We discussed literacy and purposeful reading. We agreed students need to understand or at least sense a purpose when reading fiction and non-fiction texts. Our classes range from Special Education to AP, and even though they have different academic needs, it is important that they learn how to read with a sense of direction. We remind students differentiate between fiction, non-fiction, and textbooks. Those texts are each read differently. Then we try to give them reading strategies including looking at the ends of chapters or sections for clues or summaries. We encourage students to create a purpose and find a strategy that works for them.

Our group discussed the use of Socratic Seminars as a way for students to get deeper into texts. I have used them fairly often in my AP language and composition class, especially with nonfiction texts. I like the way Socratic Seminars provide a relaxed atmosphere in which students can ask questions and/or solve problems without feeling threatened or "stupid" for not understanding some of what they have read. I also like them because students are largely self-directed (with occasional nudges from the teacher to get them started). We talked about the use of seminars in other classes as well. For instance, we thought it could be useful in our freshman classes for lit circle discussions.

Del Schmidt
Steven Woolery
Brent Helmkamp