"Reading and writing. Talking and learning. It's ALL about comprehension." — Sharon Taberski
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.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Background Knowledge—You Have to Have It to Use It
Sunday, January 30, 2011
A Paradigm Change—Food for Thought
Friday, January 28, 2011
A Call for Interaction
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Another Short, Sweet Chapter Book—Not My Dog!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Reader Response: Authentic Interaction or Code for Test Prep?
Monday, January 24, 2011
Flat Stanley Is Alive and Well (Traveled)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
To Get Kids in Touch with What the Characters Are Thinking—Try a Tableau
A Fork in the Road...
Saturday, January 22, 2011
If You Like Mercy Watson...
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Chapter Books—Short and Sweet
PS: I'll be keeping a running list of my title selections, and yours, in the right-hand column of this blog.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Announcing a Five-Week-Long Webinar
I will be hosting a five-week-long Heinemann Webinar Workshop series starting February 26. For information on how to register, go to the Heinemann's website: http://heinemann.com/PD/webbased/products/WBST.aspx
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
More Alike Than Different
In thinking about teaching ELLs and native speakers, I'm also struck by the truth of this "more alike than different" saying. In fact, last week I attended a two-day workshop given by Dr. Sandra Mercuri, the co-author with Denise Rea of English Language Learners: How to Reach Goals and Meet Standards, K-8 and the similarities between how all children learn was brought home even more. As Dr. Mercuri spoke, it was hard not to see how so many of the strategies that work in teaching ELLs resemble good pedagogy for all students.
Here are the key strategies Dr. Mercuri shared in her presentation and in her book:
Modeling (i.e., thinking aloud, fishbowl) gives students an opportunity to listen in on an expert reader's processing of text. Students get to hear how the teacher thinks and problem solves which gives them ideas of how they themselves can think about text as they read.
Contextualizing (i.e., visuals, manipulatives, collaborative grouping, moving to learn) helps to engage students in learning and makes ideas, concepts, and information more concrete.
Thinking about thinking (i.e., tea party, metaphor lesson, test debriefing) allows students to actively participate in their learning and bring to each new experience what they already know.
Reframing information (i.e., readers theater, mini-performance, poetry, murals, tableaus ) allows students to revisit information and text and interpret it in a different way.
Since it's unlikely that most of you will get the chance to hear Dr. Mercuri speak, I recommend that you read her book. Although I frequently shy away from books that address such a wide audience (K-8), this slim volume is jam-packed with wonderful ideas that can be adapted across grade levels. It gives us sound strategies to help bridge the gap between ELLs and native language speakers, and it reminds us of pedagogy that works well with all our students, but especially those in the primary grades, children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and children with special needs. And it reminds me, of course, that we are more alike than different.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Sense and Meaning
When I consider my own teaching, I recognize that I need to become better at consistently helping children see meaning in what they're learning. We're all being rushed to do more and do it faster. But if in doing so we're missing a focus on meaning, then we may not be as effective as we intend, and children may not actually be learning. And that would be a shame.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Something to Think About
This led me to think about the children we teach, and whether in our read-alouds, we make them work too hard and to the point where their minds wander and they have difficulty staying with the story or information we're presenting. Do we provide enough visuals that would help students more fully engage? Do we bring in real world objects for our ELL students to make the concepts we're sharing more concrete? Are we giving students enough time to talk and process the information they're hearing? Are we giving ourselves the time we know we need to do a good job of reading aloud? I'm afraid that in many instances we are not—we assume, we hope, the children are understanding, but are they really? And because we're so concerned about all we have to cover, we miss golden opportunities to make our read-alouds more meaningful to students.
So what can we do to make the ideas and information we present through read-alouds more accessible, more often? I'd love to hear from you...
- January 4, 2011 5:16 PM ESTI have nothing to say about the comprehension part, but I do have to say You Go, Blogging Girl!!
Seriously, I know I will learn lots about comprehension and teaching (and life and learning and everything else I don't have room to write here) from reading your writing.
Yes, I did kind of slip and link your blog and website so others would know you're busy blogging now! :) love, AM- AM
- January 5, 2011 5:01 PM ESTthat's so funny - two days ago i printed out a dylan thomas poem and put it on my wall. i've never done that before ever. weird!- Dan Taberski
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.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Happy New Year!
As you can tell from the titles of my recent publications, I've been thinking a whole lot about comprehension these past few years. And what better way to ring in the new year than to create a blog where we can share our thinking about this ever-so-important topic. I hope to share practical ideas to bring into the classroom, to-die-for professional and children's books, and anecdotes that jump-start our thinking about what we can do to enhance students' reading comprehension.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you...
- January 2, 2011 9:58 PM ESTDiscovered your blog on AM Literacy Learning Log. I look forward to reading your posts! I know they will be as thought-provoking as your books. (Just finished your most recent over the holidays!)- Mary
- January 2, 2011 10:08 PM ESTnow i'll have to check ann marie's latest post to see what she's saying about me. lol. this blogging is new to me and a bit intimidating, but we'll see how it goes. glad you like my book.- Sharon Taberski
- January 3, 2011 9:25 PM ESTHi Sharon- I too am looking forward to reading more of your posts. I am very happy you started blogging and I love your avatar!!- katie dicesare
- January 4, 2011 11:12 AM ESTThanks Katie. And I'm embarrassed to admit that i had to look up "avatar." Thanks for helping keep me up to date.- Sharon Taberski