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Strategies in Reading 1.

Activating Prior Knowledge

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What Is It?
Call it schema, relevant background knowledge, prior knowledge, or just plain experience, when students make connections to the text they are reading, their comprehension increases. Good readers constantly try to make sense out of what they read by seeing how it fits with what they already know. When we help students make those connections before, during, and after they read, we are teaching them a critical comprehension st rategy that the best readers use almost unconsciously. Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman inMosaic of Thought(1997), have identified three main types of connections students make as they read:

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Text to self Text to world Text to text

Why Is It Important?
Explicitly teaching strategies that proficient readers use when trying to make sense out of text helps to deepen understandin g and create independent readers. Activating prior knowledge, or schema, is the first of seven strategies that Keene and Zimmerman identify as key for reading comprehension success. "Teaching children which thinking strategies are used by proficient readers and helping them use those strategies independently creates the core of teaching reading." (Keene and Zimmerman, 1997) These strategies, identified through research based on what good readers do when they are reading, help students become metacognitive. They learn to think about their thinking as they are reading. When students learn to make connections from their experience to th e text they are currently reading, they have a foundation, orscaffolding, upon which they can place new facts, ideas, and concepts. As good readers read, they think about what they are reading and consider how it fits with what they already know. In this way, they build upon the schema that they already have developed.

When Should It Be Taught?

This comprehension strategy should be taught on an ongoing basis so that students learn independently to use it as they are reading. It should be taught explicitly and systematically over an extended period of time, moving from modeling the thinking process out loud by the teacher, to students using the strategy as a natural part of their comprehension process. Prior knowledge should be discussed before reading the text to help set the stage for what is coming. During reading, student s should be encouraged to make connections to the text from their experience and the teacher should model th is process using his or her own connections. After reading, the discussion should center on how the connections helped students to better understand the text and how the text helped them to build their foundation of prior knowledge.

What Does It Look Like?

At the early stages of teaching students the strategy of making connections to their prior knowledge, the teacher models "thinking aloud." The teacher reads a text to the class and talks through his or her thinking process in order to show studen ts how to think about their thinking as they are reading. Slowly, after students have seen and heard the teacher using the strategy, they are given the opportunity to share their experiences and thinking. Finally, students make connections to texts independently. Teachers can check in periodically to have students articulate their thinking, in order to track progress, spot difficulties, and intervene individually or conduct a mini-lesson to reteach or move students forward. As students are activating their prior knowledge and making connections, they use graphic organizers, such as aconcept map, a flow chart, or a, to help map their thinking. Often students keep reflection or response journalswhere they record thoughts, feelings, insights, and questions about what they read. Students, in large and small groups, discuss and write about the connections they are making to texts. (For examples of these and other graphic organizers, click the link.)

How Can You Make It Happen?

Start showing students how to make connections to their reading systematically and explicitly. Some teachers devote a good amount of time (6-8 weeks) to study a particular comprehension strategy in -depth before moving on to the next. Begin by carefully choosing texts that can model how a proficient reader connects the text with experience. Picture books (ev en older students love them!) and shorter trade books that feature memoir writing are ideal texts to start with. Check the Resources section for a short list of books that are great for making connections. Use a variety of texts when teaching, including poetry and nonfiction books with different text structures and formats. As you read the book with the class, "think out loud," stopping at appropriate points to articulate your thinking as a model for students. First, model connections between the text and your own experiences and encourage students to think of their own experiences that connect with the story. These are "t ext to self" connections. It is important during modeling to continually come back to the text and not allow personal experiences to divert the group from understanding the story. As students share connections, talk about how their experience helps them to better understand the text and how the text helps them to build their store of knowledge and experience. The next connections to model are "text to world" connections. What do they know about the world that will help them to bette r understand the story? I f they are readingWhen I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant orTar Beachby Faith Ringgold, have them think about what they know about life in the mountains or in the city that can help them to better understand the story. If they are reading The Story of Ruby Bridgesby Robert Coles, think about the background knowledge your students have about the Civil Rights Movement or segregation that could help them make sense of what they are reading. Finally, model connections that are "text to text." Model how a book you are currently reading reminds you of another book you read with the class. Discuss similar styles of writing, characters, themes, or how both stories describe childhood memories o f two different places. How does a book likeCrow Boyby Taro Yashima, the story of a boy with hidden talents who is teased by his classmates, help students to understand a book likeThe Hundred Dressesby Eleanor Estes? Students can also think about what they know about authors based on books they have read by that aut hor. They can predict what a story might be about, or if the style is similar in all of the author's stories. With all of these strategies for connecting text to previous knowledge, it is crucial to talk with students explicitly about how this helps them to more fully understand what they are reading. It is also important for students to understand how they are building more prior knowledge with each book read.

How Can You Measure Success?

Much of the assessment for this comprehension strategy will be ongoi ng and informal observation of student understanding through participation in class discussion and in individualreading conferenceswith students. As students gain experience, you can monitor their progress through their entries in a reading response or reflection journal. Selected entries, chosen to sho w student progress over time, can go into a student reading portfolio along with completed graphic organizers, when appropriate , for various texts that the student has read throughout the year.

(Example of Lesson Plan) Prior Knowledge: The Popcorn Book

Grade Levels:1 - 3

This lesson is designed to teach primary students how toactivate prior knowledgebefore they begin reading. The lesson teaches students how to connect text to self, using the book The Popcorn Book, by Tomie de Paola. In this lesson, students make connections to themselves, their knowledge, and their experiences and help complete a KWL chart as the book is read aloud. This lesson is the first of a set of activating prior knowledge lessons designed for primary grades.


