Strategies to Enhance Comprehension
The Comprehension Matrix
Reading Comprehension Strategies
This includes the teacher reading a text aloud to the students while engaging in discussion, identifying letters and words, and talking about the meaning of words. Teachers should pose questions throughout the text and make sure all students are engaged in the reading.
Most elementary school educators include picture books in their daily instruction. Studies have shown that one way for middle and high school teachers to use picture books is a "think-aloud." This process lets students to see how an experienced reader processes the text.
Visible Thinking (VT) and Writing
This strategy is best used with delayed readers. They are able to "consider their own thinking, reflect on it, and develop deeper understandings." Students are able to create meaning with dialogue is to use graphic organizers and encourage discussion.
Sample Interactive Read Aloud
The following is an Interactive Read Aloud lesson plan I have used in a 1st grade classroom. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Book: From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman
Genre: Informational Text (Narrative)
Comprehension Strategy: Asking Questions
1. Build background knowledge:
Has anyone ever seen a caterpillar or a butterfly? Do you know how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly? Did you know there are different kinds of butterflies? Turn to your neighbor and share what you know about caterpillars and butterflies.
2. Provide a brief overview of the book:
This book is about the process of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. We will learn where the caterpillar comes from and what it has to do to become a butterfly!
3. Introduce the comprehension strategy:
I’m going to read From Caterpillar to Butterfly. While I’m reading to you, I will model how I stop and ask questions. By asking questions while I read, I can make sure I am paying attention and make sure what I have read makes sense. I ask myself “how” and “why” questions based on what is happening in the book and what I know already. As we read the story, I’ll share the questions that I ask. And then you will have a chance to ask questions too.
Model using the strategy at least 3 times.
Cover – Readers ask questions before, during and after reading. Let me show you how I ask a question before I start reading.
The title of the book is From Caterpillar to Butterfly.
I see little caterpillars and a big butterfly. (using clues from text).
I know that caterpillars turn into butterflies. (using background knowledge). Because of what I see and what I know, I am wondering how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
Pg. 8 – I read that the caterpillar started out as a tiny egg. I know that it turns into a big butterfly.
I’m wondering how it grows.
Pg. 18 – The caterpillar is making a special house and instead of new skin it is a hard shell.
I wonder why it is a hard shell. I also wonder how long the caterpillar will stay in there.
Pg. 23 – The butterfly has finally hatched out of the chrysalis.
I wonder how long it will take the butterfly to be able to fly.
Near the end, provide a general prompt for the child to try using the comprehension strategy.
Pg. 29 – What how and why questions are you asking?
1. Invite student to share his/her reaction to the text.
What did you guys think of the book?
2. Summarize what comprehension strategy was used, how, and when to use it.
While we were reading, we stopped and asked some how and why questions. Let’s go back to those questions and see if we can answer them. Asking questions will help us understand the book better.
Readers ask questions before, during and after they read. Remember to ask how and why questions based on clues from the pictures and the text and your background knowledge.
Introduce 2 Tier 2 vocabulary words by saying the word, having children say the word, tell the definition, review how the word was used in the text, and provide a new context for using the word. Then ask the student to use the word in other contexts.
A word I found interesting in this book was hatched.
Try it, Say: hatched.
Hatched means to come out.
Do you remember when this word was used in the book? Let’s look at that page. In the book it said, “When the caterpillar hatched out of the egg, it was hungry.”
Another way to use this word is: After the mother bird nurtured the egg, it hatched into a beautiful bird.
Think of a time when you saw something hatch.
(get student to use the word in a sentence).
Say the word again: hatched.
Another interesting word is crumpled.
Try it, Say: crumpled
Crumpled means to crush or wrinkle something.
Do you remember when this word was used in the book? Let’s look at that page. In the book it said, “Our butterfly is damp and crumpled.”
Another way to use this word is: I crumpled the piece of paper up and threw it in the trashcan. (your example).
Think of a time when you crumpled something up.
(get student to use the word in a sentence).
Say the word again: crumpled.