Teaching, via Captain Obvious
If we don't enjoy it how can we expect students to?
Let them see your passion.
When introducing reading in your classroom don't be afraid to not only tell them but let them see that you have a passion for reading. This can be as simple as selecting a book that holds a connection to you personally as recommended by Harvey and Goudvis. Doing this will allow students to see what can be gained from reading, whether your connective book is one that taught you something you yearned to know or whether it brings back precious memories showing our students that books are personal can spark an interest that may otherwise have been missed.Just as important as sharing our success as a reader is sharing our struggles. When we allow children to see that even as an adult we come across unfamiliar words, and or forget what we just read we are sharing that though reading is a passion of ours we are not perfect at it, which is just fine with us we will use the tools of comprehension that we use as a class to check our understanding. And guess what? We still love to read.
Reading CAN change thinking. (Harvey, Goudvis)
It is our job as teachers to make sure that reading comprehension goes beyond merely retelling of a book, rather that it delves into creating new understandings of the world we live in and connecting new knowledge to old knowledge. True comprehension can change a students outlook on anything and everything. That being said it is critical that we assist our students to this higher level of comprehension by giving them access to wonderful works of literature and literature that will captivate them and keep them turning page after page even when the mandated twenty minutes of reading is up. A way to foster this sort of reading is to create Active Literacy in our classrooms. This is where students will manipulate the text in multiple ways; be it through drawings, questioning, discussions the students are the ones that are creating their own learning experiences, focusing in on what is interesting to them rather than relying on the teacher to read their minds. Be sure that students leave evidence of their manipulations to help you help them resolve comprehensive struggles and to expand on light bulb moments. It is important to give our students many comprehensive tools to choice from, allowing them to pick which ones they like and which ones are required for which text at what points. This freedom combined with choice allows students to tailor their reading to their individual needs and has proven to increase comprehension through their choices one can gain insight on the students metacognative knowledge. (how a student thinks and uses knowledge) Based on what the student chooses as a comprehensive tool we can gain insight on where they are with reading comprehension.
Credit goes to:
Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement Stenhouse Publishers - A. Kindle Edition.
Question Question mark where foreart thou question?
Relating to a book is wonderful, having a passion to read is helpful yet failing to question what it is we are reading is most profound of all. Without the question reading comprehension will fail, connections will be missed and passion diminished. We as teachers must not always insist on great answers but remind our students that just as important as great answers are tugging at our brains questions. Starting as young as possible teachers should ask students to stop at the end of each page and say wait a minute what does what I just read mean? Eventually this practice will be ongoing in a students mind when they are fluent readers. Helping our students question what they are reading will certainly help them to infer. To create their own text within a text by reading between the lines. I.E. What is the writer saying without explicitly saying it? To help our students question and therefore infer it is helpful to guide our students into putting themselves into the text they read. Asking what would you do in this situation causes the student to step into the text and stop being a bystander.
Active literacy= Simple summary
If we have created a classroom environment where active literacy is the essential component than we will find that create summaries and synthesizing reading material is simply the next step that we have already begun. When we read actively and or put ourselves into a text we are deciding and remembering what is important in the text that we are reading. Thus when it comes time to reflect on what we have read it will be simple, because we have already lived the text. Think of it this way a student will have no problem retelling an important event in their life, good or bad; if we can pick text that our students will enjoy reading synthesizing and summarizing can be as simple as retelling an important event in one's life.
Tie active literacy throughout grades
Lastly remember, to try to have all of the teachers throughout the grades on the same road. Think of active literacy and comprehensive tools as a chapter book, it is okay if the teachers are on different chapters in fact they probably should be, but it is beneficial to all students if the teachers in their school are on the same page. As a student walking into a new classroom in a new year hears familiar terminology being used relating to literacy they will be much more likely to activate tools they have learned in previous years allowing for a better chance at becoming fluent readers.