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The Popcorn Bookby Tomie de Paola KWL Chart Chart paper Drawing paper

1. Planning and Diagnostics

For students to be able to use prior knowledge as a comprehension strategy, they need to be able to understand how the text and themselves are connected. As students advance in their understanding of prior knowledge, they will be able to connect the text to their world, and to other texts. 2. Hook/Engagement Engage students to help them understand what it means to connect to a text. Tell them about a book (fiction or nonfiction) that you read recently and liked because you found a connection between yourself and the book or a character in some way. Explain your connection by thinking aloud: "I recently read ___________ (name of book), and I connected to the book because _______ (identified with main character, part of plot happened in your life, etc.). For example, "I recently readLance Armstrong: The Race of His Life, by Kristen Armstrong, and I connected to the book because reading about his fight with cancer reminded me of my grandfather's illness and how his courage inspired me." Explain that making a text-to-self connection or "me connection" means making a connection between yourself and a character, an event, or the setting of a story you read. Ask students to use the same sentence frame to tell you about a story they read either in class or at home that they connected to personally. (If students cannot thi nk of a story, they can connect to an appropriate television show or character.) Make sure the examples students give show how they connected to the text. 3. Vocabulary o Archaeologist: a person who studies the material remains of past human life and activities o Iroquois: an American Indian people o Algonkians: an American Indian people o Pulpy: soft and spongy o Kernel: a whole seed, "a kernel of corn" Measurable Objectives Explain to students that they will make connections to themselves as they listen toThe Popcorn Book, and that they will use a KWL chart to record those connections. Students will draw a picture that connects them to the story and then tell about their picture. The picture they draw and what they say about the picture will help you know what they have learned. 5. Focused Instruction Explain to students that good readers think about what they already know about the topic before they read. Thinking about what they already know about parts of the story and connecting to a character, the setting, or an event helps them understand the story. Use a KWL chart, such as the one below, and model text -to-self connections or "me connections" toThe Popcorn Bookto activate what information you already know about the story topic: "The title of the book isThe Popcorn Book. This book must have to do with popcorn and how to make it. Let's see, what do I know about popcorn? I know that it is white. It pops. It is a good snack to eat. It is hot at first. It is good wit h butter and salt. You can make it on the stove or in the microwave. Okay. Let me write everything that I know about popcorn in the chart." (Write this information in the first column. This is the column that contains the text -to-self connections.)


Activating Prior Knowledge: Connecting Text to Self

I know... I know popcorn... is white. pops. is a good snack to eat. is hot at first. is good with butter and salt. can be made on a stove or in the microwave. I want to know... What are the boys doing? How do you make popcorn? What do Native Americans have to do with popcorn? What do caves have to I learned... Tony and Tiny are making popcorn. To make popcorn by heating up a pan, adding cooking oil, adding kernels, shaking the pan, and eating popcorn! Native Americans discovered popcorn. In a cave in New Mexico, archeologists found some popped corn that was left there

do with popcorn?

5,600 years before.

Are there different kinds The different kinds of popcorn are: white and of popcorn? yellow hull-less, strawberry, rainbow, and black.
"Now, I'm going to look at some of the pictures in the book and see if I can think of some questions I have about the story that I can listen for when I read the story. (Turn the pages and point to the pictures that help you think of questions.) What are the boys doing? How do you m ake popcorn? What do Native Americans have to do with popcorn? What do caves have to do with popcorn? Are there different kinds of popcorn?" (Write these questions in the second column.) Next, think aloud a statement that sets a purpose for reading: "I know this book is about popcorn and how to make it, and I already know some things about popcorn. Now, I can read the story and find the answers to my questions and learn something new about popcorn." 6. Guided Practice Tell students that you would like them to help you find the answers to the questions in your chart as you read The Popcorn Bookaloud. Tell them that you will stop at certain points in your reading to talk about which questions from your chart you can now answer. Read the book aloud to students and make statements such as: "I keep my popcorn in the cabinet. I guess I should put it in the fridge. My Mom makes popcorn the same way that Tony and Tiny do. I've made too much popcorn before, too." Continue to make "I" connections as you read the story a loud to students and encourage them to also make personal connections to the story. Have students help you think aloud and write the answers to the questions you wrote in your KWL chart. (See answers in the third column of the chart above.) As you are read ing the story to students, listen to students' "me connections." Make sure that they are connecting to the text in some way, not just repeating some of the factual information in the book. This book is a mix of both personal experience and historical infor mation, and in this exercise, students should be making personal connections to the text and not simply repeating factual information about popcorn, Indians, and so forth. 7. Independent Practice Take a few minutes to review the KWL chart with your students. Discuss more "me connections" students made as you were reading the story aloud to them. Then, ask them to draw a picture that shows how they connected to the story (a character, an event, a setting) in some way. Students can draw a picture that shows them making popcorn with their Mom or Dad, eating popcorn while at a movie or a fair, reading a recipe about popcorn, and so on. Advanced students might draw a picture of themselves making their favorite snack, reading a recipe about it, or writing or drawing a recipe for it. Once students finish their pictures, ask them to tell about their picture and how it shows them making a connection toThe Popcorn Book. 8. Assessment To assess whether students have learned how to make "me connections," listen to their explan ations about their pictures and see whether they have connected to the text. Turn through the pages of The Popcorn Bookagain and see if students can point to the pictures and make "me connections." Introduce a new book to students and read the title aloud to them. Then, ask them to fill in the "I Know" column of a KWL chart and see whether they can make "me connections" to the new text. 9. Reflection and Planning Determine which students understand how to make text -to-self connections and which students need help. For students who need more help, you may use a text they have already read and ask them to draw a picture that shows how they connected to the text. Plan to use a KWL chart for other stories you will read in class, and ask students to make "me connecti ons" before reading the book.

Prior Knowledge: A House is a House for Me

Grade Levels:1 - 3

This lesson is designed to teach primary students how toactivate prior knowledgebefore they begin reading. The lesson teaches students how to make text -to-world connections using the bookA House Is a House for Me, by Mary Ann Hoberman. In this lesson, students help complete a KWL chart by making text -to-world connections before reading the book and then make new text-to-world connections after reading. This lesson is the second in a set of activating prior knowledge lessons designed for primary grades.


