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Comprehension and the Common Core: Can the Romance Survive P. David Pearson UC Berkeley.

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1 Comprehension and the Common Core: Can the Romance Survive P. David Pearson UC Berkeley

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4 Goals for Today Review what is in and what underlies the CCSS when it comes to comprehension Examine some emerging evidence about what comprehension in the Common Core might look like – Publisher’s Criteria – Brand new publication by the Aspen Institute: Close Reading in the Common Core Discuss some defensible positions to take on curriculum and pedagogy

5 What sold me on the standards

6 What they said about reading Students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive, reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens world views. They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. (CCSSO/NGA, 2010, p. 3)

7 What they said about teacher choice By emphasizing required achievements, the Standards leave room for teachers, curriculum developers, and states to determine how those goals should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed. Thus, the Standards do not mandate such things as a particular writing process or the full range of metacognitive strategies that students may need to monitor and direct their thinking and learning. Teachers are thus free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards. (CCSSO/NGA, 2010, p. 4).

8 How we got to where we are… The historical pathway to Kintsch’s Construction Integration Model

9 Text Reader Context Reading Comprehension Most models of reading have tried to explain how reader factors, text factors and context factors interact when readers make meaning.

10 Text Reader Context The bottom up cognitive models of the 60s were very text centric, as was the “new criticism” model of literature from the 40s and 50s (I.A. Richards) Reading Comprehension Bottom up and New Criticism: Text-centric

11 Pedagogy for Bottom up and New Criticism: Text- centric Since the meaning is in the text, we need to go dig it out… Leads to Questions that – Interrogate the facts of the text – Get to the “ right ” interpretation Writerly readings or textual readings

12 Text Reader Context The schema based cognitive models of the 70s and the reader response models (Rosenblatt) of the 80s focused more on reader factors--knowledge or interpretation mattered most Reading Comprehension Schema and Reader Response: Reader-centric

13 Pedagogy for Reader-centric Since the meaning is largely in the reader, we need to go dig it out… Spend a lot of time on –Building background knowledge –Inferences needed to build a coherent model of meaning –Readers ’ impressions, expressions, unbridled response Readerly readings

14 A few clarifications of schema theory… Variation along a continuum of top-down vs bottom-up – Kohlers (1967): Reading is only incidentially textual – Anderson (1977): specific words/ideas instantiate general schemata: the text is the trigger to our knowledge stores Not completely top down process

15 Text Reader Context The sociocultural and critical literacy models of the 90s focused on the central role of context (purpose, situation, discourse community) Reading Comprehension Critical literacy models: Context-centric

16 Since the meaning is largely in the context, we need to go dig it out… Questions that get at the social, political and economic underbelly of the text –Whose interests are served by this text? –What is the author trying to get us to believe? –What features of the text contribute to the interpretation that money is evil? Pedagogy for Critical literacy models

17 Text Reader Context In Kintsch’s model, Reader and Text factors are balanced, and context plays a “background” role--in purpose and motivation. Reading Comprehension CI: Balance Reader and Text: little c for context

18 Since the meaning is in this reader text interface, we need to go dig it out… Query the accuracy of the text base. –What is going on in this part here where it says… –What does it mean when it says… –I was confused by this part… Ascertain the situation model. –So what is going on here? –What do you know that we didn ’ t know before? Pedagogical implications for CI

19 Kintchian Model 3 Knowledge Base Text 1 Text Base 2 Situation Model Inside the head Out in the world Experience Says Means Does  >>>>>>>>>

20 NAEP Locate and Recall Interpret and Integrate Critique and Evaluate

21 Common Core Standards 1-3: Key ideas and details Standards 4-6: Craft and structure Standards 7-9: Integration of knowledge and ideas

22 Key ideas and details Craft and structure Integration of knowledge and ideas Range and level of text complexity Locate and Recall Interpret and Integrate Critique and Evaluate Complexity is specified but implicit not explicit CCSS NAEP

23 Freebody and Luke’s 4 Resources Reader as Decoder: Get the message: Reader as Meaning Maker: Integrate with knowledge: Reader as Text Analyst: What’s the real message and how is it crafted Reader as Text Critic: What’s the subtext? The hidden agenda: SAYS MEANS DOES

24 Consistent with Cognitive Views of Reading Kintsch’s Construction-Integration Model Build a text base Construct a “situation” model Put the knowledge gained to work by applying it to novel situations. What the text says What the text means What the text does Locate and Recall Integrate and Interpret Critique and Evaluate Decoder Meaning Maker User/Analyst/Critic Key Ideas and Details Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Craft and Structure

