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Strategy Decision Making Dr. Susan Davis Lenski Portland State University

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1 Strategy Decision Making Dr. Susan Davis Lenski Portland State University

2 Educational Problem Middle and high school readers often do not comprehend what they read. They lack the strategies to help them comprehend what they read. They may not be able to generalize their strategies to content-area literacy tasks and lack instruction in and knowledge of strategies specific to particular subject areas, such as math, science, or history. (Biancarosa & Snow, 2003)

3 Where is that Holy Grail? “Some days I feel my students are I are caught in a riptide of futility. I feel that I have failed them. I, too, want to be invited behind the magician’s curtain and taught all the tricks of teaching reading and writing. I want to share with my kids how profoundly words, reading, and writing have enriched my life, seen me though some tough moments, helped me to define self and resurrect self when my ego has been flattened. Sometimes I feel discouraged but never hopeless. I keep pursuing the Holy Grail of teaching literacy. I am a believer.” Middle school special education teacher

4 Ongoing Research Project 25 middle and high school teachers Urban setting Four different schools, all with 80% or higher at-risk population Enrolled in reading endorsement program through Portland State University

5 Application to Reading Next Report Direct, explicit comprehension instruction Effect instructional principles embedded in content Text-based collaborative learning Diverse texts

6 Strategies… What works? What doesn’t? What works for social studies, but not for science? What works for Joe but not for me? I would be greatly relieved if some wonderfully experiences teacher would just hand me 12 strategies and say, ‘Use these,’ then add a new one every week or two. Greatly relieved!!” First year middle school teacher

7 Start with Texts Science TextsSocial Studies Texts JournalsDiaries, letters Lab reportsPolitical cartoons Graphs, chartsPicture books Data tables, diagramsNewspapersTextbooks Internet textsPoetry Video texts, microscope slidesCommercials Maps, postersInstructions, directions Informational booksRecipes Cartoons, pictogramsBillboards, bumper stickers, posters Newspaper articlesLyrics SummariesInternet texts, on-line bios

8 Start with Texts (cont.) MathematicsArt Charts, diagramsTextbooks Plans, patterns (architecture)Gallery guides Budgets, financial reportsMedia terms Schedules, time tablesMagazines Instruments: seismic, volcanic, etc.Journal articles Instructions, operationsCatalogs Historical referencesCritiques Maps, trend patternsInternet sources StatisticsPhotos, original art Problems, equationsMovies Textbook explanationsSymbolic representations

9 Start with Texts (cont.) Language ArtsSpanish (ELL) Textbooks storiesPosters NovelsBody languages Internet SourcesIdioms PlaysPuzzles PoetryRealia Short storiesTime tables, menus Diaries, lettersNewspapers Zines, graphic novelsComputer language programs Newspapers, magazinesEnvironmental print (graffiti) EssaysInformational books Picture booksCDs that accompany texts Book reviewsText messages, letters

10 Multigenre Text Example Social Studies text, Across the Centuries “Istanbul was Once Constantinople” by They might be Giants “The Barbarians,” History channel reenactment The Bayeux Tapestry (Art) Scenes from The Lord of the Rings (Movie) Guest speaker, Peace Corps volunteer (Uzbekistan) The White Mountains, by John Christopher (Novel) Age of Empires II, Video game

11 Text-based Strategy Decisions What are the demands of this text? Format Organization Coherence Readability Graphic display Vocabulary load Strategy Decisions Previewing Graphic organizers Knowledge rating scale Vocabulary preteaching

12 Thinking about the Readers What preparations do students need before they read? Accessing background knowledge Generating interest Arousing curiosity Connecting with prior experiences Language ability Knowledge of content Vocabulary Which strategies would be useful to prepare readers for this text? Anticipation guide PreP Vocabulary preteaching Webbing Expectation outlining Predict-O-Gram

13 Reading Activities/Standards What are the learning processes students need to activate? Setting purposes Monitoring understanding Thinking critically Making inferences Drawing conclusions Making connections Which strategies would help students comprehend the text? Discussion web QtA Problemitizing texts Discussions Writing Summarizing


15 Internalizing Strategies Teaching students how to transfer strategy use to new situations is one of the most difficult aspects of strategy instruction. Readers tend to learn and use strategies in the contexts in which they were originally taught.” Almasi, 2003

16 Steps to transfer of strategies –Describe the strategy “What is it?” –Model strategy –Explain how the strategy works “How to do it.” –Guided practice –Explain how and when to use strategy in other situations (Adapted from Almasi, 2003)

17 Preliminary Findings Teachers had great difficulty thinking about literacy processes and standards as they prepared lessons. Teachers found strategy instruction useful in the following ways: It helped the teachers focus on literacy processes. The lessons became more engaging for students. Teachers felt more satisfied with their teaching.

18 Findings (cont.) Students achievement has begun to increase on the state tests. Teachers are talking about lessons in new ways.

19 References Almasi, J. (2003). Teaching strategic processes in reading. New York: Guilford. Biancarosa, G., & Snow, C. (20030. Reading next: A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy. Washington DC: Alliance for Excellent Education. Duffy, G.G. (2005). Visioning and the development of outstanding teachers. In Z. Fang (Ed.), Literacy teaching and learning (pp. 321- 328). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Gaskins, I. (2003). Taking charge of reader, text, activity, and context variables. In A.P. Sweet & C.E. Snow (Eds.), Rethinking reading comprehension (pp. 141-165). New York: Guilford. Snow, C., & Sweet, A.P. (2003). Reading for comprehension. In A.P. Sweet & C.E. Snow (Eds.), Rethinking reading comprehension (pp. 1-11). New York: Guilford.

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