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A House Is a House for Meby Mary Ann Hoberman KWL Chart Chart paper Drawing paper

1. Planning and Diagnostics For students to be able to use prior knowledge and participate in this lesson, they need to be able to understand how the text and their world are connected. They should have completed the introductory lesson, connecting the text to themselves, and have experience making those connections. 2. Hook/Engagement Help students make some initial text-to-world connections by activating some of their prior knowledge about houses. Draw a two-column chart on the blackboard or on a piece of chart paper. Label the first column "Houses for People" and the second column "Houses for Animals." Ask students to first talk abo ut what a house means to them. Then, ask students to give you some examples that belong under each heading. For example, students may cite apartments, igloos, tents, huts, pueblos, and caves as homes for people. Students may cite nests, holes, cabins, deserts, cages, doghouses, and birdhouses as homes for animals. Explain to students that the author of the book A House Is a House for Metalks about lots of different houses for things besides people and animals, but making these initial text-to-world connections will help them understand the book. Tell them that they are going to make even more text -to-world connections as they listen to this story. 3. Vocabulary o sow: an adult female pig o Cree: a member of an American Indian people of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan o Hopi: a member of an American Indian people of northern Arizona Measurable Objectives Explain to students that they will make connections to the world as they listen to A House Is a House for Me, and that they will use a KWL chart to record th eir connections. Student pairs will write and draw answers to questions they formulated about the text as well as new text -to-world connections. 5. Focused Instruction Explain to students that good readers think about what they already know about the topic be fore they read. Connecting the story to something they already know about the world, for example about houses for people; animals; and things, will help them better understand the story. Use a KWL chart, such as the one below, and model text -to-world connections. Read the title,A House Is a House for Me, aloud to students and show them the cover of the book. Ask them to name some of the people, animals, and things that they see on the cover, and then talk about what kinds of houses these people, animals, an d things might live in. Then, take a picture walk through some of the pages of the book that show animals, people, and things in "houses." Guide students to understand that this book shows different types of houses for people, animals, and things. It shows houses for things in a way that students might not initially think about. Help students to activate their prior knowledge and make some text-to-world connections by asking them to think of some general things that they know about housesfor any person, animal, or thing. Model several initial text-to-world connections about houses to help students:.


"This book ties people, animals, and things together by showing that they all have houses. When I think about what a house is, I think that it must be comfortab le for the person or animal in it. A house also protects whoever or whatever lives or stays inside of it." Write this information in the first column. Ask students to volunteer some other things they know about houses, and then write their ideas in the first column. Encourage students to be general enough so that they don't begin listing a house for each specific person, animal, or thing. Next, model several questions that you have about houses now that you have begun to think about what you already know: "I know that this book is about houses, and I know some important things about houses. But, I would like to know how nonliving things can really have houses. I would also like to know about the title of the book. What kind of house is for me?" Write these questions in the second column, and then have students think about other things they want to know.

Activating Prior Knowledge: Connecting Text to World

I know... I want to know... I learned... Do nonliving things really have houses? In a way, nonliving things do have houses. For What kind of houses example, a plane lives in a hangar and a cookie lives in a cookie jar. do they have? What does the title of the book mean? What is a house for a ___? People can live in all types of houses like a tree house and a tepee. Every living and nonliving thing has a house.

I know houses... are comfortable. protect who or what is inside.


Guided Practice Tell students that as you readA House Is a House for Mealoud, they will think about the questions they asked and listen for the answers. Model some text -to-world connections as you read; for example, talk about your knowledge of houses for marine life, or how you have learned to make new text -to-world connections when thinking about a teapot as a house for some t ea or a sandwich as a house for some ham. Point out how reading this book has helped you think of what a house is in a different way. This book helps students think about a house in a slightly different way than they did in the "Engagement" activity. Have students write or draw answers to: A _______ is a house for me. Students can draw a picture of where they live, or they can be more creative with their drawing and draw a picture of themselves inside a tent on a camping trip or in a tree house, and so on. Once students are finished with this activity, ask them to share their answers and to make a text -to-world connection to explain their answers. As students are giving their answers, ask them to show you the pages and point to the pictures that helped them answer their question.


Independent Practice Ask students to write and draw an answer to this sentence. A _______ is a house for ________. Students should write and draw about one person, animal, or thing from the story. Encourage students to share by explaining their drawings.


Assessment"Let's talk about what you've done."

To assess whether students have learned how to make text -to-world connections, listen to their explanations of the drawings they did in the "Independent Practice" activity. Then, write th is sentence again: A _______ is a house for ________. First, ask students to complete the sentence when you give them half of the answer. For example, you may write "castle" and students should tell you "king." Or, you may write "a kennel" and students sho uld tell you "a dog." Then, tell them to complete the sentence with some person, animal, or thing that was not in the book. Have them write and draw about it. Once students are finished, ask them to explain their sentence and picture. Listen to assess whether students have successfully made a text -to-world connection. 9. Reflection and Planning Determine which students understand how to make text -to-world connections and which students need help. For students who need more help, talk about a story you have alr eady read with students and help them to make text -toworld connections with that story. Once they have mastered this, then have them use a KWL chart to make text -toworld connections and activate their prior knowledge for a new book.

2. Running Records
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What is it?
A running record is a method of assessingreading that can be done quickly and frequently. It is an individually conductedformative assessment, which is ongoing and curriculum based. It provides a graphic representation of a student's oral reading, identifying patterns of effective and ineffective s trategy use. This method was developed by Marie Clay, the originator of Reading Recovery, and is similar to miscue analysis, developed by Kenneth Goodman. Through a running record, teachers can obtain:

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Information about a student's use of reading strategie s Information about a student's self-monitoring Anaccuracy rate Anerror rate Aself-correction rate

Running records can be used to:

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Document reading progress over time Help teachers decide what students need to learn Match students to appropriate books

Running records are different from informal reading inventories in that running records do not use a specified text. Teachers don't need to photocopy reading passages before students are assessed. This makes the running record not only a little more spontaneous but also a little more challenging.