25 Kintsch4 ResourcesNAEPCCSS Text BaseDecoderLocate and RecallKey Ideas and Details Situation ModelMeaning MakerInterpret and Integrate Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Put Knowledge to Work Text AnalystCritique and Evaluate Craft and Structure Says Means Does

26 Kintchian Model 3 Knowledge Base Text 1 Text Base 2 Situation Model Inside the head Out in the world Experience Says Means Does  >>>>>>>>> Reader as Decoder Reader as Meaning Maker Reader as Text User/Analyst/Critic

27 New and different Most important: A new model of the comprehension process – Text (what the author left on the page) – Text base (the version a reader creates on a veridical reading) – Knowledge (what the reader brings from prior experience) – Model of meaning for a text Dubbed the Situation Model (mental model) A model that accounts for all the facts and resources available in the current situation

28 What’s inside the Knowledge box? World knowledge (everyday stuff, including social and cultural norms) Topical knowledge (dogs and canines) Disciplinary knowledge (how history or astronomy works) Linguistic knowledge – Phonology – Lexical and morphological – Syntax – Genre – Pragmatics (how language works in the world): Discourse, register, academic language, intention – Orthography (how print relates to speech)

29 How does a reader build a text base? Excerpt from Chapter 8 of Hatchet

30 “Some of the quills were driven in deeper than others and they tore when they came out. He breathed deeply twice, let half of the breath out, and went back to work. Jerk, pause, jerk — and three more times before he lay back in the darkness, done. The pain filled his leg now, and with it came new waves of self-pity. Sitting alone in the dark, his leg aching, some mosquitoes finding him again, he started crying. It was all too much, just too much, and he couldn’t take it. Not the way it was.

31 The pain filled his leg now, and with it came new waves of self-pity. Sitting alone in the dark, his leg aching, some mosquitoes finding him again, he started crying. It was all too much, just too much, and he couldn’t take it. Not the way it was.

32 “I can’t take it this way, alone with no fire and in the dark, and next time it might be something worse, maybe a bear, and it wouldn’t be just quills in the leg, it would be worse. I can’t do this, he thought, again and again. I can’t. Brian pulled himself up until he was sitting upright back in the corner of the cave. He put his head down on his arms across his knees, with stiffness taking his left leg, and cried until he was cried out.”

33 Building a Text Base “Some of the quills were driven in (into what? His leg) deeper than others (other what? Quills) and they (the quills that were driven in deeper) tore when they (the deeper-in quills) came out (of his leg). He (Brian) breathed deeply twice, let half the breath out, and went back to work (work on what? Don’t know yet. Suspense. Expect to find out in next sentence). Jerk, pause, jerk (the work is jerking quills out) — and three more times (jerking quills out) he (Brian) lay back in the darkness, done (all the quills jerked out).

34 The pain filled his (Brian’s) leg now, and with it (the pain) came new waves (what were the old waves?) of self-pity. (Brian) Sitting alone in the dark, his (Brian’s) leg aching, some mosquitoes finding him (Brian) again, he (Brian) started crying. It (the whole situation Brian was in) was all too much, just too much, and he (Brian) couldn’t take it (the situation). Not the way it (the situation) was. (What way was the situation? Don’t know yet. Suspense. Expect to find out in the next paragraph.)

35 “I (Brian) can’t take it (the situation) this way (what way? Still don’t know. Suspense), alone with no fire and in the dark (now we know “this way” means “alone with no fire and in the dark”), and next time it (the next situation) might be something worse (than this situation), maybe a bear, and it (the problem that will define the situation) wouldn’t be just quills in the leg, it (the problem) would be worse (than quills in the leg). I (Brian) can’t do this (deal with the problem situation), he (Brian) thought, again and again. I (Brian) can’t “do this (deal with the problem situation).” Brian pulled himself (Brian) up until he (Brian) was sitting upright back in the corner of the cave. He (Brian) put his (Brian’s) head down on his (Brian’s) arms across his (Brian’s) knees, with stiffness taking his (Brian’s) left leg, and cried until he (Brian) was cried out.”

36 Some key moves in building a text base… Processing words and attaching meaning to them Using syntax to solidify key relations among ideas – Microstructure – Macrostructure Resolving reference--things that stand for other things (mainly pronouns and nouns) Using logical connectives (before, after, because, so, then, when, while, but) to figure out the relations among ideas Inferring omitted connectives (e.g., figuring out that A is the cause of B) based on PK about the world Posing questions for short term resolution Identifying ambiguities for later resolution (wait and see)

37 So how about building a situation model? The knowledge-comprehension relationship We use our knowledge to build a situation model for a text The information in the situation model is now available to become part of our long term memory and store of knowledge To assist in processing the next bit.

