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COMPREHENSION STRATEGY

EDR 390

OCTOBER 15, 2018


EMILY WILLIAMS
Wesleyan College
Describing characters, settings, and major events in a story using key details is an

important strategy that is taught young and built upon as students get older. Books, stories,

lessons, articles, and more will be utilized in and out of the school setting. Aside from learning

about characters we can also learn about what character traits are and what traits we have.

When it comes to teaching reading comprehension there are many parts you should take

into account. Nguyen, Leytham, Whitby, and Gelfer say that there are five steps for teaching

reading comprehension for students. They are: access and build background knowledge, create

mental images, make connections, engage in consistent discussions, and summarize

understanding. Before reading access and build background knowledge by using visual support

presenting the student with information related to the text as well as pre-teaching vocabulary key

terms. Do a picture walk through the store before reading to create mental images. Use a graphic

organizer for a visual representation of the story during the reading to make connections. Model

reciprocal questioning to generate and answer questions after reading to engage in consistent

discussions. Story recall teaches students to create casual connections and casual chains after

reading to summarize understanding.

Story comprehension is a multifaceted part that works in accordance with the

comprehension strategy to help students. According to Strasser and Rio, “Results suggest that

when the story comprehension measure requires construction of a coherent representation,

vocabulary, monitoring, inferences, working memory, inhibitory skill, and attention, but not

theory of mind, make a significant contribution. Effects of vocabulary breadth are mediated by

vocabulary depth, and effects of working memory are partially mediated by monitoring and

inferences. When story comprehension is measured through recall of isolated story elements,

only working memory and vocabulary explain significant variance. Theoretical as well as
practical implications are discussed.” Coherent representation, vocabulary, monitoring,

inferences, working memory, inhibitory skill, and attention all make significant contributions to

how a student recalls information and relays what they comprehended.

While comprehension is an important part of understanding what we read, Wolf, Carey,

and Mieras found that “Over the course of the study, however, the teachers moved towards a

vision of literary response that highlights interpretation over comprehension. Their broadened

expectations emphasized the affective, personal, and social nature of literary discussion which

privileges intertextual connections between the text on the page and the texts of readers' lives.”

Students retain information at a higher level when they are able to make text to self connections.

Meller, Richardson, and Hatch suggest teaching children that “characters a not real but (are)

constructed by authors and that stories are not reality but selective versions of it; authors lead the

reader to respond to the story in particular ways through use of language, point of view, and

other conventions, and that children can generate alternatives to authors’ perspectives; authors

leave gaps in stories, so readers can look for what is missing and explore why; and authors write

for particular audiences and assume that these audiences have specific cultural knowledge and

share certain values”. It is crucial for students to learn the conventions authors use and build

upon that knowledge.

Read aloud, guided reading, book centers, and buddy books allow students to be on the

same page as others with what they are reading. According to Hudson, “a book talk is an

opportunity for a reader to share with other readers a book that he or she enjoyed. During a book

talk, the speaker familiarizes the audience with the book in just one to two minutes. In this brief

period, the book talk introduces the audience to the main characters of the story and the problem

that the characters encounter in the book”. Books talks help students share what they have
learned about the book they read. I think this could work well with the book’s students read for

AR testing.

This specific comprehension strategy, describing characters, settings, and major events in

a story using key details, is important to student’s fundamental basis of understanding that is

built upon over time. I have personally seen students who are learning to read or just starting out

and it is hard for them to understand what characters are, what the setting is, or even are able to

tell me what happened in the story. When reading through a book with a student or having them

read one to me, we take a picture walk before hand and I ask questions about almost each page to

gage what the student has picked up or remembers has happened throughout the story so far.

This strategy can be integrated in content instruction and incorporated into lessons as the

students are taught about different topics.

When children practice asking critical question questions about the text, they are

developing reading and thinking skills that can lead to powerful insights into how texts work,

how readers can become more aware of their place in the reading process, and where they fit into

the social world that surrounds them. Describing characters, settings, and major events in a story

using key details is an important strategy that is taught young and built upon as students get

older. Books, stories, lessons, articles, and more will be utilized in and out of the school setting.
Works Cited

Hudson, A. (2016, May 19). Get Them Talking! Using Student‐Led Book Talks in the Primary

Grades. Retrieved November 07, 2018, from

https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/trtr.1494

Nguyen, N., Leytham, P., Whitby, P., & Gelfer, J. (2015, April 11). Reading Comprehension and

Autism in the Primary General Education Classroom. Retrieved November 07, 2018,

from https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/trtr.1367

Meller, W. B., Richardson, D., & Hatch, J. (2015). Using Read-Alouds with Critical Literacy

Literature in K-3 Classrooms. In K. Winograd (Author), Critical literacies and young

learners: Connecting classroom practice to the common core (pp. 102-110). New York,

NY: Routledge.

Strasser, K., & Río, F. (2013, December 12). The Role of Comprehension Monitoring, Theory of

Mind, and Vocabulary Depth in Predicting Story Comprehension and Recall of

Kindergarten Children. Retrieved from

https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rrq.68

Wolf, S., Carey, A., & Mieras, E. (2011, November 09). "What is this literachurch stuff

anyway?": Preservice teachers' growth in understanding children's literary response.

Retrieved from https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1598/RRQ.31.2.2