Strategy Decision Making

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					Strategy Decision Making

   Dr. Susan Davis Lenski
   Portland State University
         Educational Problem
• Middle and high school readers often do not
  comprehend what they read.
• They lack the strategies to help them
  comprehend what they read.
• They may not be able to generalize their
  strategies to content-area literacy tasks and lack
  instruction in and knowledge of strategies
  specific to particular subject areas, such as
  math, science, or history.
(Biancarosa & Snow, 2003)
        Where is that Holy Grail?
“Some days I feel my students are I are caught in a
riptide of futility. I feel that I have failed them. I, too, want
to be invited behind the magician’s curtain and
taught all the tricks of teaching reading and writing. I
want to share with my kids how profoundly words,
reading, and writing have enriched my life, seen me
though some tough moments, helped me to define self
and resurrect self when my ego has been flattened.
Sometimes I feel discouraged but never hopeless. I keep
pursuing the Holy Grail of teaching literacy. I am a

                 Middle school special education teacher
   Ongoing Research Project
• 25 middle and high school teachers
• Urban setting
• Four different schools, all with 80% or
  higher at-risk population
• Enrolled in reading endorsement program
  through Portland State University
   Application to Reading Next
• Direct, explicit comprehension instruction
• Effect instructional principles embedded in
• Text-based collaborative learning
• Diverse texts
What works? What doesn‟t? What works for social
studies, but not for science? What works for Joe but not
for me? I would be greatly relieved if some wonderfully
experiences teacher would just hand me 12 strategies
and say, „Use these,‟ then add a new one every week or
two. Greatly relieved!!”

                           First year middle school teacher
                    Start with Texts
Science Texts                    Social Studies Texts
Journals                         Diaries, letters
Lab reports                      Political cartoons
Graphs, charts                   Picture books
Data tables, diagrams            Newspapers
Textbooks                        Textbooks
Internet texts                   Poetry
Video texts, microscope slides   Commercials
Maps, posters                    Instructions, directions
Informational books              Recipes
Cartoons, pictograms             Billboards, bumper stickers, posters
Newspaper articles               Lyrics
Summaries                        Internet texts, on-line bios
            Start with Texts (cont.)
Mathematics                            Art
Charts, diagrams                       Textbooks
Plans, patterns (architecture)         Gallery guides
Budgets, financial reports             Media terms
Schedules, time tables                 Magazines
Instruments: seismic, volcanic, etc.   Journal articles
Instructions, operations               Catalogs
Historical references                  Critiques
Maps, trend patterns                   Internet sources
Statistics                                       Photos, original art
Problems, equations                    Movies
Textbook explanations                  Symbolic representations
          Start with Texts (cont.)
Language Arts           Spanish (ELL)
Textbooks stories       Posters
Novels                  Body languages
Internet Sources        Idioms
Plays                   Puzzles
Poetry                  Realia
Short stories           Time tables, menus
Diaries, letters        Newspapers
Zines, graphic novels   Computer language programs
Newspapers, magazines   Environmental print (graffiti)
Essays                  Informational books
Picture books           CDs that accompany texts
Book reviews            Text messages, letters
      Multigenre Text Example
• Social Studies text, Across the Centuries
• “Istanbul was Once Constantinople” by They might be
• “The Barbarians,” History channel reenactment
• The Bayeux Tapestry (Art)
• Scenes from The Lord of the Rings (Movie)
• Guest speaker, Peace Corps volunteer (Uzbekistan)
• The White Mountains, by John Christopher (Novel)
• Age of Empires II, Video game
 Text-based Strategy Decisions
What are the demands of this text?
       Graphic display
       Vocabulary load

Strategy Decisions
       Graphic organizers
       Knowledge rating scale
       Vocabulary preteaching
     Thinking about the Readers
What preparations do students need before they read?
        Accessing background knowledge
        Generating interest
        Arousing curiosity
        Connecting with prior experiences
        Language ability
        Knowledge of content

Which strategies would be useful to prepare readers for this text?
        Anticipation guide
        Vocabulary preteaching
        Expectation outlining
     Reading Activities/Standards
•   What are the learning processes students need to activate?
•   Setting purposes
•   Monitoring understanding
    Thinking critically
    Making inferences
•   Drawing conclusions
•   Making connections
•   Which strategies would help students comprehend the text?
•   Discussion web
•   QtA
•   Problemitizing texts
•   Discussions
•   Writing
•   Summarizing
      Internalizing Strategies
• Teaching students how to transfer strategy
  use to new situations is one of the most
  difficult aspects of strategy instruction.
  Readers tend to learn and use strategies
  in the contexts in which they were
  originally taught.”

• Almasi, 2003
Steps to transfer of strategies
– Describe the strategy “What is it?”
– Model strategy
– Explain how the strategy works “How to do it.”
– Guided practice
– Explain how and when to use strategy in other
              (Adapted from Almasi, 2003)
          Preliminary Findings
• Teachers had great difficulty thinking about
  literacy processes and standards as they
  prepared lessons.
• Teachers found strategy instruction useful in the
  following ways:
     • It helped the teachers focus on literacy processes.
     • The lessons became more engaging for students.
     • Teachers felt more satisfied with their teaching.
         Findings (cont.)

• Students achievement has begun to
  increase on the state tests.
• Teachers are talking about lessons in
  new ways.
• Almasi, J. (2003). Teaching strategic processes in reading. New
  York: Guilford.
• Biancarosa, G., & Snow, C. (20030. Reading next: A vision for
  action and research in middle and high school literacy. Washington
  DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.
• Duffy, G.G. (2005). Visioning and the development of outstanding
  teachers. In Z. Fang (Ed.), Literacy teaching and learning (pp. 321-
  328). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
• Gaskins, I. (2003). Taking charge of reader, text, activity, and
  context variables. In A.P. Sweet & C.E. Snow (Eds.), Rethinking
  reading comprehension (pp. 141-165). New York: Guilford.
• Snow, C., & Sweet, A.P. (2003). Reading for comprehension. In A.P.
  Sweet & C.E. Snow (Eds.), Rethinking reading comprehension (pp.
  1-11). New York: Guilford.