Academic journal article Ohio Reading Teacher

Embracing Literacy in the Physical Education Classroom

Academic journal article Ohio Reading Teacher

Embracing Literacy in the Physical Education Classroom

Article excerpt

Who says that literacy isn't alive in all aspects of classroom instruction? Educators often dismiss the idea that physical educators play a prominent role in reinforcing literacy skills. This myth undermines the necessity of all educators having a foundation of literacy instruction regardless of their licensure areas. In visiting several elementary and early childhood classrooms, we found literacy activities integrated throughout the school, even in the gymnasium.

Kiesha, a young child experiencing reading difficulties, has been receiving special education instruction for approximately three months. Her primary IEP objective has been to increase her sight word vocabulary. The resource teacher has paired sight words with real objects and pictorial clues. This form of instruction has proven effective in addressing the IEP objective. In order for Kiesha to generalize this skill, it is imperative that the classroom teachers reinforce this form of instruction throughout the day.

Kiesha's physical education class provides one example of how such instruction can be generalized. Coach Jones has been teaching his students about the four food groups while engaging them in physical activity. Students, including Kiesha, participate in a "food group relay." In the "food group relay" teams of five students line up and face a wall that displays icons of each of the four food groups. The first member of the team reaches inside a basket filled with pictures of items from the four food groups. Each picture is paired with the written word. For example, a photograph of an apple would have the word "apple" printed legibly underneath the photograph. …

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