1. Make notes while observing a literacy lesson in a grade 4–8 classroom. Analyze the lesson in terms of the components of a balanced and comprehensive literacy program proposed in this chapter.
2. Ask a group of intermediate or middle-school students to discuss the characteristics they feel a good literacy teacher should possess. Then ask them how they feel when they are allowed to select their own materials to read, write about, discuss, or analyze. Is it easier or more difficult for them to create without first being given an idea and/or a direction?
3. Consider the ways you will provide instruction in literacy development. What kinds of activities would you have liked to experience in these grades? How will you model these learning activities? How will you practice facilitating them? How will you assess your students’ learning and understanding? With your instructor or a classmate, plan a lesson, including these learning activities, that you might teach to a small group of intermediate or middle-school students.
4. List the six components of the language arts outlined in this chapter. Ask some middle-school teachers to describe how they address each of them when planning the year’s literacy curriculum.