By Jamie Price, Lindsay Lester, Kayla Knupp, LaShay Jennings, & Edward J. Dwyer, East Tennessee State University
In addition, an extensive review of research lead Flippo (2014) to conclude that literacy learning is greatly enhanced through “social interactions with people …and with the literacy products of people” (p. 43). The literacy product described herein, comb-bound books, can be treasures for both students and their families and friends. In this light, Calkins (2013) determined that designating part of the classroom as a writing center where all the essential materials are housed encourages production and efficiency. Much of the research cited above can be gracefully summarized in a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” The authors have made hundreds of books with children. A strategy we have also used is to encourage upper grade students to provide support for younger students. For example, first grade students can make a book of nursery rhymes with the support of upper grade students. We include a picture of the child (Figure 1) on the inside or the outside cover of some of the books. Figures 2 and 3 demonstrate the type of material included in the comb-bound books. Production strategies can be presented in an engaging and enjoyable teacher workshop format. Making books containing high-frequency words in lists and in sentences has been a favorite activity with primary grade students. We use the Oxford Common Words (Wikipedia, 2015) which contain the 100 most common words in print and the most common adjectives, prepositions, nouns, and verbs. We embed the students’ names in short sentences containing the words. Students do repeated readings of the word lists with partners. We also use books of poems and employ scaffolding strategies adapted from those proposed by Rasinski (2010). For example, a student might select to read Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. The student would practice reading the poem from his/her own book of poems and eloquently read the poem during a sharing time. As Rasinski and Smith (2018) suggested students do not read until they are thoroughly prepared. In this light, Rasinski and Smith (2018) proposed that choral reading and echo reading encourage prosody that leads to fluent oral reading during a performance for an appreciative audience. A summary is presented in Appendix A. Making Comb-bound Books We have found that making comb-bound books is an enjoyable multisensory approach for experientially involving students in their learning in a productive manner. There are countless opportunities to apply the strategies presented in a variety of learning environments. The comb-bound production, including suggested materials, is described below:
Reading Matters Teaching Matters
Inside front cover and first page.
Gardner (2004) powerfully demonstrated the need for involving as many modes of intelligence as can be integrated into the learning environment. Gardner persuasively challenged the contention that intelligence is a fixed capacity that cannot be enhanced through instruction and engaging experiences by asserting that educators/leaders, through engaging in positive intervention, can enhance intelligence. Reading and producing products related to reading, in light of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, encourages linguistic intelligence, which Gardner described as “facility in the use of spoken and written language” (p. 31). Gardner determined that the different intelligences interact and overlap when students engage in enjoyable activities that involve production of products. Jackson (2008) concluded that students spend inordinate amounts of time engaging in screen-oriented activities. The comb- bound book activity described herein provides a respite from engaging with screen-oriented activities. In this light, decrying the excessive routinization that is all too often found in screen-based and typical school-oriented activities, Weil (2011) determined that “healthy variability” (p. 9) is essential to encourage learning. From a scientific perspective, neurologist-turned-classroom- teacher Willis (2008), determined that children learn best when they are actively and creatively involved in their learning. Willis concluded that active and affect-oriented learning increases dopamine, a brain chemical that enhances learning through a sense of well-being. Harvey andWard (2017) determined that engaging activities are especially important for students who are struggling readers. Harvey andWard proposed that all students, especially lower achieving students, benefit from classroom community building experiences. These researchers used the term“strivers” rather than “struggling” students. In addition, students who are striving readers often have substantial difficulty with mathematical problems presented in narrative formats (Vilenius-Tuohimaa, Aunola, & Nurmi, 2008).