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1 Motivating Comprehension in the Middle School Insights From an Ongoing Project Peter Dewitz.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Motivating Comprehension in the Middle School Insights From an Ongoing Project Peter Dewitz."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Motivating Comprehension in the Middle School Insights From an Ongoing Project Peter Dewitz

2 2 Reading  A book is an object, a piece of property; the act of reading is drawn forward by human attention and understanding.... Just as our gaze moves over words progressively (in advance and accumulation, scanning them, registering them, and determining meaning) so we are encouraged by the fact of the book to see, identify, grasp, and choose. Books teach us to talk, to think, to be literary; thus novels school us through the lives of characters. D.Thomson, 2004

3 3 Movies  The show [movies] turns over without us. We cannot lay hands on it. Because it keeps moving on, we are under no burden to recognize, grasp, identify, and choose. We can let it wash over us, just as a voyeur need take no responsibility for the things he can see. And because our conscious decision-making power is less involved, so another part of ourselves emerges—passive, pliant, thrilled, fantasizing, drawn to witness wild, dangerous, impossible things, and to be thrilled by the rare advantage we have gained over physics, consequences, and damage. D.Thomson, 2004

4 4 Television ... whereas attention is taken for granted at the movies... It [television] is a mass medium, but one that permits inattention and indolence. Indeed, it may be as much a comforter as a communicator... Television suits a world that says sure, these things are happening, but you don’t have to notice them or ask why, there is no need to pay attention or take part. You need not be involved. And if you don’t like one channel, switch to another. Go back and forth. Become a random editing machine. D.Thomson, 2004

5 5 Strategies Knowledge Metacognition Motivation The Facets of Reading Comprehension

6 Strategy Approach to Comprehension  A strategy focus makes the skills and strategies the major focus of instruction Students learn, through direct instruction, a limited number of skills or strategies Through guided practice the students will become proficient in the use of the strategies During independent reading the students will refine the use of the strategies 6

7 Strategy Approach to Comprehension  Strategies may be taught one at a time or as multiples  The amount of direct versus guided instruction varies  Examples: Super 6 Comprehension Strategies (Oczkus, 2006) Strategies that Work (Harvey & Goudvis, 2007 Numerous research studies 7

8 Knowledge Approach to Comprehension  Understanding the meaning of the text is the goal, not the use of strategies  Discussions focus on understanding ideas; building connections within the text, getting to the author’s meaning  Texts are organized into meaningful units to build conceptual knowledge 8

9 Knowledge Approach to Comprehension  Examples of knowledge based instruction Teacher lead discussions guide students to construct an understanding  Questioning the Author (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2000, 2010) Comprehension instruction is embedded within meaningful units of study  Concept Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) (Guthrie & Wigfield) 9

10 Metacognitive Approach to Instruction  Instruction focuses on developing metacognitive behavior Planning, goal setting Monitoring, clarifying Evaluating  Metacognition cannot be divorced from strategies, but metacognition can receive a broad and sustained focus 10

11 Metacognitive Approach to Instruction  Example of metacognitive approach to reading instruction Reciprocal Teaching (Palincsar & Brown, 1984; Oczkus, 2010) Reading Apprenticeship Program (Schoenbach, Greenfeaf, Cziko, & Hurwitz, 1999) 11

12 Motivational Approach to Comprehension  Comprehension requires will and skill  The goal is to promote the engagement of the students with reading and encourage their sense of efficacy  Many aspects of motivation are considered in designing the comprehension curriculum  Strategies and knowledge are still important, but unless we address motivation students will resist a strategy only approach, especially in middle school 12

13 Motivation “ Motivation is the individual’s personal goals, values and beliefs with regard to the topics, processes and outcomes of reading.” (Guthrie, et al., 2000) 13

14 Motivation  “For thought is not the slave of impulse to do its bidding.... What intelligence has to do in the service of impulse is to act not as its obedient servant, but as its clarifier and liberator... Intelligence converts desire into plans.” Freud 14

15 M otivation Social Efficacy Challenge Achievement Goals Task Value Extrinsic GradesRecognition Intrinsic CuriosityAesthetic 15 ( Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997)

16 Motivation and Efficacy  Competence Beliefs - Am I a good reader? I know I will do well in reading  Control Beliefs – I have some reading skills and I am able to use them to improve my comprehension  Challenge I like hard projects; I enjoy it when books make me think  Choice 16

17 Reading Efficacy - Results 17

18 Achievement Motivation  Competition I like to do well in class. I am willing to work hard to read better than my friends  Task Value The work we are going is important to me I believe the assignments are important The strategies can help me improve my reading 18

19 Reader’s Goals  Why do students engage in text- based learning? Performance goals - get a good grade, complete homework Learning or mastery goals - the task becomes the goal - to gain knowledge or pursue an interest Social Goals: School learning can promote social goals; social goals might promote or hinder school learning 19

20 Extrinsic Motivation  Grades I read to improve my grade. Grades are a good way to find out how I am doing.  Points I like earning points for my reading.  Recognition I like scoring more points than my friends I like having the teacher say I read well. 20

21 Extrinsic Motivators  Grades – Authentic and long term motivators. Grades have meaning both within and outside the school.  Points and rewards – Short-term motivators. Little or no lasting value. Points have little meaning outside the system. 21

22 Extrinsic Motivation - Results 22

23 Intrinsic Motivation  Aesthetic enjoyment I like, mysteries, adventures, making friends with people in the book  Reading Curiosity I read to learn new information  Importance Reading is important to me compared to other activities I do 23

