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Boosting Literacy with Effective Reading Comprehension.

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Presentation on theme: "Boosting Literacy with Effective Reading Comprehension."— Presentation transcript:

1 Boosting Literacy with Effective Reading Comprehension

2 About Headsprout Headsprout is an adaptive learning software company that creates reading products that are effective, easy to use, engaging and fun. Headsprout was founded in 1999 and is based out of Seattle, WA. Mission: To be a major force in helping eliminate illiteracy in young children around the world.

3 Presenters: Joanne K. Robbins, Ph.D. Co-founder and Executive Director of P.E.E.R. International (Partnerships for Educational Excellence and Research) and Principal of Morningside Academy Marta Leon, Ph.D. Director of Instructional Development for Headsprout Moderator: Allison Stotler Senior Sales Representative at Headsprout Presenters

4 Teaching and Learning How to Comprehend Text Joanne Robbins, Ph.D. Morningside Academy and P.E.E.R. International

5 How do we structure the classroom to promote comprehension? Whole group, small group, and individual instruction Learners take turns reading aloud, follow-along skills taught Component skills such as decoding, reading fluency, and prosody practiced outside of the read-aloud block Instructional level of text is presented based upon learners’ skills; as skills grow complexity of text increases Learners of all ages and skill levels are presented with fiction and nonfiction Reading comprehension is included in mathematics instruction

6 Instructional Procedures Common to Reading Comprehension and All Academic Areas Frequent progress monitoring Provide interventions and assess for success Lessons include examples and nonexamples of all concepts to be learned Faculty provide genuine and frequent praise for careful and thoughtful responding Errors are regarded as learning opportunities Lessons are presented with model, lead, test sequence

7 Teachers use direct and explicit instruction Learners are told what type of question is being asked to prompt use of strategies learned For example: Inference stated aloud in complete sentence: Answer stems provided, such as, I can infer that the setting takes place “ ” because “.” Teacher records quality of learner response: meets criterion or needs prompts Teacher Questions and Learner Requirements

8 Reading and reasoning is taught using our Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS) program Roles of two repertoires are taught individually and rehearsed until one learner has acquired both roles and can be both a Problem Solver and Active Listener Peer Tutors: Increase the number of teachers in the classroom

9 Exercises provided to preview text by generating questions Check prior knowledge by creating a best guess Compare best guess to original text This is completed in written and oral form Discrepancy defines the learning opportunity Variety of text presented, student learns to predict and compare various authors’ styles, navigate for answers and definitions (context clues or formal definitions) Teaching the Student to Inquire

10 Text Reconstruction Logic, Brain-Teaser, and Analogy booklets that require reasoning skills and problem solving o Categorization and attending to attributes o Stating Relationships o Sequencing o Understanding written directions o Paraphrasing Exercises that promote analytical reasoning and reading comprehension

11 This paragraph comes from the children’s book: Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom abridged by Chris van Wyk and published by Roaring Press Books (2009). But it was not always like this. I live in South Africa, a beautiful country on the tip of Africa. My name is Nelson Mandela. Today South Africa is a democracy. That means all adults vote to choose who they want to run the country. Text Reconstruction

12 Deconstructing Reading Comprehension Marta Leon, Ph.D. Headsprout

13 What does “comprehension” mean? Understanding what one reads Deriving meaning from context How do we know if someone comprehends? Follow instructions Answer questions Retell or paraphrase

14 We all agree, comprehension is important… …But how is it taught? Typically by: Experience with text: reading Asking students how or why they choose an answer and commenting on it Teachers modeling their skills Students retelling stories Practice answering questions about stories Working on vocabulary None of these approaches directly teach learners how to comprehend

15 But what does it take to really comprehend?

16 An Analysis of Comprehension Tests In-depth analysis reveals four distinct “types” of comprehension: Literal or factual comprehension Inferential comprehension Main idea comprehension Derived meaning comprehension

