Learning Support. What is Comprehension?

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1 Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills What is Comprehension? Comprehension is the act of constructing meaning with text The reader plays an active role filtering, organising, interpreting and generating relationships with incoming information Comprehension is an interaction between word identification, knowledge and comprehension skills What is the Purpose of Reading? Narrative Texts enjoyment/ some information Expository (Information) Texts Information/ Explanation/ Persuasion Diagrammatic/ Representational Texts present/ illustrate information What are Comprehension Skills? They are the strategies a reader uses to construct meaning and retrieve information from a text They are cognitive processes which can be broken into steps and taught explicitly There are three types of comprehension skills 1. Pre-reading i.e. Pre-view/ Overview Web/ Brainstorm/ KWL 2. During reading i.e. Paragraph Re-Read/ Read and Pause/ Note-taking 3. Post-reading i.e. Summarise/ Article re-read/ Sequencing Why Teach Comprehension Skills? To increase students ability to create meaning with text independently This is best done by explicit teaching in the use of comprehension skills Not all students acquire these skills naturally Activities to Develop Comprehension Skills The following activities incorporate some of these strategies for teaching Comprehension Skills. Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 1

2 Oral Comprehension Strategies Oral Cloze Procedure using familiar/unfamiliar stories, poems, songs etc. Read and Re-tell Children read a section of a story (i.e. as much as can be covered by a hand). They then re-tell it to the class or to a buddy if working in pairs/groups Non-verbal Interpretation of a Text Children read a story and then draw the key points in that story i.e. they draw a story map. The class/buddy/ group should be able to re-tell the story from the drawing Sequencing: Teacher selects a passage (i.e. from textbook, comic book/strip/ teacher resource books for comprehension or reading) and cuts it into sections. The children have to re-arrange the sections to re-make the story Skimming and Scanning: Identify key words in a selected passage. Pupils are asked to find the listed key words in the passage. Pupils could also be given key words on cards before commencing oral reading. As each key word is read aloud the student raises his/ her card Composing questions before/ after reading Question/ Answer Relationships (QAR Teaching) Introduces students to basic types of question: Literal Right there Reading the lines Inferential Think and search Reading between the lines Beyond the text On my own Reading beyond the lines Reciprocal Teaching Useful for young and poor readers Provides guided practice in the application of 4 strategies i.e. Questioning/ Clarifying/ Summarizing/ Predicting Procedure: Teacher selects fiction text and prepares the leader cards. The group leader reads the cards and guides the discussion as follows: 'Please get ready to read as far as. I predict that. Does anyone else have a prediction.? Would you like to read silently or aloud together? Are there any words you thought were interesting or you had questions about? Are there any ideas you thought were interesting or had questions about? Did you have any I wonder questions? Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 2

3 Who will ask a question for this part of the reading? This section of the reading was about.. Does anybody want to add to my summary? After the last card has been read and responded to the card set is passed to the new leader and reading continues. Note: To develop children s questioning skills beyond the literal level teacher could model and/ or provide direct teaching in how to ask questions at the analytical, inferential and evaluation levels. Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review (SQ3R) Survey: Student surveys assignment, headings, skimming and reading Question: Students turn each heading into a question Read: Students read to find the answers Recite: say the answers aloud Review: Write notes to answer the questions. Review what they have read Directed Reading Thinking Activity This is used with unfamiliar stories. Introduce story before beginning to read Show cover of book/ 1 st page of story and ask students to make predictions Students read or listen to beginning of story: they are then asked to reject or confirm predictions Have children reflect upon their predictions A variation on this approach would be to write key phrases from the story on separate cards and ask the class/groups to compose stories using these key phrases As the original story is read the students can compare/contrast the story with their own versions KWL K -What I know W- What I want to know L What I learned For use with non-fiction texts Can be used across the curriculum i.e. History, Geography, Religion, Science etc. Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 3

4 Can be completed individually, in a group or on a whole-class basis. Occasionally can be helpful for children with poor reading skills working in a mixed-ability group Incorporates before-, during- and post-reading comprehension skills Children need a large sheet of paper/card divided into 3 columns i.e. KWL (See sample) K List what they know about the topic. They then brainstorm and list all the information in the K column. (If appropriate, teacher could use this information to model mind-mapping or webbing here following feedback from the class) W Children then compose questions about what they want to know about this topic. Children read the text L They then complete this column listing what they have learned and reflecting on same. If they still have unanswered questions they can be encouraged to develop research skills by find the answers using Library, Internet or contacting the relevant experts. Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 4

5 KWL Worksheet K what I know W what I want to know L what I learned Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 5

6 Anticipation Guides This activity is suitable for older students and incorporates before-, duringand post-reading comprehension skills. Teacher identifies several major concepts related to reading assignment/unit He/she develops 4 6 statements that are general enough to stimulate discussion and can be used to clarify misconceptions The list can be placed upon a chart or individual sheets Students respond (i.e. agree/disagree) to the statement, working in groups, pairs or individually This is followed by whole-class discussion Students read text and compare their responses to what is stated in the reading material This is followed by further discussion. Students cite information in text that supports/defends their position Comprehension and Language Development Knowledge of vocabulary and the ability to understand the concepts of words are Closely related to reading achievement Limited vocabulary knowledge can seriously hamper reading comprehension Furthermore, as words become more abstract, the concepts become more difficult to grasp Suggestions for Expanding Vocabulary Highlighting Multiple Word Meanings Multiple meanings of words often cause confusion in reading. They can be highlighted through Dictionary games Sentence completion exercises Class discussion Providing Concrete Experiences To build vocabulary and develop concepts for reading students need concrete experiences and words Primary experiences and actual referents Drawing conclusions from their experiences Developing skills of classifying, summarising and generalising Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 6

7 Exploring Sources of Vocabulary New words can be drawn from any aspect of a pupil s experience television, sport, newspapers, advertising, science etc. Many students enjoy keeping lists of new words and developing word books Expanding Vocabulary through Classification Another way to learn new words is to attach them to known words Vertical vocabulary expansion involves taking a new word and breaking it down into categories e.g. take the concept dog and break it into many species Collie, Terrier, Alsatian Horizontal vocabulary growth refers to enrichment and differentiation. Children may first call all animals dogs. Then they learn to distinguish cats, horses and other creatures Strategies for Teaching Comprehension Skills 7

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