Instructional Practices to Promote Reading Comprehension
I found this week's PowerPoint to be especially useful. I appreciated the idea that we spend more time assessing reading comprehension than actually teaching it. As a teacher that works at a school that uses Accelerated Reader, I can definitely identify this sentiment.We are pressured by the administration and the librarian to have students take a certain amount of tests and earn a certain amount of points, but there is essentially no emphasis placed on actually instructing the students upon how to actually comprehend what they are reading. The result is students that meet point goals because of the sheer number of tests taken while performing poorly on the tests. A student earns points on any quiz above 60%, meaning that it is possible to meet the point goal while only demonstrating 60% accuracy on the quizzes. The PowerPoint specified a variety of questioning strategies, such as avoiding one word answers, allowing for collaborations, and requiring students to justify answer, none of which are supporting in the AR quizzes.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension Development
This week's readings were fantastic! I am not a huge fan of theory (sorry), so I was excited to see all the practical strategies. There were so many, that I chose to focus on informational text strategies since that is such a big focus in 4th grade. The PowerPoint suggested ideas such as teaching signal words, teaching about literary aids, and identifying main ideas. I do some of this already, but I do feel like focusing on the signal words would be really helpful for getting my students to better comprehend informational text.
The Morrow and Gambrell text presented a number of useful ideas, one of my favorites being RAFT. I used RAFT throughout my undergraduate work and my student teaching, but fell out of the habit in recent years. I am glad that the reading brought it up because it is a great strategy for both fiction and nonfiction writing. The text specifically refers to using if for writing, but I have also used it with reading. I feel like using it in reading makes it easier for the students to manage in their writing. Foldables are also mentioned in this text. I frequently use these in science, math, and social studies. I had not thought about foldables supporting reading comprehension, but I suppose it functions similarly to a graphic organizer. There are a lot of great websites that have ideas for foldables, but my favorite is Homeschool Share, which has foldables that you can type on.
Samuels and Farstrup also shared several strategies, but what I found the most helpful was the chart discerning the different types of narrative and informational text structures. I think this would be really helpful to provide for all of the students to use with RAFT. I also liked the idea of questioning the author. This is a great strategy for improving comprehension, but I also think this would be helpful for writing. I frequently tell my students to think like an author when they are writing, so this is a great reading connection to that idea.
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
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