17 Literal Comprehension: Sample Analysis Literal Questions A. Critical Features 1. Answer appears in the passage 2. Answer meets criteria specified in question 3. Answer has nearly 1 to 1 topographic correspondence with passage

18 Literal Comprehension: Sample Analysis B. Variable Features 1. Type of passage 2. Length of passage 3. Narrator (position from which story is being related) 4. Type of characteristic asked about in question a. personal quality b. sequence c. actions, events d. objects, animals

19 Literal Comprehension Variable Features (continued) 5. Question type a)why b)when c)what d)where e)which, who f)how (process) g)how (others)

20 Inferential Comprehension: Sample Analysis Inferential Questions A. Critical Features 1. Answer meets criteria specified in question 2. Answer category appears in passage 3. Answer category overlap does not have 1 to 1 correspondence with words of passage

21 Inferential Comprehension: Sample Analysis B. Variable Features 1. Type of passage 2. Length of passage 3. Narrator 4. Type of characteristic asked about in question 5. Question type 6. Degree to which answer-passage pair shares characteristic one (two or three)-category variation i. word meaning ii. sequence iii. prediction iv. likelihood

22 Additional Comprehension: Sample Analyses Main Idea A. Critical Features 1. Themes in answer reflect themes contained in passage 2. One theme is more prevalent than the others Vocabulary A. Critical Features 1. Words in answer categorically overlap with identified words in passage 2. Categorical overlap can be derived from sentence context

23 Is that all that’s needed to comprehend? Learners need the intellectual skills and strategies required to comprehend, but they also need Vocabulary (Word meaning, and lots of it.)

24 “distant” “When something is distant, it is far away” He saw that the boat was distant. Is that all that’s needed to comprehend?

25 How Do We Know It’s Learned? Minimum evaluative criteria See/hear word > Select picture See/hear word > Say/select definition See picture > Say/select word See picture > Say/select definition See/hear definition > Say/select word See/hear definition > Select picture And ultimately: See word in text/question/answer alternatives > use to answer comprehension question

26 distantbeautifulpapyrustreasure uncertainenoughancientlonely excitedfriendlyscrollexplained curioustogetherrepeatedrespect abovebehindmutteredcontinued belowachievebouldersvisible differentcommunicateadmittedprism frightenedmethodmysteryangle believebrailledirectionspectrum Sample Words

27 What an Effective Reading Comprehension Program Would Do: Teach students strategies that ensure that students understand what the question is asking and how to find or infer the answer Make it easy for students to transfer those strategies across a variety of passages and subject areas Include explicit vocabulary instruction and continued practice with learned vocabulary

28 Q & A

29 References Beck, I. L, Perfetti, C. A., & McKeown, M. G. (1982). Effects of long-term vocabulary instruction on lexical access and reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(4), Moors, A. Weisenburgh-Snyder, A. and Robbins, J. K. (2010). Integrating Frequency-Based Mathematics Instruction with a Multi-Level Assessment System to Enhance Response to Intervention Frameworks. The Behavior Analyst Today No. 4, Retrieved from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No ). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Robbins, J. K. Weisenburgh-Snyder, A., Damons, B., Van Rooyen, M., and Ismail, C. (2011). Partnerships for Educational Excellence and Research: HPT in the Townships of South Africa, Performance Improvement, vol 50 no.4, pp

30 References Robbins, J. K. (2005). Problem Solving, Reasoning, and Analytical Thinking with the Morningside Model in Johnson, K. & Street, L. (Eds.) (2004.) The Morningside model of generative instruction: What it means to leave no child behind. Concord, MA: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, pp Spearritt, D. (1972). Identification of sub-skills of reading comprehension by maximum likelihood factor analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 8, Tannenbaum, K., Torgesen, J. K., & Wagner, R. K. (2006). Relationships between word knowledge and reading comprehension in third-grade children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 10(4), Wilkinson, K. M & McIlvane, W. J. (2001). Methods for studying symbolic behavior and category formation: Contributions of stimulus equivalence research. Developmental Review, 21,

31 Thank you for attending! If you have any questions please contact


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