I have to admit, I am obsessed right now with learning about brain research and how it can impact student learning in a positive way. Now, teaching and learning have gone through MANY changes over time and the truth is that there is no perfect way to teach. What we know about the realities of teaching today, we have to find is right for each student- and that varies of course tremendously. What I do know is we definitely need to learn more about teaching according to the best way the brain receives and retains information.
After all, ALL students have a brain!!
Brain research done by Trachtenburg ( 1990) asserts using a whole-part-whole approach is the best way to connect the skills you need to teach to literature. According to him, there should be NO isolation. Unless students are connecting the skills to actual text, they will be less likely to make the transfer themselves.
So the whole-part-whole process can be used with any skill for any small group or individual instruction/intervention and looks like this..
Start with a whole text. Grounding your literacy experiences this way is the foundation of meaningful instruction. The selected text could meet one of 2 goals. (1.) It could be a book used previously for another skill that students are rereading for fluency and/or for running record information. (2.) It could be the text you are using to teach the new skill, and you will have the skill or strategy rise from the book.
Focus on the reading skill you want to teach. This should be a planned, explicit way of highlighting the specific reading skill the students need to learn. For example, you may zero in on a phonics skill, text feature, or literary device students need to know.
Return to the text to apply the newly learned skill. Now, students have the opportunity to immediately apply/practice/identify the newly learned skill in context. This could be a new text, or a familiar one students have experience with. The goal is to take everything you teach students about reading back to the text! After all, that’s where they will need to use it, right?
This whole-part-whole method is ensures reading skills are taught in a meaningful, strategic way that takes into account the best way the brain receives and retains information.