24 Intrinsic Motivation  Topics that hold higher levels of interest generate higher levels of engagement for the student  Personal interest is enduring and is strongly related to self-image  Situational interest is fleeting and transitory, and it can be generated by the teacher and the topic 24

25 Intrinsic Motivation - Results 25

26 Social Motivation  Social relatedness versus alienation contributes to motivation  Students in school have both social and academic goals sometimes they are in conflict  Social context, students and teachers, molds academic goals, interests and students’ self- perceptions  Goals exist in a hierarchical or complementary fashion 26

27 Social Motivation  The literate behavior of family and friends influences students’ reading interests and actions Read to others – parents and siblings Talking to others about what your read Talking about books, authors, websites Helping others with reading projects  The literate environment of a classroom can have a similar effect 27

28 Social Motivation  Interpersonal relationships effect motivation and attitudes Students respond and use strategies when they perceive that the teachers care about them Classroom treatment is equitable and fair Peer group goals can be completely opposed to classroom goals 28

29 Social Motivation - Results 29

30 Motivation Conclusions  Motivation for reading declines from 6 th to 8 th grades  Girls remain more motivated than boys on most dimensions  Grades are a stronger motivator than are intrinsic factors  Efficacy and social factors exert minimal influence on motivation 30

31 Comprehension Instruction with A Motivation Focus 31

32 4 Motivational Factors for Designing Instruction 32 Intrinsic Efficacy Achievement Goals Achievement Goals Social

33 Building Intrinsic Motivation  Reading instruction was organized into meaningful units created with an eye to students’ interests: Contemporary adolescent struggles and coming of age themes Historical fiction – Holocaust, Civil War, Harlem Renaissance Minority authors – Sharon Flake, Walter Dean Myers, Sandra Cisneros 33

34 Texts in the unit included  Mixture of fiction, non-fiction reading, digital text and video  Choice: Within unit students have limited choice of what they can read – explored in literature units  Wide reading beyond instructional texts with unlimited choice 34

35 Activities in the unit  Video study to define topics and interests  Topic and text selections  Reading and inquiry Novels – Literature circles – strategy application Internet searches  Projects 35

36 Minimizing Extrinsic Motivation  Shift the focus from Accelerated Reader points to sharing and valuing literature Students spend one day a week sharing what they read Librarian conducts book talks in the classroom  The focus on grades continues because they are an enduring and not a temporary value. 36

37 Building Students’ Efficacy  Efficacy comes from producing important products that students value  Understanding the impact on comprehension of using a limited set of strategies  Gaining self-knowledge about reading behavior and achievement 37

38 Important Academic Goals  Instructional Goals / Products Must be personally meaningful to the students and student selected  Harlem Renaissance – music, dance, poetry Products are diverse, represent multiple forms of representation  Writing about concentration camps, the resistance  Building a Holocaust memorial  Time-line collage of major events  PowerPoint 38

39 Limited Number of Useful Strategies 39

40 Limited Number of Useful Strategies  Making inferences to build connections Between ideas in the text Between the text and prior knowledge  Focusing on what is important Text structure Summarizing  Self-Questioning to set purpose and evaluate purpose 40

41 Strategy Instruction  Students engaged in a revised form of reciprocal teaching including: Working with partners to develop questions, make inferences and summarize what was read Use their questions, inferences, and summaries to guide the class discussion. Moved from this structure approach to literature circles Students also kept reading journals where they generated questions, inferences and summaries 41

42 Building Students’ Efficacy  Metacognitive Log to Developing Self- Knowledge During independent and choice reading students kept a Metacognitive Log  Students tracked How much they read How long they read Why they stopped reading  Teachers discussed the issues of building endurance 42

43 Metacognitive Log  While I was reading: I got confused when... I was distracted by... I started to think about... The time went quickly because... A word/some words I didn’t know were... I stopped because... I figured out that... 43

44 Metacognitive Log- Examples  I was confused when the text said, “the next day, the letter came from Dad’s lawyer... “. That means that the story was a flash back. Joey and his mom are still in the car driving to his Dad’s house and he is thinking about other times she had used the word sugar.  I started to think about my baseball practice and whether I would make pitcher and then I lost track of the book and what the characters were doing. 44

45 Fluency Instruction – Self- efficacy  Fluency practice was geared to students who needed it Students engaged in paired repeated readings: 2 to 3 times a week Students kept track of their own progress and graphed it Students periodically met with the teacher or special education teacher to reflect on their progress 45

46 Social Motivation  We encouraged the use of partners and small groups in the classroom instruction Students could choose who they work with Made students responsible for each other: Students received an individual and a group grade 46

47 Social Motivation  Increased the amount of time that students, teachers and librarians shared books and authors Weekly day for sharing what they read Developed a school wide reading newsletter 47

48 Results to date  The total number of books in each grade is increasing according to logs kept by the school librarian  The total number of students checking books out of the library increased  According to the metacognitive logs the students are able to read more and sit for longer periods of time  Teachers are reporting that more students are completing their assigned reading. 48

49 Results to date  Scores on district benchmark assessments are improving: from November to March  Teachers report that students feel more confident in their reading ability  It is important to view the development of reading comprehension from 4 perspectives with motivation taking the lead. A singular focus on strategies might not be desirable. 49

50 Contact  Wigfield, A., & Guthrie, J. T. (1997). Relations of children’s motivation for reading to the amount and breadth of their reading. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 420–432.  Units described in the project are available from  Peter Dewitz


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