Transacting with Text: The Bridge Between Reading & Writing?

I loved all of the different strategies that were presented during this week’s class. I could definitely see applications of all of them to different content areas as well as within library instruction. I have used variations of the ‘Somebody Wanted But So’ strategy in the past and am interested in trying another version of it and/or similar graphic organizers with my students. I really loved the Fact or Fiction idea and could see this strategy being applied to different genres, library/research skills. It also seems like a great way to potentially connect older and younger students by having one group create topics/questions/statements etc for the other or later going back and ‘fact-checking’ the work of another group.

In thinking about our readings, the overarching idea of transacting with text is one that I find to be particularly interesting. It seems as though it could be a bridge between the processes of reading and writing. In thinking about how I interact with a text as a learner, I can see many parallels between marking up a text and composing one. I love the emphasis on writing as a process that should be meaningful and necessary for students. The idea of learning to compose for different purposes and to select the processes most appropriate for these purposes (p 47) is one that I think lends itself well to what we could be doing in library.

This idea of composing texts with specific audiences and/or purposes in mind is one that, at the elementary level, is not explicitly addressed on a consistent basis. Last year, my 5th grade students worked through the research process with a topic and question of their choosing. They then had the choice of creating either a presentation or website with their information. Though we spent a lot of time learning the technical skills behind these tools, the project did allow for conversations about audience. The student who had looked at different designs of sneakers decided to present his information in the form of an advertisement, explaining the design choices behind a popular shoe. Another student decided to create a website all about ballet for kids and began to think about her audience as she was selecting video clips to add to her site. In shifting from transacting to composing texts, I wonder what role technology plays? Are technology skills similar to grammar? At what point do they shift from being a necessary foundation to an integrate skill within a larger process?

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