Growth Mindset Meets Reading Instruction

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The word YET. A three letter word that could arguably be one of the most powerful word for every student to meet his or her potential as a learner and as a person. It represents a type of mindset where failures are just a part of the learning process. A type of mindset where the process is valued just as much as the end result. But what does this mean for reading instruction?

Through the lens of a reader, the word yet symbolizes a reader's ability to keep all of their questions and wonders that may confuse them now, and acknowledge that they just may not have the answer quite yet. When we are reading, we naturally move from confusion to clarity because that is the way the author designed it. As students move into higher levels of proficiency, they realize that it is okay to not know something yet. They trust in the text, that eventually, the author will reveal the answers to their questions.

However, inexperienced or young readers may not know that this confusion is common and often purposeful by the authors. It is our job as educators to not only model the type of mindset we want our readers to develop, but also provide them with the strategies that will develop the understanding that through the confusion you eventually find clarity.

The question moves to how do we as teachers of reading facilitate being conscious of our thinking about reading without comprehending for them? As teachers it is in our nature to want to clarify things for our students and ask guided questions along the way to make sure they are understanding. However, as we think about how students move from confusion to clarity, it makes you reflect and wonder, are we actually doing the work for them?

It all comes back to students having the type of mentality that allows them to trust in themselves as a reader to be able to value the process of their learning. We want to make sure that we are giving students strategies that begin to make that invisible work of reading visible and empower them as readers. Instilling this type of mindset, not only in our students as individuals, but as readers is something worth pursuing!

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