One of the most challenging areas of reading teachers are facing is comprehension.
Many students have developed an amazing skill; decoding. But, this does not necessarily mean they are able to fully comprehend the text they are reading.
Over the last 25 years, there has been a number of researches targeting reading comprehension. As a result of these researches, there is an exceeding amount of evidence that by teaching reading comprehension strategies we are able to vastly improve the outcomes of students.
So what are these strategies and how do you go about teaching them in the classroom?
This book is the result of Cameron’s learning journey and her experiences teaching in classrooms. It is a step by step guide that answers the questions many teachers have about how to go about improving reading comprehension.
Click here to visit her site for more information.
Other useful strategies
ACTIVATING PRIOR KNOWLEDGE -
Good readers apply what they already know to their reading.
This strategy allows readers to bring meaning and connections to their strategy.
This strategy should be used before and during reading.
From a students perspective:
This reminds me of...
I remember when...
This relates to...
I heard about this at...
Allows students to build up their skills of know what it is they do and do not understand.
There are four main components of self-monitoring.
1. Visualise what they reading
- Use the five senses; sight, smell, sound, taste and touch to visualise what is happening
2. Asking themselves questions as they read
- Who is the main character?
- Why is the setting important?
- What is possible to be learnt from the story?
3. Draw conclusions
- Why did the character do that?
- Why did the character say that?
4. Reread to clarify
- What new information did I find out?
- What do I understand better?
- How has my understanding changed?
Making connections of text-to-text, text-to-self and text-to-world.
Making text-to-self connections are highly personal connections between a piece of reading material and the readers own experiences or life.
Text-to-text is the ability to make connection between two texts, their themes, characters or subjects
Making text-to-world connections is understanding how the text relates to issues in the world.
Using what you know to make a guess about what you don't know, in other words it is reading between the lines.
The author may provide clues that the reader can used to understand the topic, setting characters, or event. Students are able to make inferences by combining information in the text with their prior knowledge.
Prediction is about anticipating what will happen.
"Skilled readers learn to expect the actions, events and ideas that are coming in the text' (Davis, 2015, p.51).
I can see an image of a dog and a sad little girl, therefore I predict this story will be about a little girl who loses her dog.
I can make new predictions based on what has already happened
I can reflect on my predictions to confirm or reject them.
For example, I am surprised it ended like this. I didn't think it would. I thought...
Ask questions to wonder, justify, clarify, inquire and understand the text. For example:
What does that word mean?
Is there something I have missed causing me to misunderstand?
What do I think about this text?
What do I understand about the character/subject?
What am I still confused about?
Creating mental images as you read.
Creating visual images in your head as you read helps deepen the level of understanding and construct meaning.
SUMMARISING AND RETELLING
The main difference is that a retell includes everything (main ideas and details) while a summary is more condensed and focused on main ideas.
Students paraphrase when they restate information in their own words, which they do when they retell or
Through summarisation of knowledge, thinking critically and merging own information, readers are able to synthesise ideas from the text.
A reader who successfully synthesises content is able to “summarize the information, listen to their inner voice, and merge their thinking so that the information is meaningful to them. They connect the new to the known, they ask questions, they pick out the most important information” (Harvey and Goudvis, 2007, p. 180).