Do you ever wish that you could just look inside a student's head to see what he/she is really seeing while reading? How many of your students tell you, "I can read, but I just don't remember what I read." And then there is the dreaded comment, "I just hate to read!" So what can you do to help your students comprehend what they are reading? What can you do to help them discover the joy of reading? Hmmm ... are you a reader?
Reading comprehension is a compilation of many skills. Many readers do not even know all of the skills that are involved in reading because it is an automatic process to them - just like driving a car. Unfortunately, here in Montana we have far too many accidents because people set their cars on cruise, crank up the music, and don't slow down for the curves. And that is what happens with many of our student readers. The only difference is that they don't have the reading skills to realize the curve is coming.
READING STRAND: READING COMPREHENSION
Reading comprehension has many facets for us to discuss, so this will take more than just one month to develop. As is said, this is where the rubber meets the road. Without solid reading comprehension skills, one can flounder in all of the content areas. Understanding a doctor's written instructions, a teacher's note, an employer's memo - all can be frustrating if one can not put all of the reading skills together to comprehend the meaning.
Comprehension requres active, strategic thinking, but it also requres basic reading skills: decoding (word identification), fluency, and vocabulary (knowledge of word menaing). Unless decoding is automatic and reading is fluent, comprehension suffers. So another way to understan the reading process is to see it as a hierarchy of skills Pressley, 2001)
Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults: First Steps for Teachers (McShane, 2005, p.73)
Adults who qualify for ABE have poor functional literacy comprehension achievement. Although they may be able to perform simple comprehensions tasks such as recalling ideas from simple stories and locating a single piece of information in a simple text, they are often unable to combine (integrate and synthesize) information from longer or more complex texts. (Gold, 1983; Kirsch, Jungeblut, Jenkinds, & Kolstad, 1993)
Research-Based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction (Krudenier, 2002, p.78)
Because comprehension requires basic decoding skills and fluency, comprehension-strategy instruction is most often directed at mid-high level readers. In fact, the research reviewed by the National Reading Panel was conducted with students in third grade and above. However, even beginners need to engage in meaningful reading and therefore can benefit from learning to monitor their understanding and to apply some simple strategies as the read.
Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults: First Steps for Teachers (McShane, 2005, p.75)
- MT LINCS Pilot Project has been viable links for several curriculum areas. Check it out!
- Worksheets: Check out another comparison of good and poor readers and some strategies to strengthen reading comprehension by clicking on the titles below.
QUESTIONS FOR THINKING/DISCUSSION: You may reply to this email.
Finally, you say, it's about time we discuss reading comprehension. It is the main course! However, many of our students are not partaking of this course. They are "munching" on the chips and chocolate heart - don't see the whole box.
After the holidays, we have plenty of leftovers.
Bring them to the Montana ABLE's Staff Lounge!
We'll try anything!!!
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