Why is it important?
Running records help teachers measure students' progress, plan for future instruction, provide a way for students to understa nd their progress, andcommunicate progress to parentsand the school community. Assessments should measure what teachers teach and what students learn. Such assessments help teachers to discover what is working and what is needed in the teaching-learning interactions (Farr 1992). Farr also describes assessment information as helpful only when it is used to help children better understand their own liter acy development. Expert teachers use knowledge about their students their backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses to create lessons that connect new subject matter to students' experiences (Westerman 1991).

When should it be taught?

Running records are meant to be ongoing assessments and should be administered early in the year and repeated often throughout the year to monitor reading progress. These assessments are valuable because they not only give the teacher an opportunity to learn more about the needs and strengths of individual students but also provide time to interact with individ ual students. In addition, the results of these assessments are invaluable when communicating with parents about individual students. As helpful as these diagnostic assessments can be, unless a teacher is fortunate enough to have a full -time instructional aide in the classroom, it is often challenging to find time to fit these mini -tests into an already jam -packed schedule. Here are a few ideas for squeezing these assessments into a busy classroom: 1. Sneak in a few minutes during silent reading. Ideally, you are already reading alongside your students during this time rather than using it to catch up on other paperwork. While it is not recommended that all of the time allocated for silent reading be used for assessing students, it might be possible to steal a few minutes to complete one or two assessments before and after school while still allowing time to model silent reading for your students. 2. Use before and after school. There always seem to be those one or two students who arrive at school 10 minutes early or stay a few minutes after dismissal. These few minutes could be used to complete a diagnostic or two. 3. Become a center. If your classroom usescentersduring reading workshop or mathematics instruction, you can fit in a few individualized assessments during this time. Again, it is probably unwise to use the entire center time to complete assessments, but even 15 minutes can be useful. 4. Work with a partner. Some teachers find it very helpful to work with a partner to facilitate the assessment process. One teacher supervises both classes for a short period of time, perhaps 45 minutes, while the other teacher pulls students out individually to conduct assessments. The key to making this plan work is for students to have engaging tasks to work on in the large group. Ideally, school administrators will help reorganize schedules to facilitate the assessment process, but it never hurts to hav e some ideas on completing these assessments on your own. If planned for in advance, these diagnostics will be opportunities that you and your students look forward to participating in.

What Does It Look Like?

The process of recording responses during a running record is explained in detail in the next section. Use the following example of a blank running record form: Blank Running Records Form

How Can You Make It Happen?

To take a running record, choose a st udent who is reading and gather paper and pencils for recording. As the student reads, record miscues. Ask the student to retell the passage to check for comprehension. Then analyze the responses, and use the information to decide on future instruction.

During silent reading time or small-group reading time, sit beside a student and explain that you want the student to read a part of his or her book to you. Be sure to tell the student that you will be writing while he or she is reading, and th at it doesn't mean a mistake has been made. Position the recording form in a way that student won't be distracted by what you are writing. Since you may do this frequently during the year, make a note of the book or pages the student is reading, as the pas sages should be new each time a running record is taken. For older students, who tend to read quickly, it may be helpful to copy the pages th e student is reading and record notes on the copy.

Record all correct responses with a checkmark. Use a s ymbol to mark eachsubstitution,insertion,omission, andself-correction, along with words students don't know or ask for help pronouncing. A list of conventional symbols used to code responses during a running record can be found at onthis printable. Hesitations or repetitions may not affect the understanding of the story, but they can provide information abou t a student's reading strategies, so it is helpful to note them. If you think a student is losing meaning, you may say, "Try that again," a nd make a note of the prompt. Practice using these symbols prior to actual assessments, as that may help you keep up with students who read quickly. After the student reads the passage, check comprehension by asking him or her to retell the story or answer questions that ar e both literal and inferential. Take notes on what the student learned and understood.

Once you have noted self-corrections and the words read correctly and incorrectly, look through the running record to tally the number of errors. Here is the standard way to score each error:

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Substitutions, insertions, omissions, and words the student didn't k now are scored as errors. Self-corrections are not scored as an error if the correct response was given. If a line of text was omitted, each word in the line is scored as an error. If a student repeatedly made an error on a proper noun, score it as one error. "Try That Again" (TTA) is counted as one error. Told words (T) and Appeals (A) are each scored as one error. Repetitions (R) are not scored as an error.

Cueing Systems
After the running record is scored, look closely at the errors to see if they are errors in meaning, structure, or visual cues. Try to determine which cues the student is using for each miscue and self-correction. Kenneth Goodman developed three basic cueing systems.

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Meaning/semantic: Readers use meaning to predict the message of text. Reinforce this cueing system by asking, "Does it make sense?" Structure/syntax: Readers use grammar and knowledge of how language goes together to identify words. Readers who use this cueing system would choose a noun to replace a noun, instead of choosing a verb to replace a noun, because it would sound right to them. Reinforce this cueing system by asking, "Does it sound right?" Visual/graphophonic: Readers use letter-sound relationships to figure out words by looking at the letters and using the sounds they make. Reinforce this cueing system by asking, "Does it look right?"

Students may have a pattern to the way they read. They may rely heavily on one cueing system, or not use another at all. If students need a reading strategy strengthened, consider usi ng mini lessons, small group, or individual instruction, all of which can teach and review cueing systems.

Finding an Accuracy Rate, Error Rate, and Self -Correction Rate

Now that the running record is scored, the student's accuracy, error, and self -correction rates can be found. To find theaccuracy rate, subtract the number of errors from the number of words, divide by the number of words, and multiply by 100. This will tell if the text is appropriate for the student. Text that has an accuracy rate over 95% can be read by the student independently. An accuracy rate between 90 and 95% shows the student can read the text with some guidance and instruction. If the accuracy rate is below 90%, the student is likely to be frustrated and not be able to gain meaning from the text. Independent Reading Level: more than 95% Instructional Reading Level: 90-95% Frustration Level: below 90% To find theerror rate, divide the number of words in the passage by the number of errors.

