In education, the word voice refers to opinions, beliefs and importance in a school community. Teachers will use the concept of voice in reference to the teaching of students.
In many cases, teachers may give the students a voice in the instructional process by how they teach and at the Lawrence Jones Middle School, special education instructor Karey Fogle uses The Community Voice newspaper in her Special Ed and intervention English class.
It’s all part of the Voice In Education effort by The Community Voice and other local businesses.
Because the students study current local events, the students need to choose the article. They also have learned the difference between a caption and an article.
The students must read it, reread it and write a paragraph summarizing it. They need to determine the main idea and give support details in their own words. This may be difficult for many of the students because they are in a special education class.
Fogle uses the newspaper every other week within her classroom and has seen much growth in the student’s summaries and understanding of what is going on in the local community.
In the fall of 2016, business leaders were sought to help sponsor The Community Voice newspapers being put into the 10 local schools in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District. Fifteen businesses stepped forward and announced they would help support this program. Newspapers have been a large part of this area for 24 years and with the help of the readers and businesses, The Community Voice will bring more voices into the schools to help the teachers use it as a teaching tool.
Computers too much of a hassle
Fogle at one time was using computers in the special education class. But she said it was always a hassle dragging the computers back and forth, and after a while she more or less said it is too much. She noticed The Community Voice in the teachers’ lounge, so she took a couple and tried it out with her students.
The front page with all of the text and photos were daunting to some of her students. She then chose to cut out articles and with the smaller piece of paper in their hands it wasn’t so intimidating. The students like the idea of doing it every other week and they can chase articles, read and come to their own conclusion.
The students were amazed when reading the pet page. The students could not believe and were so amazed that animals really needed licenses. The students are mainly eighth graders with one sixth-grade student.
All students have to find a main idea of printed text and if a word cannot be pronounced they must highlight it and look up the meaning on their iPads.
No pushback from students
There haven’t been any complaints from the students; they seem to enjoy the reading of current events and their ability to read the assigned parts of the newspaper.
It seems that comprehension weakness has been shown in class and they can do decoding with some skills, but they love to “read to learn” not learn how to read.
The students have learned to read critically with a sense of pride and progress. They now share articles with each other and along with Fogle’s assistant, who quick checks to see if the article has to be read again, the pupils love to read and share their summaries.
Fogle said she will continue to use The Community Voice as a teaching tool and if you check her classroom, many artistic signs are hanging up that say, “I have an attitude of gratitude.”