Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Serendipity...or What

After I finished my earlier (January 4th) blog entry, I began googling "comprehension" as I so often do to see where it would lead me. Well...it led me to Tanny McGregor's Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading and a reminder that although I own Tanny's book I had never read it.

So that's how I spent the rest of the afternoon...reading through this compelling book about the importance of making our comprehension strategy instruction concrete, with the help of onions, lint brushes, salad bowls, etc. (I know it sounds crazy but the ideas are actually quite clever, and I can see how they would be helpful to students.) So, in light of my concern expressed in my earlier blog that we're making kids work too hard by keeping ideas and information abstract, is this find serendipitous or what?

Tanny writes: "...I'm using concrete objects to craft 'launching lessons'; lessons that unleash new paths of thinking, lessons that support lots of student-to-student talk, lessons that can be referred to again and again, lessons that kids will remember and think about long after the school day is through." And she does just that.

I recommend you give this book and its ideas a try.

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