Independent Reading Level: 1:200-1:25 Instructional Reading Level: 1:10-1:20 Frustration Level: 1:3-1:9 To find theself-correction rate, add the number of errors and self -corrections together and divide by the number of selfcorrections. A ratio of 1:5 indicates one self-correction to every five errors and indicates that the student needs strategies for self-monitoring or self-correcting. Self-correcting is important, because it, along with comprehension checking, is a strategy that good readers use. Excellent: 1:1-1:2 Good: 1:3-1:5 Needs strategies to self-correct: 1:5 or more

How Can You Measure Success?

Student improvement in reading, due to information gained during running records, is the best measure of success. In conducting running records throughout the year, teachers will be able to see progress over time, intervene with instruction when necessary, and communicate progress to parents.

3. Think Aloud Strategy

Page Description:The think-aloud strategy asks students to say out loud what they are thinking about when reading, solving math problems, or simply responding to questions posed by teachers or other students. This strategy makes an excellent addition to the learning methods taught in your curriculum.

4. Using "KWL" in the Classroom

Page Description:KWL ("Know", "Want to Know", "Learned") charts encourage studen ts to use prior knowledge and personal curiosity while researching a subject or a topic. This strategy is especially useful in reading classes, but is also useful in plenty of other subjects, like science and social studies.

5. Questions Before, During, and After Reading

Page Description:To encourage critical reading, teachers should ask students questions about the text before, during, and after they read. This method is useful for most subjects, from reading to social studies, and is an excellent way to stru cture literature homework.

6. Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

Page Description:Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA) is a teaching strategy that guides students in making predictions about a text and then reading to confirm or refute their predictions. This is an excellent method of teaching to introduce to your students.

7. Question-Answer Relationships
Page Description:Question-Answer Relationships, or QAR, is a reading comprehension strategy developed to encourage students to be active, strategic readers of texts.

8. Literature Circles
Page Description:In literature circles, students come together to discuss and respond to a book that they are reading at the same time. Students use their experiences to create meaning, make connections, a nd have lively discussions about the book.

9. Inferences
Page Description:Making an inference involves using what you know to make a guess about what you don't know, or reading between the lines. Teaching your students to use this technique will encourage more critical reading and better understanding and enjoyment of the text.

10. Establishing the Main Idea

Page Description:An important task of reading comprehension is to determine the importance and meanings of individual words, sentences, paragraphs, sections, chapters, and entire texts. This article will help you teach your students about finding the main idea while they are reading.

11. Focused Mini Lessons

Page Description:Teach your students smaller concepts with focused mini lessons; they will later be able to relate this smaller idea to a larger concept or skill. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable.

12. Predicting
Page Description:Predicting involves thinking ahead while reading and anticipating information and events in the text. After making predictions, students can read through the text and refine, revise, and verify their predictions.


Reading Aloud

Page Description:When we read aloud to students, we expand their imaginations, provide new knowledge, support language acquisition, build vocabulary, and promote reading as a worthwhile, enjoyable activity.

14. Reading Buddies

Page Description:Set up a "reading buddies" program with your students by pairing older and younger students together to read aloud to each other, benefiting both students' reading and listening skills.

15. Reading Carnival

Page Description:Host a reading carnival at your school -- it will give your students a chance to demonstrate the reading skills they've acquired and their parents a chance to be a more integral part of their education.

16. Reading Workshop

Page Description:This strategy gives students the opportunity to choose the books they read and to discuss their reading individually and in small groups.

17. Sequencing
Page Description:Sequencing refers to the identification of the components of a story, such as the beginning, middle, and end. Learn here how to apply the concept of sequencing to reading and literature when teaching.

18. Summarizing
Page Description:Summarizing is more than retelling; it involves analyzing information, distinguishing important from unimportant elements and translating large chunks of information into a few short cohesive sentences. This article outlines h ow the act of summarizing can be used in your classr oom. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable.

19. Visualizing
Page Description:Visualizing refers to our ability to create pictures in our heads based on text we read or words we hear. It is one of many skills that makes reading comprehe nsion possible. This method is an ideal strategy to teach to young students who are having trouble reading.

20. Cause and Effect

Page Description:A cause and effect analysis is an attempt to understand why things happen as they do. Use this resource to help your students understand the effects of various events and actions, so they have a better grasp on the way the world operates.

21.Metaphors and Analogies

Page Description:Metaphors and analogies are comparisons between unlike things that have some part icular things in common. You can use metaphors and analogies to make new and unfamiliar concepts more meaningful to students by connecting what they already know to what they are learning.

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Teaching Reading

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Reading

Instructors want to produce students who, even if they do not have complete control of the grammar or an extensive lexicon, can fend for themselves in communication situations. In the case of reading, this means producing students who can use reading strategies to maximize their comprehension of text, identify relevant and non-relevant information, and tolerate less than word-by-word comprehension. Focus: The Reading Process To accomplish this goal, instructors focus on the process of reading rather than on its product.
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They develop students' awareness of the reading process and reading strategies by asking students to think and talk about how they read in their native language. They allow students to practice the full repertoire of reading strategies by using authentic reading tasks. They encourage students to read to learn (and have an authentic purpose for reading) by giving students some choice of reading material. When working with reading tasks in class, they show students the strategies that will work best for the reading purpose and the type of text. They explain how and why students should use the strategies. They have students practice reading strategies in class and ask them to practice outside of class in their reading assignments. They encourage students to be conscious of what they're doing while they complete reading assignments. They encourage students to evaluate their comprehension and self-report their use of strategies. They build comprehension checks into in-class and out-of-class reading assignments, and periodically review how and when to use particular strategies. They encourage the development of reading skills and the use of reading strategies by using the target language to convey instructions and course-related information in written form: office hours, homework assignments, test content. They do not assume that students will transfer strategy use from one task to another. They explicitly mention how a particular strategy can be used in a different type of reading task or with another skill.

