"You have to teach children how to use comprehending processes
to achieve comprehension."
Paula Moore and Anna Lyon, New
Essentials for Teaching Reading
in PreK-2, 2005
Release of Request for
Proposals for Maine
Reading First Sub-Grants for Eligible LEAs
Maine Reading First Informational Grant Writing
Maine Reading First Sub-Grant Applications Due
"Comprehension means that readers think not only about what
they are reading, but what they are learning."
Stephanie Harvey and Anne
Goudvis, Strategies that Work, 2000
"Do you know that great readers think and read at the same
Debbie Miller, Reading with
This is the fifth newsletter which is being devoted to one of
the five essential elements of reading instruction. The May, 2005 edition of "Literacy Links"
provided an in-depth look at reading
fluency, the June, 2005 edition provided an in-depth look at vocabulary, the September, 2005
edition focused on phonemic awareness,
and the October, 2005 focused on phonics.
This month's edition
of "Literacy Links" focuses on comprehension.
Comprehension is the reason for
reading. It involves the process of actively
constructing meaning through interaction with written language. Comprehension is not a product of
reading. It is the purposeful, active,
and complex meaning-making process that occurs before, during, and after
reading. Before reading, efficient readers
engage in the comprehension strategies of activating prior knowledge, making
predictions, and asking questions.
During the reading, efficient readers engage in a variety of
comprehension strategies: making connections, visualizing, confirming or revising
earlier predictions, making inferences, determining important information, and
asking questions. A critical strategy in
which readers should engage while reading is monitoring their comprehension
and using "fix-up" strategies to resolve confusions, problems, or
misunderstandings. After reading,
efficient readers summarize, synthesize, ask questions, or make connections
or inferences with what they read.
Notice how many of these comprehension strategies listed occur before,
during, and after reading.
Each reader interacts with each
text in a unique way to create meaning.
There are many factors which can influence the meaning which is
created-reader's background knowledge and purpose for reading, structure and
vocabulary within the text, and the level of distraction surrounding the
strategies is more effective when the instruction is explicit. Teachers begin with an explanation of the
strategy, when it should be used, and why it is important. Modeling how to apply the strategy to
reading is the next step. Teachers
then provide opportunities for guided practice of the newly learned strategy
until readers are able to apply it independently. Instruction of comprehension strategies
should highlight connections between the strategies. Readers should be encouraged to use
comprehension strategies flexibly and in combination with each other depending
on the text type and reading situation.
Description of Instructional Idea.
In the above description of the comprehension strategies
used before, during, and after reading, asking questions was listed for all
three of these intervals. Answering
and generating questions are two comprehension strategies which were
identified within the scientifically based reading research collected by the
National Reading Panel. Questioning
encourages readers to actively think and monitor as they read.
Taffy Raphael developed a classification system to help
teachers and students attend to the different levels of questions which can
be generated and answered before, during, and after reading. Raphael has categorized four types of question-answer relationships
into two categories:
Category #1-In the Text
reader can find the answer directly stated within the text.
reader will need to search in different places within the text and put the
pieces together to determine the answer.
Category #2-In My Head
reader relies on background knowledge without the aid of the text to
develop the answer.
Author and You
reader synthesizes his/her background knowledge and the information from
the author within the text to develop the answer.
The purpose of Question-Answer
Relationships is for teachers and students to be aware that different types
of questions have different purposes and require different levels of
responses. Questions which can be
answered at a literal level should be combined with those which require
higher-level thinking processes to respond.
Instruction on Question-Answer
Relationships should begin with short and simple texts and move to longer and
more complex texts. Teachers should
also focus first on simple questions and, as the students become more
involved in the process, move to more difficult questions.
Summary of Professional Literacy Text.
for Teaching Reading
in PreK-2: Comprehension,
Paula Moore and Anna Lyon have co-authored this new text
as part of the "Theory and Practice" series published by Scholastic, Inc. The authors devote the first part of this
book to sharing the latest research and theory on children's development of
comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.
The second part translates this research into practical ideas for
comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency which can be integrated into classroom
instruction. The authors intentionally
weave the importance of oral language and classroom conversations in
fostering children's comprehension of written text throughout the book. The inherent relationship between
comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency is also emphasized throughout this
New Essentials for Teaching Reading in PreK-2:
Comprehension, Vocabulary, Fluency was published in 2005 by Scholastic, Inc.
and the ISBN is 0439623685.
Children's Literature Title.
A Story for Bear
written by Dennis Haseley and illustrated
by Jim LaMarche
This story about a bear's discovery of a new
friend who shares books and opens the world of reading to him will capture
your heart and imagination. The enchanting
illustrations of the bear nosing his way through the forest to get closer to
the woman with the books and then eventually curling up beside her to listen
to her read enhance the heartwarming mood of this book. "He couldn't understand any of what she was
saying. But as he listened to the
sound of her voice, happiness washed over him like waves." As the bear hibernates for the winter, he
cuddles on top of all of the books the woman left for him and imagines her
voice reading to him as he drifts off to sleep.
A Story for Bear was published in 2002 by Silver
Whistle, a division of Harcourt, Inc. and the ISBN is 0152002391.
News from Maine
Reading First will release the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the third
round of competitive sub-grants for eligible LEAs on December 12, 2005 in Augusta. Eligible LEAs will receive written notification
prior to this date and the list of eligible LEAs will also be posted on the
Maine Reading First website athttp://www.maine.gove/education/rf/homepage.htm
. The informational grant writing
session for eligible and interested schools will be held on January 9, 2006
in Bangor and
the grant applications will be due on March 10, 2006.
Check it out.
Reading Rockets is a national
educational service funded by the United States Department of Education
dedicated to providing information about how children learn to read. The website for Reading Rockets includes a
wealth of resources for educators and parents which includes books, forums,
videos, and articles about teaching children to read and helping children who
struggle. Interested users can also
sign up to receive their free monthly electronic newsletter. The website address is http://www.readingrockets.org