Carrie Starbird, Pasadena City College (Math)
I was introduced to Reading Apprenticeship through LACCD’s Faculty Teaching and Learning Academy (FTLA) and 3CSN’s Basic Skills Initiative Leadership Institute (BSILI). I have come to believe in the power of RA, and have begun to spread the word to colleagues across campus that RA can be a way to improve student success in any discipline.
In the spring 2012 semester, I did a little RA with my students and used the “Curriculum Embedded Reading Assessment (CERA)” to determine their level of metacognition. I did the CERA near the beginning of the semester, and again, with the same piece, near the end of the semester. I was happy to
note that many of my students made huge leaps in their metacognitive ability, with just a minor intervention of Reading Apprenticeship.
Since my spring semester results were so good, I decided to use RA again for my summer class. I did a think aloud on one of our first days of classes, and used it to introduce a topic that, in the past, students have struggled with. I typically discuss the topic on one day, they attempt to do homework on the topic, and then when we return to class the next time, I spend a great deal of time going over what we previously discussed. This time, I used the think aloud activity to get them to actually think about the words that were floating across their retinas. This time, when I brought them together to discuss the topic for the very first time, they all had a fairly good understanding of the concepts. I discussed the finer points, and gave them plenty of examples. And, when we returned the following class session, I didn’t have to re-explain it all over again! They got it, and it was clear from their performance on the homework, quizzes, and exams, that they really did understand the material!
I was so thrilled with the results of this activity! I once believed that I didn’t have time to dedicate to anything other than the material for my course, but RA has transformed my thinking. I now know that by giving my students the tools they need to teach themselves and to be critical thinkers that I will actually save time, and be able to have more meaningful conversations in my classes.