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Lauren Kennedy 30125179

EDBED 2006 Language and Literacy in the Primary Years


Assessment one
Comprehension Strategies
The following essay discusses the use comprehension strategies and how they can
be managed within a primary classroom setting. Citing the Victorian Curriculum and
reading comprehension theories, this essay will explore the research, benefits and
application of two different strategies, predicting and summarising. Throughout the
discussion the application of the chosen comprehension strategies within a level 2
classroom will be introduced, offering strategies and activities for implementation.
Reading makes use of many different skills at the same time, readers must decode,
translate, recognise and then comprehend (Berk, 2013). Comprehension refers to
the ability to understand and make meaning from written text using the information to
create perspective (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2014). It can be
argued that comprehension is a difficult skill to master, however the results of this for
good readers are both satisfying and productive (Duke, & Pearson, 2008).
Comprehension strategies are the approaches readers use develop their
comprehension skills (NSW Department of Education and Training Literacy
Continuum, 2010). Once a reader is able to comprehend the words on the page, the
text becomes more enjoyable, with the use of different strategies comprehension
becomes achievable (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2014).
Good readers understand the meaning of the text they are reading. This begins from
a young age with informal texts. Children learn to understand what is happening in
the text even before they can read themselves. Text refers to the way the information
is being presented to students, this could be print, digital or live (performance) texts,
these text will often be multimodal texts. Multimodal texts are texts that use two or
more forms of communication to help the reader gather meaning (Victorian
Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2016). Regardless of the way the text is
presented the students must find a way to create meaning from these.
Comprehension strategies support readers to understand the different types of text.
Teachers use many different strategies to convey the meaning of the text to the
students, this can include read aloud, predicting what they thing will happen using
the cues on the page, for example pictures, questioning and clarifying the unknown
(Fellows and Oakley, 2010). According to Duke and Pearson (2008) reading
comprehension comes with the collaboration of explicit instruction and the use of
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Lauren Kennedy 30125179


EDBED 2006 Language and Literacy in the Primary Years
Assessment one
comprehension strategies, this is referred to as a balance comprehension
instruction. Research has also found links between students fluency and their
comprehension, the easier the student can read the words on the page, it is said
they will be more likely to be able to comprehend what they are reading (Berk, 2013).
The Victorian curriculum outlines that by then end of level two students are able to
Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to
analyse texts by drawing on growing knowledge of context, language and visual
features and print and multimodal text structures (Victorian Curriculum and
Assessment Authority, 2016). To achieve this strand students will be given strategies
to make connections between a text and their own lives, make connections between
print and images, use their vocabulary to build on prior knowledge and make
inferences from the text based on their own prior knowledge. From these strategies
students will be able to predict, ask and answer questions as they read, summarise
and review meaning (VCAA, 2016). This curriculum provides a framework for
teachers, instructing them of what students should be learning at each level, how it
does not explain how this should be taught, which allows teachers to create their
own lessons for individual groups of students. This is important as children learn
differently. Different learning styles can be accounted for through lesson and unit
planning, offering a range of activities to support students of all levels (Berk, 2013).
Summarising is one strategy that can be used to help develop students
comprehension skills. Creating a summary requires students to find the main ideas
of a text (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2014). This shows a
student has comprehended what they have read. This is particularly relevant in the
grade two classroom it is outline as a strand within the curriculum for this year level.
Luke and Freebodys four resources model outlines that students develop the ability
to break the codes within a text, decoding words and creating meaning. Students
are text participators creating meaning from the text in a functional manner (1999).
Explaining concepts in ones own words is way of demonstrating comprehension
(Berk, 2013).
To implement this in a classroom setting, prevalent research suggests that is
important to give explicit instruction and a demonstration of the task. Modelling tasks
offers students the opportunity to see what it is that is required of them, allowing for a
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Lauren Kennedy 30125179


