Today, we have a guest blog post from Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6 where she explains a handy little tool she uses for comprehension reading strategies and even provides a freebie for you as well! Make sure to stop by her blog to say hello!
Reading comprehension is such an important skill for our students to have, yet is it very tricky to teach. There is just SO much to it! Explicitly teaching the strategies that we as adults do so readily in our head (such as predicting, clarifying, asking questions, summarizing, making connections, and visualizing) is a great way to get the students involved in their reading and internalization of the content. Providing modeled lessons with examples is a wonderful teaching method to chose.
HOWEVER, I find that I can model my heart out until the cows come home, but if the students aren’t actively participating in the process, they simply won’t retain enough of the strategy to make any meaningful difference in their own independent comprehension of text. So what, you might ask, have I done to get the kids involved and thinking about the Reading Comprehension strategies? I created Strategy Fans for them!
These fans are fairly simple to make. Each student gets one “card” for each of the 6 reading strategies we learn in class. The cards are different colors (ie: Clarify is purple, Predict is black, Visualize is red, and so on) which match the big reading comprehension posters I have in my class. These are all put together, on top of each other, with a brad holding them together at the bottom. This allows them to be moved around, fanned out, and easily accessed.
When we are reading a story, either during our reading block or at other times, the students bring these to the rug with them (or, if you don’t have a rug, just have them pull the fans out on their desk to use while reading). As I am modeling the strategies in the lesson, they are using them as a sort of strategy reminder. During the read, if they wish to use a strategy, they flip to that card on the fan, hold it up, and I can easily see who wants to visualize, clarify, ask a question, or make a connection.
I have found, from my own experience, that just *holding* the fan gives the students enough of a reminder to actually use the strategies. They pay attention more during whole class reads because they actually *want* to use the fan! The kids are actively searching for a place where they can use the reading comprehension strategies in the reading. When they are partner reading, I can see them using the fans (and the comprehension strategies) from across the room. These fans facilitate a deeper conversation about the text and generate a greater understanding of it.
Here is the document I created for the fans. There are 6 pages, one for each strategy. Just print off each page on a different color (or on white and then back the little cards on construction paper), and put together with a brad. That is it!
So there you have it. A fairly simple way to get the kids engaged and actively participating using reading comprehension strategies!
You can find more ideas and resources at my blog, Teaching in Room 6 at http://teachinginroom6.blogspot.com.