IMPROVING READING COMPREHENSION THROUGH STRATEGY INSTRUCTION Dr. Melinda Rice Report of the National Reading Panel “Balanced” Reading Instruction Phonemic Awareness Phonics Fluency Vocabulary Text Comprehension GUIDING QUESTIONS What does it mean to comprehend a text? Why invest time in comprehension instruction? Which students need particular help with vocabulary acquisition and comprehension? What characterizes effective comprehension strategy instruction? What are some classroom factors that affect comprehension instruction? What are some approaches to comprehension strategy instruction? What is comprehension? Comprehension is probably best regarded as a process (rather than a particular outcome or product) through which a reader interacts with a text to construct meaning. This view emphasizes the deliberate, strategic, problem-solving efforts of the reader as he or she engages with a text. This meaning-making process is “the essence of reading” (Durkin, 1993). Successful readers of all ages are highly strategic readers. National Assessment of Educational Progress “The new scores, based on tests given in 2005, show that only about 35 percent of 12th graders are proficient in reading. Simply put, this means that a majority of the country’s 12th graders have trouble understanding what they read fully enough to make inferences, draw conclusions and see connections between what they read and their own experiences.” New York Times editorial, Feb. 27, 2007 Preschool family practices influence children’s vocabulary (Hart & Risley, 2000) VOCABULARY MATTERS! Vocabulary knowledge is significantly related to reading comprehension, decoding, spelling, and school achievement in general. Children come to school with vastly different funds of knowledge about words; from school entry on, fostering word learning should be a high-priority goal to help some children “catch up.” Helping children learn about words helps build linguistic awareness, inferential reasoning ability, and comprehension skills. The National Reading Panel (2000) reviewed hundreds of studies and found solid support for Direct and indirect vocabulary instruction Monitoring comprehension Summarizing Generating and answering questions Explicit teaching of story structure Graphic organizers Cooperative learning Integrating multiple strategies What about students with LD? Based on several large-scale literature reviews and meta-analyses, we know (1) that there is strong research support for comprehension strategy instruction, especially self-monitoring and self-questioning (2) that reading comprehension instruction is one of the most effective techniques for students with LD Which students need particular help with comprehension? Students with language-learning disabilities Students with reading disabilities English language learners Students who begin school with limited vocabulary and literacy experiences, relative to their peers (Even with good instruction, catch-up is difficult) A simple comparison of two types of reading difficulties/disabilities Problems with word Problems with reading only comprehension only Listening comprehension is or comprehension not affected and word reading May be good at learning words from spoken Listening comprehension is language and below average comprehending oral input Word reading may be Word reading is significantly poor significantly poor Automaticity and fluency Automaticity and fluency may be affected are central problems, Limited vocabulary and leaving few “cognitive grammatical knowledge resources” to devote to Memory may be a reading comprehension significant issue Difficulties Affecting Vocabulary Acquisition and Comprehension Deficits in metacognition (monitoring comprehension, selecting & applying strategies) Limited motivation Passivity may be an effect, not a cause Reasoning (particularly the ability to make inferences) Lack of awareness of sentence/text structures Deficits in general knowledge & vocabulary that result from years of struggles with reading and limited reading experience; “Matthew” effects are likely to pertain here.) General Characteristics of Effective Strategy Instruction EXPLICIT (Duffy, 2002; Palinscar & Brown, 1984) SCAFFOLDED (Palinscar & Brown, 1984; Duke & Pearson, 2002) SUSTAINED (Klingner et al., 2004; Pressley et al., 1997) DIFFERENTIATED (Mosenthal, 1984; Spiro, 2001) EXPLICIT The teacher makes covert thought processes obvious to the student through modeling, demonstrations, and guidance. Students are encouraged to talk openly about their strategy use and problem- solving processes. There is emphasis on “metacognition” (thinking about one’s own thinking). SCAFFOLDED The teacher provides temporary support, or “scaffolding,” to help the student move toward— Independent application of strategies Maintenance of strategy use over time Generalization to related reading situations A systematic procedure for introducing and practicing strategies yields the best results 100 Primarily Teacher Modeling* Modeling or Direct Demonstration Instruction Direct Guided Practice Instruction* Region o f Shared Responsibility Scaffolding* Participating* Facilit ating* Primarily Student 0 Percent of Task Responsibilit y Assumed by the Student 0 100 SUSTAINED Effective strategy instruction cannot be regarded as a “quick fix”! Rather, it needs to be an integral part of reading instruction on an on-going basis. Ideally, a problem-solving approach to reading should be emphasized throughout the school day and across disciplines. DIFFERENTIATED Strategy instruction should be tailored to the needs of individual learners. (Vary rate at which new strategies are introduced, degree of explicitness, difficulty of reading material, etc.) Students should be exposed to a variety of reading experiences to foster their ability to use strategic approaches flexibly. Interplay of aspects of the classroom context in reading and learning activities Task Setting Reader Situation Organ izer Text Classroom Factors Affecting Reading Instruction Time limitations Very diverse ability levels Pressure to prepare students for tests Textbooks that are too difficult or poorly written Expectations that teachers will use a particular program adopted by the school or district Excerpt from 6th grade SS text Today, most Middle Eastern countries are republics. In republics, citizens are supposed to govern themselves. Yet many republics in the Middle East, as elsewhere, limit citizen participation. Military dictators rule some Middle Eastern republics. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Syria’s Hafez el Assad control all political activity. Saddam has been particularly effective in silencing those who oppose him. Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. Its king shares some power with an elected legislature. Only Israel is a democracy. It has many political parties and holds regular elections. National Reading Panel (2000) reviewed hundreds of studies and found solid support for Direct and indirect vocabulary instruction Monitoring comprehension Summarizing Generating and answering questions Explicit teaching of story structure Graphic organizers Cooperative learning Integrating multiple strategies Children learn about 3,000 words a year but only about 300 from organized instruction (Beck & McKeown, 1999) “Because the bulk of children’s vocabulary growth occurs incidentally. . . the single most important goal of vocabulary instruction should be to increase the amount of incidental word learning by students.” (Nagy & Herman, 1987) For every new word a child learns, there are 1-3 related words that should be understandable to him/her, depending on ability to use content and morphology to infer meanings (Nagy & Anderson, 1984). Developmental changes in types of words known in 1st, 3rd, and 5th gr. (Anglin, 1993) Teaching Options Relying on incidental word learning alone Teacher-supported word learning in everyday activities Talking about words encountered in books; word games; modeling curiosity about words; discussing events & experiences; collaborative activities. Teaching word-learning strategies Inferring meanings from context Using knowledge of prefixes, suffixes & roots Emphasizing intentional word learning Studying selected words from texts or vocabulary lists Memorizing content-area terms Before Reading Spark students’ interest and curiosity. Focus attention on the purpose for reading. Help students think about what they already know about a topic and provide a framework for organizing this information. Expose students to key concepts and vocabulary that are vital to comprehending the text. IDEAS Collaborative Strategic Reading (Klingner & Vaughn, 1999): Before reading, students are asked to preview the text, make note of what they already know, and predict what they might find out from reading. Possible Sentences (Stahl & Kapinus, 1991): Teacher provides brief definition, students construct “possible sentences” with words. After reading, decide whether sentences are “true” or not. Learning Log BEFORE READING DURING READING AFTER READING What I already know about the Clunks and Gists Questions about the important topic. ideas in the passage. What I predict I will learn. What I learned. Adapted from Klingner et al. During Reading Emphasize strategic reading behavior (e.g., self- questioning, self-monitoring, identifying words/phrases that pose difficulty and trying to determine their meaning; summarizing, note- taking, etc.) Teach ways of representing text structure and key ideas graphically. Emphasize “big ideas,” key concepts, and relationships among concepts. Train students to apply reading strategies in small, interactive groups (or pairs). IDEAS Collaborative Strategic Reading Identify “clicks” vs. “clunks” & apply “fix up” strategies to try to figure out “clunks” State the “gist” of each section (1-2 paragraphs) in 10 words or fewer (Also a feature of PALS) Elaborative Interrogation (Pressley et al., 1992) Formulate and try to answer “why” questions about information in text Identifying sentence/text structure (recognizing “signal” words, etc.) Making Connections (Dewsbury & Kovales, 2006) Visual Imagery Roles in the Collaborative Group (Collaborative Strategic Reading and other systems) Leader: Helps the group implement the assignment by focusing on the four strategies and ensuring that each member has opportunities to participate. Clunk Expert: Reminds the students of the steps to follow for figuring out a word. Gist Expert: Reminds the students of the steps to follow to figure out the main idea. Announcer: Calls on members to read or share an idea and represents the group when the teacher calls the groups back for reporting to the class as a whole. Vocabulary Expert: selects words to teach, identifies meanings, asks students to derive meaning from context, confirms or gives more precise meaning (Fisher et al., 1991) Learning Log BEFORE READING DURING READING AFTER READING What I already know about the Clunks and Gists Questions about the important topic. ideas in the passage. What I predict I will learn. What I learned. Adapted from Klingner et al. After Reading Review newly acquired knowledge, concepts, and vocabulary. Help students extend what they have learned to their personal world. Help students draw conclusions, think critically about what they have read, and compare one text to another. Help students apply what they have learned in meaningful ways. Learning Log BEFORE READING DURING READING AFTER READING What I already know about the Clunks and Gists Questions about the important topic. ideas in the passage. What I predict I will learn. What I learned. Adapted from Klingner et al. Question Stems (Collaborative Strategic Reading) What do you think would happen if _____? Why do you think _____? How are ______and _____ alike? How are ______ and _____ different? What do you think caused _____to happen? What other solution can you think of for the problem? How do you think _____ could have been prevented? How would you interpret _____? What could have made a difference in the ending? What are the strengths (or weaknesses) of ______? Question Game Adapted from Collaborative Strategic Reading $10.00 questions are ones where the answer is right in the text and can be provided in one or two words. $20.00 questions are ones where the answer is right in the text but requires more than a couple of words to give. $30.00 questions are ones where the answer is in the text but you have to have read the text and to compose the answer yourself based on what you've read. $40.00 questions are ones where the individual has to use his or her own previous experiences and integrate them with what they have learned from the text. $50.00 questions are ones that connect the present text to other texts the students have read. Semantic Feature Analysis (adapted from Nagy, 1988) For For For Big or small Crude Permanen Portable peopl animal storag fancy or t e s e rough house + - - O O O + - shack + - - - + + ? - shed - - + - + + ? - barn - + O - - O + - tent + - - - O O - + mansion + - - + - - + - Concept Hierarchy Matter Living Thing Animal Vertebrate Bird Robin Democracy IS A Form of Government Always Present Sometimes Present Never Present Examples Non-Examples Conclusions It is becoming increasingly clear that children in classrooms in which strategy instruction is a sustained, on-going aspect of reading instruction outperform those who experience more traditional approaches on measures of reading comprehension. “Strategy instruction provides students with their culture’s best secrets about how to obtain academic success” (Harris & Pressley, 1991).
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