38 Situation Model for Hatchet Passage

39 The blurb from the jacket of Hatchet gives a preview of the book: Thirteen-year old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother has given him as a present — and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parents’ divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self-pity or despair — it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.

40 What a reader knows by Chapter 8 Brian is stranded in the Canadian wilderness with a hatchet and his wits as his only tools for survival. He already has overcome several obstacles, including surviving the plane crash, building a small shelter and finding food. In chapter eight, Brian awakens in the night to realize that there is an animal in his shelter. He throws his hatchet at the animal but misses. The hatchet makes sparks when it hits the wall of the cave. Brian then feels a pain in his leg. He sees the creature scuttle out of his shelter. Brian figures out that the animal was a porcupine because there are quills in his leg.

41 Some prior knowledge that a 5th grader might bring What sparks look like How it feels to be scared by an animal How big porcupines are To survive you have to have food, water and shelter To survive you have to be strong

42 An actual retelling of key parts of chapter 8 from Sam, a 5th grade reader The same text for which we just examined the text base…

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45 Why is this model of iteratively constructing and integrating so important? The mental (situation) model is central to knowledge construction Building a mental model transforms new ideas and information into a form that can be added to memory, where they endure as knowledge that can be retrieved in the future. Unless readers build a mental model, the information they derive from the text is not likely to connect to their stored knowledge. The new information will be forgotten or lost. Key role of knowledge: – Knowledge involved in even the most literal of processing – Knowledge begets comprehension begets knowledge… – Knowledge is available immediately: dynamic store…

46 How can we help students build solid text bases and rich and accurate situation models? Do a good job of teaching subject matter in social studies, science, mathematics, and literature Don’t let reading remain our curricular bully!

47 Assist students in selecting appropriate knowledge frameworks to guide their construction process Do everything possible to build as many connections as possible with other texts, experiences, knowledge domains – Do lots of “what does this remind you of?” – What is this like? How is it different from what it’s like? How can we help students build rich and accurate mental models?

48 A different model of guided reading Stop every once in a while and give the kids a chance to construct/revise their current mental model – Research study: interview protocol proved to be very “instructive” How can we help students build rich and accurate mental models?

49 Begin with very general probes before getting specific So what’s going on in this part? What do we know now that we didn’t know before? What’s new? What was the author trying to get us to understand here? Well!…say something!

50 Invite and support clarifications of tricky parts Anyone want to share something that was tricky or confusing? How about this part here…where it says…? I got confused by… What do you think about this part? What was the author trying to get us to think.

51 Follow up general probes and invitations for clarification with specific probes. So which of these things happened first? Why is that important? In this paragraph, they use a lot of pronouns. Let’s check out our understanding of who or what they refer to.. Typical discussion questions are OK too--just to make sure are the tricky parts get clarified. – View questions as a scaffold for understanding the big picture not as a quiz.

52 The general model for guided reading A set for “stock-taking” More specific probes to scaffold the construction of the text base and situation model Results in a pretty good summary of the selection--story, article, etc.

53 Developing Text Bases and Mental Models Ensure that students have a full “tool” box (set of strategies) to haul out when things don’t just happen automatically…for – Connecting the known to the new – Connecting texts and parts of texts – Working toward coherence among potentially unconnected ideas – Recognizing and resolving ambiguities.

54 MONITORING FOR MEANING… For a model of meaning to survive, it must – Be consistent with the current text base (square with the “facts of the case” thus far revealed) – Be consistent with the current knowledge base (square with what a reader knows to be true about the world)

55 The Vulnerabilities Clumsiness with motivation – A nod to interest and an assumption that readers are motivated Gloss over critical reading – Assumes a liberal humanist “critical thinking” perspective, not a post-modern critical theoretical stance

56 Kintchian Model 3 Knowledge Base Text 1 Text Base 2 Situation Model Inside the head Out in the world Experience Says Means Does  >>>>>>>>> Reader as Decoder Reader as Meaning Maker Reader as Text User/Analyst/Critic

57 These consistencies provide… Credibility Stretch Research “patina”

58 And now… for something completely different

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61 Text dependency of questions Regarding the nature of texts: “A significant percentage of tasks and questions are text dependent…Rigorous text-dependent questions require students to demonstrate that they not only can follow the details of what is explicitly stated but also are able to make valid claims that square with all the evidence in the text. Text- dependent questions do not require information or evidence from outside the text or texts; they establish what follows and what does not follow from the text itself.” (page 6)

62 Stay close to the text Staying close to the text. “Materials make the text the focus of instruction by avoiding features that distract from the text. Teachers’ guides or students’ editions of curriculum materials should highlight the reading selections…Given the focus of the Common Core State Standards, publishers should be extremely sparing in offering activities that are not text based.”

