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Make Reading Count. Why teach comprehension?  The ability to read words is necessary for comprehension, but not sufficient  Comprehension uses complicated.

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Presentation on theme: "Make Reading Count. Why teach comprehension?  The ability to read words is necessary for comprehension, but not sufficient  Comprehension uses complicated."— Presentation transcript:

1 Make Reading Count

2 Why teach comprehension?  The ability to read words is necessary for comprehension, but not sufficient  Comprehension uses complicated cognitive processes that take time and practice Teaching words alone is not enough!

3 Text Model  External building materials  Text  Pictures  Internal building materials  Background knowledge  Word knowledge  Comprehension strategies  Comprehension is an interactive process of building understanding Building a structure for comprehension

4 Comprehension breakdowns Breakdowns in comprehension happen when:  background knowledge is inconsistent with author’s expectation  vocabulary knowledge is inconsistent with author’s expectation  child has limited knowledge of English language  child has few strategies to make processes work together  Good News: Each breakdown area can be taught!  How stories work  How to make inferences  Strategies to build on text model

5 How to teach comprehension  Name strategies  Teach kids when and where to use them  Inappropriate use of strategies are a waste of cognitive energy Goal: Help kids develop a text model Start early!  Kindergarteners can learn to use text information to understand what they read

6 PICTURE acronym  Predict – guess what will happen next  Imagine – visualize, create a mental image  Clarify – make sure your text model makes sense  Try – ask yourself ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions  Use – use what you know, background knowledge  Review – summarize during and after reading  Evaluate – Did this text meet my purposes? How is it connected to other texts? A tool to remember comprehension strategies

7 Comprehension-focused classroom  Lots of language  talking as well as reading  conversations about books  Teachers model thinking  ask questions as they read  encourage questions from students  High quality literature  complex books and characters You can’t teach comprehension quietly!

8 Connecting across grade levels  PICTURE acronym can be applied to all different age groups  CORE program materials offers strategies for use across grades

9 4 th Grade challenge  Text is more complex and demanding  Kids are reading in areas with little background knowledge  Reading to build background knowledge  May have word recognition problems or fluency problems Why do comprehension scores decrease after 4 th grade?

10 What can elementary teachers do?  Make sure kids can decode easily and well  Give kids practice so they can read fluently  Support development of:  Vocabulary  Concept knowledge  Comprehension strategies  Provide chances to interact with teachers, text, and peers

11 Assessment  Ask questions!  Ask child to tell you what they understood from the text  Children with dyslexia  Assessment covers a spectrum of language skills, from decoding to comprehension  Dyslexics generally have higher vocabulary and comprehension ability than decoding ability

12 Video: Understanding Themes Community School 200, Harlem, NY  Theme Scheme  Focuses on underlying theme of story  Helps kids understand messages, lessons  Relates themes to other stories and real life

13 Helping kids make connections  Build coherent representation  Connect parts of text  Ask kids how pieces of information fit together  Read, then talk about it  Ask “How does that connect with what we read before?”

14 Vocabulary and comprehension  Teach little kids big words  Allow kids to practice reading words they already know and words they don’t know (literary words)  Kids learn literary words from books, not from everyday conversation – even in highly educated households  Make words the focus of instructional time everyday  Explaining a definition is not enough  Discuss good and better examples of uses of a sophisticated word (example: “reluctant”) Teaching vocabulary for literacy

15 Which words do you teach first? No hierarchy for word knowledge  Kids can learn complex words early on One rule: Must be able to explain word using concrete, simple terms

16 Ramifications of low vocabulary Knowledge of word meaning and comprehension is almost the same thing  If you have a good vocabulary, you will likely be good at comprehension Solutions:  Teach big words to little kids  Keep kids engaged with good literature and inspired teaching

17 Children with learning disabilities Take instruction to a sensory level  Help child experience the word through imagery  Create a picture of the word’s meaning

18 Video: Students Take Charge Frank Love Elementary School, Seattle, WA  Reciprocal Teaching Prepares kids to run discussions, taking turns as leaders  Ask questions, generate a good discussion  Summarize, find the main idea  Predict outcomes

19 Importance of mental images Good readers “make movies” in their heads when they read Dual coding theory: reading involves interpreting verbal and nonverbal codes  Interplay between verbal and nonverbal codes gives text meaning  Individual differences alter ability to get meaning from text Weak decoders have difficulty with verbal code Weak comprehenders have difficulty with nonverbal code

20 How can teachers improve mental imagery?  Start with mental image of word, then a phrase, then a sentence  Help kids connect images into a connected whole, not just separate images  Harder for kids with weak vocabulary Research base: National Reading Panel Report of 2000 cited mental imagery as helpful

21 Mental imagery for ELLs  Research project in Pueblo, Colorado  25,000 children  Low socioeconomic status  High percent minority  Low-achieving on state tests  After 8 years of lessons on imagery and verbal processes, Pueblo out-performed the state

22 Characteristics of successful schools For comprehension:  Large capacity for collaboration; opportunity for teachers to work together to discuss and practice techniques For vocabulary:  Willingness to go beyond traditional “look it up and write a sentence” approach to teaching vocabulary  Introduces hard words in interesting ways

23 Impact of federal funding  Reading First money brings new resources to low SES schools  Commercial reading programs that define and highlight comprehension strategies  Classroom libraries – better books!  Institute for Educational Sciences supports research in comprehension

24 Using writing to improve comprehension  Writing is an extension of reading  Expression is a way to interact with text  Utilizes vocabulary, decoding, and mental imagery  Students’ writing should create a mental image for reader  Demands use of adjectives  ‘Structure words’ to make writing richer

25 Teaching comprehension to ELLs  Define issues  English labels for words they know in native language?  Difficulty with everyday conversation in new language?  Opportunity to teach older kids (4 th grade +) sophisticated words – ELL and native English speakers  Same teaching methods, some unique challenges

26 What can we learn from brain studies?  Studies are starting to focus on reading comprehension  Recent fMRI studies show that parts of the brain relate to mental imagery  Hyperlexia: flip side of dyslexia Have strong decoding skills and weak comprehension Often on the autism spectrum  Autism Studies show autistic children may be able to read individual words, but have difficulty accessing neural connectors to understand what they read

27 Comprehension assessment  Difficult to test whether kids have built a text model  Likely to underestimate comprehension of novice writers and spellers when evaluated in written form  Written test is an important way, but not the only way Does written evaluation show what kids understand?

28 What can parents do?  Volunteer  Read to children and talk about what’s going on, ask questions

29 Final thoughts  Nanci Bell:  Comprehension is now getting attention it deserves  Hopeful that we will find new information about sensory components of comprehension  Sharon Walpole:  Both decoding and comprehension are critically important to reading  Both can be taught  Isabel Beck:  Use big words!

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