AVAILLL Is a research based literacy programme. It uses popular films to teach three key areas of literacy; comprehension strategies, vocabulary and fluency. Emerging research has stated the need for the use of multimedia approaches to teaching literacy and this programme makes it engaging and relevant, two key aspects to a successful programme. Attached is a link for the AVAILLL website and an article which was in Practically Primary an education journal.
During my time on placement I came across many children who had trouble with reading comprehension. The children who struggled with comprehension were not taught the strategies successfully to help them with their reading. Due to this, these students lost the motivation and passion for reading. Implementing some simple strategies such as questioning to the student gave them some tools to improve their comprehension and therefore increased their motivation to read. Lets face it, who here can say they enjoy something they aren’t really good at? This is the same for children with their reading! If a child can’t find some success in reading they are more than likely going to lose enjoyment and motivation. It has been stated that even implementing one comprehension strategy will improve a student’s comprehension of text.
Below you can find some simple strategies that I recommend which were taken from Literacy Fourth Edition, a great book used during my degree. If these comprehension strategies are used effectively students will be able to understand text successfully. You can find the reference to the text-book at the bottom of the post if you would like to do some further research.
Students have a large supply of prior knowledge built up from experiences they have had within their own worlds. A student’s level of comprehension is affected by the amount of information the child knows of the type of text they are reading. For example a student who has little to no prior knowledge about a narrative may be confused by the series of events taking part in the story. Students need prior knowledge of:
· the topic of the text
· the text type
· the structure, layout and features
· the vocabulary
Introducing topics that the students may be exploring during their reading will give them prior knowledge and preparation so that they are focused before reading. The text type is also important. As mentioned earlier before if a student is not well acquainted with a certain text type or genre then they are going to have trouble comprehending their text. Structure and layout of the text will depend on what type of genre is being read. If the child is reading a news article then the structure and layout can be very important. Teaching your student to be aware of the major titles, images and sub headings will help them get a better understanding of what is being transferred to the reader. Finally the vocabulary needs to be at an appropriate level. If the vocabulary of the text is at a higher level than that of the child, then it would be misguided to prescribe such reading material. This could also be said for a vocabulary level that is much lower than that of the child, causing them to lose interest and motivation as the text is not challenging enough to interest them.
SQ3R- Survey Question Read Recite Review.
One strategy that has been used to help teach reading comprehension was the SQ3R method which seems to be aimed more at the higher levels of primary school children but can be easily adapted to the lower levels. This strategy covers most aspects of reading and also, if taught successfully, can give students the appropriate skills to read independently giving the teacher the confidence that the students are using this strategy to comprehend their readings.
S- Survey, this involves the student examining the text by reading introductions, major headings, summaries and also any visual cues such as illustrations before reading the text.
Q- Question, once the student has surveyed the key aspects of the reading, such as the headings or images, they now ask themselves some questions of what this text might be about which could also be known as predicting. Doing this makes the student read in a focused way to see if what they predicted was correct.
R- Read, very simple, the student now reads the text with a focus to connect the headings, visual cues and their questions with the text.
R- Recite, the student will briefly go back over their work, reciting what has been learnt which may include the answer to their question or any main points discovered from the text.
R- Review, once the student has read the text and recited what they have learnt they can now refer back to their questions/predictions that they first wrote down before reading. This could be done individually or even in pairs, comparing questions and answers with each other. This process is great as students may have different perspectives on the matter and bring prior knowledge from different experiences to the discussion. Allowing students to take part in a rich conversation.
Duke, N. K., & Pearson, D. P. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In What research has to say about reading instruction. Newark, Del: International Reading Association.
Winch, G., Johnston, R. R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, Writing and Children’s Literature (Fourth.). Oxford University Press.
Teaching comprehension doesn’t just stop once the reader has finished their text. The use of questioning, as an example, has been used too many times as a test rather than a tool to develop deeper understanding. While questioning can be used as assessment tool it does not mean that you are teaching comprehension. We need to give explicit instruction, demonstrate and guide whilst the students are practicing and constantly evaluate the students as they learn a variety of different comprehension strategies.
Beginning teachers must also have the knowledge of how to assess a student’s reading comprehension. Assessment should be dynamic and ongoing which allows the reader to make metacognitive decisions whilst reading. It is very important to also note that while assessing a student one must not concentrate on what the student cannot do but more on what they can do. A teacher should not concentrate on word processing skills too much as an assessment of a reader’s performance. This was clear during my teaching experience when a student seemed to be struggling with their reading but once I investigated further, they had tremendous skills in other areas. Using what the child can do to reinvigorate and connect back to content is a much more appropriate way than concentrating on what they can’t do.
Woolley, G. (2008). The assessment of reading comprehension difficulties for reading intervention. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 13(1), 51–62. doi:10.1080/19404150802093729
Although I hope that you find my blog useful it would be inappropriate of me to not implore you as a teacher or anyone who wants to further their knowledge on reading comprehension, to not explore and be resourceful by reading as much as you can. I found this blog whilst doing some research on reading comprehension. This man comes with a lot of experience and has some great understanding of the topic, something I one day hope to have. Below is his link to his blog. ENJOY!
From what I have observed in my time in the classroom (which isn’t too long) and through exploring research is that a lot of teaching of text is mainly print-based. Even though this form of text or media is important to teach, the exposure of multimodal texts, such as computer games, television documentaries and online social network sites, must be included in today’s teaching. Just an exposure to these multimodal texts will not be enough to enable the students to fully comprehend the multimodal texts. Incorporating strategies to improve comprehension skills of these multimodal text will then in turn help students with fluency and understanding of print-based texts.
The attached article does a great job of examining the effectiveness of a traditional model for comprehension of print-based texts when implemented to a digital multimodal text. I highly recommend reviewing it and taking some bits and pieces that you like from it.
Harris, A. (2011). How effective are print-based comprehension models for reading and assessing multimodal texts? Literacy Learning : the Middle Years, 19(3), 19.
Using frameworks is very useful to help you start implementing strategies. Teachers need to be the decision makers in choosing the right framework or model that will suit their students. The article attached mentions some great instructional frameworks and examples of how to use them. These frameworks are the Scaffolded Reading Experience, Questioning the Author, Collaborative Strategic Reading, Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies and Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction. This article also states in what group format the framework are suited best for teaching. Whether you need to teach to a small group, whole class or individual these frameworks will let you know what’s best but as mentioned earlier only you can decide what best suits your classroom or style of teaching.
Liang, L.A., & Dole, J.A. (2006). Help with teaching reading comprehension. Comprehension instructional fraeworks. The Reading Teacher, 59(8), 742-753.