By raising students' awareness of reading as a skill that requires active engagement, and by explicitly teaching reading strategies, instructors help their students develop both the ability and the confidence to handle communication situations they may encounter beyond the classroom. In this way they give their students the foundation for communicative competence in the new language. Integrating Reading Strategies Instruction in reading strategies is not an add-on, but rather an integral part of the use of reading activities in the language classroom. Instructors can help their students become effective readers by teaching them how to use strategies before, during, and after reading. Before reading: Plan for the reading task

Set a purpose or decide in advance what to read for

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Decide if more linguistic or background knowledge is needed Determine whether to enter the text from the top down (attend to the overall meaning) or from the bottom up (focus on the words and phrases)

During and after reading: Monitor comprehension

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Verify predictions and check for inaccurate guesses Decide what is and is not important to understand Reread to check comprehension Ask for help

After reading: Evaluate comprehension and strategy use

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Evaluate comprehension in a particular task or area Evaluate overall progress in reading and in particular types of reading tasks Decide if the strategies used were appropriate for the purpose and for the task Modify strategies if necessary

Using Authentic Materials and Approaches For students to develop communicative competence in reading, classroom and homework reading activities must resemble (or be) real-life reading tasks that involve meaningful communication. They must therefore be authentic in three ways. 1. The reading material must be authentic: It must be the kind of material that students will need and want to be able to read when traveling, studying abroad, or using the language in other contexts outside the classroom. When selecting texts for student assignments, remember that the difficulty of a reading text is less a function of the language, and more a function of the conceptual difficulty and the task(s) that students are expected to complete. Simplifying a text by changing the language often removes natural redundancy an d makes the organization somewhat difficult for students to predict. This actually makes a text more difficult to read than if the original were used. Rather than simplifying a text by changing its language, make it more approachable by eliciting students' existing knowledge in pre-reading discussion, reviewing new vocabulary before reading, and asking students to perform tasks that are within their competence, such as skimming to get the main idea or scanning for specific information, before they begin intensive reading. 2. The reading purpose must be authentic: Students must be reading for reasons that make sense and have relevance to them. "Because the teacher assigned it" is not an authentic reason for reading a text. To identify relevant reading purposes, ask students how they plan to use the language they are learning and what topics they are interested in reading and learning about. Give them opportunities to choose their reading assignments, and encourage them to use the library, the Internet, and for eign language newsstands and bookstores to find other things they would like to read.

3. The reading approach must be authentic: Students should read the text in a way that matches the reading purpose, the type of text, and the way people normally read. This means that reading aloud will take place only in situations where it would take place outside the classroom, such as reading for pleasure. The majority of students' reading should be done silently. Reading Aloud in the Classroom Students do not learn to read by reading aloud. A person who reads aloud and comprehends the meaning of the text is coordinating word recognition with comprehension and speaking and pronunciation ability in highly complex ways. Students whose language skills are limited are not able to process at this level, and end up having to drop one or more of the elements. Usually the dropped element is comprehension, and reading aloud becomes word calling: simply pronouncing a series of words without regard for the meaning they carry individually and together. Word calling is not productive for the student who is doing it, and it is boring for other students to listen to.

There are two ways to use reading aloud productively in the language classroom. Read aloud to your students as they follow along silently. You have the ability to use inflection and tone to help them hear what the text is saying. Following along as you read will help students move from word-by-word reading to reading in phrases and thought units, as they do in their first language. Use the "read and look up" technique. With this technique, a student reads a phrase or sentence silently as many times as necessary, then looks up (away from the text) and tells you what the phrase or sentence says. This encourages students to read for ideas, rather than for word recognition.

How to Teach Reading Strategies

EFL/ESL Teaching Methods for Motivating Students to Read
Mar 23, 2007 Dorit Sasson

What's the real purpose behind teaching reading? Activities for pre-while-post stages of reading texts.

Why Reading Strategies? What are they all about?

When reading comprehension breaks down, ESL/EFL students need to find ways to repair their understanding. This is where the importance of knowing how to teach reading strategies come in, so as to facilitate the reading process and give students a clear sense of what they are reading.

Students can become easily frustrated when they do not understand what they are reading and as a result, they become demotivated. A teacher needs to design and teach different strategies in order to help students close the gaps in their understanding. The ultimate challenge for the teacher is knowing exactly which strategy is useful a nd most beneficial to teach, since each student needs different strategies. This article in this respect, will give many strategies and a few general pointers for how to teach them.

General Reading Strategies

The website recommended by parents in 2004, has a wealth of activities, games and articles on reading strategies. There are plenty of strategies for the beginner reader and many c an be adapted to fit the needs of more advanced readers as well.

In addition, here are a few others.

zooming in on the text. Students go back and reread a sentence or part of a sentence that was confusing. What it a word, a phrase or an entire sentence that casued a breakdown in understanding? Once they have identified the part or parts, they can refer to other sources such as guessing from context or using a dictionary. Jump back and reread. Encourage the students not to get stuck too long on a confusing part of the text. They can always go back, reread and guess. Try and try again. If a student cannot understand, s/he should be encouraged to try and try again using all available sources such as guessing using contextual clues such as using the knowledge of parts of speech,

Whats the secret to teaching reading strategies?

The key to teaching reading strategies is to teach it without bringing it to the forefront of the lesson. It is recommended t o teach the strategies (without naming them) only after the students accomplish some task based on the reading strategy. Students of Junior High school age are still too young to understand and remember the names of the strategies and it is pointless in lecturing and naming reading strategi es. Once they have processed information, the teacher can mention the reading strategy in a by -the-way manner in terms of what they used and how it may help them in the future.

