The Role of the Teacher in Literature-Based Instruction

The role of the teacher in literature-based instruction is one of decision maker, mentor, and coach. The teacher plans and supports activities that allow children to do those things one naturally does with literature (Routman, 1991). This role includes planning themes, helping students activate the appropriate prior knowledge, and supporting students in reading and responding to the literature in appropriate ways (Martinez & Roser, 1991). In some instances the teacher plans and teaches mini-lessons using the literature as a model for helping students learn a needed strategy or skill (Trachtenberg, 1990). As a mentor, the teacher serves as a model for reading and writing. By reading aloud to students, the teacher models language for them. Through shared writing (McKenzie, 1985), the teacher models all aspects of writing -- grammar, usage, and spelling. By supporting students with such activities as shared reading, literature discussion circles, and response activities, the teacher plays the role of coach (Cooper, 1993).

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