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The following excerpts are just a glimpse of what reading specialists and researchers have learned concerning what good readers do and how educators can better provide a comprehensive literacy framework for instruction that will support growth for readers of every level.


"It has been learned that approximately 94% of what adults read is considered 'informational text,' which includes newspapers, recipes, directions, magazines and menus" (Duke, 1999).

"In this Information Age the importance of being able to read and write informational texts critically and well cannot be overstated. Information Literacy is central to success, and even survival, in schooling, the workplace and the community" (Duke, 2000).

"When children read about spiders or ants or magnets, curiosity is stimulated and language flows easily. Informational texts that are predictable and well written provide emergent as well as developing and fluent readers with opportunities to apply their fledgling understandings about print while expanding their world knowledge" (Hoyt, 1999).

"One of the most important factors in reading development is time spent actually reading. We must increase the reading time of students using a wide range of informational text" (Allington, 2000).

"Readers must learn how to pause, consider the meanings in text, reflect on their understandings, and use different strategies to enhance their understanding. This process is best learned by watching proficient models 'think aloud' and gradually taking responsibility for monitoring their own comprehension as they read independently" (Keene and Zimmermann, 2007).

"When teachers use multiple strategies to strengthen a reader's comprehension, the impact is obviously more powerful than using one single strategy" (Duke and Pearson, 2000).

SchoolCenter Picture"By thinking aloud, teachers show how readers and writers think; by modeling, teachers show how readers and writers behave; and, by demonstrating, teachers show how readers and writers interact and work with the ideas they understand" (Keene and Zimmermann, 2007).

"Reading strategies are not a hidden tool of the teacher, but rather a tool to be explicitly taught to students and modeled by the teacher. Students should ultimately learn independent use of reading strategies, being able to describe and choose strategies when reading" (Duke and Pearson, 2000).

"Independent reading time, combined with a minilesson, conferences, learner responsibility and feedback are strongly recommended based on several studies" (Hoyt, 2002).

"Having time to read books and materials of your own choosing is absolutely necessary to becoming a reader. Recreational reading promotes comprehension, vocabulary, conventional spellings, grammar, writing competency, and a positive attitude toward the written word" (Routman, 2000).

"Text features" support readers in navigating through informational texts with greater efficiency and deeper comprehension. Text features include: captions, diagrams, table of contents, illustrations, graphs, charts, labels, index, maps, headings, bold face type, and glossary" (Hoyt, 2002).

"Text features are also called 'conventions' of nonfiction, or informational, text" (Miller, 2002).

"Student-generated questions are a vital part of deeper understanding and should occur before, during and after reading. These questions activate prior knowledge, monitor how the reader is thinking, create a purpose for reading and motivate the reader to learn more" (Hoyt, 2002).

"When children get 'eye-to-eye' and 'knee-to-knee' they are able to share with someone close to them, make connections, predict, explain, and practice thinking out loud" (Miller, 2002).

"It is critical to ask: Is there a reason to believe that this learner needs to engage in a structured reflection experience about this text, or is this learner better served by engaging in more reading? ...we must be sure that the decision to lead children into guided reflection and retelling is a choice that is matched to learner need and interest" (Hoyt, 1999).

"Inferring is the process of creating a personal and unique meaning from text. It involves a mental process that combines information gleaned from the text and relevant prior knowledge (schema). The reader's unique interpretation of text is the product of this blending" (Keene and Zimmermann, 2007).

Schema: "Thinking about what you already know is called using your schema, or using your background knowledge. Schema is all the stuff that's already inside your head, like places you've been, things you've done, books you've read --- all the experiences you've had that make up who you are ..." (Miller, 2002).

"Readers use schema to predict what might happen when they read books about historical events. [They] add many new facts to their schema even when they thought they knew a lot about a topic. Sometimes your schema is wrong and you have to change your mind if you learn new facts that contradict your schema. The harder the book, the more you have to stop to think about your schema" (Keene and Zimmeramnn, 2007).

Instead of worksheets: "Teaching children how to use a variety of open-ended responses helps them remember their thinking as they read, heightens their awareness of the strategy being taught, and lets us (and them) know how well they're able to apply it independently" (Miller, 2002).

"Read-alouds allow the teacher to expose students to a variety of genre, model reading behaviors and thinking aloud while reading, and demonstrate to students a love for reading and learning" (Miller, 2002). 