Read on

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Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary ESL Summer Programs Lesson Endings

If a teacher gets a positive reaction from the students, s/he can use this opportunity and expand on it. Even if the teaching and/or learning experience was not positive, it is a good idea to learn from it and understand what went wrong and what could have motivated them more. The next time, the teacher can remind the students of having used the strategies when they worked on a particular text and how us ing those strategies helped them understand the text better.

Using the Visual Aid Method to Teach Reading Strategies

A helpful way to teach and reinforce reading strategies is through the use of graphic organizers. Graphic organizers appeal t o a variety of multiple intelligences and it is important for students see the connection between the visual element and the reading task. Again, the a-z reading site is incredibly helpful and provides loads of opportunities to recycle reading strategies in a wonderfully creative way.

Strategic Reading
What, How and Why behind Reading Strategies
Feb 8, 2007 Dorit Sasson

In this article, you will find out why strategic reading is so important and what you can do to implement it in your ESL classroom.

What is Strategic Reading?

In the ESL classroom, what and how to read go hand in hand. Strategic Reading is helping the student to comprehend what he or she is about to read by offering a plethora of pre-while-post reading strategies to the student.

Why Strategic Reading?

Reading is an extremely complex activity and one of the most important skills in language learning. There are different levels to reading and so many different factors are involved facilitating actual comprehension. Authentic reading comprehension implies deep understanding, ability to infer, analyze, apply and evaluate. It is important for ESL pupils therefore to know how to read and to be able to deal with a textindependently.

What makes teaching Strategic Reading problematic?

Many of the skills teachers have to teach the kids in English as a Second Language are skills they have not acquired in their own language in terms of paragraphing, summarizing, paraphrasing, finding the main idea, supporting details, the list goes on. Yet, teachers are re quired to do this in a second language even to kids who are weak. Many of the skills require a deep cognitive awareness which some students dont have.

Many times some of the questions which are asked in exams test higher cognitive ability and not English ability. This leads t o frustration both on the part of the teacher and the pupils.

What you can Do as an ESL/EFL Teacher

When planning, take into account the specific learner.The weaker the learner the more the teacher must break down the process into "digestible" pieces. I still feel that the biggest challenge is to train our pupils to read critically especially during reading.I feel that even my strong pupils find this difficult. Reading should be purposeful. Pupils should have a clear purpose in reading, whether it is to find a relationship between a paragraph, to find a connector, to find the big picture of the text, to complete an authentic, meaningful task, etc. Purposeful reading, while reading is what teachers should be getting at. Students have to know why they read-first, in a structured and guided way. One good way to do this is reading together paragraphs. Here, a teacher breaks down the process in order to model thinking alouds and corresponding reading strategies so even weaker students can follow and participate in the class interaction. It is even better if the text relates to them and they are genuinely interested in reading it.

Final Words

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Remember, not every strategy is suited for everyone. ESL teachers cannot possibly use everything that is suitable in one class / week / month / term / year. Practice one strategy at once that is applicable to very simple texts. Then, it will wo rk out. Spend an appropriate and reasonable amount of time to develop and train your students with the strategy. Review, Repeat and review again! Dont assume that because you have taught it once, that the students remember them. They need tons of recycled deliberate practice that is not at one go.

Reading Strategies
Dr. Kathleen King Many ideas in this handout are from a lecture by Dr. Lee Haugen, former Reading Specialist at the ISU Academic Skills Center For many of you, reading at the college level is an entirely new experience. You've been reading for 12 years or more in school and for pleasure, but academic reading can be overwhelmingly difficult for those whose skills are less than excellent. In K-12 reading, the focus is often on the concrete aspects of the text, the facts, what is easily visible on the page, and writing about reading requires only that you regurgitate basic information. College reading, on the other hand, requires meta-cognition, the ability to orchestrate your own learning. You need to think about how your learning style interacts with the text you are reading, and perhaps change your reading strategies to meet the challenges of that text. There are four variables to be considered when learning how to read more successfully: the reader, the text, the strategies, and the goal. Characteristics of the reader include reading skills, interest in the topic, physical factors such as sleepiness or hunger. The text varies in type (novel, science, play,p sychology, etc.) and difficulty. Some reading is easy and moves along quickly, while other reading is quite dense and perhaps even tedious, packed with information. The next factor, strategies employed by the reader, makes all the difference. The goal of this handout is to give you a larger repertoire of reading strategies, to help you read less and get more out of it. The final consideration is the purpose. Why are you reading this text, and what do you want to get out of it? Some students are good readers. Perhaps their parents read to them when they were young, and as adults they read a great deal, read for pleasure, and find reading easy. They instinctively understand how to use reading strategies. For instance, when reading a newspaper, these students have no difficulty scanning the pages quickly, then slowing down to focus on one interesting article. Others are lazy and inattentive about reading, or feel insecure and easily intimidated by complex material. They have never had to read anything as difficult as their college textbooks and research materials. Such students have not learned to use a variety of reading strategies, but they think of themselves as dumb rather than untrained.

Every time you read, you're teaching yourself how to read. For instance, if you read class materials in bed at night and fall asleep after a few minutes, you're teaching yourself to be uncaring and sleepy when you read. Academic reading is not easy. Part of learning to use reading strategies is to try out new and different ways of reading. Even professors read, think, write, reread, puzzle over ideas. No one gets it the first time. Successful students learn how to read effectively and remember what they read. You need to learn ways to leap into reading, keep going, finish up, summarize, and connect the new information to other knowledge you have acquired. Below is a list of reading strategies to try. Keep in mind that any three strategies may be enough to make you a better reader. Experiment with different methods and see what works for you. The goal is to develop a reading system which will help you in the long term, not just for this class, but for life. Read sitting up, with a good light, at a desk or table. Keep background noise to a minimum. Loud rock and roll music will not make you a better reader. The same goes for screaming kids, talking roommates, television or radio. Give yourself a quiet environment so that you can concentrate on the text. Keep paper and pen within reach. Before beginning to read, think about the purpose for the reading. Why has the teacher made this assignment? What are you supposed to get out of it? Jot down your thoughts. Survey the reading. Look at the title of the piece, the subheadings. What is in dark print or stands out? Are there illustrations or graphs? Read the introduction and conclusion, then go back and read the whole assignment. Or read the first line in every paragraph to get an idea of how the ideas progress, then go back and read from the beginning. Scan the entire reading, then focus on the most interesting or relevant parts to read in detail. Pay attention to when you can skim and when you need to understand every word. Write as you read. Take notes and talk back to the text. Explicate (explain in detail) and mark up the pages. Write down what interests or bores you. Speculate about why.

