Sunday, April 16, 2006

To Understand

Chapter 3 by Ellin Oliver Keene

In your syllabus packet on yellow please read chapter two and reflect on the following key questions:

1. What is your operating definition of comprehension?

2. What strategies/activities do you use in your classroom to help students think more deeply about what they read?

16 Comments:

Blogger anne mortensen said...

Comprehension is understanding information well enough to use or talk about the information in related or unrelated context or settings. True and complete comprehension would mean understanding at this point in time and in the future.

The strategies that teachers use for teaching are endless. There are so many factors as to what activities work for the various students that walk through your door each year. Some of the activites I try with most of my groups of students include:

-Making connections for them or brainstorming related information with them before we start a lesson/unit.

-Providing the students with post it notes to mark certain areas of the text or novel as they read. i.e. Mark a spot in your novel where the main character had to make a major decision.

-Naming the chapters of the novel. If the book has numbers for chapters, but no titles for chapters, we will name them. Each student neeeds to write down appropriate titles to the chapter after they read. When the class meets again, we then share our ideas, discuss why they would be good chapter titles and then vote to make a large classroom table of contents.

4:00 AM  
Blogger Rhonda Gillette said...

The goal and purpose of reading is to comprehend the printed material. In order for a student to be a successful reader, comprehension must occur. Comprehension skills are divided into 3 basic areas: literal, interpretive, and critical. Literal comprehension skills are needed in order to progress to the two higher level thinking skills and include finding the main idea, recalling details, and contrasts and comparisons. Interpretive skills are important in understanding the inner meaning of the material and involves drawing conclusions, making generalizations, and predicting outcomes. Critical skills require that judgments be made about the material with the reader using reasoning abilities.

Some strategies that I have used to check for comprehension are:
anticipatory guides, DRTA, KWL charts, power notes, buddy journals, teacher-student journals, think-pair-shares, story maps, summarizing activities, character mapping, mapping out story events, discussion activities like think-pair-shares, and asking higher leveled questions

1:01 PM  
Blogger JB said...

I believe in the interactive model for reading comprehension which involves the reader, text, and the context. Reading comprehension is determined by the following: what the reader brings to the act of reading comprehension, ways the printed text has been written and organized by the author, the learning context that defines the task and purpose of the reader and the reading environment, and strategies the reader consciously applies to achieve comprehension. Reading comprehension involves active communication between the writer and the reader within meaningful contexts. The author has an audience, message and purpose in mind. Readers need to recognize the author's intent as well as the meaning. By integrating material received from the text with what they already know, readers create new concepts in their minds. The comprehension process is dynamic and active, with readers making inferences, accommodation new understanding to previous learning, and adjusting reading rate and strategies to varying requirements of the text, the reading context and the purpose for learning.

Some of the variety of strategies I use include in teaching comprehension are: vocabulary instruction, activating and building prior knowledge, discussion before,during and after reading, graphic organizers, reflection, making connections, retelling, using sticky notes during reading for a variety of purposes, I chart (I learned, I wondered, I thought, I likes, I felt, I noticed.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Sam Fuchs said...

For me comprehension can come at many levels. There is the basic comprehension of making words into conceptual pictures. Then there is the comprehension where the reader is not only able to visualize the words but also see the writers vision for their words. Then there is the highest level of comprehension where the reader recognizes the writers concepts and is able to take those and make new concepts of their own. They are able to critically think about what they have read and make their own conclusions.

I use some strategies to have the students think about what they have read. First of all I try to use good questioning that makes the students think as opposed to spit out an answer. We make predictions about what is going to happen next. We look at the pictures and text and make inferences about the characters and the mood. We compare what we have read to other things to see how they are alike and different. We talk about what we are looking for as we read to give the students more focus. We also talk about the things that you would see and feel if you were there in the writing that maybe the author left out.

9:07 AM  
Blogger KristinS. said...

To Understand – Chapter 3

To me, comprehension is my students’ ability to read new information, combine the new information with prior knowledge, and reach some sort of conclusion about the reading. To further comprehension, I do a variety of activities with my students. I often use a K-W-L chart to assess prior knowledge, record new information, and synthesize what has been learned. I also use venn diagrams to compare and contrast two different situations or stories. I ask students to summarize the key points of reading using their own words to check for the synthesis of information. Sometimes students are asked to generate their own questions, especially for our literature circle books. Lastly, students get together often to discuss what they have read. In these ways I can effectively monitor comprehension.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Chrissy Krone said...

