Sunday, April 16, 2006

Strategies that Work
Chapter 2

This chapter focuses on strategies that effective readers utilize. The text states that strategic readers are connecting, inferring, questioning, visualizing, and synthesizing as they read. Please review the strategies presented in this chapter and choose one to share with your class.

Please share the following information:
1. What strategy did you choose? Did you use a specific book to teach this strategy? If so, what is the title/author?
2. Your thoughts and reflections on this chapter.

Please click on the comments icon to submit your reflection


Blogger Rhonda Gillette said...

I chose to teach the strategy of inferencing using post it notes with the story Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. I made an overhead of a portion of the chapter to model the procedure first. Then I made note cards for each student that asked the following questions: Why did the character say that? What made the character do that? How does the character feel? Students then read the assigned chapter and jotted down any inferences they had on response notes. These post it notes were then stuck in the chapter book and shared with a partner after reading time was finished.

While reading this chapter, I was reminded of the importance of modeling reading strategies. I was also reminded of the importance of working together with other teachers to develop a common language for strategies so that students are familiar with the vocabulary from year to year. This chapter also got me thinking about how difficult it is to assess reading comprehension with a percentage grade. So much of what I do to assess comprehension isn't easily put into a percentage grade. Although, I am required to give a reading grade on a report card.

12:06 PM  
Blogger jomarie said...

Chapter 2 – Strategic Reading

The strategy I focused on was questioning and I used the book “Spiders” by Gail Gibbons. I will probably write about literature circles many times during this class, because I believe lit. circles are a wonderful tool to get children thinking, modeling, and applying reading skills. By this time of year the class has experienced working in literature circles by reading several books. So when I introduced the book Spiders, I started with explaining that each student was going to be a discussion director (one of the roles with lit. circles). A discussion director’s job is to ask questions that address what one may wonder or feel. So the questions can’t be literal where a yes or no comment is enough. So each student developed two discussion questions. Students were put into groups of three or four and each person asked their question and each person in the group was required to respond to the question. I roamed from group to group and informally assessed the questions students came up with (as well as the answers that were given). I observed children asking questions that indicated their level of understanding. I observed children who benefited by getting an idea of what a good question sounds like by modeling what their peers had developed. It is a joy to observe students that begin to apply reading strategies based on their interactions with their peers.

This chapter assured me that the reading curriculum in my school is using sound methods and my use of literature circles offers another method for practicing these strategies in a cooperative way.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Sam Fuchs said...

The strategy that I worked on with the students is making connections. We are reading Bunnicula by James Howe right now and it is a really funny book. The problem is that a lot of the jokes I don't think the students fully understand. We did a web of things that we knew about vampires from films and shared things in class. During the discussion I was able to work on some misconceptions that some children had much like the teacher in the story. In the current chapter the characters get the words stake and steak mixed up and try to get rid of the rabbit by smothering him with a t-bone. I prefaced todays reading by going over our web that we had made at the beginning again with a focus on fighting vampires. We also talked about how they should try and visualize what is happening in the story as they read. I know the students had a better understanding because there was a lot of laughter. They did a better job of understandind the mistake the characters made and thought it was hilarious.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Robes said...

I chose to teach the strategy of making connections. I did not read a book, rather I asked my students if they could tell me a time during the school day that they may use one of the language skills that we are currently working on. A few examples of the skills some of my students are working on are answering literal and inferential questions, inferencing and categorizing. I must admit it was humbling , if not embarressing to find that few of my students could name a time when they would use the skill(s) they are learning.

So, it seems I have to "help" them come to the answer. I have begun to point out times that I use a specific skill. I have asked them what they are doing in a specific class, like science. I then ask then if they can think of something we do in speech that might help them with the activity. Many times, with prompting, they are able to make the connection from speech/language to the classroom. If not I point how which skill we have been working on helps them with the activity they have told me about.

I need to help my students make more connections between the time they spend with me and their work in the classroom and their life outside of school.

7:10 PM  
Blogger anne mortensen said...

After reading a different article that Christie sent, I made a cognitive strategies poster to share with my 5th grade readers. We discussed the various strategies and I have been focusing on questioning. Right now we are reading The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson. During the students' reading in class, I am trying to have them notice their questions. Each student was given a 1/2 sheet of paper with a fun 1,2 and 3 on it. I instructed my readers to write at least 3 questions they had about what they were reading before the end of class. As closure to the class, we then discussed the questions and noted whether they were answered or if we were still "reading" for the answers. It has promoted great discussions.