If you get stuck in the reading, think and write about where you got stuck. Contemplate why that particular place was difficult and how you might break through the block. Record and explore your confusion. Confusion is important because it's the first stage in understanding. When the going gets difficult, and you don't understand the reading, slow down and reread sections. Break long assignments into segments. Read 10 pages, then do something else. Later, read the next 10 pages and so on. Read prefaces and summaries to learn important details about the book. Look at the table of contents for information about the structure and movement of ideas. Use the index to look up specific names, places, ideas. Translate difficult material into your own words. Create an alternative text. Answer the questions at the end of the chapter. Answer these question in your own words: What's the author talking about? What does the author want me to get out of this? Read the entire piece, then write a one paragraph or one sentence summary. Transcribe your notes in the book or handwritten notes into more formal notes on the computer. Turn your first notes into a list of ideas or a short essay. Review the ideas in the text after you finish reading. Ask yourself questions to determine what you got out of the reading. Mark up the text, bring it to class, and ask questions about what you don't understand. Post an email to the class Mailing List and ask for responses from the teacher and fellow students. Consult another source. What does another author have to say on the same topic? Disagree with the author. Become a devil's advocate. Remember, you don't have to believe an idea to argue about it. Think about the text in three ways. 1. Consider the text itself, the basic information right there on the page. (This is the level of most high school readers and many college students.) 2. Next think about what is between the lines, the

conclusions and inferences the author means you to draw from the text. 3. Finally, go beyond thinking about the text. What creative, new, and different thoughts occur as you combine your knowledge and experiences with the ideas in the reading?


Theory into Practice (TIP) Monograph
This Theory Into Practice (TIP) monograph represents the effort to identify classroom practices that research has shown to result in higher student achievement. The fundamental idea behind TIPs is that efforts to improve instruction must focus on the existing knowledge base about effective teaching and learning. This TIP was developed by the Lanuage Arts Cadre, a group of exemplary teachers, during their 1995 institute at the San Diego County Office of Education. Any questions should be directed to Don Mayfield at 619-292-3822 or

Questions and Answers

The following responses are from the Language Arts 2000 Cadre '95, a group of exemplary teachers from public schools in San Diego County, who gathered together for two weeks during the Summer, 1995, to study language arts instruction issues and to prepare for staff development activities for the school year. What is Reciprocal Teaching? Reciprocal Teaching is a technique u sed to develop comprehension of expository text in which teacher and students take turns leading a dialogue concerning sections of a text. Four activities are incorporated into the technique: prediction, questioning, summarizing and clarifying misleading o r complex sections of the text. Why is it important for students to design their own questions? Students involved in the Reciprocal Teaching process are checking their own understanding of the material they have encountered. They do this by generating questions and summarizing. Expert scaffolding is essential for cognitive development as students move from spectator to performer after repeated modeling by adults. How will Reciprocal Teaching benefit students? The purpose of Reciprocal Teaching is to help st udents, with or without a teacher present, actively bring meaning to the written word. The strategies chosen not only

promote reading comprehension but also provide opportunities for students to learn to monitor their own learning and thinking. The structu re of the dialogue and interactions of the group members require that all students participate and foster new relationships between students of different ability levels. Which students will benefit the most from the Reciprocal Teaching strategy? Reciprocal Teaching has proved to be useful with a widely diverse population of students. The RT procedure was designed to improve the reading comprehension ability of students who were adequate decoders but had poor comprehension. However, modifications of this pro cedure have been used to teach students who were poor decoders, second language learners or non-readers. Poor decoders used the procedure as a read-along activity, second language learners used it to practice developing skills while non-readers learned it as a listening comprehension activity. Teachers have observed that even normally achieving or above average students profit from strategy instruction because it allows them to read and understand more challenging texts. Also, students with more experience and confidence help other students in their group to decode and understand what is being read; students with more experience in questioning (i.e. weaker students) stimulate deeper thinking and understanding in their more academically adept peers. How do I assess students using the Reciprocal Teaching strategy in their reading? Listening to students during the dialogue is the most valuable means for determining whether or not students are learning the strategies and whether or not the strategies are helping them. In whole group settings, students may be asked to write out questions and summaries to be checked by the teacher or other students. How long should teachers continue to monitor students using the Reciprocal Teaching strategy? Continuous monitoring and evaluation of performance should take place to determine the kind of support or scaffolding the students need to successfully execute the strategies. Monitoring, however, may become more infrequent when students become more adept at monitoring their own performance. What support do teachers need to start and continue Reciprocal Teaching? Teachers wishing to adopt the Reciprocal Teaching technique into their curriculum should have the digest provided complete with graphic organizers of the questioning, summarizing, clarifying and predicting strategies. Some thought must be made about the text to provide for instructive purposes during the learning phase. The ability level of the students should be taken into account before

choosing a challenging text. A daily journal would be helpful to refer to as students are scaffolding at different rates. Also, at least one other teacher to collaborate with and debrief occasionally would be very helpful. Sources: Carroll, Ann-Martin. (1988) Reciprocal Teaching. Presentation given at the California Reading Association, San Diego, CA. Palincsar, A. S. & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal Teaching of ComprehensionFostering and Comprehension Monitoring Activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1(2), 117-175. Walker, B. (1988). Diagnostic Teaching of Reading. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Publishing Co.