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Teaching Comprehension in Early Reading

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General Framework for Teaching Comprehension Before Reading
•Set objectives for instruction •Identify and preteach difficult to read words •Prime students’ background knowledge •Chunk text
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During Reading
•Stop periodically to ask students questions •Map text structure elements •Model ongoing comprehension monitoring

After Reading

•Strategic integration of comprehension instruction •Planned review •Assessment of students’ understanding

Big Idea: Listening and Reading Comprehension Conspicuous Strategies Mediated Scaffolding Primed Background Knowledge Strategic Integration Judicious Review
Kame’enui, E. J., Carnine, D. W., Dixon, R. C., Simmons, D. C., & Coyne, M. D. (2002). Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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•Set comprehension objectives •Preteach difficult to read words •Preview text and prime background knowledge •Chunk text into manageable segments

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Setting Comprehension Objectives
Refer to instructional priorities on grade-level curricular maps: Examples: Accurately answer literal and inferential questions about Stuart Little. Identify the main character and setting in Stuart Little.

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Preteaching Difficult-to-Read Words
• Identify words that will be barriers to students’ independent reading. • Use familiar procedures to teach or review difficult-to-decode words: Sounding Out Structural Analysis

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Story Words Ping-pong Irregular Words weight sofas whole meant Multisyllabic Words radiator perspiration Stuart

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Activity
• Read the excerpt from The Country and City Mouse in your handouts. • Assemble into groups of three or four. • Identify difficult-to-read words. • Categorize the words into story words, irregular words, and multisyllabic words.

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Previewing Text and Priming Background Knowledge

• Teach students to preview the text and predict what the text is going to be about before reading a passage. • After previewing, teach students to think about what they already know and what they’d like to learn about the story or the topic.

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How to Teach Previewing and Priming Background Knowledge
Conspicuous Strategies
Teacher actions should model how we preview a story or informational text using a “think aloud” procedure. Example: Look at the title, look at the pictures or diagrams, survey headings.

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How to Teach Previewing and Priming Background Knowledge
Conspicuous Strategies (Continued)
Teacher actions should model how to predict what the story or informational text is going to be about. Example: “I think this story is going to be about a mouse named Stuart Little and his life.”

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K-W-L Procedure (Ogle, 1986)
K-W-L is most effective for preparing students to read informational text.
What do I know? What do I want to know? What have I learned?

Engages students and primes their background knowledge.

Helps students generate a purpose for reading.

Encourages students to review what they have learned and prompts them to think of things they’d still like to learn.
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The Birds of Iceland

What do I know? What do I want to know? What have I learned?
Iceland is cold. It is an island. How do birds live in the cold weather? What do the birds eat in Iceland? It’s not always cold in Iceland. Birds there live in burrows on the coast. They fly from the coast over the ocean looking for fish.

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How to Teach Previewing and Priming Background Knowledge
Mediated Scaffolding
• Begin with passages that are read aloud by the teacher accompanied by pictures to help students preview the passage. • Once children are reading independently, use passages with pictures closely related to the content and progress to passages that have fewer pictures. • Once students learn to preview and predict, use passages with content that is familiar to students and progress to more complex and unfamiliar content.
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Chunking the Text Into Manageable Segments
It is important to determine how to divide the passage into manageable segments before reading. Considerations in chunking the text will include: •Appropriate stopping points for asking questions •Specific vocabulary that might need to be reviewed •Appropriate points for identifying text structure elements •Opportunities to summarize the main ideas in the passage
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Important Skills in Reading Comprehension
1. Identifying text structure elements 2. Answering literal, inferential, and evaluative questions 3. Retelling the stories or main ideas of informational text

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Text Structures
Narrative • Tell stories that usually follow a familiar story structure. Expository • Informational books

• Contain structures that can differ from one text to another and within a single passage (e.g., • Usually include the following story elements: compare-contrast, description). Characters Setting • Help students Problems understand content Solutions area textbooks. Theme
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An Example of Narrative Text Structure
In August, Henry and Henry’s big dog Mudge always went camping. They went with Henry’s parents. Henry’s mother had been a Camp Fire Girl, so she knew all about camping. She knew how to set up a tent. She knew how to build a campfire. She knew how to cook camp food.

