Saturday, October 11, 2014

Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies

I love teaching reading comprehension strategies!

Each week I focus on a different one. I blow up examples of texts to an A3 size and laminate them. I introduce the focus strategy and then model reading the text.

After, I go back to what the strategy is that we are learning and model answering some questions about the text that focus on using that strategy.

The points I reinforce EVERY time I teach comprehension are:

1) Always go back to the text, if you need to.
2) Highlight/underline/circle any key words from the question that you find in the text.
3) Reread the question as many times as you need.
4) If it is a multiple choice question, read EVERY answer before choosing one.

I teach that multiple choice questions often have 'silly' answers. The children enjoy reading through the answers and deciding which are the silly answers. We have a good chuckle at them and discuss how they don't make sense and aren't a good choice.

When answering the questions, I always model and 'think aloud' the strategies and skills that I am using. For example:

1) I read the question (and answers if it is multiple choice).
2) I model and talk about going back to the text to highlight any key words that are linked to the question.
3) Once I've highlighted key words, I read the sentence and sometimes paragraph that those key words are in.
4) I go back to the question and then decide what is the best answer.

I've found that, for some reason, children think that they are not allowed to go back to the text to find answers. I think some teachers think this is the case and it is simply not true!

Comprehension is NOT about 'remembering' information. It's about knowing and using strategies to FIND information.

I use MANY resources, when teaching reading comprehension strategies. Some I create myself but a lot are from comprehension books that I've found. I was contacted by Blake Education a while back and they sent me out their Achievement Standards Assessments for Comprehension.
It's packed with texts on an array of subjects. Each text has a range of questions that cover different reading comprehension strategies. I love that each text has questions that cover a range of strategies, not just one. My only wish is that they were in different structures and had more diagrams and pictures but I still love them!

The book also comes with a CD-ROM and interactive PDFs so you can complete them as a class, if you'd like. They provide pages for you to track student progress, too.

Here are some pictures of some of the pages in action, using strategies I've taught in class.
What tips and tricks do you have for teaching reading comprehension strategies?

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