Comprehension - CDE

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ComprehensionWhy we teach kids to read!October CRF Institute20061

The Researchers Dr. Joe Torgesen Dr. Ed Kame’enui DR. Lana Edwards Santoro2

Activating Your ThinkingUsing three different color sticky notes: Indicate on one sticky note a brief definition orexplanation of comprehension Indicate on another sticky note the problems orroadblocks you observe with your students incomprehending text Use your third sticky to describe one strategy,technique, or method you currently use to teachreading comprehension3

Participant Discussion Why do children have trouble with readingcomprehension? Word RecognitionLess than 95% accuracyVocabularyFailure to stop and monitorFailure to self-question during readingLack of connection to the textFluency4

The purpose of this workshop is to examine what research tells us aboutfactors that affect reading comprehension. to learn what instruction must contain and whatit must do to help students become proficient incomprehending text. to determine the most effective instructionalstrategies to use before, during, and afterreading to plan for comprehension instruction by outliningspecific activities that will support children’scomprehension of the text5

Workshop Objectives Understand the major factors that influencecomprehension Understand how the reader, the text, and backgroundexperience interact to influence meaning Examine the challenges of ‘Academic Language’ withinsentences, phrases, and whole texts and absorbstrategies to support students with these challenges Determine the most effective instructional strategies touse before, during, and after reading Plan for comprehension instruction by outlining specificactivities that will support children’s comprehension of thetext6

Significant Statistics Recent NAEP results indicate 37% of fourthgrade students fall into the “below basic”category, 59% in the “below proficient”category. These percentages rise as thegrade levels increase.7

Significant Statistics Among eighth graders, those who are nonwhite or who are from low-income familiesread 3-4 grade levels lower than studentswho are white or those who areeconomically more advantaged More than 8 million students in grades 4-12are struggling readers. Each school day,some 3000 students drop out of highschool(Biancarosa and Snow 2004) 8


What the Research Says aboutComprehension Time spent reading is highly correlatedwith comprehension Effective instruction using high-qualitycurriculum materials can increasestudents’ comprehension Comprehension instruction can beginbefore students read independently throughread aloud opportunities.10

Comprehension StrategiesSupported by ResearchReader ing connectionsMonitoring and ClarifyingQuestion generationSummarizationTeacher Strategies:– Question asking/answering– Cooperative learning– Graphic/semantic organizers/story mapsNational Reading Panel (2000)11

Why Teach Comprehension? Goal of reading instruction is to ensurestudents gain meaning from text. Students need strategies to read andunderstand text independently Teachers need processes to help kidsconnect to difficult text Kids need to understand the importance ofreading well and reading early12

What is Reading Comprehension? Intentional thinking during which meaning isconstructed through interactions between areader and a textDurkin 1993 A multidimensional process that involvesfactors related to the reader, the text, andthe activity of gaining meaning.13

What we know about the factors thataffect reading comprehensionProficient comprehension of text is influenced by:Accurate and fluent word reading skillsOral language skills (vocabulary, linguistic comprehension)Extent of conceptual and factual knowledgeKnowledge and skill in use of cognitive strategies toimprove comprehension or repair it when it breaks down.Knowledge of test structure and genreReasoning and inferential skillsMotivation to understand and interest in task andmaterials14

Factors Related to the Reader ReaderCompetencies– Foundational Skills– Higher OrderReading Processes Backgroundknowledge Think about theirthinking– Social and CulturalInfluences15

Factors Related to the Text Text genre and structure– Fiction – Non fiction, Fairy Tales, Plays– Chapters, acts, scenes, dialog Language features– Level of text difficulty– Complex sentences– Sentences that are wordy, rambling, orambiguous– “Unfriendly” content area text16

Two Kinds of Organizational TextStructure: Narrative Information17

Narrative Text Structure Story structure underlies the organization ofthe text (e.g., character clues, plot, setting,conflict, etc.) Recounts personal experience based onsomething which really happened or mighthave happened All details work together in an integratedway to create a complete story withbeginning, development, turning point,resolution18

Critical Features Main Character– Something About the Character; CharacterClues What Happened First What Happened Next, Next, etc. How Did the Story End?– Discuss Change in Character19

