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.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Turn the Tables and Put Independent Reading "First"
Understanding the valuable contribution independent reading can make in children's reading lives is the first step in giving it the center-stage attention it deserves and improving its effectiveness. Independent reading allows students to practice the skills and strategies you've demonstrated throughout read-aloud, guided reading, and shared reading. It exposes them to background knowledge of new topics or deepens their knowledge of topics they're already passionate about. It exposes them to vocabulary and literary language they're not likely to hear during oral language exchanges. It shows them possibilities they have for their own writing. If an author of an informational text has included a scale drawing to compare the size of something they're learning about to something they already know, then why not try the same in their own writing. Opportunities to improve children's reading lives abound...and the first step is acknowledging they're there and then figuring out ways to actualize them.
Over the next couple weeks, I'll take a close-up look at various aspects of independent reading. In addition, if anyone has specific independent reading-related questions, please send them along.