The common language portion of the chapter really stuck in my mind. We have new staff in our 6-8 grade for Comm. Arts and Science. It dawned on me that I should share my poster with them and they could then build on what I started. I am also looking forward to the curriculum work we will do this year in reading/language arts. What a great goal. The staff definitely needs to decide on what terms we would like to use with our learners and stick to them throughout the K-8 years.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Chrissy Krone said...

The ability to read is not a simple concept to master, much less teach. It is a multi-layered subject that requires years of practice...each year building on what was previously taught and adding new layers every year. Many people can read but not everyone grasps the deeper meaning of the text. True comprehension involves much more than just reading the words of the text.

The comprehension skills I focus on in second grade include, but are not limited to: cause/effect, compare/contrast, drawing conclusions, making generalizations, making judgments, making inferences, predicting outcomes, and visualizing.

The one area that seems to be difficult for some of the students in my class is making inferences. This is a concept in which the students cannot just go back and reread to find the answer. They need to use the text clues as well as their prior knowledge to discover the answer. They have to, like the author stated, "Read Between the Lines." This skill will only be mastered with continued weekly practice throughout the grade levels.

Our school purchased a new reading series two years ago-Houghton Mifflin. This new updated series does a very nice job addressing the above listed comprehension skills.

The strategy I chose to share with my class was making inferences. The book I used to reinforce this skill was Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. It is one of the stories in our reading series. The following is a list of questions and activities that I use when reading/discussing this story. I have included the skill the question reinforces as well as the page number of the story where I would ask the question.

Pages Skill

1 and 2 making inferences
Why do you think Grandma says it's Thunder Cake weather?

7 and 8 making inferences
What kind of book do you think Grandma looks in? Why?

7 and 8 drawing conclusions
How many miles away is the storm? How do you know?

9 and 10 critical thinking
Why do you think the author chose to use all capital letters to spell ROARED?

13 and 14 making judgments
Do you think it's a good idea for Grandma and the girl to walk to the dry shed as the storm comes closer?

15 and 16 drawning conclusions
Why does Grandma tell the girl that they don't have much time?

15 and 16 predicting outcomes
What do you think the secret ingredient is?

17 and 18 making inferences
Why do you think Grandma decides to make a Thunder Cake?

17 and 18 predicting outcomes
Which of the ingredients do you think will be the secret ingredient? Why do you think so?

21 and 22 drawing conclusions
Why does the author have Grandma list all of the things the girl did to help gather ingredients?

29 and 30 making inferences
Why do you think the author included this recipe in her story?

The following are questions I ask after reading the entire story:

making inferences
Why did Grandma want her granddaughter to help her bake a Thunder Cake?

making judgments
Would you recommend this story to a friend? Why or why not?

making inferences
How do you think Grandma learned not to be afraid during a thunderstorm?

What does Grandma say or do to help the girl not be scared? Do you think it worked?


~Look in books and on the Internet to learn more about thunder and lightning.

~Read over the recipe in class, have each of the students bring in one of the ingredients, and make a Thunder Cake in class.

Have the student write about something they are afraid of.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa Taylor said...

At my old school district, we always focused on these strategies and planned out activiites. I have as of late started doing more with my class now. We have always done making inferences, but they never really knew what it was called. So we are starting to use the new language. Daily, during read aloud, my students make connections and make inferences. Right now, we are doing everything orally. I have been doing a lot of modeling with making connections. We are in the middle of an author study of Kevin Henkes, so they are making great connections with the different characters in all the books and how some of them overlap. I have modeled t-t, t-s, but not t-w. They are too little for that I hink. We are finding that our read alouds take a little longer, but that's OK. They are enjoying this.
During my summer school session, I teach 2nd graders going into third. We do a lot with these strategies and we use post-its on a daily basis. They are just much more independant than my first graders.
We monitor and track comprehension daily as well. We do comprehension during guided reading and during our read alouds. I am trying to help the students monitor their own reading while they are reading. We don't get this yet though! So I have some work to do in the next few weeks!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I chose the strategy of connecting(t-t, t-s, and t-w)and summarizing with the story Seal Surfer by Michael Foreman. In this story, the t-t strategy was discussed orally with the other stories that fell into the same animal habitat unit. The students were able to identify the different habitats and animal behaviors in the story. We also discussed t-s with the way the boy and the interact together. They become friends in the story and the seal ends up saving the boys life. Many kids were able to identify with this since they have a pet and are close to that animal, but the saving of the life part many saw things like that on TV. The last connection we were able to make is the t-w strategy. In our Time For Kids earlier in the year, there was an article about animals and humans interacting and the kids recalled this. It was neat to see the light turn on. The summarizing strategy was also done with each subtitle in the story. After each, we again, orally summarized those parts of the story.