Information Text Structure Many structures (e.g., sequence,compare/contrast, problem/solution). Gives information, explains, clarifies,defines. Teaches, reveals, informs, or amplifies thereader’s understanding.20

Explicit Steps and StrategiesCurriculum example: Setting a Purpose forReadingExample: Tell students that it is important to know what kindof book you are reading before you begin. Explain that we readstories differently than we read informational books.Say: “We are going to learn to figure out why we are reading abook before we begin to read. For example, if we are readingWolf, we know from the cover that it is a story about animalsthat read books. But if we are reading a book about realanimals, we would read to learn new ideas about animals whoare not like people.”21

Factors Related to the Reading Activity Purposes for reading Engagement in reading22

Critical Question How do we use this information toidentify the kinds of instruction thatwill best help studentscomprehend what they read23


What are Comprehension Strategies? Comprehension strategies are specificcognitive procedures that guide readers tobecome aware of how well they arecomprehending as they attempt to read andwrite– “Strategies Good Readers Use”» Harcourt What, Why, When, and How25

The Relationship BetweenSkills and r/ClarifyEvaluateGenerate QuestionsSequenceDrawingConclusionsSkillsNoting DetailsMain Idea(Chard & Kame’enui, 2003)26

The Skill-Strategy Connection Strategies are generally more complex than skillsbecause they require the orchestration of severalskills. Effective instruction links comprehension skills tostrategies to promote strategic reading.(Chard & Kame’enui, 2003)27

Skills-Strategy ExampleTo SUMMARIZE involves: Sequencing of events Making judgments Noting details Making generalizations Using story structure or textorganization(Chard & Kame’enui, 2003)28

What Strategies Should be Taught? Comprehension MonitoringSummarizationUsing the structure of storiesAnswering questions– Literal/Inference Generating questions Using Graphic and Semantic organizers– Pre/Post29

Participant Discussion Which strategies might you use with students asyou preview a selection? Which strategies would be helpful to studentswhen they encounter unfamiliar words? Which strategies might you use with students ifthey don’t understand something they have read? After reading, which strategies would helpstudents check their understanding of what theyhave read?30

Comprehension MonitoringEffective readers monitor theircomprehension by thinking about theirthinking. They are aware of what theyunderstand and are able to identifybreakdowns in their comprehension. Theyuse “fix up” strategies when they run intoproblems.31

Steps Readers Taketo Monitor Comprehension Identifying where in thetext the difficulty occurs Restating a difficultsentence or passage inone’s own words Looking back throughtext to clarify thinking varying reading rate rereading reading ahead32

Curriculum Example Teacher “think alouds” are used to modelself-monitoring. The Popcorn DragonWritten by Jane Thayer“We just read that the other animals wereenvious. I’m not sure what envious means.Let’s re-read this page to see if we can figureout what envious means.”33

Strategies to SupportComprehension MonitoringThink AloudUsing Read Alouds!!34

Use short passages or read-aloudsprovided with the core materials to initiatemodeling of the target strategies. Most core programs start with teacherseliciting information or backgroundknowledge. A powerful guidance strategyshould include initial modeling andpresentation.35

Connecting Text Using prior knowledgeEstablishes quicker understandingMotivates engagement in readingHelps in determining vocabulary use (definition)through context May increase comprehension monitoringText to Self – Text to Text – Text to Life36

Your turnBuild on prior knowledgeDiscuss with your partner some questionsyou might use with you students.It was Sam’s first day at his new school andhe missed his old friends. He felt all aloneas he watched other boys play at recess.He 37

Model Multiple Examples Curriculum example: Making Connections“ It was in the summer of the year when the relatives came.”When The Relatives Came by Cynthia RylantExample: Model how to predict what is going tohappen based on the title or section of text. Say: “When I read (listen) to this it makes methink of when relatives come to visit my family,there is lots of hugging, eating and laughing. Doyou think those things will happen in this storytoo.?38

Model: Making Connections“The relatives weren’t particular about beds,which was good since there weren’t anyextras, so a few squeezed in with us and therest slept on the floor ”When The Relatives Came by Cynthia RylantExample: Provide subsequent models of makingconnections.Say: “This family needed to share their beds with theirrelatives. When I read (listen) to this it makes me thinkof other things we share when relatives come to visit.39