EDBED 2006 Language and Literacy in the Primary Years
Assessment one
gradual release of responsibility (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday,
2014). This offers support to all students within the class as they are able to see a
physical demonstration of the skill before putting it into practise for themselves.
Within the grade two classroom demonstrating the skill of summarising using a
familiar text would help students to pick up on the main points, using phrases such
as need to know and nice to know helps students distinguish what the core ideas
of the story might be.
This tool can be used in the English classroom and beyond. Comprehension and
employing different comprehension strategies is not just limited the English domain.
Leopold and Leutner (2009), conducted research into how summarising can be
successfully applied within the science classroom. They found a positive correlation
between students understanding complicated science texts by applying the strategy
of summarising to the science classroom. Summarising as a strategy for reading
comprehension has been researched in different classrooms around the world. A
recent study of Iranian students found that summarising and presentation had a
positive effect promoting students reading comprehension abilities (Khoshsima, &
Tiyar, 2014).
Comprehension will often reflect a students prior knowledge about the topic,
experience, genre etc. knowing students backgrounds can help teachers to
implement teaching strategies that complement the students learning style and the
knowledge and skills they already bring to the topic (Mills, 2009) . Prediction is a
device for teachers to identify what level of prior knowledge the student has about a
topic. Prediction is the ability of considering what might happen? This extends the
students ability to comprehend what is happening in the story as well as gives the
teacher some information about the students prior understanding. Students will
gather their prior knowledge from what they already know about the world and from
previous books that they have read. It is helpful for teachers to draw reference to the
type of text, supporting students to draw on their knowledge of what to expect from
this particular text type (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2014).
The cue system plays a role in effective prediction, this is when the reader gathers
evidence from all of the information supplied and used this to construct meaning.
The strategy of prediction can be used prior to reading the book, using the visual
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Lauren Kennedy 30125179


EDBED 2006 Language and Literacy in the Primary Years
Assessment one
cues, such as title, layout and pictures of the book to guess what this story may be
about and what might happen. It could also be used throughout the story, where
students are asked what they think may happen next. Readers predicting what is
going to happen shows an understanding of what has happened so far developing
the readers understanding of the book. The reader will then have the opportunity to
confirm the meaning by continuing to read. If the reader finds they were off track with
their prediction they can go back to where this misunderstanding may have
developed and reread those pages to help develop connections between the text
and its meaning (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2014).
Predictability within familiar can create a pleasant learning experience within the
grade two classroom. Knowing the layout of a narrative for example will help
students make predictions if they understand, there will be a problem and a solution
within the story. This can be linked back to the summarising strategy, where you
discuss the problem and the solution within particular stories.
This relates to Luke and Freebodys (1999) four resources model, linking to the
meaning maker and text user components of the model. Making meaning from
the text fundamental for students comprehension. Without this skill, students would
not be able to make predictions. Students are able to make meaning from a number
of the cues that they are presented, this is written, spoken and visual cues such as
pictures, and making meaning of these cues allows students to make connections
and predictions about the text. Text user is where the reader is using the text
functionally, adding cultural perspectives, social interrelationships, tone of the text
and prior knowledge to put the pieces together.
Comprehension is a vital skill for all readers, it gives them the ability to understand
the meaning of any text. Comprehension is essential for skilled readers to be able to
engage with a text. Without comprehension, text is merely words on a page, which is
not exciting or informative for the reader. The use of comprehension strategies such
as predicting and summarising empower readers to derive the message of a text,
making the text more enjoyable. It can be argued, without this skill, reading is
pointless and frustrating. This is why it is essential to develop the readers
comprehension within classrooms of all ages and countries.

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Lauren Kennedy 30125179


EDBED 2006 Language and Literacy in the Primary Years
Assessment one
References:
Berk, L. (2013). Child Development, 9th edition. USA: Pearson Education.
Duke, N. K., & Pearson, P. D. (2008). Effective practices for developing reading
comprehension. The Journal of Education, 189(1/2), 107-122.
Fellowes, J. & Oakley, G. (2010). Language, Literacy and Early Childhood
Education. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Khoshsima, H., & Tiyar, F. R. (2014). The Effect of Summarizing and Presentation
Strategies.International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 3(4),
88-96.
Leopold, C., & Leutner, D. (2012). Science text comprehension: Drawing, main idea
selection, and summarizing as learning strategies. Learning and Instruction, 22(1),
16-26.
Luke, A., & Freebody, P. (1999). A map of possible practices: Further notes on the
four resources model. Practically primary, 4(2), 5-8.
Mills, K. (2009). Floating on a sea of talk: Reading comprehension through speaking
and listening. The Reading Teacher, 63(4), 325-329.
NSW Department of Education and Training Literacy Continuum (2010) Teaching
Comprehension Strategies. NSW Department of Education and Training.
Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., Holliday, M. (2014). Literacy:
Reading, writing and children's literature (5th ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University
Press.
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2016). The Victorian Curriculum F
10. Retrieved from: http://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/

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