But, moving on…another point that this chapter makes, that is SO important, is the fact that readers construct meaning NOT solely from the words and sentence structure, but from the interaction that occurs between the reader and the text. It is extremely important to remember, as teachers, that not all of our students will be able to develop that meaningful interaction; especially not ESL students. I mean, how could they? They are completely unaware of the cultural, social, political, emotional, etc. implications that reside within the text of a story. Can you imagine reading a book that discusses a holiday or celebration that you are completely unaware of? How could you possibly understand, or comprehend, what the story is about?
There are so many different roles/characters that a reader must try on, or become, when he/she reads text. You become a “code breaker, a text participant, user, and analyst”. As teachers, we can’t assume that every single one of our students is capable of putting on this mask when they pick up a story. We have to be patient, and empathetic to the journey every one of our students is taking in the process of becoming literate individuals.
As Brooke said in her post, I found the activities that were provided on pages 84-97 VERY helpful. But, not only is it important to plan and implement great activities, but (I’d almost say this is MORE important) is picking the right books. Picking the right book will help students acquire language AND reading skills.
All in all, it is vital that we, as teachers, “build bridges into the text” (Gibbons, p. 100), and allow our ESL students the opportunity to connect with the text in a meaningful way, and develop a love for reading.