I feel that reading strategies are beneficial to model and discuss orally so the students become more familiar with them and the names of the strategies so we are on the same page throughout the year.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Kris Schmidt said...

I chose to teach the strategy of visualizing since my preschoolers love to be involved in the text. We recently did a caterpillar/butterfly unit and did a lot of work with the book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. The stories begins with a little egg on a leaf and ends with a beautiful butterfly hatching from a coccoon. He eats through many different foods along the way to changing into a coccoon. Some of these foods are unfamiliar to the children. I wanted them to have a good understanding of the foods, so we had all the fruits he ate through there for the children to name, touch, smell, and taste. When they later heard these new fruit names they really had an image to put with it. They could relate the fruits to the text as we read.
Another activity to help the visualization was a retelling of the story we did with all of the pieces of food the caterpillar ate made from construction paper. Each child had one or two pieces they were able to bring up and let the caterpillar "eat through" as we reread the story. The children were able to read and see exactly what he was eating. The story became more meaniful when they were invovled. They were so engaged in the text by being a part of retelling the story.

The best part of this unit was the real caterpillars I was able to have as pets to really show how the lifecycle works. They learned about the lifecycle from the text, but were truly invovled and engaged in how a caterpillar grows and changes by watching a real one. The excitement I hear each day from my students and the vocabulary they now use is incredible. They can "create their own movie".

11:04 AM  
Blogger Kris Schmidt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I practiced visualizing with my students when we started our ocean unit. Because of the income level of my students, many have not been to the ocean and have a limited understanding of many of the images and vocabulary in the stories I read surrounding the ocean theme.

To help the children become more familiar with the ocean, we "took a trip to the ocean" and fully used our senses. The kids were able to feel seaweed (canned spinach) between their toes and touch sand. They were able to taste ocean water (just a little sip!). They smelled real seaweed and listened to the sounds of the ocean on a cassette tape as well as the inside of a conch shell. They were able to see several real remnants of the ocean like starfish, ocean sponges, and shells.

The children were able to hide different sea creatures in the sand, write ocean words in the writing center, and feel like they went on a trip to the ocean. The children who had never been to the ocean were able to "paint a picture in their minds". The children who had been to the ocean were able to share their experiences and make connections.
All of this contributed to a better understanding of stories that we read, songs that we sung, and topics that we discussed.

The idea that hit me the most about this article was this, "In the same way as animals leave tracks of their presence, we want readers to 'leave tracks of their thinking'. It is impossible to know what a reader is thinking when she reads unless she tells us through conversation or written response." Though my children are unable to write a response, it is so important to converse about stories or even draw a picture related to the story or the way it made them feel.

It was interesting for me to read about the different strategies and apply them to my own classroom in simpler ways. I want to prepare my children for reading in the best way that I can and after reading about the strategies, I feel that I have more of an awareness of steps that I can take in the process.

1:33 PM  
Blogger JB said...

I chose the making connections strategy. The book I used was My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacca. We worked on the text-to-self connection. The students brought in pictures of their siblings and focused on one sibling. We then shared the pictures and told a little about them. I had some sentence starters written on cards and the students chose 1 or 2 to read and share with the group. I couldn't believe it when my brother/sister.... My brother/sister is better than me .... The worse thing about my brother/sister is... I am better than my brother/sister... The students read the book and stopped along the way to compare/contrast and share additional experiences. Then after they read the book, we discussed the following - I'm glad my brother/sister..., The best thing my brother/sister ever did was.. and I'll always remember when my brother/sister... The students really enjoyed the book and comprehension activities. We also learned a lot about each other.