Model: Making Connections (text to text)“Little Pig, Little Pig, are you in?”The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! As told to Jon ScieszkaExample: Provide subsequent models of makingconnections.Say: “When I read (listen) to these words, it makes methink of another story I read. The words remind me ofwhat the wolf says in the story “The Three Little Pigs”.40


Strategies to SupportComprehension MonitoringThink, Pair, ShareParaphrasing42

Provide students many opportunities to stopand paraphrase or rephrase big ideas in thetext. They should stop and THINK, thenPAIR, then SHARE with a partner. Partner or table group sharing withincremental CHUNKS of texts will enablestudents to hold onto big ideas and connectbackground experience.– Points to ask questions– Vocabulary review– Identification of text structure elements– Summarize the main ideas in the passage43

Your turn Read this passage. Come up with a question thewhole class can chorally answer and one morecomplex question to answer as partners.Sam and his friend went camping this summer.They went with Sam’s parents. His mother hadbeen a Girl Scout, so she know all aboutcamping. She knew how to set up camp, how tobuild a campfire and how to blaze a trail.44

Retelling Requires attention to main idea (theme),details and sequence Telling in own words Chunk text“Tell me what you read. Who ? Whathappened? What happened next?45

Curriculum Example Teacher retellings“I’m going to retell the story The Three LittlePigs. [Teacher models retell] Did I include allthe story information in my retell?”46

Student Retellings with PartnersSay:“Listeners, think about whether your partnersaid everything he or she was supposed to. Ifthey told:– Everything important that happened in thestory– In a way that makes sense– Without telling too muchtell them they did a good job. If your partnerdidn’t say one or more of those things, you needto tell him or her what they left out.”47

Strategies to SupportComprehension MonitoringText Coding or Text Marking48

Give students a strategy to hold onto the big ideasin text as they read independently or throughfocused guided reading. Use small sticky notes, highlighting tape, orbookmarks to mark pages and ideas according tocoded targets.V!?to highlight new or unusual vocabularyto indicate important ideasto indicate question or confusion49


Roll cube, read question and answerWhere does the storytake place?51

Summarizing Summarizing is “expressing in a brief formthe central idea or ideas of a text.” Effective readers summarize during readingand after reader using a combination ofskills.52

Summarization Summarization requires students todetermine what is important in what theyare reading, to condense this information,and to put it into their own words Increases student awareness of how a textis organized and how its ideas are related Helps students make connections amongstthe main ideas of a text53

Summarizing involves identifying the‘who’ or ‘what’ and the action.Eliminating adverbs and adjectives togive just the gist. To summarize at the sentence levelwe can ask Who (or What?)happened?Example: The brown spotted cat randown the street.Summary: A cat ran.54

Summarizing Tips Summarize small chunks of informationoften! Teach summarizing at the sentence leveland paragraph level, before askingstudents to summarize whole passages Use sticky notes to make brief summariesand combine to create whole textsummaries55

Recognizing Story Structure Refers to the way content and events areorganized into a plot Students who can recognize story structure havebetter appreciation, understanding, and memoryfor text Helps students identify story content-initiatingevents, internal reactions, goals, attempts, andoutcomes-and how this content is organized tomake up a coherent plot Can also help students to understand cause andeffect, compare and contrast, problem solutionand other relationships among parts of text56

Recognizing Story StructureStudents learn to identify story content to understand who, what, where, when,why, and how to recognize how the content isorganized into a plot to infer causal and other relationships57

Recognizing Story StructureStudents learn to recognize story structurethrough explicit instruction answering and asking questions constructing story maps58


Questions Students Learn toAsk and Answer Include Who is the main character?What does the main character do and why?Where and when does the story take place?How does the main character feel?How does the story end?60

Story Maps Story maps can be a timeline or sequencechart that shows the sequence of events ina story. Other story maps show how events orconcepts in a story are related More complex story maps may show risingaction, climax, falling action, and resolution61

Story Map Students draw or write what they knowCharacterWhat happened?How is thisconnected toYou?End62

Participant Activity Analyze the text example in yourpacket, from your text or a readaloud. Identify a story map that wouldmake the text accessible forstudents Create a story map to share withthe group63

Using Graphic and SemanticOrganizers Helps students form a memory for conceptsand ideas Can be used as a prereading, duringreading, or post reading support structure64