63 My concern We will operationally define text dependent as literal, factual questions Lots of other questions are also text-reliant Compare – What were two reasons pioneers moved west? – What does the author believe about the causes of westward expansion in the United States? – How valid is the claim that author X writes from an ideology of manifest destiny?

64 A short history lesson Pearson and Johnson, 1978, Teaching Reading Comprehension. Question-answer relationships – Text explicit (both the Q and A come from the text and the relationship between Q and A is explicitly signalled). – Text implicit (both the Q and A come from the text but the relationship has to be inferred) – Script implicit (Q from text, A from prior knowledge script, relationship has to be inferred) – TEXT is implicated in all three QARs.

65 Text before all else “The Common Core State Standards call for students to demonstrate a careful understanding of what they read before engaging their opinions, appraisals, or interpretations. Aligned materials should therefore require students to demonstrate that they have followed the details and logic of an author’s argument before they are asked to evaluate the thesis or compare the thesis to others.” (page 9)

66 My concern We will view literal comprehension as a prerequisite to inferential or critical comprehension. Compare – Read X, Read Y, then ask for a comparison on criterion Z – Conduct a comparative reading of X and Y on how they stand on Z. Sometimes the comparison or critique question better rationalizes the close reading

67 Close reading The Common Core State Standards place a high priority on the close, sustained reading of complex text, beginning with Reading Standard 1. Such reading emphasizes the particular over the general and strives to focus on what lies within the four corners of the text.

68 Close Reading of text involves an investigation of a short piece of text, with multiple readings done over multiple instructional lessons. Through text-based questions and discussion, students are guided to deeply analyze and appreciate various aspects of the text, such as – key vocabulary and how its meaning is shaped by context; – attention to form, tone, imagery and/or rhetorical devices; – the significance of word choice and syntax; and – the discovery of different levels of meaning as passages are read multiple times.

69 Steps in t he new Aspen Institute, Brown & Kappes report 1.Selection of a brief, high-quality, complex text. 2.Individual reading of the text. 3.Group reading aloud. 4.Text-based questions and discussion that focus on discrete elements of the text. 5.Discussion among students. 6.Writing about the text.

70 My concern Lots of things lie within the four corners of the text—some general and some specific. Ignores other readings of close reading The text drags prior knowledge along even if you don’t want it to. Ideas that don’t connect don’t last long enough to allow learning (assimilation or acccommodation) to occur – They drop out of memory pretty fast

71 Monitoring How do we know that our understanding is good enough? Two standards… – Does is jive with the model of meaning I have built for the text thus far in the reading? – Does is square with what I know to be true about the world? What are these? – Text base and knowledge base combne to create the situation model – The situation model determines what I put into long term memory

72 Minimizing the role of prior kjnowledge Can we do it? Should we do it?

73 Suspense If John had known just how awful it would turn out to be, he would not have been so anxious to open the door to the room he had been told held the treasure that would change his life. If he suspected that the giant tarantula who guarded the treasure was bigger than an elephant, uglier than a troll, and deadlier than a cobra, he might never have turned that knob. But slowly, methodically, and purposely, he shoved, nudged, and wiggled it till it started to open an inch at a time.

74 It was furry and warm to the touch. Its eyes lay in deep sockets above a protruding snout that was itself dwarfed by the two buck teeth that hung suspended from that protuberance. And when the rest of the kids in room 225 laughed at it, Amy picked up her drawing of her favorite mastadon and huffed out into the hall.

75 So what about Prior Knowledge Maybe we have overindulged – Too much Know, not enough Want to Learn and Learn – Too much time on the picture walk – Too much story swapping about our experiences with roadrunners Let’s right the wrongs Need a mid course correction not a pendulum swing

76 But asking kids to hold their prior knowledge at bay… Is like Asking dogs not to bark or Leaves not to fall. It’s in the nature of things Dogs bark. Leaves fall. Readers use their prior knowledge to render text sensible and figure out what to retain for later.