What strategies do proficient readers use to comprehend text?
  • "Activate relevant, prior knowledge (schema) before, during and after reading text;
  • Create visual and other sensory images from text during and after reading; 
  • Draw inferences from text to form conclusions, make critical judgments, and create unique interpretations;
  • Ask questions of themselves, the authors, and the texts they read;
  • Determine the most important ideas and themes in a text; and
  • Synthesize what they read." (Pearson, Dole, Duffy and Roehler, 1992).
"There are four stages in explicit reading instruction that move the student towards independence:
    • Teacher modeling and explanation of a strategy;
    • Guided practice, where the teacher gradually gives the student more responsibility;
    • Independent practice accompanied by feedback; and
    • Application of the strategy in real reading situations" (Pearson and Gallagher, 1983).
      Eighteen key reading strategies that support comprehension:
        • predict
        • connect
        • compare
        • infer
        • synthesize
        • create images
        • self-question
        • skim
        • scan
        • determine importance
        • summarize/paraphrase
        • reread
        • read on
        • adjust reading rate
        • sound out
        • chunk
        • use analogy
        • consult a reference (Hoyt, 2005, contributed by K. Annandale). 

          SchoolCenter Picture

          "If we want students to become deeply engaged with books, we have to become the best book sellers ever. Like a high quality commercial, we need to make books look and sound irresistible" (Hoyt, 2005).

          Family involvement is critically important to student reading success. We believe: 
          • "All parents have much to contribute to their children's learning;
          • Every parent is an expert on his/her own child;
          • Every child in the community could benefit from literacy support whether they are in school or not; and
          • Every parent wants to be involved in his child's learning, but there may first be barriers to overcome" (Hoyt, 2005).

          "Reading development is genre specific" (Duke, 2000).

          "We explicitly teach the comprehension strategies to ensure children don't simply become expert decoders but also learn to create meaning naturally and subconsiously as they read, far earlier than in the past" (Keene and Zimmermann, 2007).

          AND FINALLY ...

          "12 Practices of the Most Effective Teachers:

          • are committed to high achievement for all students
          • use a variety of approaches, resources, and quality texts and do not over rely on programs
          • engage students in high level thinking with challenging curriculum and connect the curriculum and standards to lives in and out of school
          • demonstrate explicit instruction in skills, strategies, tasks, procedures, and thinking
          • bond with their students
          • have excellent classroom mangement that includes and promotes small collaborative groups and conversations
          • take charge of their own professional development and continuously work to improve and reflect upon their practices
          • collaborate with colleagues --- talk about, demonstrate, and share their knowledge and ideas about teaching and learning
          • provide sustained time and opportunities for reading, writing, and talking about worthwhile texts
          • use informal and formal assessment to continually monitor each student's progress, set goals, and plan instruction for increased student learning.
          • communicate effectively with students, parents, administrators, and other stakeholders
          • are risk takers"
            (Routman, 2003)


          Bibliography:

          Alligton, R. (2001). What Really Matters for Struggling Students: Designing Reserach-Based Programs. New York: Longman.

          Duke, N. (2000). "3-6 Minutes per Day: The Scarcity of Informational Texts in First Grade." Reading Research Quarterly 35 (2): 202-224.

          Hoyt, L. (1999). Revisit, Reflect, Retell: Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension.Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

          Hoyt, L. (2002). Make it Real:  Strategies for Success with Informational Texts. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 

          Hoyt, L. (2005).  Spotlight on Comprehension:  Building a Literacy of Thoughtfulness. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

          Keene, E. & Zimmermann, S. (2007). Mosaic of Thought:  The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction. Portmouth, NH:  Heinemann.

          Miller, D. (2002). Reading with Meaning:  Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades. Portland, ME:  Stenhouse Publishers. 

          Pearson, P. D., and M.C. Gallagher. 1983. "The Instruction of Reading Comprehension." Contemporary Educational Psychology.  

          Pearson, P. D., J.A. Dole, G.G. Duffy, and L.R. Roehler. 1992. "Developing Expertise in Reading Comprehension: What Should Be Taught and How Should it Be Taught?" In What Research Has to Say to the Teacher of Reading, 2nd ed., J. Farstup and S.J. Samuels. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

          Routman, R. (2003). Reading Essentials: The Specifics You Need To Teach Reading Well. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 

          Routman, R. (2000). Conversations. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


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