulate

In 10 Rules for Reading , Deborah G. Litt outlined difficulties that she experienced while working with children in the early acquisition stage of reading. She developed a way to help her students understand the principles of reading. which in turn increased their ability to self-regulate and monitor themselves during the act of reading.

Rule 6 states, "If you see a part of a word you know (we sometimes call these bits chunks ), you have to say that bit when you get to it” (Litt 2007). Utilizing this principle should assist with students' ability to problem-solve for known or recognizable chunks in the Joy Cowley book Gloves .

If see is a known word, then do some word work with the /ee/ sound. Move from there to the rime eep . The goal is to have the student be able to solve for the words in the story with the /eep/ chunk, as in creep , cheep , sleep .

This activity will call for students to use their knowledge of letters and sounds. Again this calls for directionality and knowledge that we move and work from left to right with letters and sounds sequentially.

Expected Student Outcomes

It is imperative to make certain that students understand how reading works. Never assume that they understand what you are requiring of them. Many times as teachers, we prompt students assuming that they understand what we say and what we mean. This is not always the case.

Modeling, observation, emulation, and feedback are the pillars of the foundation that self-regulation is built upon (Shunck and Zimmerman 2007). Always provide a model for students, so that they will have a template to work from. When you are first introducing a skill or strategy you may have to model it several times.

Talk yourself through the steps and let your students hear and see you do this so that they can observe the process. This will assist them in taking on the procedures that you are trying to teach. Students must come to understand that they must read the author’s words, they cannot make it up.

One of the best examples to get students to understand this concept is to use their own names. For example, if the student’s name is Jaylen, that is what he wants to be called. If you miscalled him Jayden, he would quickly correct you and say, “My name is Jaylen.” Explain to students that when they read they must call each word by its name and read what the author wrote. They cannot change the author’s words, just like you cannot change his name.

As students read a narrative or informational text, observe to see if they start to emulate the strategies that you have worked with them on Students need positive feedback, even if their attempts were partially correct. According to Shunk and Zimmerman, observation and emulation lead to the development of self-regulation. Strategic behaviors must be internalized in order for self-regulation to become efficient and effective (2007).

As students continue to read daily, you should see them begin to take on these self–regulation strategies as they read and become more fluent. You should begin to see evidence of them attending and noticing more, monitoring and self-correcting as they read more challenging text. Taking a running record on a regular basis so that you will have documentation of how your students are progressing.

Lessons Learned About Teaching Self-Regulation

At the beginning of this blog, I shared with you the valuable lesson that I learned as I trained as a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader. Prior to my training, I was what Clay called a "non-noticing" teacher. The valuable lessons that I learned from this training helped me to understand the reading process and how children learn to read. Self-regulation is a skill that every individual will need to come into contact with at some point and time.

Another valuable lesson that was recently confirmed for me was the importance of feedback. I had the opportunity to work with high school students teaching an ACT Reading class. Some of these students taught me what self-regulation was not. At the beginning of class, I established my protocol.

They had to read silently for the first ten minutes of class every day. They were given two articles to read each day but they only had to read one of them. They had to write for ten minutes every day. They were given writing prompts each day.

The students were amazed that I responded to each of their writing prompts. One student asked me if I read all of their writings. This was a class of over thirty students. Those students who were hesitant and uncooperative on completing these two assignments on the first day of class soon began to change and put forth more effort.

I saw firsthand the importance and value of feedback and how it could change the trajectory and path of learning for some of these students. I remained consistent and firm with my protocol and class expectations. Silent reading and writing were tasks that were expected to be completed at the beginning of each class session. Then we moved to the rest of the daily assignments.

We talked about the importance of self-regulation and how they had to be accountable and responsible for their learning. When your students begin to see and understand how self-regulation works they will be excited about their success and learning. Always model for them, give them guided practice as well as independent practice.

Be intentional about selecting guided leveled books that will foster guided practice while you are teaching for self-regulation. Running records will give you a glimpse into independent practice and what skills, strategies, and behaviors the students are using or not using. Stay tuned for more helpful tips to use in your classroom!

Gaynell R. Jamison is a reading specialist, children’s author, early childhood trainer, and pre-K director with 38 years of experience in education. She has studied extensively in the field of literacy with a specialty in teaching reading and administering reading programs as a former Reading Recovery Teacher and Reading Recovery Teacher Leader. She has served on two national committees for leveling books for Reading Recovery. She has a passion for children’s literature with an interest in early and emergent literacy acquisition and teaching young learners to become readers.