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An Example of Expository or Informational Text

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Common Types of Expository or Informational Texts

•Descriptive •Sequence •Cause/Effect •Problem/Solution •Compare/Contrast •Enumerative
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Narrative and Expository Texts
Listening to and reading both types of texts helps students: •Comprehend a variety of written materials. •Build and extend background knowledge about a variety of topics. •Develop vocabulary. •Make connections to real life experiences. •Learn how different texts are organized and written. •Distinguish between different genre.

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How to Teach Text Structure: Design Considerations
Conspicuous Strategies
Teacher actions should model how to identify a text structure element in a story or informational text. Example: After reading the first two paragraphs of Stuart Little, the teacher says: “They are telling me about a baby that looks like a mouse. His name is Stuart. That’s also the title of this book. I think Stuart is the main character.”

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How to Teach Text Structure: Design Considerations
Conspicuous Strategies (Continued)
Teacher actions should also model how to periodically pause during reading and summarize the known text structure elements. Example: “I know that Stuart has a mom, a dad, and a brother George, and they live near a park in New York City. So, I know the characters and the setting in this story.”
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How to Teach Text Structure: Design Considerations
Mediated Scaffolding
• Teach each text structure element thoroughly before integrating them with previously learned elements. • Teach simple text structures (beginning, middle, end) in kindergarten. Progress to more complex text structures (main character, setting, problem, solution) in first through third grade. • Once students demonstrate understanding of narrative text structure, introduce simple expository text structures.
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How to Teach Text Structure: Design Considerations
Mediated Scaffolding (Continued)
• Use text structure maps and think sheets to assist students in mapping the critical elements of narrative and expository texts.

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Grade 1 Example Who? What? When?

A Simple Story Map

Where? Why?
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Story Blocks for
Setting Characters Problem(s)

Solution

Grades 2-3 Example

Theme
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Activity
• Read The Little Red Hen story in your handouts. • Assemble into groups of 3 or 4. • Map the story onto the accompanying story map. • Discuss what parts your students would find difficult and why. • Debrief.
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Teaching Literal, Inferential and Evaluative Question Answering
• Literal questions have responses that are directly stated in the text. • Inferential questions have responses that are indirectly stated induced or require other information. • Evaluative questions require the reader to formulate a response based on their opinion.

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Literal, Inferential or Evaluative?
Puppies are very small and helpless when they are born. They cannot see until they are about two weeks old. During this time they stay very close to their mothers. • What are puppies like when they are born? • Are puppies born blind? • Why do they stay close to their mothers? • Would you like to have a puppy?

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Teaching Literal Question Answering: Design Considerations
Conspicuous Strategies
• Teacher actions should model how to respond to a literal comprehension question. Example: After reading the first section of Stuart Little, the teacher says: “What are Stuart’s parents names? Their names are Mr. and Mrs. Little.”

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Teaching Literal Question Answering: Design Considerations
Mediated Scaffolding
• Begin with literal questions that are directly stated (verbatim) in the passage. • Ask the question immediately after the information is given. • Design questions directly stated but not verbatim. • Increase interval between where the information is given and when the question is asked (end of paragraph, end of story).
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Teaching Inferential Question Answering: Design Considerations
Conspicuous Strategies
• Teacher actions should model explicitly how to respond to inferential comprehension questions. Example: After reading the first two chapters of Stuart Little, the teacher asks: “How did Stuart’s size help his family? His size is helpful because he is able to do lots of things that only a mouse could do.”
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Teaching Inferential Question Answering: Design Considerations
Mediated Scaffolding
• Design questions that cannot be answered with verbatim responses and/or use pronoun referents. • Design inferential questions indirectly stated in the passage. • Design inferential questions that can be induced from relationships not directly stated. • Design questions in which other knowledge (not provided in the passage) is required to respond.
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Teaching Evaluative Question Answering: Design Considerations
Conspicuous Strategies
• Teacher actions should model explicitly how to respond to evaluative comprehension questions using opinion. Example: After reading the first paragraph of chapter 3 in Stuart Little, the teacher says “Stuart likes to be the first one up in the morning. Do you like being the first one up in the morning in your house?”
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Teaching Evaluative Question Answering: Design Considerations
Mediated Scaffolding
• Begin with questions that elicit an opinion from students without requiring additional knowledge. • Progress to questions that require students to integrate information from the passage with their knowledge and experience to develop an opinion. • Increase interval between where the information is given and the question is asked.
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Activity
• Assemble into groups of 3-4. • Using The Little Red Hen • Write 2 literal questions, 2 inferential questions, and 1 evaluative question. • Pair and share your questions.