Since all of my students have reading comprehension delays, I feel that most of my energy goes toward showing them that they can love and appreciate reading. I need to turn them on to reading and point out their skills since most of them have been frustrated and turned off to reading. I also need to spend and extended amount of time on each strategy before moving on due to their learning disabilities. Synthesizing and inferencing are typically weaker and the students struggle with these strategies. I feel that they would benefit from starting to learn the strategies in kindergarten and using common language throughout the grade levels.

6:57 PM  
Blogger KristinS. said...

Strategies that Work

The strategy that I used was visualizing. The book I used the strategy with was Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Because the setting of this book was so unfamiliar to the students, visualizing Laura’s life in rural Wisconsin aided in their understanding.
I do believe that the best use of this article for me would be to make a list of the strategies as well as the details that are used to implement each strategy. This information could be used for the students’ reading strategy section of their reading notebooks. Detailed information on strategic reading is not found in the student basal or in the teacher’s edition.

5:57 AM  
Blogger kris said...

Because I am on leave this year, I will share a strategy and book from last year. I read the book, The Van Gogh Cafe, as a read aloud to the class and we worked on questioning throughout the book. I had the kids question in different ways as we read: post-it notes, sharing out loud, whole group, ask a neighbor, and written responses. I remember thinking that the kids really recognized that there are no stupid questions from this activity.

When each strategy is detailed more thoroughly, it is easier to see where I need more work and to put more emphasis. I do agree that teachers should be more consistent with language. I think it would not only benefit students, but parents as well if we could use the same terminology year after year.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Mr. Bretzmann said...

I did some visualizing with my U.S. History students. I used our textbook and the readings about different parts of the Civil Rights movement. I asked students to imagine the conversation with their parents when they told them they were going to go to the South to register African-American people to vote. I asked them to visualize their parents say that Black AND White people were being murdered because they were doing that. And then I asked them to visualize themselves saying, "Yes, I know that, but I'm going anyway because my freedom is tied to the freedom of every other man." I told them this is the conversation that people were having in the 1960's. I think it made the reading and the lesson more meaningful. I told them that these were the kinds of visualizations that they should be doing on their own when they're reading.
I find that I'm always visualizing what I'm reading and it makes sense that students should be doing the same thing. I like the analogy of creating a movie in their minds. As I'm reading the text, I find myself visualizing what it would look like for my students to be doing the things that are discussed in the text.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

The strategies that I chose were visualizing and making connections (text to self). The book I used was Mrs. Toggle's Zipper by Robin Pulver.
I read the book aloud twice to the same group by on different days (Monday and Tuesday).
On Monday, I worked with making connections(text to self). The group was told to blurt out when they could identify something in the book with themselves. They then shared it with the group. This took sometime to complete the book, but everyone was able to put text to self at least two different times.
On Tuesday, I had the same group close their eyes as I read aloud (the same book). When someone could visualize Mrs. Toggle, they were to open their eyes and draw Mrs. Toggle. We shared the pictures with the group. Most pictures looked similiar (Mrs Toggle-large,red face with people pulling at her and her coat).
This was a good exercise to do with my group.
I believe schools need to develop the same terminology for their reading strategies and then carry them throughout all grade levels.
This article explained all the strategies very well and would benefit many teachers. In fact, I gave the article to a few teachers in the early grades and a parent to read.

5:03 PM  
Blogger crk said...

This is a tough one for me because I don't teach children to read in my job as a speech pathologist. Nor are any of the kids on my caseload appropriate to work with in reading comprehension right now. I work mostly with kids with articulation difficulties, social skill deficits, or severe cognitive disabilities. I only have a few kids with language difficulties on my caseload and those are mostly three year olds. At home with our kids, I've just started doing some comprehension strategies but that's with a lot of help from my sister who is a reading recover teacher. So, needless to say, I had a hard time knowing how to teach these strategies. But, I did find the article very interesting. The strategy I picked to discuss is visualizing. It's funny because in the past, I've used visualizing with students to help them learn how to remember information and learn new skills but never thought about how it would help students comprehend what they are reading. This chapter states that visualizing helps children create mental images from words in the text, enhances meaning, links past experience to the words and ideas in the text, strengthens relationships to the text, stimulates imaginative thinking, heightens engagement, and brings joy to reading. The strategy of visualizing is one I would like to learn more about so that I can help to teach it to our kids at home.

5:51 PM  

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