Semantic Feature map Great forcompare-contrastFeatureCupGlassMugFor hotliquidsFor coldliquidsMadefromglass65

Ways Authors Organize Text Cyclical Organizers Hierarchical Organizers Sequential Organizers Conceptual Organizers66

SampleGeneric OrganizerSpider mapTopicConceptTheme67

ExampleCyclical Organizer Cyclicalorganizer3112268

Network tree69

SampleSequential Organizer Cause/effectMain ideaCauseEffectCause70

Question Answering Question answering INSTRUCTION canhelp students get more from their readingby showing them how to find and useinformation from the text to answer differenttypes of questions. QAR (Question Answer Relationship) hasbeen shown to increase students’ ability tointeract with text71

Question Generation Focuses on helping students learn to askthemselves questions about what they read Teaching students to ask themselvesquestions improves their active processingof text and so improves comprehension By generating questions students becomeaware of whether they can answer theirown questions, and thus, whether they canunderstand what they are reading72

Question-Answer Relationships QARtext-basedtextuallyexplicitRight Thereanswer statedwithin a singlesentence in thetextscriptalnot specifically in the text, based onreader’s prior knowledgetextuallyimplicitThink andSearchanswer can befound in severalsentencesAuthor and YouOn My Ownrequires reading can be answeredthe text butbased on reader’sanswer is notprior knowledgefound in thewithout readingtextthe text73

Right ThereThe text states:George Washington was the first president ofthe United States.The question asks:Who was the first President of the UnitedStates?74

Right ThereThe text states:The night was rainy, windy, and cold. Thetrees were bending in the wind. Thewindows in my house were shaking in thestorm.The question asks:What kind of night was it?What happened to the trees?75

Think and SearchThe text states in one place:The windows in my house were shaking during the storm.Elsewhere, it states:The night was rainy, windy, and cold. Thetrees were bending in the wind.The question asks:Tell me about what wind can do to things.How is what the wind does to the trees and what it does tothe windows the same? How is it different?76

Think and SearchThe text states in one placeThe desert climate is hot and dry.Elsewhere, it states:In the rain forest, the climate is moist and hot.The questions ask:How are the climates of the desert and rainforest similar? How are they different?77

You and the Author What other things might be happeningbecause of the storm?On Your Own How do you feel during a stormy night?78

Participant Activity Using the text provided, create a questionfor each of the types:– Right There– Think and Search– Author and You– On My OwnCompare and Share with a partner.79

How Should Strategies be Taught?Strategy instruction is most effective whenteachers use aModel, Teach, Practice/scaffold, and Applyapproach.80

Model for Instruction Select the textSelect the strategyGive a clear explanationModel the strategySupport student practiceHave students apply the strategy81

The Four Peas Provide opportunities for reading wide andreading volume with accountability. Pre-teach meaningful words and phrases. Preview the text with the students. Buildbackground knowledge and motivation them towant to read. Process during the reading, after the reading andextend the reading with re-telling strategies.82

Putting It All Together83

General Framework for Teaching ComprehensionBeforeReading Setobjectives forinstruction Identify andpreteachdifficult to readwords terReading Stopperiodically toask studentsquestions Strategicintegration ofcomprehensioninstruction Map textstructure Plannedreview Modelongoingcomprehensionmonitoring Assessmentof students’understanding Chunk text84

Before Reading Identifying the purpose for reading– Informational text or story Previewing– title, author, illustrator Strategic predicting/priming backgroundknowledge Defining critical vocabulary85

Connecting Text to Life Using prior knowledgeEstablishes quicker understandingMotivates engagement in readingHelps in determining vocabulary use(definition) through context May increase comprehension monitoring86

Predict/PreviewAnswering questions Looks for– Title– Pictures– Links to other related stories Scan story Create “What do you predict will happen?”questions. “Was your prediction accurate?”“How would you change your prediction?”87

Predict and Prove ActivityPredictionProve88

K-W-LWhat YouThink YouKnowWhat YouWant toKnowWhat YouLearned89

Format of Intervention: ExpositoryTextFigure 2. Know-Want to Know-Learn (KWL) Chart for CrocodilesWhat do we know?What you want ot know?What did we learn?Reptiles* How do crocodilescool * They go to the river, openCold bloodedoff?their mouths, or sitVertebrates* How long are crocodiles?underneath a tree.Scales* How often do crocodiles* About 20 feet.Short legseat?* About once a week.Hatch from eggs* Where do crocodiles lay * They did a big hole in theCarnivorestheir eggs?sand close to a river.90


