More Teaching, Less Assigning
Reading is Thinking
Reading is not simply knowing how to pronounce each word and recognizing them on a page. It is about decoding them and understanding what they mean both separately and strung together. This is a huge part of what students need to understand when they learn how to read. As future teachers, we have to be able to teach what reading for meaning is in order to get this point across.
Activating Background Knowledge/Making Connections
It is impossible to understand what we read without first having access to what we have already learned and know. Connections are made by referring to our schema and using our past experiences to relate to our reading. Making connections to a text helps students better understand the text and the reasoning behind the authors story. Using our prior background knowledge brings new meaning to what we are reading. When we connect text to a student's background they actually enjoy what they are learning about which is satisfying to both the student and teacher.
Constructing meaning-to build knowledge and promote understanding
"Stopping to digest and synthesize information periodically helps readers construct meaning" (Harvey and Goudvis, pg.23)
There is a huge difference between telling students what to do and showing them how to do something. Strategies that teach students how to derive meaning from text include modeling, guided practice, and work in small groups or partners. Time is also given to students to practice independently and explore with what they can do. The phrase, "We advocate more teaching, less assigning," (Harvey & Goudvis, 21) is a good representation of how teaching has changed over the decades. Learning is not simply following directions, just as teaching is not simply dictating instructions. We need to let students explore on their own as well as give them some direct instruction. As future teachers it is important to know what good teaching is and give student's strategies to help them construct their own meaning from a text.
There are many strategies that readers use in order to make sure they comprehend what they are reading. They can visualize the text in a way that makes sense to them or ask questions about what they just read to ensure comprehension. Researchers have identified four different kinds of readers/earners who are all at a different level of understanding. Tacit Learners are unaware of what they think as they are reading and do not show comprehension. Aware Learners are those who know that there is a meaning to the text but are unable to derive that meaning. Strategic Learners who have certain strategies for comprehension that they use when they become confused by the meaning of text. Reflective Learners monitor their understanding and revise the strategies they use in order to comprehend. Every student comprehends in a different way but it is our job to make sure that in the end they fully understand the meaning of what they are reading.