Comprehension simply means to understand, yet there is nothing simply about the process of teaching this very important life-long skill.

There are many different levels that need to be reached before the deeper meaning of any text is fully understood. There is much more to comprehension than just recalling names and dates, main ideas and supporting details. Students need to be taught how to apply what they have read and relate it to what they already know.

Some of the strategies/activities I use in my classroom to teach my students how to think more deeply are:

Our reading series has a strategy focus for every story that is introduced and these strategies are addressed and reviewed in each of the 6 themes. They are:
Evaluate
Monitor/Clarify
Predict/Infer
Question
Summarize
Each week the students concentrate on one of these areas, learning what it means, finding a variety of ways to apply it, practice it, etc.

I also model and have the students practice comparing and contrasting using Venn diagrams, graphing our thoughts and ideas using KWL charts (know, want, and learned).

We also practice weekly asking higher level questions that focus on predicting outcomes, making inferences, drawing conclusions, making generalizations, making judgments, and cause and effect.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Lisa Taylor said...

I think that comprehension is for the students to be able to recall important facts from what they just read. They should also be able to recall these facts at a later day not just right after they read.
We work on comprehension before duing and after reading. During guided reading we do picture walks which allows the students to predict what's going to happen and then they will comment on it while they are actually reading. We will also do some follow up questions to check their reading. During read alouds we practice the strategies as well.
I also get books from the library that fit the unit that we may be working on. This allows the students to build up some of their own knowledge and thsi is often the information that they remember the most of!

12:30 PM  
Blogger jomarie said...

To Understand – Chapter 3

Definition of Comprehension – Boy this is a loaded one!
Learning to understand is interrelated across the curriculum! This is my take on my operating definition of comprehension. In earlier responses I covered the reading strategies used in our curriculum that corresponds well with the articles/chapters that I have read so far. So now I want to address the personal way that I try to subjectively assess student comprehension in all subjects.

I try to get to know students by crawling into their heads. I encourage students to “tell me what you are thinking” whether they are reading, decoding, writing, or trying to figure out a math problem. If I can hear how they think (if that makes sense), I can understand how they learn. Students may use many different strategies to come to the same opinion or result, but the process can be very linear or scattered. Understanding the learning style of a student can guide me on the strategies that can help sort out how they understand. Another part of understanding the way students think is to have them reflect or give their opinions about activities, events, lessons, etc. Students need to qualify their response with a reason why they liked or didn’t like something. By this time of year the students in my class automatically qualify their responses without any prompting at all. I see these qualifying responses coming through in their written work, too. For some students applying the various reading/learning strategies across the curriculum is easy. Usually this occurs with students that have advanced reading/language arts abilities. Students that struggle with reading/language arts are unaware of the connections between these strategies. Constant review of skills and strategies for these students can help strengthen comprehension in all subjects. It is important that I model my strategies out loud for students, too.

I appreciate the cross-curricular outcomes that Ellin Oliver Keene has assembled. Using common words across the curriculum can help students apply these strategies in and out of school.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

To me, comprehension is the ablity to understand what the student read, interpret it, and apply it to other areas of learning something I struggled with when I was growing up.

The stategies/activities I use to help with comprehension: We predict and brainstorm related information before reading. We try to make connections along the way, use higher level questions, inferences, use of Venn diagram to compare and contrast, KWL charts, character webs, and summarizing.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Robes said...

Reading comprehension is the ability to put what your read into your own words and not lose any meaning. At it's lowest level comprehension is the retetion of information. Inferencing would be a higher level of information. We also see comprehension when students are able to apply information they have read at a different time and place.

The strategies I use most often to check for listening comprehension are: checking for understanding of the message and/or individual words, relating what we read or talked about to my life or the students lives, and (this may not sound right) talking about what we talked about. I often try to use examples and comparisons to aid student understanding.

On a side note, young students (4k -5k)that I have tested that attained high scores on vocabulary tests, have almost always gone on to become proficient readers.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Kris Schmidt said...

Comprehension is understanding a text that is read and constructing meaning from that text. We construct meaning by combining prior knowledge with what we are reading.