During Reading Using consistent framework (e.g., story elements,info. headings, info. text focus questions) Question-asking strategies– Literal– Organizational– Inferential Making connections (Text to text, text to self, textto world) Active Thinking (Predict-Proof) Self-monitoring (What do you do when you don’tunderstand something?) Vocabulary92

Format of Intervention: NarrativeTextFigure 1. Story Grammar Frame work Chart for Bear S nores OnWhat ha ppenedWho a re the main What ha ppenednext in the sto ry?first in the story?characte rs in thestory?The animals getThe animals see aBearhungry and theycave and decide toBadgerdecide to make acome in and getCrowfire to cook someaway from theRabbitsoup. They alsosnow.sing and dance.How did the storyend?Bear wakes up a ndstartles the ot heranimals. The ot heranimals decide toinclude Bear in thefun.93




Scaffolding Teach simple text structures (beginning, middle,end) in K. Move to more complex text structures(main idea, character, setting, problem, solution) inGrades 1-3 Once students demonstrate understanding ofnarrative text, introduce simple expository textstructures. Use text structure maps to assist students inmapping the critical elements of narrative and97

After Reading Structured Retelling (Fuchs et al., 1994)– Retell of storybooks– Retell of information text (review with KWLchart and tell with information retell sheet) Summarizing Vocabulary Review and Extension Activities Vocabulary Introduction and Preview Question - Answer98

Scaffolding Begin with literal questions that are directlystated in the passage Ask the question immediately after theinformation is given Design questions directly stated but notverbatim Increase interval between where theinformation is given and when the questionis asked (end of paragraph, end of story)99

Scaffolding cont. Design inferential questions directly statedin the passage Design inferential questions that can beanswered from relationship not stated inthe passage Design questions requiring outsideknowledge100

Scaffold Your Teaching Model Lead/Guide– Work collaboratively with students and thestrategy, giving and taking as much asnecessary to create meaning– Eventually, students take on more and moreresponsibility Students use strategies independently(Pardo, 2004)101

AND Instruction should progress from easy skills todifficult skills (e.g., narrative to expository, literalto inferential questions, simple to complex storymaps) Strategies should be introduced and practicedone at a time Graphic organizers can support studentunderstanding For students with low decoding skills,comprehension strategies can be taught throughoral language activities (e.g., read alouds)102

1. Review Card #15- Procedure forStrategy Instruction2. Choose a comprehension strategy fromyour TE that you and your triad memberswould like to practice.3. Work with a group of three to practice theprocedure for strategy instruction. Oneperson should act as the teacher, one asa student, and one as a coach. Taketurns performing each role.103

Direct Definition Explain to students what the strategy is and its purpose.Teach/Model Demonstrate the strategy for students using a think aloud while interacting withthe text. Clarify for students that you are thinking aloud. Use a transition statement thattells students you have left the text of the story to provide the think aloud. Don’t ask students questions about strategy use during the modeling step. Provide additional models for students as needed during reading of selection.Guided Practice Work together with students to help them learn how and when to use thestrategy. Use the strategy name while guiding students. Prompt students to use multiple strategies when appropriate. Provide opportunities for active participation for all students. Provide many opportunities for guided practice, and remember to promptstudents to use strategies every time they read.Apply/Feedback As students participate in guided practice, provide feedback regarding correctand incorrect usage of the strategy (praise students for strategy steps they usedand remind them of steps they left out).Extend Remind students to use the strategy while they continue to read the current textand while they read other texts.104

What Strategies Should be Taught? Comprehension MonitoringSummarizationUsing the structure of storiesAnswering questionsGenerating questionsUsing Graphic and Semantic organizers105

affect reading comprehension Proficient comprehension of text is influenced by: Accurate and fluent word reading skills Oral language skills (vocabulary, linguistic comprehension) Extent of conceptual and factual knowledge Knowledge and skill in use of cognitive strategies to improve comprehension or repair it when it breaks down.

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