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Retelling Stories and Main Ideas
• Proficient readers periodically summarize text as they read monitoring their understanding of the passage. • Teaching children to retell occurrences in a story or the main ideas of informational text helps them become more accurate in summarizing and monitoring their understanding.

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Teaching Retelling: Design Considerations
Conspicuous Strategies
Teacher actions should model explicitly how to identify the main idea of a text passage. Example: After reading a paragraph from Stuart Little, the teacher says, “What was happening in this paragraph? Because Stuart is small, he helped his mom get her ring out of the drain.”

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Teaching Retelling: Design Considerations
Mediated Scaffolding
• In the early stages (K-1), limit the amount of text to one or two sentences. Progress to more lengthy text passages by having students “tell what they’ve read about so far.” • If students are unable to summarize a paragraph accurately reread the passage. • Initially focus on accuracy of retelling. Progress to asking students to delimit their retells to the most important information.
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•Strategic Integration •Judicious Review •Formal and Informal Assessment

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Teaching Text Structure
Strategic Integration
• Once students learn to accurately identify a text structure element, integrate it with previously learned elements. • Integrate text structure elements into new stories and expository texts. • Use text structure in developing literal, inferential, and evaluative comprehension questions.
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Teaching Text Structure
Judicious Review
• Provide a range of activities that will require students to use the text structure elements they have learned including oral and written summaries of stories. • After reading stories with similar themes, have students compare elements of their text structures. • Teach students to use text structure maps in planning their writing assignments.
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Teaching Literal, Inferential and Evaluative Question Answering
Strategic Integration
• Once students can consistently respond to literal questions, include simple inferential questions. • Increase the complexity of inferential questions gradually as students demonstrate success. • Integrate evaluative questions throughout story reading and independent passage reading. • Integrate literal, inferential, and evaluative questions with questions about text structure.

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Teaching Literal, Inferential and Evaluative Question Answering
Judicious review
• Once students learn to respond to all three question types, include all three in any passage reading activities. • Encourage students to ask each other different question types during literature discussions and during partner reading. • As you move to new passages, students may need to be reminded of what sources they need to use to answer the question (passage, their own knowledge, experiences, opinions).

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Teaching Retelling
Strategic Integration

• Once students learn to retell paragraphs, provide opportunities for retelling chapters and complete stories orally and in writing. • Once students learn to summarize the main ideas in expository texts, provide opportunities to summarize in other contexts such as reading directions, content area textbooks, mathematics problems, and school news.
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Teaching Retelling
Judicious Review
• Regular opportunities to retell parts of stories and expository texts should be planned as part of reading instruction. • During group and partner reading, students should be encouraged to summarize major events in stories and main ideas in expository texts.

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How do I know what students know?

Monitoring Students’ Progress
• Have discussions and conversations about texts that include open-ended, more complex questions. • Observe students as they read and respond. • Have students retell stories and monitor for accuracy and completeness of responses.

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What should I look for in materials and programs?
• Explicitly teaches listening and reading comprehension strategies. • Provides a range of examples for initial teaching and practice. • Provides independent practice activities that parallel requirements of instruction. • Begins with pictures and simple sentences to teach comprehension before moving to paragraphs and longer text passages. • Uses text passages in which the main idea or comprehension unit is explicitly stated, clear, and in which the ideas follow a 59 logical order.

What should I look for in materials and programs?
(continued)
• Uses familiar vocabulary and passages at appropriate readability levels for the learners. • Uses familiar topics during initial learning. • Uses familiar, simple syntactic structures and sentence types. • Uses both narrative and expository texts. • Progresses to more complex structures in which main ideas are not explicit and passages are longer. • Inserts questions at strategic intervals to reduce memory load for learners. 60

What should I look for in materials and programs?
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• Teaches skill or strategy with the aid of carefully designed examples and practice. • Continues skill or strategy instruction across several instructional sessions to illustrate the applicability and utility of the skill or strategy. • Connects previously taught skills and strategies with new content and texts. • Cumulatively builds repertoire of skills and strategies that are introduced, applied, and integrated with appropriate texts and for authentic purposes over the course of the year.
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Models of Reading Program Implementations K-3
A Core Programs Basal Reading Programs Reading Mastery Reasoning and Writing Corrective Reading Comprehension Soar to Success Junior Great Books
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B Specialized Programs Ladders to Literacy Language!

C Time/Grouping Condition 20-30 minutes small group teacher-directed instruction Small groups (3-4) for extended discussions and monitoring Highly trained and skilled teachers

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