77 So what’s a body to do? Embrace the construct of close reading – But make sure that it applies to several purposes for reading Reading to get the flow of ideas in the piece Reading to compare (with another text or body of experience or knowledge Reading to critique – how good is the argument or the craft or – what is his bias/slant/perspective) All of these approaches interrogate the text as an eviidentiary base.

78 More a body can do… Stay closer to the standards than to the interpretations of the standards we have seen thus far. Pay more attention to the anchor standards than to the grade level instantiations of them. Why? – I’m not convinced that they got the sequencing right.

79 Table 1. Progression of Standard 3 for Literary and Informational Texts Across Grades K-5 Grad e LiteraryInformational K With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text. 1 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details. Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text. 2 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. 4 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions) Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text. 5 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact). Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

80 Transitional Moves… Change the level of support: The removal of scaffolding in moving from K-1 for both L and I texts. Change the number of entities involved in the process. In moving L3-L4, the number of entities increases—from characters in L3 to characters, settings or events in L4. Change the type of entities: In moving from I1-I2 there is a change from general to discipline-specific entities. In moving from I4-I5, the change is from explaining entities to explaining relationships and interactions. Increase the cognitive demand of the process: There is a change from description to explanation in moving from L2-L3 and from I3 to I4; also moving from explanation to comparison in L4-L5. Add evidentiary requirements: This is the move represented in I3-I4.

81 What’s the basis of progressions? Research? Tradtiion? Professional consenssus? Best guesses?

82 Direct Evidence The degree to which research is reflected in these progressions is a function of – Whether the models they examined were research-based – Whether the mental models of the authors/reviewers were research-based Classic consensus process. Doesn’t distinguish it from most other standards efforts.

83 Issues left inadequately examined in this presentation… Text complexity: – Yes, but… – Where are the scaffolds to help kids meet the challenge Teacher prerogative – A promise broken in the Publishers’ Criteria – The more specific the level of specification, the fewer degrees of freedom teachers have

84 Inadequate examination Vocabulary – Between Reading Standard #4 and Language Standards #4-#6, we can continue to emphasize all of the good stuff we have learned to do in vocabulary development – Conceptually based vocabulary development Where do words fit in the big “schema” things? – Contextually driven vocabulary development Between word and within word contexts

85 Words are Concepts RecognitionDefinitionRelationshipsContextApplicationSynthesis Habitat Habitat: the place where an organism gets the food, water, light, and shelter that it needs to survive A habitat has everything an animal needs to survive. The grassland habitat is windy with few trees. ShelterWater FoodLight DesertForest Shoreline Habitat  All living things exist within habitats and have adaptations that allow them to survive in those habitats. No one habitat can support all living habitats. If we wish to maintain a terrarium in our classrooms, we should establish conditions that are consistent with the organisms’ natural habitats. Morphology Habit Habituate

86 Inadequate examination What do we do about strategy instruction? In one sense, the CCSS are moot on the topic: – Thus, the Standards do not mandate such things as a particular writing process or the full range of metacognitive strategies that students may need to monitor and direct their thinking and learning. (p. 4) Silence PLUS the post standards emphasis on close reading and the primacy of the text and text-based questions  this inference: – Champion talk over explicit instruction as a way of enhancing comprehension and metacognitive strategy instruction

87 What to do about strategies? We need to take the explicit and implicit critiques of strategy instruction seriously. – McKeown, Beck, & Blake (RRQ, 2008) – Wilkinson & Sun, HRR-4 (2011)

88 Current alternatives: Current Critique Not sure when it starts… circa 2002-now Strategies have become rigid and reified Like phonics skills, rigid (i.e., curricularized) strategy instruction has become – An end unto itself, – Rather than – A means to an end…

89 Possible remedies… Post explicit strategies approach – Questioning the author – Rich talk about text Encounter opportunities to apply strategies on the fly Make understanding the text at hand the real goal Avoid decontextualized enactment of strategies Invoke them to solve particular problems with text.

90 My hope for the strategies Something in between explicit lessons, opportunistic teaching, and mini-lessons (ala Whole Language) Examples should ALWAYS be authentic Lots of group problem solving with genuinely puzzling examples Don’t know how to do this yet, but we need to help students distinguish between – Nike Reading Just do it! – Sherlock Holmes Reading Deliberate puzzle resolution Reading Like a Detective

91 Hopes for the future I’m hangin’ in there for the near term. They are still the best game in town They are moving in the right direction in terms of reading theory and research Hoping they prove to be a living document – Regularly revised with advances in our knowledge of reading research on their “consequences”


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