Some strategies I use for comprehension are:

-KWL's First we write what we know, what we like to learn and at the end of the unit, we discuss what we've learned
-Making predictions about texts before we read
-Summarizing the text as a group
-Making connections by using prior knowledge
-Retelling of texts with props
-journal (pictures) responses to readings

12:19 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Comprehension is not just understanding what is read. Comprehension extends beyond that. First of all, self, not the teacher, must motivate the reader. If a child's only motivation is to please the teacher, comprehension is nothing more than regurgitated facts. There has to be a knowledge base to begin with, along with prior experience. The reader will develop new ideas based on the text and thinking will be influenced. Comprehension should challenge a reader to think beyond the obvious and to form connections.

As teachers, we should be searching for more than the "right answers" in comprehension. We want deeper feelings. Our goal should be to create excitement. My 4 and 5 year olds RARELY respond with the "right answer". Their excitement about text and interacting with that text proves more rewarding than a "right answer". They excitedly think out loud. I don't always understand teir thought processes but comprehension is different for everybody. As long as my children are connecting in a personal way, I see that comprehension is present.

Many times, I use activities that supplement a story we have read. The more I can weave related ideas/themes into the classroom, the deeper their understanding and comprehension will be.

We also do a lot of questioning during a story to deepen understanding and connection. I monitor comprehension during reading as well. If children are confused by something, we try to use picture clues to figure out what the author might be talking about.

The kids are able to retell the story many times using props, puppets, and flannels. I also use sensory images with my children to expand their comprehension.

If children are wild and crazy and I am worried that they won't comprehend something because of their lack of focus, I sometimes use "quiet cream". This is very magical. Once the children rub the cream on their hands and inhale deeply, they are instantly transformed into calm and listening students, ready to comprehend ANYTHING!

10:00 AM  
Blogger kris said...

My operating definition of comprehension changed two years ago after reading Mosaic of Thought written by the author of this article and reading Strategies That Work by Harvey and Goudvis. I had not been satisfied with what I was doing for reading and therefore what my students were getting from me and doing for quite some time, but was not sure about how to go about making changes. Then I read these books (with other staff members) and we met with the principal and started making changes. My difinition of comprehension would be that students need to show me they are thinking. The best way for me to witness the thinking is individual conferences with each student two to three times a week and the weekly letters written back and forth each week. The letters take an enormous amount of work and practice, but are very insightful about the level of understanding in each student. One by one, the kids began showing me some thought rather than just telling me back what they were reading. When I began doing this, I felt for the first time that I knew my kids as readers, but I still had a ways to go. Other activities and strategies used in my classroom are it must be quiet for us all to be able to think, I do a lot of think alouds, and we use a lot of post-it notes for making connections and asking questions. We also spend time talking with each other about our reading. I feel like I am on the right path, but I still have areas to work on.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Comprehension is understanding something well enough that you can recall it in your own words and/or with a picture without losing its meaning.
Comprehension is achieved in many ways, so as teachers, we need to use a variety of strategies. Every child (student) learns in a different way. If we don't succeed with one strategy, we need to try try again.
The strategies/activities I use are: using prior knowlegde, pictures, modeling connections out loud (thinking out loud), brainstorming, using good questioning that requires a person to think before they answer, using questions that require your own thinking, and opinions (no right or wrong answer).
I found this article to be good. I liked how she started to article with a story that the reader could connect with. I wanted to know more about the day trip with her daughter immediately. It kept my interest and I was able to learn a few new points about comprehension.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Mr. Bretzmann said...

I believe comprehension exists when students understand a concept, can explain the concept, can apply it in different contexts and can relate it to other concepts (and sometimes when they can make a decision based on their comprehension).
When we are reading, I identify key ideas before and after we read, and sometimes during the reading. I ask students to identify important information when they are taking notes on the reading. Sometimes, when I give a reading quiz, I will ask them to explain anything else they thought was important as one of the questions. I integrate the same idea when we watch a video by telling students to take notes on the main ideas, and the important themes as opposed to the date and day of the week. I usually tell my students that the bold words are probably important because at least the authors thought they were important.

7:07 AM  
Blogger crk said...

1. Comprehension is a process that continues throughout the book you are reading. It's not a product that happens at the end of what you are reading. I also believe that in my job as a speech pathologist. I believe that when my students comprehend what I'm trying to teach them they can generalize the concept, idea, etc... throughout their day and apply it. It is not something that I judge by looking at a product.
2. In my classroom, I mainly use the following strategies to aide in comprehension (when using literature to teach an IEP objective): discussion or conversation about what we have read and drawing connections between other books or real life and the book we are reading.

7:08 PM  

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