tinker with text
Literacy-Based Maker Education
What does the word “code” conjure up for you? Secret code, da Vinci code, alarm code, code of conduct, computer code? Last year, we had a “Wonder Wall” in the classroom, which was a big whiteboard where students could write their inquiry questions. One boy was curious about Morse code and we all learned a lot about that topic through his research.
When you build a home, it must be built to code. The city, architect, contractor, construction company and labourers must all adhere to this code to ensure a safe and healthy building. Referee gestures and ship flags are types of code too. Essentially, codes are a system of rules to convert information.
The sound system of a language is a code as well, and can be just as complicated. When we tell a young reader to “sound it out,” this is known as decoding. In other words, it means to undo the mystery by tinkering with the system. The alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling are all part of the code that needs to be understood to read and write.
How do you encourage children to tinker with text when teaching children to de-code?
I know that many primary teachers teach decoding and spelling within what’s known as “Word Work.” Don’t get me wrong ... I love the Daily Five framework and think that it has transformed literacy instruction. However, I’ve started calling it “Word Play.” Yes, it’s just semantics but many words have both positive and negative connotations. Do your students cheer when/if you assign home-work or are you excited about spending all day Saturday on yard-work? Why not choose the word with the positive vibe?
Here’s some things to try when playing with words and tinkering with text:
NOTE: I'm not advertising any of the resources, apps, or programs mentioned in this post. These are just some of the methods and materials that educators may use in literacy instruction. Be sure to tinker with them in a way that helps students learn and fits your teaching style and pedagogical beliefs.
Vicki Den Ouden is an Elementary Reading Intervention Teacher from BC, Canada. She loves to dream, learn, teach, and create.